SNEAK PEEK: Installing Blinds in the Lanai-Playroom

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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LANAI-PLAYROOM: The Frills

Started: 22 February 2019 | Completed:

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Our lanai-playroom as of 09 March 2019

I have been taking my sweet time with decorating the lanai-playroom. Decorating that space has just not been urgent or necessary right now, and since I want to be intentional about it, I’ve been really enjoying the process, and picking things up only when they feel right. I also usually focus on being practical and budgeting for the essentials first (in line with my “Get Real Renovations” goal), but once in a while it’s nice to reward myself with an item which, well, to borrow that oh-so-popular term right now, sparks joy (like plants!). I’ll update this post accordingly, too.

ZONE 1 : General

  • 1 more set of the b&w Skip Hop puzzle mats
  • extra cushions, and shams, for the loveseat
  • eventually, subject to review again in the future: additional seating for the play/coffee table (a pouf? wood step stool? floor cushion?); a long narrow abaca rug by the loveseat end?

ZONE 2 : Internal Lanai Doors

  • slim curtain rods and brackets
  • 2 panels of thick 86″ length curtains03.15.19 cream brocade 85″ length from Simply Curtains (SM Marikina) (these);
  • figure out the valance situation for the exposed part of the lanai door frame

ZONE 3 : Toy Cabinet

  • large potted tree for narrow corner beside electrical outlet02.28.19 with white pot from Heim (Wilcon Marcos)
  • hanging plant at opposite wall from potted tree – 02.28.19 black farmhouse hanging plant bracket from Wilcon Marcos (the sweetest rabbit-themed bracket. I’ve been eyeing it for ages, and finally allowed myself to get it because now I have a perfect spot for a hanging plant and bracket);
  • more plants on and around the toy cabinet
  • desk lamp – 03.26.19 we don’t need one, as it turns out. Since we’re installing a ceiling fan and adding pin lights – the electrician suggested placing one of the pin lights right in front of the console, so a desk lamp on the media console will be overkill for such a small room
  • door stop for BLP’s cabinet door
  • decorate that wall behind the TV
  • replace the TV!

ZONE 4 : Corner Bookshelves

  • add greenery!
  • replenish my “tool box”

It would be great if I could either repaint or even replace those corner bookshelves someday, and get a new media console/TV cabinet (or at least have someone else refinish the shoddy work) – but these things are just nice to haves, definitely not priorities.

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.

LANAI-PLAYROOM: Winding Down for Phase 1

*Get Real Renovations

Last weekend, I had some workers patch up the holes left from the curtain rods. They also scraped off the electrical casing from the old speakers. Since I had them do some other work around the house, we didn’t get to finish retouching the paint.

It’s a lousy dark phone picture but I didn’t want to filter because I always use my home photos for my future reference, so it has to be as real as possible. It’s a bit hard to take photos in this room because it’s flooded with light.

The guy from the glass and metal company also came last Friday, and happily, I was finally able to resolve some burning questions (haha, ang OA) about my lanai windows. I mean, I seriously agonized about what to do with them at night. The guy was really helpful, and now I know I’ll keep them – size wise. He presented me with options I otherwise would not have considered (like a pergola), and I am glad to have other choices for filtering the intense morning and noonday sun that streams in here. He actually advised me not to cut down the windows too much, because old houses like these still use those apparently heavy expensive steel casings they allegedly don’t use nowadays anymore. Hey, if I can minimize costs and work with what we have instead of a major overhaul, why not!

So I’ve decided to keep the width of the casements facing our mango tree. Since our tree is massive, it provides a nice shade over there – the windows won’t be a problem. As for the side facing our (now little) courtyard, if we build a pergola, I’m keeping the width. If we don’t, I’ll trim down that side or install sunscreen blinds.

This also finally helped me resolve my window treatment conundrum. I always seem to be struggling with window treatments and cooling systems. I can now get new curtain rods for the windows facing the mango tree. If we get a window type A/C unit, I’ll have it placed midway along the wall, right below the windows, by the side of the couch. If we get a split type above the windows, I can easily just lower the curtain rods again.

