Category Archives: Blinds

Deciding on the blinds

Side note: WE HAVE INTERNET AGAIN, HOOORAY!

If you’ve been following the blog you’ll know we’ve been umming and ahhing over blinds for a while now. We started the search early, knowing full well we would have to wait 8 weeks for them to be made.

One problem was that we couldn’t get the blind salespeople to come into the house to do a measure while it was still being constructed, which left us waiting until we moved in. Now that we’re in we’ve waited two weeks for the next available appointment.

Once we worked out that we wanted cellular blinds, it became a bit easier to narrow down choices. Cellular blinds offer great insulation, are easy to clean and don’t take up much room when they’re pulled all the way up.

cellular-blinds

This is how our decision process went:

1. Did they call back?  Often you need to book the measure and quote online or over the phone. Usually, we had to leave our contact details and they promised to get back to us. We gave them no more than 2 days to get back before scratching their names of the list. I requested an appointment with Sydney Blinds 2 weeks ago and have heard nothing. I doubt we ever will.

2. Was the quality ok?  We had a good play with the samples, cords and how they fixed to the window. Once you see a few you get a pretty good idea what you do and don’t like. If you don’t like the samples there’s not much point getting a quote. Some companies also offered us off cuts of other customer’s blinds so we could see “the real thing”.

3. Do they have colours that will work? We very nearly went with Blinds Online. They are very cheap and when I ordered the samples I was impressed by the quality. Plus, you can measure and install yourself (saving you quite a bit). The only reason we decided against it was that they didn’t have colours that we liked. 😦

4. Is the price right?  We had to balance quality with our budget. The top of the range blinds came in at a whopping $21 000. We ended up settling with a similar product from another company, coming in at $9 100. The difference is the price of two leather lounges!

One last thing that influenced our decision was that some companies are experiencing supply issues at the moment for their cellular blinds.

In the end we went with Kresta. We need 27 blinds and it came in at $9 100 for double cellular blinds throughout. We went with blockout (room darkening) blinds in all of the bedrooms and the media room, and light filtering everywhere else. The quote says we received a 45% discount- we think they’re on sale but we forgot to ask. They required a 50% deposit (ouch!) and will take between 6-8 weeks to arrive.

In the meantime we have been going with highly fashionable brown craft paper on the windows. This is a genius idea concocted by myself and mum over a morning cup of tea. We originally wanted pretty wrapping paper, but this time of year the only wrapping paper you can get in large rolls is Christmas paper, which was just a bit too much for me to handle. We were pretty pleased with ourselves when we found craft paper (choice of brown or white, we thought the brown was superior quality), $5 for 12 m rolls. Couple of packets of blu tack and we’re sorted. Obviously not a “trend setter” but definitely one of the cheaper options!

Absolutely essential at 5:30 am.

Absolutely essential at 5:30 am.

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Luxaflex

I requested two quotes for Luxaflex products from two different suppliers. One I’ve heard nothing from, the other I received yesterday from David Jones.

I asked for one of their products that I knew was on sale at the moment- the Duette Architella Menage throughout the whole house in a block out fabric. I also asked for the very fancy looking Vertiglide on the sliding doors.

Full price the whole thing is $32646.90. Yep. $32646.90.

!!!

But when you take off their 25% discount (on the blind price only- not the installation cost) it drops down to $24735.15.

Noteworthy mentions are:

  • $999.9 for the installation
  • $5137 for the vertiglide on the leisure room door
  • $5080.9 for the vertiglide on the dining room door

Needless to say, we will not be getting vertiglide anything.

In other news James chatted with the SS yesterday about the progress. The garage roof tiles should be finished this week, along with all the cladding. Next Monday the electrician will be doing the rough in and the plaster guys will be on site from Tuesday. We also should have floor tiles appearing in the next couple of weeks. I’ll be excited to see the inside start to transform. Hopefully we don’t get locked out.

 

Blind ambition

Yesterday we visited the house to stack up any bricks we want to keep. It didn’t take too long before we had around 540 bricks piled up at the back of the house. There is still most of a pallet out the front of the house as well. We’re thinking about asking the SS if he doesn’t mind us leaving it there at the front instead of moving it all the way to the back.

Apart from making a letterbox, which we guess will take between 100-150 bricks, we have absolutely no idea what we’re going to do with the remaining bricks. Some suggestions so far have been a brick BBQ, pizza oven and a raised garden bed.

While we were there we scoped out what had happened on Friday.

