I don’t know about you, but I was excited for the fall season this year, until the temperatures dropped to almost freezing. I dread going home, as we have yet to turn the heat up, which is one of the most costly of our utility bills in the winter. Household energy consumption, specifically heat, always goes up during the late-fall and winter seasons. Don’t let these hefty bills break the bank. Here are some tips to save on heat consumption this winter:
- Windows and Curtains – What is the most sustainable, free source of energy you can think of? The sun, of course! That said, you should open your curtains before you leave for work in the morning to let the maximum amount of light on throughout the day, which is a free way to add some heat to your home. When it turns dark, close them for added insulation. You should also check your windows for gaps or leaks which let the heat out, effectively lowering the temperature inside your house. This will also minimize condensation on your windows.
- Living Room Feng Shui – You might not have thought of this, but if your couch blocks the radiator, you’re essentially paying extra money to heat that piece of furniture instead of the whole room. Do a little feng shui, the Chinese practice of actively rearranging a room within your home. It will give the room a fresh look and feel, and you’ll be getting what you pay for in terms of paying more every month for heat.
- Review and Examine your Home’s Insulation – Before winter hits, you should examine the highest ceilings in your house for insulation. As heat physically rises, 25% of it escapes through the roof, so installing about 10 inches of insulation will drastically cut this down. Similarly, it may also behoove you to examine and install, if necessary, insulation in the exterior walls of your home, as heat can escape from there, too.
- Turn it down in there! – Just hear me out; The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends a minimum temperature of 70°F in the living room. So turn your thermostat down to 70°F or just below 70°F if that’s more comfortable for you. In England, turning the thermostat down to about 65°F showed an average savings of 10% in heating bills in 2014.
These are just some suggestions for how to save money on utilities this winter. Obviously, if you can’t realistically or comfortably rearrange your living room to expose the radiator hiding behind the couch, then don’t attempt to do so. We recommend researching other methods to save on heat. Stay warm this winter, and every winter, friends!
How many times has this happened to you? You’ve just come home from a long day at work and you decide to watch some TV to relax and unwind. Then, the setting sun gradually and prolongedly shines its bright ray of light into your living room, either blinding you or creating a stubborn glare across your television screen, both of which interrupt your shows. Everyone experiences this nuisance daily, and I know just how annoying it is to get up and close the blinds. There has to be an easier way!
Hunter Douglas has devised the perfect solution with motorized blinds. The icing on the cake is that PowerView Motorization won the 2016 Red Dot Design Award. And what’s better is there’s an app for that:
- Inside the App – With PowerView Motorization by Hunter Douglas, you can control the height of your blinds via the PowerView app, available for download on iOS and Android devices. Through the app, you can adjust your blinds on your time, or you can configure your blinds to raise and lower themselves with the rising and setting of the sun using the Automations feature. With the Scenes function, you can set your preferred height of the blinds and they will automatically adjust throughout the day.
If you’re more old fashioned, there’s also a contemporary remote control option, cleverly named the Pebble due to its ergonomic shape. You can customize the height of up to six blinds installations to fit your preferences.
- All of this is made possible with the PowerView Hub, which connects to your WiFi network. It coordinates all your preferences for the motorized blinds as well as storing your settings.
- Behind the Screens – Many of the PowerView motorized blinds are battery-powered, with the battery hidden in the headrail. For this reason, the blinds are easy to maintain and operate, and maintenance is a breeze. Because the battery component is safely tucked away, everyone can admire the beauty and enjoy ease-of-use of your new blinds.
If you’re looking for a modern alternative to corded blinds, PowerView Motorization by Hunter Douglas may be the right solution for you. We at Barrows Custom Window Treatments have had the fortune of being certified as motorization experts by Hunter Douglas.
Feel free to contact us by telephone: 617-964-4580, or by email: email@example.com for all your window treatment needs, concerns, or questions.
Summer is the perfect time to add this delightful color.
What exactly is the color aqua? It’s hard to define because aqua is a combination of blue and green and maybe a little gray or beige. The amounts of each hue can vary, and that’s why aqua comes in so many different – and beautiful – shades, from the softest pale to quite bold. And that’s why there are so many names for aqua, including aquamarine, teal, sea glass, cyan, turquoise and more.
When you add aqua to your decorating mix, the feeling you achieve depends on the shade of aqua you select and the colors that you choose to go with it. Aqua can be casual or formal depending on the other finishes and colors in your rooms. For a beachy vibe, add items you’ve collected at the seashore such as driftwood, shells and natural grasses. For a more formal look, use aqua as you would any other accent color, with the formal, modern or eclectic accessories you like best.
The color and design possibilities are varied for beautiful aqua accents:
- Combine aqua with soft sand-colored fabric and paint, and add whitewashed
- Pair aqua with soft brown and tan, then add rustic woods and sea glass.
- finishes and seashells.
- Put aqua together with crisp black and white – or softer chocolate brown and white or tailored dark charcoal and white.
- Team aqua with sage green for a fern garden feel.
- Mingle aqua with bright tomato red for a lively and energized atmosphere.
The unexpected circular shapes will energize your design style.
Don’t be a square – or even a rectangle! Rooms that have only sharp edges and straight lines can create a feeling of too much order and lead to a sense of discomfort or inflexibility. Add just a few round elements as an accent to soften and relax a room.
