SNEAK PEEK: Installing Blinds in the Lanai-Playroom

*Get Real Renovations

The guys from Showcase came bright and early to deliver and install our custom dim-out blinds in the lanai-playroom today:

Wait, what?  Blinds?! Wasn’t I yakking about curtains and double rods last time?  I’ll write about this in a subsequent post (with other updates to this space!), but right now I am just hugging myself with glee because we FINALLY filtered the intense light in here, and I am so so glad we went with blinds after all.

Prepping to install – see that morning glare?!  No more of that now!!!

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Upcycled Book Crate

Since I learned how to stain wood last year I’ve kind of been obsessed. I used a plain crate from Cut the Scrap (I love their crates; still the best quality in my opinion), then sanded, stained, sealed, and added casters. Here’s the final product:

I added the book plate with wood glue. Bought the plate and letters from Papemelroti. They can stick the letters for you, actually, but I prefer to do it myself. I got both the plate and letters last year but only recently got to use them!

Here’s a before shot of the crate:

As you can see, the crate is nice on its own, but I just wanted a darker finish to go with the rustic vibe I was after for our lanai-playroom. Oh, and adding casters for a newbie like me was the hardest thing, hahaha. I don’t think I’ll be tackling casters for a while for my next DIY projects!

For these crates, I always save up thick discarded bits of carton from delivery packages or balikbayan boxes, slap them together with wood glue and masking tape, and cover them with old posters (because it’s thicker) to line the bottoms. Keeps the kids’ small toys and what not from falling through the slats.

This ONE crate took me over a week to finish, FYI, hahahahaha, because I really wait for the drying time between stains and varnish coats. Now it’s a sturdy little thing, and I am just happy to contribute something I DIYed for the kids’ playroom. The best part is, I didn’t have to buy anything for this project – except for the casters! All the other materials, even the crate, I already had. The End. 😄

My nth Post about Curtains

*Get Real Renovations

It’s another post about curtains, hah! I know this may seem like the most mundane concern to the rest of the world, but it is important to me as I strive to be intentional about each and every little decision (and purchase!) at home.

This is an item to check off my Lanai-Playroom list – added 2 sheer white (96″ long!) curtains panels at last. Here’s how both lanai doors look now:

You can see in this old post how weird our lanai doors looked with just 3 curtain panels. 4 glass panels for the lanai doors, and only 3 curtain panels, eek. And the rods were still hung too low – the puddling was very unflattering, and so impractical for a play area. Again, something I lived with for way too long. And to think the curtains I always get for the lanai are inexpensive ones from SM (as opposed to the ones I use for my dining and living room). Procrastination at its finest.   These additional lanai sheer curtains are from a brand called Interior Choice by Jelary Curtains, available at SM Marikina department store for Php 399.75 per panel. Cheap!!! I actually got the same brand for the older sheers in this lanai, but they were no longer carrying the exact same ones and I had to find the most similar set.

Oh, and I did check off the items in my weekly to-do list in the sidebar – canvas for black out curtains and compare costs for ready made blinds in Wilcon. The blinds in Wilcon were too short for the lanai doors! I’d have to go custom, and if I really wanted to, I’d prefer to go with my suki Showcase. No WHITE black out drapes in SM. I called Larry’s for custom black out curtains. Too expensive. I’d spend for those for bedrooms, but not for this lanai. So cheaper draperies instead!

I have to admit you can really tell the difference between inexpensive curtains and “investment” ones though. The sheers I have in our living/dining room, the hems lie flat because the stitching is neater, and the quality is just overall better. These ones from SM, the hems and stitching are rougher, and crinkle. I’m happy with them though, and don’t intend to spend anything beyond these for the lanai – especially since I’ve now finally made up my mind that we will be cutting down these exterior lanai doors (width wise)!

Happily, cheaper doesn’t always mean bad quality, apparently. I also picked up these brocade curtains from SM dept. store – at Php 500 for a pair of two (2) panels by this brand called Simply Curtains, thick and well made, in the loveliest cream color, to cover our interior lanai doors:

Here’s the before:

I hung a 1″ inch steel curtain rod – inside mount – across the top frame of the (newly repaired, yay) sliding doors. Then I used rod supports right outside the fixed glass portion of the sliding doors, to act as stoppers. The objective is to cover the brown glass. Too dark for me. And I’ve already decided (here) that I wasn’t going to remove, replace, or repaint those sliding doors, so I needed a quick fix.

Here are the interior lanai doors now:

I know and expected the middle top part of the frame (and the inside mount rod!) to be exposed, and I am still mulling over how to cover that part. I’ve got some ideas in mind and just need to figure out execution. I also need to put some decor above that doorway because it looks a bit squat beside the windows on the left, where the curtains are mounted much higher. Since this was a doorway, I opted for an inside mount. I still want to balance out the height discrepancy at one point because it feels a bit jarring.

