Curtain Rail Solved

In recent posts, I have vaguely alluded to the fact that despite quite a lot of research into DIY bay window curtain poles,  our final installation of the new pole in our front living room was less than satisfactory.

In fact, to be perfectly honest, it was so frustrating to open and close the curtains that I couldn’t bring myself to do it on a daily basis and would just leave the curtains open, or leave Alex to the task. (He has significantly more patience than me!).

The main issue was that the passing hooks just frankly didn’t work. Its a nice idea in principle, but the hooks would constantly catch on the support brackets or the segmented corners, requiring significant jiggling and yanking to get the curtains to open and close.  We even tried different curtain hook positions to see if that would alleviate the issue by shifting the position of the passing hook gap, but to no avail.

It was time to take radical action. Life is just too short to be irritated by something that you do every day!

I spoke again to the professionals at John Lewis (who unfortunately recommended the DIY curtain poles in the first place) to arrange for someone to come and measure up for a custom made curtain pole without the segmented corners and less brackets. After speaking with the installer (who I think must be an independent body who is employed by John Lewis), I learnt that a ceiling hung Silent Gliss curtain track  was really the way to go.  He commented that the curtain pole systems are ‘entirely rubbish’ and he doesn’t know why John Lewis even stock them! I had resisted this approach initially as I felt it might look too contemporary for the room, but was at my wits end.

For what turned out to be only slightly more cost than the curtain pole system, John Lewis measured up our bay window, made a custom bent curtain track to fit perfectly and installed the system. We had to wait 3 weeks for an installation slot – but after just 1.5 hours the job was done.

And… now our curtains slide open and closed effortlessly and with ease and grace!

Well, lesson learned… and hopefully I can save you the trouble!

Now I just need to get the curtains re-hemmed, as being hung from the ceiling now, they are now too short!

P.S. The Silent Gliss track they installed for our heavy weight curtains was the Silent Gliss 1280 system.






Living Room Curtains – Another (longer than anticipated) side diversion

For three and a half years we have been ‘making do’ in our living room with our previous owner’s too short but delightfully Christmas themed red and gold ‘Winter Curtains‘, and their equally too short white and green pattered ‘Summer Curtains‘. (I think you’ve probably really ‘made it’ when you have both summer and winter curtains… see the ones our previous owner’s kindly left us here).

I have endured countless (friendly) sarcastic comments from my dearest friends, about the state of our curtains, so when the opportunity came to get a trade discount on some fabric, I decided it was time to address the matter head on.

But first a bit of the back story about why it has taken so long…

In the first few years of living here, I wavered back and forth on the idea of solid shutters.  (I’m sure I have mentioned how much I loved the built-in Georgian shutters in my old flat).  However,  after much research and finally some firm consultation with the shutter professionals at the amazingly named ‘Shutterly Fabulous‘ when we got our guest room shutters installed – I came to accept that retrofitted solid shutters just don’t really work in a bay window.  The issue is that unlike louvered plantation style shutters that stay closed all the time – you need to open and close solid shutters on a daily basis. (Regular daylight is generally quite a nice thing after all). Retrofitted shutters alas typically have no where to stack, and so although shutters for the two side windows can fold back neatly onto the adjacent wall (if there is enough space, in our case there wasn’t) – the central window pane shutters would need to stick out perpendicular to the wall when open – not exactly the look we were after.

The only other alternative that I have seen to overcome this frustrating issue is demonstrated in the cafe of the South London Gallery nearby. Instead of fixed hinged shutters, they have a series of solid panels that every day one manually slides onto little ‘shelves’ in front of each window. (They are stopped from falling from the top by a timber angle fixed to the top of the windows).  When I ran the idea by Alex he just laughed.  (I rely on him to bring me back to the practicality of daily living when I get these hair-brained ideas!) In fairness, the idea of in essence boarding up a window with 6 panels of wood every evening is ok if you are paying a waitress to do it at the end of her shift,  but not ideal if its your own house. That would get boring pretty quickly!

So, I parked the shutter idea, and kept my eyes open for curtains and bay window treatments wherever I went, keeping the problem rolling around in my subconscious.

