Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

The great reveal or the demise of the cardboard curtain November 22, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 6:00 AM
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But I am delighted to announce that the cardboard “curtains” in the master bedroom were replaced this week by Bali room darkening pleated shades. Yes. Hallelujah.

For only two years, I’ve routinely covered the windows with cardboard rectangles each evening and then removed the coverings in the morning. No more. Hello, permanent shades drawn open and closed with cords.

New window installation in progress and the cardboard curtain. Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo 2011.

New window installation in progress and the cardboard curtain. Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo 2011.

Why did it take so long to purchase window treatments for the new windows installed in 2011? The answer would be cost and window size. The two windows are wide, but short. Although I’m not crazy about their shape, the design was really the best option for the master bedroom considering its street-side location along a street and sidewalk heavy with traffic.

Because of the light pollution that pours into the bedroom from a corner street light and from vehicle headlights and flashing lights of emergency vehicles, room darkening window treatments were a must.

Room darkening plus odd size necessitated special order window treatments, pushing the cost beyond budget.

Many times my husband and I have searched for workable options.

Once I even chatted with my quilter friend Doreen, who gave me great step-by-step instructions on how to create window coverings. I never followed up; I didn’t feel confident enough.

So it’s not like I’ve been sitting idle, content with cardboard.

Finally, I think my husband had had enough and so had I, frankly. The joke between us was that soon we’d need new cardboard curtains. Once or twice the cardboard rectangles even fell on my head in the middle of the night.

Yes, definitely time for a change.

On a recent stop at a Big Box retailer, we once again checked out the shades, settling on lovely bamboo Roman shades in our price range. But they needed to be custom ordered to size, plus room darkening liners and fabric edging added. With the extras, the cost for two shades edged over $500. Not gonna happen. I refuse to spend that absurd amount for two bedroom windows.

The new pleated shade in an oh-not-so-exciting photo.

The new pleated shade in an oh-not-so-exciting photo.

Back to square one. With the help of the in-store consultant, we eventually found room darkening pleated shades to custom-order for $142. That’s total cost for two, including all that tax. Sold.

Little kids are temporarily banned from our house while this cardboard wall is in place in my dining room. Lean against this wall, and you will tumble into the basement.

The cardboard wall in my dining room which covers the space where we removed a brick chimney three years ago. What should I so with this space? It’s not quite as wide as it appears because additional ductwork was installed in the opening.

Now on to the next project—filling the hole and replacing the cardboard wall in my dining room where, three years ago, we removed a brick chimney. But this project will be way more challenging and costly as I need a complete kitchen/dining room redo with new countertops, backsplash, cupboards, sink and flooring.

If only I could win a kitchen make-over. Yes, that’s it.

I welcome any and all ideas on how to fill the chimney space and how to redo my kitchen/dining area in an economical way. I could show you more photos…

© Copyright 2013 Audrey Kletscher Helbling


27 Responses to “The great reveal or the demise of the cardboard curtain”

  1. Ha! Perfect! I agree that finding window coverings is difficult. Those pleated ones help insulate in the winter, I know – we have them in 4 windows. So glad your cardboard days are over!

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      Oh, my cardboard days are not completely over. Remember that cardboard wall in my dining room. You’ve even seen it in person. So embarrassing when we have guests.

  2. Sweet Posy Dreams Says:

    Oh yay! Congrats on the new blinds. We’re kind of slow around here too. I’m currently repainting our family room for the first time in about 17 years. Yeah, it kinda needed it.

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      Oh, I think I can beat you on the paint time frame. Our dining room and kitchen have not been painted in more than 20-plus years. I have paint purchased, but figured no sense painting it before proceeding with some sort of update. Next spring, hopefully. Or maybe Santa (aka husband) will see the need to proceed earlier.

  3. jauge Says:

    Very funny.  Can relate.  Hung plastic sheeting over windows for 2-3 months.  Then, after frustration with type and cost of replacement window coverings, opted for Home Depot’s roller shades, the only place I could find them for our Anderson replacement windows.  So far, so good.  Hopefully they will last for 10-20 years. 

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      So affirming to hear that I am not the only one resorting to alternative window coverings while trying to find affordable ones that work. I considered roller shades, too, as we previously had those. But I had some issues with those.

  4. Oh the Joys of Home Ownership! Here’s to Winning a Kitchen Makeover – really like the Kitchen Cousins – not too bad to look at either – ha! 1 project down and lots more to go . . . Happy Weekend:)

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      Yes, I recently asked my husband, “What do people who don’t own homes do with their time?” No lawn to mow, windows to wash, snow to shovel, repairs to make, walls to paint…

      But our house is paid for and so no complaining here.

      I’m not familiar with Kitchen Cousins so googled them. No wonder. We only receive TV reception from a roof antenna, thus no cable programs.

      • I can say as a House Renter now – there is still plenty to do to maintain the home we rent or at least that is the approach we take. That must be a great feeling to have the house paid for.

      • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

        I suppose it depends on a landlord’s expectations and a renter’s interest as to how much work is involved in maintaining rental housing. It sounds like your landlord is very fortunate to have you as a renter.

        Yes, the house has been paid off for quite some time. We opted to pay more than our monthly mortgage payments and also refinanced to a shorter term and at a lower interest rate of 8.50 percent. Our original loan was at 10.75 percent over 30 years. And that was considered a reasonable interest rate when we took out our loan in 1984. Crazy, huh?

  5. Allan Says:

    I think you should use the old chimney space for a trophy shelf for all of your awards for writing! Or, a drop down ironing board, maybe a place to hide out in if unexpected company drops by. I think family candid photos of all the fun times you have had in your kitchen over the years would be good too.

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      Let me respond to your creative suggestions:

      1) No trophies in this house except those won by my second daughter at spelling bees. But thank you for thinking I should possess actual physical awards for my writing.
      2) I rarely iron. Now where would my iron be anyway?
      3) I enjoy company so I would not want to hide.
      4) Photo display space. Now that’s an idea that might work.

      Thanks, Allan!

  6. Hotly Spiced Says:

    That was an extremely affordable solution. I’m not sure what to do about the chimney space except perhaps you could hinge a door and put shelving inside as you can never have too much storage xx

  7. Thread crazy Says:

    Been there with the cardboard in windows and yes, love, love the pleated shades. Even here where temps are so warm in summer, the pleated shades do a wonderful job at keeping heat out. As far as space where cardboard still is…I’d do a built in cabinet; possibly put a couple of shelves for books, pics, whatever, with a countertop for message center, phone, pen and tablet, address book, etc.

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      Yes, I’m thinking either pantry or the built-in exactly as you describe it. I really could use a space for mail and office misc. Now to implement the idea.

      I have had a pleated cellular shade in my office for quite awhile and like it. Also have pleated shades in my dining room which have been there forever.

  8. treadlemusic Says:

    Those shades are PERFECT!!!! They are so much better/functional/durable than anything I could have designed!!! Such a price blessing, also!! And, now, the chimney…………well…..

  9. Build in a bookshelf in the chimney space.

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