Right now though, I am really enjoying how they lightened up our dining area. Those dark sliding doors have been a thorn on my side since I moved to this house 3 years ago! And now I’m inspired to update our dining area too, haha.

Lastly, I just discovered our curtain brackets can accommodate double rods! Yay! The lady in Wilcon showed me when I was checking out support brackets. I can put a skinnier steel rod behind the chunky wooden one. Completely solved my dilemma about getting blinds or not! I’ll get a 2nd rod, transfer the sheers there, and find thicker or black out drapes in front (even non-white ones, since ready made options for colored 96″ curtains are easier to come across than white plain thick white ones). We really need them. The sun that streams in there is getting more intense by the day, now that it’s officially summer in the tropics.

I also have updates about ventilation (i.e. electric fans bwahahaha) for this steaming hot lanai but I’ll save that other blah topic for yet another post, hahahaha.

MASTER BEDROOM: Things We Need To Tackle

*Get Real Renovations

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The offending AC Window on the left, and the window (with the gaps of light!) by the TV Wall on the right | master bedroom photo taken in October 2018

Keeping in mind that our renovation objective right now is to keep everything real, I know we need to tackle some issues in our master bedroom before the rainy season arrives.

Recall, we went through a months-long major renovation of our room last year but our contractor unfortunately still left some parts unfinished. Specifically – there’s still a big hole in one of my casement windows from where a window-type A/C unit used to be. We’ve covered it up with plywood and our lovely black out blinds, but when the winds and rains are strong, man, everything flops around and rattles like crazy. One time the wind did blow off the flimsy piece of wood we used to cover the hole. I haven’t had actual water come pouring in from the rain, but I’m not about to wait for that day. I so cannot deal with any water damage on our hardwood floors.

I also feel like the blinds we installed for these windows are being wasted, because we never raise the blinds. They look right into our next door neighbor’s windows! I called Showcase, and thankfully they can retrofit the existing blinds when I transfer them to another set of windows with different measurements. (Was seriously so happy about this because we invested on those blinds, I’m really happy about the quality, and I’d hate to see them go to waste). I plan to move those blinds to the study room, and have plantation shutters installed. I found a supplier who can service our area, yay! We’ll keep the plantation shutters mostly shut, I know, but at least they’re visually prettier than blinds, and even when opened, will offer more privacy than roller blinds.

We are also still using our Ikea bathroom bench as a makeshift TV console. It’s been a year! And it does make for pretty uncomfortable TV viewing because it’s low. Plus, there are gaps of light from the sides of the blinds, because I opted for inside mount. I was aware this was going to be a problem, but see, I don’t have architecturally pretty windows. No frames, no trim. Ideally, I should’ve picked outside mounts for the blinds, but the windows are big, and outside mounts would make everything too office-y. I knew I still wanted to get drapes to soften up the windows when I ordered the blinds. But again, it’s been a year and I still don’t have curtains. And the gaps of light can be glaring, especially since the TV is right in front of the windows. So I need curtain hardware, drapes, and a TV console. I’m forever looking at TV consoles, actually, but I realized the ones I’ve been lemming on are too wide – so I’ve decided to go custom with this one. Happily, I have by now my awesome suppliers, and there’s a favorite woodworker I’m going to be tapping for this.

I’m still waiting for the metal and glass store to provide my quotes for the window. They gave me an estimate for 2 windows (we have the same problem with one of the windows in the bedroom we converted to a walk-in), but I asked for estimates for repair, replacement, and complete removal. They still need to get back to me. (It’s the same company that repaired our internal lanai doors).

Aaaand, since I’m not only a long-winded rambler but also an incurable list-maker, here’s my to-do list for our Master Bedroom:

A/C Window

  1. repair by EM Manila
  2. masonry work, and retouch paint after window repair, by Mang Michael’s mason
  3. installation of plantation shutters by McWood

Obviously, I’ve already called all these people, and am still just waiting for EM Manila to get back to me on costs so I can get the ball rolling.

TV Wall

  1. get slim black curtain rods
  2. get white black out drapes (2 panels first)
  3. custom TV console

I know this is my “Get Real Renovations” list, but if we do stay on here after 3 or 5 years, I’d like to tackle these other things for this TV Wall, too (and I’m writing it here so I won’t forget!):

  • remove that useless empty electric socket crevice
  • move electrical outlet higher and behind the TV console
  • install white wooden french door (smaller than this balcony door we have now)
  • move pin light above the french door
  • install wall sconce for that blank wall
  • masilya and retouch everything after all that electrical work (I dread the dust already from the grinder, when they bury wiring)
  • custom family art for that blank wall, below the scone
  • an easy chair, maybe a side table, and more and more plants!
  • and if I’m staying here until I’m 60 – I’d love to add wall trimmings!

