Tag Archives: french doors

The curtains that nearly weren’t




These curtains. They’ve been a long time a comin’.

So first the pictures, then the story…

0527_1153-(2) 0527_1232-(2) 0527_1241 0527_1244-(2) 0527_1249-(2) 0527_1255 0527_1257 0527_1259 Starting way back when I first eyed up this fabric, in… August 2012. Gulp!


Then we DIY’ed some curtain rods a year later. And they stayed bare for many more months, while I shopped around, and around, and around. Call me thrifty, call me cheapskate… but I didn’t want to spend over $1k on one pair of curtains. One summer passed by and I missed the special deals. Another summer came… and I juuuuust scraped in, with a few lessons learned along the way.


After hosting a few big brand curtain consultants who offered only scary quotes and less than helpful advice, I decided to trust my own judgement on the fabric and style I’d had plenty of time to mull over, and hunted down a smaller scale curtain maker.

They appeared professional, with a simple website, some good reviews, and plenty of helpful advice. Not to mention a 30% lower quote than the cheapest of the big names.

Things were looking rosy and I had high hopes of hanging some curtains before winter began. Deposit paid!

And then… a few weeks later I thought “hmmm, looks like autumn is arriving, I wonder how my curtains are going?”

My emails bounced back, phone numbers were disconnected and a getting desperate phone call to the fabric supplier came up with “oh, they closed their account with us about a year ago”.

I felt pretty scammed. I felt a little silly, and a whole lot disappointed. I felt annoyed and grumpy. I felt like I’d just lost a few hundred dollars.

Then I got mad and hunted down the guilty party. I found an alternative email address in the depths of a business listing website, and my firm but friendly email didn’t bounce back!

But who knew if it had been read…

Then a few days later, a reply! Woohoo! They’re alive! But all it said was the fabric had just been ordered. Not so promising but at least a response and a way of contact was formed.

Days passed before another reply to my “where are my cuuuurtains?!” and apparently there’s trouble in the small-scale curtain maker camp. So my hopes were low.

The next email got a little more threatening and I did feel bad about that but Autumn was well and truly settled in and I just wanted my curtains! Or my deposit back.

I didn’t get a reply to that one. But eventually I got an email to say “your curtains are ready, where shall we send them?”. What? Really? My hopes rose a little but the fingers were still well and truly crossed.

Until a week or so later and just as I was walking out the door one morning, a courier van pulls up with a big box?! Noooo… it can’t be?! I told the kids to stay in the car, and ran back in with my box, grabbed the scissors and opened it just enough to peek in. Hallelujah!!! We have curtains!

I half expected spiders or mice or something to jump out at me too, but no. I just got my curtains, as ordered and as lovely as I hoped! Relieved and a little bit wiser, but I took a few days longer than I would normally to pay the balance. Fair’s fair I say.

And now these are my favourite curtains to pull every night and morning, and we can enjoy dinner without the cold draught through the french doors. All is well!

Especially now I’ve adjusted the hooks and they hang just right. I snapped these photos below before I fixed them up so ignore their bunching at the bottom, and just admire how they look from the living room (I forgot to get more photos from this angle after I’d adjusted them).


0527_1142 (2)

The fabric is Pegasus EMI Imperial, in Duck Egg. My fave!

And the curtain rings come in packs of 10 – Nusa, in pewter (but I sprayed them the same colour as I sprayed the rods) by Windoware, from Bunnings.

I’m not naming the curtain maker because I believe they are/were genuinely in trouble and did their best (the curtains are well made and their advice in the beginning while we sorted the details was appreciated) but in future I will make sure to have a physical address for contact because phone numbers, email addresses and websites can disappear in an instant!


A deck for summer

As promised, I’m back with a few progress shots of our backyard. I’ve been a little slow to post an update, not just because weather made things a little less photogenic for a while, but because we’re at that awkward, inbetween stage of A to B where things just get confusing if you don’t have a clear view of the B in mind!

So put your visionary goggles on for this one!

