LANAI-PLAYROOM: Costs for Blinds and Deciding on Curtains (Plus More Purging) 

We measured our lanai doors today and ran to Showcase Carpet to get a quote on roller blinds.  I measured the doorways for inside mount, with 2 panels per doorway.  For inside mount, both doorways measure 98″ width, 8.25″ length.  Each panel is thus 49″ width.  I was confident about an inside mount because my walls are 3.5″ thick. 

Grace from Showcase gave me quotations for 2 kinds of shades: 

  1. Block out: Php 6,700.00 for 2 panels, or 1 doorway. 
  2. Dim out: Php 5,500.00 for 2 panels, or 1 doorway. 

Since there are 2 doorways in the lanai, I need to get 4 blinds, for a total of 11k or 13,400.

I would have preferred just sunscreens out instead of block out shades, since it’s going to be for the lanai, not a bedroom – it’s basically a sun porch, hello.  But they weren’t offering white “dim out” (Showcase’s term) blinds, just this beige-y cream color that looked too office-y for me. I wanted them white so they’d blend with the walls.

I was this close to paying the downpayment for the block out shades.  Showcase seems to work fast, too; if I pay a downpayment before Saturday, they can install the blinds next Thursday. 

But I rushed over to Wilcon as well to check prices. I was hoping I could get something ready made. But the ready made selections are vastly limited in terns of size. For our measurements, we really had to go custom.  I got a quotation for three (3) different brands available in Wilcon.  The cheapest is Php 4,700 per panel. 

Clearly, Showcase is the better option, since for 5k ++ or 6k ++ I’ll be getting 2 sets of roller blinds, instead of 1.  But Showcase closes at 5pm, so I headed home.  I liked Showcase’s pricing and customer service so far, but I wasn’t feeling great about a complete black out in there and I wasn’t excited about the beige shades too.

I went home and finished cleaning and sorting the kids’ toys in the lanai.  I had taken advantage of their being at their grandparents’ house visiting (labor strike, no school again).  Otherwise, Alo will just end up unpacking all the toys I put in our donation boxes (like he did here). 

Well, I was so happy with how clean the lanai turned out that I felt inspired.  The hand-me-down curtains from my mother were dirty and didn’t suit the room at all.  So, on a whim, I measured and noticed that the lanai ceiling was lower than the adjacent dining area.  (The lanai was an add on).  So maybe I didn’t need to get the 96″ curtains I used for the dining room – this has been the reason why I first decided on blinds over curtains.  The cost! Getting curtains (proper long ones!) and the curtain rods combined would leave me spending at least 7k per doorway.

But since the lanai was apparentlty not as high ceiling as the dining room, I realized I may be able to get away with shorter, or regular length, curtains. I pulled out my too-short-for-the-dining room curtains and tried them out in the lanai:

Now try to imagine this room with matching white curtains all across the doorways, no bookcase in the corner, and a darker (reupholstered) loveseat, and an area rug, hehe

I LOVED it.  I was shocked.  Haha.  I need 4 panels per doorway (testing out how it looks with just 2 panels in that photo).  If I can get those same curtains for those doors, then it will come out cheaper than blinds.  Those curtains are from this brand, Pauline’s, available in Uratex, and they sell them per pair for around 300 or 400 something.  As opposed to my Arq Living curtains – sold per panel, ack, for more than double, even triple the price, depending on the design.

I am now so on board with doing curtains.  BUT! (There’s always a but).  I still intend to replace the chunky curtain rods with the same slim black rod I used in the dining room, and I want the new rods in the lanai to be placed higher too.   This means longer curtains – the ones in this photo are only around 87″ length.  Elbe and I measure above the current rods, and I figured I’ll survive with 91-93″ length for curtains.  And I somehow recall being at Uratex and having one of the sales clerks tell me their other set of those Pauline’s curtains measure 95″ length.

Except I’m not entirely sure if that was in Uratex because I’ve been canvassing a lot recently.  Argh.  Well, I am going to skedaddle there tomorrow.  If they have the length I need, then done and DONE.  Curtains it is.  (The H prefers curtains actually, and wasn’t really sold on blinds for the playroom).   

Good things come to those who clean

P.S.  That’s the fan I had repaired.   The 2nd repair person put the blades on backwards like the 1st repair person from West.  Inis!  Back to the shop.  I am so not getting Asahi anything anymore.  Anyhoo, it was supposed to go in the living room, but it works better for the lanai, because the kids like to play on the floor, so the bottom barrel is really useful.  It’s still a big improvement from this electric fan, isn’t it? #lifeinthetropics hay.  (I wonder if the white folk have to worry this much about electric fans in their homes?)