Well,  I was at a friend’s home (with a bay window) for our book club dinner last December and lo and behold – a solution presented itself.  My friend had fantastic dark grey felt curtains that looked not only warm and cosy, but also very contemporary and stylish.  My bay window problem was solved.

But I was supposed to be in the middle of our master bedroom refurbishment! So I put the curtain solution on hold… for a little while.

In January, the opportunity arose to get a trade discount on some lovely grey wool felt from Kvadrat. I needed to act.  In a somewhat spontaneous decision, I ordered the same light grey fabric I got my Hay About a Lounge Chair upholstered in.   Generally I don’t like to be so matchy-matchy – but once I got the idea of light grey wool curtains into my head, nothing else seemed right. The light grey isn’t so overbearing, looks good with the dark blue walls, and if I ever change colour scheme, light grey goes with pretty much anything.

The fabric was ordered… but that is just the beginning of the story…



Radiator Valves

As a side diversion from pink plaster coloured wall photos, I thought I’d show you the radiator valves we ended up buying for our Victorian Radiators.

You may remember that 2 years ago we purchased some gunmetal grey non-thermostatic for our ground floor hallway radiators (refresh your memory here if you are really bored/ interested).   We opted for these ones because not only were they economical and aesthetically simple, but because we didn’t feel we would need to be adjusting the temperature on those radiators at all. As they were hallway radiators they would either be on, or off, as instructed by our Nest thermostat . It was generally always on the cold side in our single glazed Victorian terrace so we’d have only ever used them on ‘max’.  Having had the radiators installed now for 2 winters, we haven’t regretted our choice to forgo that finer level of temperature control. We have never felt the desire to turn the hallway radiators off completely either while the rest of the system is on (as we have done in the guest bedroom to save energy) as we always use the space.

In our master bedroom however, we like to sleep in slightly cooler temperatures than the rest of the house, so we did want to be able to turn them radiators down, or off.

So, having conveniently done the research previously, we splurged on the Bently radiator valves in black nickle. Two years on, the Cast Iron Radiator Centre, was still the best deal on the internet to get them from.



Plastering in Master Bedroom Complete!

After two days of work, the plastering in our master bedroom was complete. Luckily, (and I say ‘luckily’ because the weather over the weekend was a gorgeous sunny 23C), there wasn’t any progress we could make in the bedroom over the weekend as the plaster was still damp – so we could enjoy the warm weather instead.

I have planned most of our refurbishment projects over the winter months as it isn’t really too depressing to be stuck indoors working on DIY projects when it is grey, cold and rainy outside. Refurbishing a simple bedroom really shouldn’t take this long, but things slipped this year because of The Unexpected Chimney Re-build Diversion and having to spend more of my free time than anticipated sorting out the scaffold agreement with our neighbours at the bottom of our garden earlier this year.  (Now up, and not affecting our garden as much as expected, so that’s good news!)

In any case, things are coming together nicely now and once the walls have dried out completely we will paint and get the plumber in to adjust the radiator pipework so that our two salvaged Victorian radiators can be installed beneath the windows.  I have arranged for the plumber we used previously to come in this week to quote for the works, so with any luck we will be able to get him lined up to come in after the Easter weekend. 




New Door Location

Right. So after the slight diversion of a new chimney construction, lets get back to the phase at hand… our master bedroom.

Well – here it is – our new door and door knob in its brand new opening!

This must be one of my slowest renovation projects ever…. I can’t believe it was back in November that I decided on the doors and door knobs and it took until now to get around to having them installed.  Hey ho. Busy times!

P.S. I ended up finding a slightly more economical 4 panel shaker style FD30 fire rated door supplier here, in case you are looking for one!





Sunday Rainbow

Last Sunday afternoon we were treated to a perfect double rainbow in Camberwell. (The second rainbow is there, its just very faint!). With all the drama of our rear chimney repairs and re-building, I didn’t have time to sort out the photo I took and get it online. The magic of a rainbow isn’t quite the same in a photo, on a computer screen – but I hope you can still enjoy it.