Friday, December 2, 2011

Magnets,, sort of

Magnets, sort of....
I spoke at a Reskilling Workshop for  Shuswap in Transition recently, presenting information about insulated window coverings and I learned something new, Read on... As a reminder: an uncovered new window may have an R-value of about 3; whereas the wall will probably have an R-value of 20. Correctly constructed and hung window treatments can have an R-value of 16 or more. 
The effectiveness of insulating Roman blinds  is increased if they hang close to the window frame. Attaching them to the frame is best. I have seen mini-shutters on piano hinges clamp the blind to the frame. I have used magnetic strips stuck to the wall, with magnets sewn into the side of the blinds. And now there is magnetic primer!!  I’m not making this up. I bought some to test. The can says 2 or 3 layers, I used 6 before the 1/2-inch rare-earth magnets stuck, But stick they did. So, paint the window frame, or the wall, with the magnetic primer and cover it with latex paint. Sew magnets into the side edges of the blinds, or drape, and that’s that
Thanks to Laura at Shuswap in Transition for the heads up about this product. Check my website, newspaper columns archive,  for places to buy. 
Changing directions... I was in New Orleans the year before Katrina. As I walked along Bourbon street that first night, I was surprised to hear Rock, Blues, and  Heavy Metal  music at almost every club and bar. Where was the ‘real’ New Orleans music? Down the street a large crowd spilled over the sidewalk, the narrow ground-to-roof shutters thrown  open, the crowd 10 to 12 people deep, laughing, twirling and dancing to the Dixieland music exhaling from the shoulder-to-shoulder closet that was masquerading as a bar. I elbowed my way to  a peek through one shutter, the only band member I could see was a lil old lady, pink hair, just ripping up the keyboards. This was New Orleans, this was the real deal.  Last Thursday at the Art Gallery Jazz night, Sandy Cameron and his Dixieland All-Stars  brought Bourbon Street to Salmon Arm. They painted the picture and had the crowd clapping, tapping and laughing from the first note. It was a very special night; the music came from the stars and I was back in New Orleans, dancing on Bourbon Street,  for just awhile. 

Things That Should Not be Trendy.

Things That Should Not be Trendy.
The thing about trends is that they come and go. That is what makes them trends.  In the home decor world, trends are fine for pillows, cushions, area rugs, accent lamps and the odd bit of artwork but for major components in a home, watch out.  Here are a few things I believe should never be trendy. You will be stuck with them for a long time, and changing them will cost you a lot of money.
Leather sofa: No matter how much you love purple, it is, perhaps, not a good color for a leather sofa. These sofas can last a long time; if it is a quality sofa, you may have it for fifteen or more years. During that time it will dictate the color scheme of the room.  Unless you are absolutely positive you will never want to change that color scheme, stick to a neutral color. 
Drapes in the living room: These can be as pricey as a new sofa.  Same guidelines apply here. Unless you are sure you will want big grommets and striped fabric, for example, for a very long time, buy a classic drape made of exceptional fabric and dress it up with side panels of the striped fabric.
Back-splash: As much as you may love the apple-green glass accent tile of the back-splash, it will age and date your kitchen. We all loved the peach and blue of the early nineties; now it just looks old and tired, no matter what the condition.  Better to be neutral, and use the trendy colors as accents in the accessories or chair covers. Same applies in the bathroom. 
A friend asked me to help him and his wife pick a carpet color for their house; they wanted the same carpet throughout.  I declined -- I have a rule about working for friends-- but I wish I had made an exception on this one. They chose a bright emerald green plush carpet because she had seen it as a new ‘must have’ in an English decorating magazine.  Enough said. When they sold their house a few years later, they had to first replace the carpet.   A good berber with accent rugs would have made much more design, and fiscal, sense.
Remember the little black dress. You can totally change the look with accessories and it never goes out of style. 

Drywall picture hanger

This is what the drywall picture hangers look like.