A couple of months ago this is how things were looking out the back.


This is the same(ish) view now!


We have ourselves a deck to dine on, play on, sun ourselves on, and stargaze on! It feels so, so good to be at this point, and I’m so grateful for our warm and summery weather of the last few weeks (I’m doing my best to forget those two days of incessant rain!).



Our custom balustrade is completed and installed and I am so happy with it! We took a popular midcentury design and modified it to meet modern safety requirements. I was worried the V shape would be so narrow it would barely even give a nod to its predecessor, but I do feel like we got away with it! Phew! One thing I’m not entirely happy about is the colour, but I’m reserving judgement until we firm up some plans for a frame (see below!).

1211_8725A few temporary measures have been taken to ensure child safety, and enjoyment of this space, until we move onto the next stage of progress which we’ll get to after a few weeks of Christmas and holiday fun. The handrail down the stairs, along with the plastic netting on attached to the full height screen are not part of the vision! The handrail will be replaced with a brick wall/handrail, and here is a little preview of our vision for the screen:


We are also weighing up our options for a “steel frame” to make this outdoor space feel a little more like a room, than just an open deck.

It may or may not include rafters across the top, for some extra potential in hanging furniture or decor! You can see below my vision for planting too… a jasmine hedge is underway in the narrow garden space behind the screen but it may take some time to fill in like this! Also, we have a few little marigolds in the planter box at the moment, but plan to replace them with some kind of climbing/overhanging vine to add a little privacy and interest to that side of the deck.


If you scroll right back up to the top, you can see that things are all rather brown and grey at the moment, so I’m grateful for the little bits of greenery that we have, and couldn’t resist these close ups of the plum tree, and concrete planters, and a sneaky nasturtium peeking through the neighbours fence.




Here’s to a relaxing holiday season, and lots of enthusiasm to finish this space off in 2014!

Drawing the curtains

With the evenings getting cooler my nightly blind pulling run around is now well before dinnertime and I definitely notice the lack of window furnishings at the french doors off the dining space. Cold shoulders at the dinner table are nothing to do with family relations.

Yesterday involved a visit to Bunnings with all the family in tow. Not ideal for browsing the curtain selection (we did come away with a rug for the play area in the lounge, but alas it just looked too small in the space and is waiting for me to return it… sad) but as you can probably imagine the selection is not great and I managed to rule it out completely in less than 30 seconds. It helped a lot that they had every single option hanging up for a good view.

What I did learn in that short moment of time though, was that while I know what I don’t want, I have no idea what I do want in curtains at the french doors. So as I did with the paint scenario I turned to Photoshop to help me visualise some options.

I love the range of curtains at Anthropologie so I grabbed some of theirs (although they don’t ship to NZ and the price puts them a bit out of my league – a girl can dream!) to hang at my virtual windows.

Straight away I spotted these knobs/finials on the curtain rod:

I quite like them… but as that is something that can be changed out or added to a standard rod I’ll think about that a bit later. One decision at a time!

Here’s the current unfurnished (and unpainted you might notice… hmmm) french doors which lead out to the deck:

As well as retaining heat (or providing some shade when the hot sun streams in in the early afternoon) the curtains will very much be a focal point of the room.

You might remember the splashback in the kitchen, in duck egg blue, and you’ll see that there are also touches of yellow – a yellow painted pendant light (oops!) and vases/flowers on the kitchen bench. I also plan to add some artwork in both these colours sometime soon. So, with that in mind we have a colour scheme of white, wood tones, concrete/stainless greys, and feature colours of duck egg blue and yellow.

To throw something out to start with, I tried white curtains (with the idea that once we develop the back yard, the view will be prettier than the curtains):

Hmmm, definitely not startling, which is either good or bad. Verdict: could be better!

You might also notice the curtain rod I’ve added into these pictures – above it’s in stainless, others it’s white. Take note, and let me know your preference, although it will depend a little on the curtains we go with too.