You can be creative in your definition of “round” to include more than perfect circles. Include ovals, egg-shapes, ellipses, arches, curls, cylinders, rings and more. The idea is just that you add a few rounded shapes, in addition to the straight lines and square corners that are everywhere in your home.
Even in the feng shui concept of interior design, round shapes are important. Feng shui is about balancing five elements, one of which is metal. The metal element is expressed as a round shape in decor; and round design elements are believed to bring clarity, precision, freshness and equality into a room.
The possibilities for adding round shapes to your home environment are almost unlimited:
- Round pillows
- Curved patterns in wallpaper or upholstery fabric
- Cylindrical, round or oval accessories – such as vases, bowls and urns
- Disk-shaped tables – including dining tables, end tables and coffee tables
- Round light fixtures or lamps
- A circular sofa sectional
- Elliptical or round mirrors or artwork
- Spiral staircases
- And if you’re remodeling, round windows and arch top doorways or windows – or you can change the shape of a room to have a rounded window bay.
- Circular or oval rugs
Think outside the box. Round out your interior design with some circular shapes!
Decorate in this classic mode for long-lasting beauty, value and comfort.
Traditional is not so much a style as it is an attitude – a feeling of classic ease and grace, the design equivalent of comfort food! It just makes us feel good!
- Traditional can borrow from French provincial, English regency or American colonial – and it’s okay to mix the styles.
- Colors can be feminine, floral and pastel with whitewashed wood finishes or can include deep jewel tones with ornate, dark wood furniture.
- Upholstered furniture and fabric window fashions can include tassels, trim, fringe and frill or can be tailored and clean.
Traditional often has symmetrical furniture placement, but not always. And what’s so fortunate today is that a traditional look can be combined with 21st century conveniences, such as good lighting, easy-to-clean finishes and slip-proof floors. Even such modern rooms as kitchens and baths can look beautiful with a traditional touch. Traditional finishes include:
- Burnished hardwood floors with plush oriental rugs
- Elegant marble floors and countertops
- Beautifully detailed wood bookshelves
- Brass lamps, urns and statuary
- Oil paintings of outdoor landscapes
- Crystal chandeliers
- Silver candlesticks and vases
- Luxurious fabric window treatments with all the frills
- Distressed gold and bronze frames on mirrors and paintings
- Velvet, brocade and tapestry fabrics or, for a lighter touch, linen, cotton and wool
Looking for a comfortable, sophisticated design that never goes out of style, yet is totally up-to date? Think traditional for your home environment.
Considering my last blog spoke about Spring being just around the corner….I may have been wrong given that we all had a bit of snow yesterday! It has been a long winter and I for one am so looking forward to sunshine and warm weather.
Springtime and summertime sun shining through our windows definitely warms our spirits but also warms our homes. As outside temperatures rise remember that the . sunshine streaming through windows or skylights can also be damaging to your furnishings, rugs and floors. There are so many great products today to cut the damaging UV rays as well as helping to cut the heat from the sun. If you are looking to maintain your view to the outside sunscreen shading systems may be the perfect solution for you. There are many textures, prints and colors available through a variety of fabricators and numerous lifting systems available. Most fabrics are available in widths up to 110 inches wide or can be railroaded for even larger widths. Honeycomb shades remain the constant front runner in keeping both heat and cold out. The variety is vast with a color and texture sure to fit any style or décor. Start exploring the possibilities now and be ready for the sun!
Ever have one of those days where the sun peaks in through your windows before your alarm even goes off and you just want to pull the covers up over your head and get even just a treasured few extra minutes of sleep?
It’s not often that we are afforded the luxury of sleeping late with our hectic lives but for those days here are some helpful hints on what is available to help block out the light.
Achieving light blockage similar to what most hotels have created usually requires using more than just one treatment. Every person has different needs and levels of comfort when it comes to darkening a room. Primarily bedrooms are the rooms most often consumers are most concerned with along with home theater rooms.
Light dimming products will provide light diffusion but not darkening. Opaque or room darkening treatments such as the Hunter Douglas Duette or fabric roman shades with opaque lining are great choices for darkening. Shutters and blinds offer dimming and the ability to diffuse the light by tilting of the louvers. We always remind our customers to keep in mind with any room dimming, darkening or opaque treatment there will always be some areas of “light leaks”. This is where product layering comes into play. By adding fabric side panels or traversing draperies we can usually achieve great room darkening. Stationary panels will cover light leaks sneaking in on the sides but a traversing drapery with opaque lining mounted so that the fabric covers at least 6 inches over on each side and on the top will really make a difference.
If you really want to take it to the next level consider motorizing the treatments. The cost of motorization has come down significantly from a few years ago. There are so many motorization options to explore…….but that’s another blog subject. 🙂
This year in particular I do not know of anyone who can not wait for spring to arrive. It has certainly been a very long hard winter. Thinking of spring brings back some great memories from my childhood. As soon as spring arrived my grandmother would put me to work in our home. Spring cleaning time as she and so many others called it. I clearly remember her taking down ALL of the curtains in the house to be laundered. How I loved the fresh clean smell while helping her hang them.
Well not many of us have washable curtains any longer, I know I don’t. I’ve decided though to order some really bright happy fabric and make a fabric roman shade for a little window I have in my laundry room. It will certainly bring a smile to my face and remind me that spring is just around the corner!