Alo’s Shelf at 33 weeks

I’ve been slowly and carefully trying to integrate some Montessori-inspired learning principles at home. Nothing hard-core, but I figured Diko needs the extra help.  I won’t be posting about it in detail here because I’m leaving the in-depth Montessori posts in the boys’ blog.  But I’m sharing bits and pieces in this site because Montessori is becoming part of our home decor!

These shelves (for my 3 year old/33 month old), for instance, are standing right outside our bedroom door right now: 

We are focusing on sorting and matching, and cutting this week.  More about Alo’s shelf here. 

Keeping it Simple – and Problem Areas

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Valiantly trying to KonMari at home

I may not have been working on the house (in terms of decor, repairs, renovations) but I have been cleaning and purging relentless the past months.   Caritas has picked up balikbayan boxes of our donations 3 times this year already, and I already have a 4th batch of donations for Caritas too (I haven’t called them yet for a pick-up schedule because I’m still adding to the bunch).

Like I shared here, I haven’t been actively working on the house the past few months.  As a result, little piles of clutter have started cropping up everywhere.   Oh, I still made an effort to put things away, but the clutter piled up in what I eventually realized are still my problem areas in the house – like that spot under the stairs!

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Sigh.  What a mess.

I’ve actually briefed everyone (and relentlessly kept reminding them) that everything and anything unloaded from the cars go under the stairs.  As you can see, they have taken this to heart.  All the files are neatly corralled in that metal basket – at least!.  But then there’s the laptop bag, and the car seat, and Bo’s walking wings, and sundry other items – like empty pots!  Ugh.

I already have a very efficient drop zone and system for tackling all the mail and bills we get.  But now I realized I still need a better system for the STUFF we get and unload.  This spot under the stairs is that drop zone.   I don’t know what to do about bags right now, and that old car seat of Bo’s.  Somewhere behind the pile is our box of emergency goods, too, for prepper moments; I need to figure out what to do with them as well.  Plus, a spot for shoes by the door since right now they’re sitting on my bamboo stool.

Then there’s the issue of just having too much furniture:

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My little native bench, as you can see, has turned into a shoe rack.  The boxes beside the school station are for the kitchenware I’ve been sorting and purging.

This Muji lounger used to sit in the lanai-playroom.  Then I tried it in the shared boys’ room.  Too crowded.  Pulled it out and stuffed it in the living room.  Too tight.  And now it’s just sitting there by the stairs.  Very awkward.  I should be getting rid of it – and it’s not very comfortable, mind! – but this was the first semi-expensive piece of furniture we’ve ever bought so I’m a little attached to it.  I know I should probably sell or donate it, but I just can’t do it yet.

Then there’s the issue with my living room.  This “progress” shot is long gone.  The help have quit trying to cover up our ugly couch with a sheet, so most days it looks like this:

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Living room from hell

Horrible right?!  Notice the coffee table?  Stupid me got Mang Ariel to put this sort of vinyl-y cover to protect the surface.  It obviously peeled away and chipped.  (Nath of Dekko is going to be horrified).  I’ve since removed my lovely shaggy West Elm rug, because our former yaya kept encouraging the boys to eat and even SLEEP on the rug.  I also finally admitted to myself that it was too darn big for this teeny tiny space.  And my lovely  bench?  As you can see, it has become a glorified patungan ng electric fan.  OH GOSH.  That was the help’s doing and I really can’t blame them, because our old fan is broken and the kids actually like to sit there and we need a fan in that area.

As you can see, I still don’t have curtains, too, and that couch?  Oh that couch.  The awful red-striped ill-fitting fabric is not the upholstery; it’s what’s keeping the stuffings together.  And the foam has become awfully flat and lumpy at the same time.  I could have gotten new upholstery made, but noooo I waited years and years.  It’s actually a great couch – good hard narra wood, with a simple, classic frame.  But the foam has to go, and there’s a missing slat somewhere under the seat.

Basically, I’m back to square one on the living room.  Waaaaaah.

And DON’T get me started on the lanai-playroom.   We removed the single bed from upstairs since no one uses it and now it’s in the lanai too.  We had to get rid of the puzzle mat because the crib is right smack in the middle of the room because I still haven’t set up a more comfy sleeping/napping area for the littlest boys in the shared bedroom!  (Alo often takes his naps on our grubby couch, while Bo sleeps in the lanai).

Shoulda coulda woulda.

You can get a glimpse of the sorry state of the lanai from this photo:

The sliding doors, I know, are really too dark.  I have to do something about them – but that’s out of my budget right now.  I’ve inquired at a shop nearby, and it’s going to cost me around Php 25,000.00 to replace them.  I’m also on the fence about putting curtains or blinds over the sliding doors from the dining area side.