Doesn’t sound so daunting, right? It is when you consider how it’s attached to possibly expanding the balcony to build a new bathroom and closet space out there, hahaha. Again, I don’t intend to pursue especially all the rewiring work unless we plan to stay in this house for at least a decade and more. (But maybe after I get the urgent matters out of the way, I can get away with that custom family art and easy chair? Hehe).

Sleeping Area

  1. get a bigger bed
  2. bedside tables
  3. extension cords for both our sides

And down the road, if we do stay on, here are the little things I’d like to fix about our sleeping area:

  • wall sconces for each side of the bed
  • remove this damn ledge (I hate it even though we designed it and had it built especially – it’s a clutter magnet) and the electrical outlet there
  • install an electrical outlet at the H’s side
  • build new doorway to old bath/walk-in and install barn door
  • move light switches to make way for new barn door

Not to mention, close off that other balcony window and move the entrance to the master bedroom (again!), this time to the ante-room if we do end up settling down here for good.

Taken with the TV Wall improvements down the road, now it seems like a pile of work, and I’m beginning to hope it doesn’t come to that. It’s bitter sweet, seeing all these flaws and design mistakes (mostly ours!) still after major renovations, but hay, I did hear it will always be a learning process.

Getting Real with our Renovation Goals

I read this great post by The Catholic Table the other day.  It’s not a pure home interiors blog, but the writer made some really good points about being realistic about your renovation goals – her discussions really resonated with me because I’ve been feeling a bit lost lately about our home.   While I mentioned in this post that my objective was to love the home we’re in right now, I also couldn’t deny I was still getting confused about the extent of work I should be doing.   It all boils down on waiting on God – that much I am 100% sure of.  We are waiting on God to guide us along the plan he has for our family – do we move or do we stay put and renovate extensively?  And like any obedient Christian, while we wait, I resolved to make our home as neat and as pleasant as I could make it for my family.  Hence, the “love the home you’re in” drive.

But then I realized, the making do bit does involve renovations still.  And as I likewise said before, I found myself getting confused about the extent of the renovations I should be undertaking – all the while taking in mind, and balancing, the possibilities of a) selling and moving out; or b) making sure the quick fixes now will blend in seamlessly with any long-term major renovations we might end up making, so as not to waste any money we shell out now.

This is where the points raised by The Catholic Table in her post really helped me.  She said if you intend to stay in your home for at least a decade or beyond, then it makes sense to invest in your renovations – materials, quality, etc.  But if you intend to pack up and leave in the next few years, in less than 5 years, then you’re renovating to sell.  So no need to go overboard on your renovation expenses and choices right now.

Huh.  That makes sense.  I made the H sit down to discuss all this because I was feeling anxious about it all.  I also found myself praying repeatedly, because I do feel the anxiety is also a form on impatience, and I really do want to wait on God, and I do trust His perfect timing.   I suppose it’s the overwhelming nesting instinct that really kicks in when I find myself pregnant.   But the H indulged me and we made a rough plan.   We are waiting for some news this year, you see, and if nothing comes of it, then that means we aren’t selling and moving this or next year.  The H gave us 3 years in this house.  If the project doesn’t kick off by that time, we then seriously sit down and start renovating and truly expanding this home to fit 4 (yes, FOUR) growing boys.  But before then, our mindset is “renovate to sell”.  Hence, we need to get real with our renovations.   Love our home, make it work for our expanding family (easier while the boys are all still little), but worry about today, not tomorrow, just yet.

This means I don’t have to worry about replacing the staircase to a more kid-friendly version in the next 3 years!  This means setting aside the nights researching on whether I should cut down the windows in the study room just yet!   This means having to live with ONE bathroom on the 2nd floor for now.  (This is actually not so bad, because the kids have a bathroom downstairs.  But ideally, I’d like to have the 2 younger boys upstairs, with their own bathroom, while the 2 older boys can share downstairs).  It means being realistic, and not Pinning like crazy, and getting my goals all mixed up.  Hopefully, this will translate to more patience and focus.  It’s never recommended to sit idly while you wait on God – we are all expected to do our parts while trusting Him – but in my case, I felt I was all over the place, and this shows LACK OF TRUST!

So there you have it.  We’re now embarking on our “Get Real Renovations“, and I’ve made a sub-category in this blog so I can keep track.  Wish us luck, and pray for us, please!