I know aircon units have to be placed high to maximize air flow and efficiency, but I’m inclined to get a window type A/C unit because cleaning and maintenance-wise, it’s cheaper to have window types cleaned. The split and window types I checked out cost the same upfront – but maintenance costs are higher for split types, and I always get our A/C units cleaned several times a year. I’m more inclined to have the outdoor unit of the aircon on the mango tree side – facing the garage and the street, actually, but I anticipate we’ll be hanging out in the little courtyard more and I may not want the bulky A/C outdoor unit over there.

My problem is that the curtain rod brand I like doesn’t carry the longest model in our local Wilcon. Which means I have to trek to their other branches if I want to get the new rods in time for when my worker comes back this weekend. I’ve been limiting outings recently despite the puttering at home, so will see if physically I can push myself to look for them. (Winding down our 6th month of pregnancy!).

I also had the workers install this hanging plant bracket. Isn’t it cute? It’s very heavy actually. My youngest son just loves it and likes to run in and point to the “wabbit! Wabbit!”.

We’re going to have the interior patio doors repaired instead of replaced. When we do the major renovations for this room (meaning, actually trim down the windows, redo the floors, cornices, baseboards, etc.) I’ll have the interior doors removed entirely and depending on what the function of the room will be in the end, leave an open doorway or replace the sliding doors with wooden double french doors.

For now, though I wasn’t able to take a shot, I had one of the workers install a curtain rod right inside the frame so I can hang curtains across the fixed glass panes of the sliding doors. I really find the brown glass too dark and depressing.

Curtains and a valance across the top because there’s still a part of the old frame showing through behind the rod they installed. I’ll share that in another post.

So, that’s check, check, check on our to-do list for this space. New curtains basically, and if I can manage it before the weekend, new rods, but I’m not obsessed with the latter. Whatever’s left is just frills (“palabok!”) – like more plants, stools, a new floor fan, and a gallery wall behind the TV.

LANAI-PLAYROOM: An Update at Long Last

*Get Real Renovations

Oh my oh my. Almost 8 months since I last updated this blog. And while we have constantly been working on the house since my last post (in July 2018!), blogging about it completely fell to the wayside. It’s actually so ironic, because we pursued some major renovations last year and you’d think I’d blog about each and every step of the way. But nooooo. Maybe because we outsourced the work, and there was too much to keep track of with our contractor? Maybe because we had so many problems and issues with our contractor?! Or maybe because I just enjoyed keeping an online journal when we were DIYing most of the work at home? Or that, aside from renovations, life happened? I’m not sure, but I only just got the itch recently, and only just this past month realized I missed writing and keeping my digital log, so here I am again.

Anyway. Last year we undertook two major projects at home – renovating our master bedroom, and building a utility area out back. The master bedroom renovation sounds simple, but it oddly took MONTHS. I know I’ll have to write about it at one point, but going back is exhausting because it reminds me of the stress we went through with our contractor. Can I just say for now, we opened up our ante room, tore down and rebuilt walls, closets, redid our wooden floors, added moldings and baseboards, and basically redid our entire master bedroom? Looking back at my posts, I did report on the journey somewhat – at this late stage, unfortunately I’d never be able to recapture the little triumphs – sad, because I have a lousy memory and would probably want to remember (and no, not sad for my readers, because hahahaha let’s be realistic, I don’t even have readers, and isn’t writing this digital log so quietly in this teeny unknown corner of the web precisely why it appeals to me?).

The other major project was that we built a utility area out back. This includes a utility kitchen (or a “dirty kitchen” as we Pinoys go), a bathroom, 2 bedrooms, a kennel, eating area, etc. for our househelp. The stress there was double the master bedroom renovations – costs, subpar materials, build issues with our contractor, more money spent on paying other people to redo the work. Hay. Plus, what is left of our once green garden is now a pile of dirt and rocks. That wasn’t the contractor’s fault, and it was inevitable during the renovations, but it still makes me sad every time I look out the window.

Nevertheless, renovation woes aside, I have to say I’m still so glad and grateful we got to do those big projects for 2018. Those are 2 vital areas in our lives – we and the kids spend a LOT of time in our bedroom, and we obviously needed to do something about our helpers’ living quarters. Both areas are important cogs in our day-to-day lives, making everything smoother, more pleasant, and happier, and I am super grateful to God for the provisions that allowed us to tackle those bits last year.