And there you have it.   I’ve done away with my overly detailed checklists for now and decided to keep it simple.  Tackle the most glaring issues.  Otherwise, I’ll never finish anything in this house.

This is my new to-do list (I’m also sharing it here, for quick reference), as of 13 October 2017:

Living Room

  1. new foam for the couch – 10.14.17 ordered
  2. customized sofa covers – 10.14.17 ordered
  3. repair coffee table – 10.17.17 dropped off
  4. replace curtain rods (2)
  5. new, longer curtains (6)
  6. new fan

Dining Room

  1. re-organize white shelves – 10.13.17
  2. clear out mess under the stairs
  3. new stand fan


  1. order black cabinet pulls
  2. remove or donate bed – 10.13.17
  3. paint cabinets
  4. install cabinet pulls
  5. tear out built-in shelves
  6. curtains or blinds? – 10.18.17 curtains (6)!
  7. replace curtain rods (2)
  8. sort and donate kids’ toys (again!) – 10.17.17

Command Center

  1. re-organize cables
  2. re-label file folders – 10.09.17
  3. replenish supplies

School Station

  1. sort and file last school year’s papers – 10.09.17
  2. re-organize supplies bin and drawers
  3. re-label file folders – 10.09.17
  4. replenish supplies
  5. empty out junk from Alo’s side

*Eventually: replace light switches and outlets, ceiling fan for the living room, get plants and pots, hang photos and prints

Plans for Halloween 2017

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I see people online who have started decorating for Christmas – in Manila, the Christmas season can start as early as September – but 2017 will still be about Halloween for me. I started last year, and I shared (here and here) how I intend to invest in our Halloween decor bit by bit every year.

It’s ironic really, because I love Christmas and have always found Halloween to be such a Western tradition (no Halloween roots in our culture at all!), but I have little boys who just adore Halloween and all its attendant commercial activities. So, I’ve learned to embrace it in my own little (and pared down) way.

That being said, last year I really had my heart set on the wooden spider puzzle they were selling in Co/op, but I felt I had already spent too much in Pottery Barn and La Pomme already. So imagine my joy when I called Co/op the other day and discovered they were still selling those spiders! And! They were marked down – less than half of what they were selling it for last year!

I had my spider reserved, and we’ll be picking it up this weekend. I plan to use it as a centerpiece for our dining table.

I also ordered this felt Jack O’ Lantern toy and a vampire bin from Fun Nest. Plus Diko and I got those generic buckets from National Bookstore. This means even if I see those lovely zombie books, anatomy and monster prints and skulls they were selling in Co/op last year, I will no longer have the budget to get them! I shall behave. Hopefully, they’ll still be around next year!

My terra cotta pots, skull planter from Hey Kessy, and all the other stuff I still like in Quirks (like this monster print and zombie book ends) – and all the other new things I like in Quirks (like this crime scene tape, witch spoon rest, Murder at the Fancy Ball board game, Vladimir bottle opener, and book of masks) will also have to wait until next Halloween too (and possibly the one after that).

We are actually decorating this weekend, but I’ll share that in a post once I get my Fun Nest orders!




Visited Common Room a couple of months ago

My oh my – more than 6 months since my last post.  I readily admit – the activity in this site directly corresponds to actual work I do on the house.  That it’s been quiet around here for some time (basically, half a year!) means, yes, work on the house has been on complete stand still.   There are a lot of legitimate excuses (like the H shifted jobs when the year started, I had to cut down on my hours to focus on the kids, and other real life crap), but the truth is, there were lists of things I could have done at home without my having to spend a single centavo.  But I didn’t do it.  Well, at least not enough to check off an entire list.  Now my cleaning and organizing activities in Project Clean House do not even make sense to me anymore.

Aside from budget issues and focusing on the baby and my rambunctious middle child, the H got a new job.   While that solved the budget issues, definitely, now we have issues about the house itself.  And its location, to be exact.  The H has been contemplating actually moving since it’s a tedious commute from our place to the new office – it’s at least a 2-hour ride sans traffic being stuck in the car.   And so I’ve had to struggle to justify working on this house when he’s got his heart set on moving south.   Sigh.  I’m not averse to moving, mind you.  We have a dream community, and I appreciate it as much as the H does.  But!  I can’t bear the thought of leaving this sweet little house unfinished.

So I have been plugging away on Project Clean House somewhat.  Not consistently, and definitely not every day, but there has been some progress.  For starters – I’ve basically checked off everything on my to-do list for the Command Center, save for organizing the keys.  And I’ve filed away and organized Laz’s school papers – that’s been major, too.  I’ve also finally started tackling the spare bedroom upstairs.  But the house just still feels like a MESS.

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