Sunday, January 22, 2017

DIY Bed Curtain for Kids Sharing a Room

Our girls have shared a room for almost their whole lives.  At least since number 2 left our room!
There is a bit of a problem right now as the oldest can read, and we let her after she goes to bed.  The younger does not yet read and claims the light makes it 'too hard' to sleep.  We tried having them in separate rooms, but that hasn't worked.  There is also a sleeping mask, but doesn't quite do the trick.

My suggestion of putting up a curtain was met with a big thumbs up.  I tried to figure out some way to put up a curtain.  First, we didn't want to make too big of a commitment because who knows if a curtain will solve the current problem.  Undoubtedly, the kids will at some time pull too hard and down will come down the fabric.  So attaching it to the wall or the ceiling would not be ideal.

First, I tried to get an inexpensive canopy bed to hang the curtain.

But I ended up getting scammed on gumtree.  Lesson learned:  07519379638 is a scam number, is a scam email and Paypal account.  Also, don't pay for anything by gift on Paypal!

Already out £60, and speculative about the whole project to begin with, Niall did not want me to do anything expensive.  So I ended up taking apart the existing bed, buying some new timber, and using the timber to make poles on two ends of the bed.

There was a little luck, and John Lewis had a pair of blackout curtains, already sewn, that fit just right.  They were less than the blackout material!

I used a 22mm wooden dowel, which isn't quite strong enough to hold the weight of the material.  I'll probably end up buying a curtain rod with some finials drilled into the two posts down the line.  It looks a little homespun, but it fills a need.†

The curtain doesn't block out all the light, but reportedly it blocks out enough (from the lower placed reading lamp) to make sleep possible.

This one is happy with her new curtain, and says it can double as a performance stage.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

What We Wish We'd Done Differently

Guys, guess what?  Our extension has been done since May!  And we have loved having the extra space.  There are still a few bits and bobs around the house, but the next project is to try and pay down our mortgage.

Building Control came and gave the a-okay on the build.  (Meaning it was done to required standard.)  
There are so many things that we love about this house that has gone through multiple renovations.  It's such a great neighbourhood, a good layout for our family and for visitors.  I'm so happy we have such a comfortable roof over our head.

There are a few minor things that in hindsight I wish I would have done differently.  Not a huge change, but just in case.

1.  Euro Cylinder Locks

We didn't specify how the door locking mechanism should work for the French doors that were put in as part of the extension build, and the builders ordered key locks.  It means we always have to have a key to lock or unlock the door, and if we leave a key in the lock it can't be unlocked from outside.  I wished I would have requested a Euro Cylinder Knob lock.  (Knob on the inside, key open on the outside.)  It's not an expensive change, about £30 plus labor.  But I've tried twice to special order the replacement cylinders with no luck.

2.  Heat Detector in the Kitchen

Our smoke detector in the kitchen was too sensitive.   Make would go.  Turn on the would go. And it set all the other fire alarms (hard wired) off throughout the house.  We could not get them to turn off, even by turning off the mains power.  (The batteries!)  Then even without smoke they kept tripping during the extension build, to the point that we had to remove them all and go with battery only ones for a while.  After consulting with an electrician and a visit from the fire department, we switched to a heat detector in the kitchen.  It was about £30 to get one that would fit in with what was hard wired and now (knock on wood) the fire detectors remain silent.

3.  Plug in the kitchen

I don't really care, but Niall keeps talking about how we should have asked for a plug on this wall in the kitchen.  I think it's because we have to plug the vacuum in twice to clean the ground floor.  Oh, first world problems.

4.  Not Put Tiles in the Loft

We converted the loft according to every rule in the book.  We had the floor reinforced as required and then some.  And then we had the floor laid and put in tiles in the shower room.  (Well, a professional did it.)  But here's the thing.  That loft floor still moves a little.  And even with all that reinforcement, the tiles shift a little.   And a little often results in a big impact.  The grout has fallen through and a tile or two has become loose.

See?  Loose grout.  We can grout again, but it will be the same issue.  I am no fan of vinyl, but in this case I wish we would have gone with a more flexible solution.  Just a thought in case you're looking to convert a loft and are considering big tiles.

5.  Storm door lock

I searched high and low and ended up special ordering a lock to replace the 90 year old we removed from the storm doors when we first bought the house.  (It was rusted through and no longer functioned.)  But to lock the door, from the inside or out, you have to have a key.  A great big skeleton key that doesn't fit in a pocket so easily.  I would like the storm door locked at night for protection, but needing a key to open it in case of emergency (like a real fire, not just a smoke alarms going off because of toast) gives me the fear.

While the skeleton key looks pretty, it isn't practical.  I wish I would have gone with matching locks, just plain old Yale ones would do, for both the storm door and the front door.  Then the storm doors would lock when closed, not just when there's a skeleton key.  And the front door and storm door would have matching locks, so only one key required.

So, all in all, very minor things.  We have changed some, and will perhaps change more in the future. But all in all very grateful to have a place we call home and works for our family!