First thing we notice is that a bit of extra timber has been put in to form up where the plaster will go. This is the plumbing in the down stairs powder room. It’s actually the plumbing from the upstairs ensuite coming down through the ceiling. wpid-20140705_133903.jpgWe’re super annoyed that they didn’t run this through the joists in the powder room ceiling- instead they’ve just boxed it in and there will be this weird plaster box shape. When you pay for a certain house design you expect that allowances have been made for hiding the services. What they don’t tell you is that they will just whack the plumbing in wherever they feel like it and that you’ll still lose space in your linen, pantry and your wardrobes as well.

On a more positive note, they’ve installed some down pipes and begun painting them. Yes, the colour is different to the guttering. It was chosen to match the brick work rather than the guttering, but I don’t really know how much difference it really makes. They’ve also painted the eaves.

wpid-20140705_134533.jpgThey’ve also started to prepare for the cladding to be installed. The brickwork is being capped with more Colorbond which is forming channels for the cladding to sit up against. They’e also capped the top of the parapet, something we didn’t think they would do.

wpid-20140705_134714.jpgThe other thing they’ve been up to is the gutter guard. While we were up there looking at it we couldn’t help notice we’re the only ones we could see that had this kind of gutter guard and we wondered if it was worth the extra money to get it. After all, there aren’t any trees around because they’ve all been cut down to make way for houses!

Then I remembered that we have to plant 5 tall trees just in our small yard, plus the two on the council verge. Every other house has been asked to plant trees too. So while it might seem like a bit of an upfront cost we don’t fancy ever having to get up on top of our two storey house to clean out the gutters!

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Over these last few weekends we’ve been looking at blinds. We know that when we move in there is going to be heaps to do. We don’t to add rushing around to blind stores to the list, so we’re starting early.

What we know about window coverings so far is this:

1. We don’t like vertical blinds. Firstly, what is with the damn weights and chains? Whose idea was it to create a perpetual tangle problem? Secondly, even on the ones that don’t have chains, there is an awful lot of flapping about, popping out of their track and they never seem to block the light out. They do look nice though, I’ll give them that.

2. Curtains are out of the question. We have all sizes of windows and two out of four walls in every bedroom has windows. I just don’t think it would work. Which is a shame, cause I do like curtains and they do block the light out well.

3. Don’t really like venetian blinds either. I think you need an IQ somewhat higher than mine to operate those things. Whenever I touch them they end up looking like this:

broken bling4. The trend at the moment is plantation shutters. In my opinion (apologies to all of you who have just put deposits on your shutters), they belong in places where they can be used instead of glass windows, not instead of curtains. I sort of get the appeal, they look great in show homes, but they do add another layer of bulk to windows and I like to be able to have a window that is completely unobstructed if I want. You know, so I can see out of it.

5. The possibilities are endless. I mean, why just limit yourself to one option? You can have plantation shutters and curtains if you like! Google it, it’s a thing.

So far we’ve physically visited three blind showrooms and virtually visited about 8 others. What we’ve learnt is that they all sell the same products and most of them sell it in the same fabrics as well. What they don’t do the same is pricing. If you send your house plans, window schedule and a list of what kind of blind you want where most places will happily send you a rough quote.

We’ve asked a bunch of places to quote for roller blinds. Double roller blinds with block out fabric and sheer fabric on every window and single rollers with block out fabric on the doors. There are 22 windows, one laundry door and two glass sliding doors.

The first quote we got back was with a 20% discount. It was around $8600.

wpid-20140627_173742.jpg

That was the look on our faces. We now use that look for every shopping experience related to window coverings. And we didn’t even like any of their fabrics.

Glass may be the cheapest building material, but when you factor in covering it in block out, sunscreen, thermal protection, self cleaning, light transitioning fabric you can do a double take.

The other quotes (no discount for these ones) have been around $10 000, $8300 and $7600. We’re quite amused by the variation in prices, especially seeing as many offer exactly the same product. I say SHOP AROUND. James thinks it might be a good strategy to email them all back with copies of each other’s quotes and tell them that the one that gets back to him with the cheapest price by 5 pm gets the deal. (Why has he been holding out with this stroke of genius?)

Because quality means something and Mum’s vertical blinds are still going strong even though we once took them all down and washed them in the bath, we’ve been searching for somewhere that sells Luxaflex. We finally found a carpet shop in Parramatta that has started stocking them. We could spot the difference in quality immediately and we’re going to get a quote even though they’re at the premium end of the blind market and we probably don’t have a facial expression for that level of expense. I’ll let you know how it goes.