To follow the colour blocking trend here’s some solid yellow, and duck egg options:

Hmm, not my favourite although the duck egg blue version could grow on me if I stare at it a bit longer. Note that these are just visualisations, and I spent less than two minutes to create each one, so things like lighting are way out, and there’s no shadowing or anything to give them a little more reality. It might help if you squint!

This next one I really don’t like, but I’ll show you anyway – it’s a grey option to tone in with the floor and the stainless touches in the kitchen:

And now to some more interesting patterns:

Aaah, now we’re talking! I definitely like the patterned options best. I was a little worried about having a bold patterned curtain here when our lovely and vibrantly patterned rug is just a hop, skip and a jump away in the lounge, but if I try to find a complementary pattern I think we’ll be fine!

Let me know your favourite style/colour, and whether you think we should choose a white curtain rod so it blends in, or a stainless one to help frame the view.

Oh, and if you have any advice or recommendations on curtain purchasing, please feel free to pass it on. Thanks ever so much!

Note: If you’re going to advise that I make my own, you can keep it to yourself (that’s the polite version of what I said to Andre last night when he made such a suggestion).

Living the quiet life with a newborn

If you asked me last week if I was looking forward to some quiet time when our baby comes I would have looked at you sideways, actually make that upside-down.

But, that’s just what this week as been for our little family of four after the arrival of our little girl early in the week!

Here’s a wee peek at our precious poppet…as you know I don’t tend to put photos of my kids on here (when the time comes, they can carve their own little space on the internet and I don’t want to ruin it for them in the meantime) so take a good look at her!

We’ve been home for a couple of days, and while the sleepless nights are coming back to haunt us we are loving being home all together (although I am dreading Daddy going back to work and leaving me to go it alone as a mum of two).

While I’m just concentrating on feeding, sleeping and personal hygiene for all my family, Andre has been busy with odd jobs and toddler entertainment (which conveniently enough can often be combined when you have a boy who loves pottering around with tools).

Here’s the current job list (as written up on this project of ol’ times):

And a few things that have already come off the list (bring on the long weekend and let’s get them all off!)…

Sanding, sweeping, varnishing, repeat… again… and again… and again… Poor Andre is so over the floor in the new bedroom but it’s very nearly there and I love it despite it’s patchiness (see here for just how much it means to me!):

I find it very encouraging to look back to see just how far this room has come.

Five months ago we came home from Sydney to this:

Then three months ago we cosied up this space for our little ones:

And two months ago we had it lined, plastered and spent every day sanding and vacuuming:

Next on the to do list for this room is to replace the door with the extra sidelight that came off our french doors way back when we shifted them from here:

To here (it’s a bit hard to see but above there are the doors, folded open, and sidelights on both sides, but below we removed one of the sidelights when we shifted them to replace the ranchslider, which left us with a spare):

Then we need to add trim and do a whole lot of painting. Then comes the fun part of decorating (that’s where I get to make up for lost time and create a nursery for my kids which will make up for them both beginning life in a barely personalised corner of our bedroom) and the long awaited move in! I’m currently on the hunt for a largeish, multicolour,  round rag rug – any suggestions?

We also took a trip back to get some more of these handles from the Timber Recycling Company on Archers Rd in Wairau Park, and in a fossick through some other bits and pieces we found a new latch for our bathroom door. The old one was a bit dodgy in that when you were inside the bathroom and slid the latch across, you thought you were well secure and could happily take your time, but I doubt any of our unsuspecting visitors ever figured out that you could still open the door because the hole in the door frame had come away on the outside.

So once Andre dealt with that false latch he installed this relic of old public toilets (I missed all opportunity for progress shots as I was ensconced with newborn and spill cloth on the sofa):

From the other side, as I’m sure you can imagine, it looks like this:

And the bit that took the longest was to make this catch for the door frame, which didn’t come with the bits we purchased. When we get around to painting the door frame, we’ll just paint over the hardware too, so in the meantime we’ll just have to live with the messiness of it.

Now that I’ve mentioned these blissful quiet days I may well have jinxed it and you won’t hear from me for some time! We’ll see…