This year I’m kind of on a limbo. I’m not sure if we will end up renovating more of this house, or if we will end up moving. The point is we need to to fit 4 kids – yes, we are with bun in oven, and the clock is ticking. This is a little house to begin with, so if we do not move, we have to brace ourselves for more major renovations down the line. Plus, I’m nesting big time. You know how that goes. While we pray and wait on God to direct us on what to do, I’ve been working on learning to love the home we have now – to make it a peaceful, organized, and safe haven for my family, but at the same time without spending too much, or biting off more than I should be chewing, in case we do move or we do renovate entirely.

The project I tackled first was our lanai-playroom. I started working on this space April 2017, I think, and the last time I updated it and wrote about it was in OCTOBER 2017, by golly. I still have a crib in that post! How things have changed (and now there’s a new baby coming).

Here’s how our lanai-playroom is looking right now:

Belly basket from The Nifty Decorator; our old puzzle mat from Skip Hop, available in Mothercare

Between October 2017 and this month (before I tackled it again), the only updates to this space were the following: I stained the cabinets and added cabinet pulls last November 2018; we bought a (lousy!) floor fan cooler thingy from Dowell because I still feel iffy about putting air conditioning in a lanai (FYI, that fan is sooo bad); and we moved the kids’ art table inside. I don’t know if I mentioned it here, but it’s an old antique table I really love – we chopped off the legs to turn it into a kid table. It’s so heavy 2 grown men have to lift it, so it’s perfect for the kids because it doesn’t budge, they climb on it, jump from it, whatever. I also didn’t mind the table getting beaten up because it adds to the character.

In the photo above, the only really recent additions are the tree in the corner and the planter, and the metal baskets. Everything else I used to have or have been repurposed (like the wooden bin – now for the boys’ Nerf guns).

Tin can from Lazada; vase from Crescent Moon; black verses planter from Plant Parenthood; little white crate from Vintage Accent PH over in IG

On these shelves are some goodies I purchased online and from Crescent Moon. All storage, except for the black plant pot. I also didn’t buy them originally for the lanai, but am now happy to use them here. I’ve had those 3 baskets since forever, and just added labels (tags from Common Room). I’m not going to go into the whole “how we organize our playroom” thing here, and will maybe do that in another post.

Also, from this room, I guess it’s apparent to me that my style has shifted. I’m sick of scandi. I mean, I love seeing it online and still use or copy some of the elements, but I can’t find myself getting excited about that icy cool and “pure” scandi interiors – I’ve liked farmhouse/rustic style in the past months. Except I can’t do the whole layered look. It’s not even modern farmhouse, our style, and I do love boho homes and mid century furniture still. So maybe my style has evolved into a little bit of everything? One thing is for sure, I still like things to look minimal and clean overall.

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The other end of the lanai-playroom. Pillow sham from another of my favorite IG home decor sellers – The Nifty Decorator

Aaaand since we’re back, I can’t possibly do an update post without a list, because what would be the point of blogging again if not for the joy of checking items off my digital list, right? Teehee. Our toy rotation and packing away system has been in place for months now, so most of the things I had to do here was to make things nicer and more efficient for the kids. (And less of an eye sore for me, because I see this room every time I sit down for a meal!). As usual, I started off with a bunch of to-buy and to-do items and, as I went along, discovered I didn’t need or want some of the things I listed down.

LANAI-PLAYROOM: To Do List

  • raise the existing curtain rods02.19.19 my driver did this for me. Did wonders for the room, and it was so simple.
  • install:
    • hooks for Nerf gunsI thought JLP would want some of his favorite guns hanging from the wall beyond his little brothers’ reach, but he was satisfied with the bin. He keeps some guns in a box in his own cabinet, and another one in his metal tray. So no need for this.
    • locks for JLP and JAP’s cabinets02.23.19 I installed antique brass bolt locks from Handyman. It doesn’t lock completely but is still a deterrent for BLP, the youngest brother – as requested by the kuyas.
    • hook for JAP’s Nerf bullets (get a bucket)too many bullets. Only a huge bucket would fit those, and I was supposed to hang them from the side of the bookcase. Right now they’re in a basket on the top shelf – as requested by JAP. I asked if he still wanted a bucket. He said he was happy with the basket. I said, but didn’t he have a hard time reaching it? And he demonstrated how he’d use one of our Gonges as a step stool. He prefers them on the top shelf – again, away from BLP the youngest. Problem solved.
  • attach:
    • names on the toy cabinets02.21.19 Dang, I bought those Papemelroti letters last year and only finally got around to gluing them to the cabinet doors this year.
    • “Nerf” for the Nerf bin02.26.19 Had to buy the letters for these (Papemelroti), but now done and done, too.
  • bring down:
    • JLP’s log cabin02.20.19 Haha, I just had to include this because it’s been on my mental checklist (“what to bring downstairs”) but keep forgetting.
    • BLP’s mechanical bird (fix the damn thing)02.23.19 done! Another mundane task that has been on my to-do list since forever.
  • throw away JLP’s diorama, with his permission02.20.19 he said he wasn’t attached to it.
  • fix the formica laminates on the console02.23-26.19 finally done. Ugh this took forever because I only had 1 large binder clip that I needed to clamp the contact cement down. And I’ve run to the store to get stuff for this little project ha – you’d think I’d remember to buy binder clips! (They do not have clamps in Wilcon. Grrr).
  • upcycle that book crate
    • stain and seal, and attach casters and the “Books” plate I made last year02.23.-26.19 took time, too, because of all that drying time in between staining and sealing it. Plus the casters were the dickens to attach for noob DIYers like myself. Ack. Oh, and attaching those names and “Books” plate etc. was also unreasonably delayed because I couldn’t find my wood glue at home! Sus!
  • cover holes left from curtain brackets after we raised themI have a guy coming in this Saturday to do all the masilya and paint touch ups.
  • stain additional brackets for curtainspostponing this. I have a glass and metal guy coming tomorrow to check those patio doors. I need to know if we’re replacing them, or cutting them down, or what not. And that of course will affect my window treatments.
  • make list of Ikea skinny bookcase that could fit the interior doorway, and measure doorway02.20.19 did this, but as to what we’ll do with the interior doors to the lanai will likewise be affected when my glass and metal guy comes in tomorrow. I also wasn’t sold on the bookcases. This was an option I decided not to pursue.
  • measure coffee table height and clearance for stools for the kids02.20.19
  • laminate the “Wooden Thomas Trucks” tag, and reattach to the designated basket02.21.19 and 02.26.19 again – those little things I finally got to do!

LANAI-PLAYROOM: To Buy List

  • hooks for the Nerf guns and Nerf bullets bucketno need; see above
  • bucket for Nerf bulletsno need; see above
  • 3 bins to fit that space above the cabinets in the console02.21.19 from my suki Anna Banana Rustics. These are old stocks, and I was scrolling and realized from her measurements that they were the perfect fit. So happy. I almost went with white Ikea plastic boxes there!
  • casters for book crate02.27.19 from Handyman
  • “NERF” letters from Papemelroti02.23.19
  • white stand fan02.20.19 from Panasonic; another affordable purchase I for some dumb reason kept postponing! I still have to figure out if I want to put air conditioning in the lanai. But it does get hot out there, so cooling systems and window treatments were made priorities (this time!).
  • white floor fanI read Vornados work best if the air is cool (and I really still love ours, and how they look). If it’s not, like in here where there’s no A/C, I figure a regular floor fan to replace our lousy Dowell fan.
  • 2 white stools for the coffee table (those temporary ones I got from Mimiso are really flimsy – the legs keep falling off!) – 02.22.19 placed my order with Metro Furne. Initially thought I’d get Ikea Mammut stools – too tall. I want something solid but modern-looking to offset the old fashioned heavy table. So going custom again for these.
  • 2 more curtain panelsstill need these, regardless of what we do with the exterior patio doors. You can tell from previous photos I am seriously lacking panels!
  • 2 support brackets for the curtain rodspostponed; see above

That’s it. All mostly aesthetic actually, but it sure helped to make the room look more finished. And all that accomplished in the past week or two, too. Clearly, I’m easing my way back into the whole home improvement process again, so I started with a pretty easy project.

Whatever’s left on my lists and future ideas for this space – like more plants, add more of the puzzle mat, a gallery wall behind the TV, replace the light switch plate – are all aesthetic too (except for the floor fan). We have everything we need to make the lanai-playroom functional. More importantly, the kids have enjoyed hanging out there more. I just need to deal with our lanai windows/patio doors conundrum. Then on to the next project.