A foray into roman shades

I have five days off of work and I’m taking advantage of the time to get some house projects done (in addition to bunny bonding!). My first project was to make roman shades for a large east-facing window in our stairwell that gets a ton of afternoon sun. The window is great because we have a cape cod style house where that side of the house doesn’t have any windows at all upstairs. The window in the stairwell lets in a ton of natural light into the hallway, which spills into both bedrooms on either side. On the back of the house, we have a shed dormer, so we have full size windows on the west side of the upstairs (so glad we did that!).

The issue, though, is that in the summertime, especially hot summers like this one, the light pours through that window and really heats up the hallway, and that’s where Jazzy, the bunny, lives right now. And rabbits are very sensitive to heat. We’ll eventually be moving her and Albus into the guest room, along with a new air conditioner, but for energy efficiency purposes, it’s best that we find a way to block the sun when we want to.

I considered different window covering options. I had been watching some window treatment classes on Craftsy Unlimited (now Bluprint) and though full length curtains could be really cool and dramatic. The problem with that is that the window is super high. The bottom window sill is probably a good six feet tall, and the window itself is 5.5 feet long. So that would mean a LOT of fabric, a lot of $$, and might really be a bit too dramatic for our little cottage anyway.

I have some cheap Roman shades in the living room, and they get the job done. I like that they cover the windows completely, but can also be raised to let in light and look pretty unobstrusive when raised. In the stairwell, I thought the right fabric could really add some character and softness as well.

I chose the Magnolia Home Fashions Oh Suzanni Metal fabric from fabric.com and ordered 2 yards for a total of $20.14. I also ordered the Roc-Lon Blackout Drapery lining in Ivory for $4.79 a yard. I got 3 yards since I’m planning another project as well.

I love living in today’s world because it’s so easy to find instructions to make pretty much anything. The craftsy classes didn’t cover roman shades, but I found some great YouTube videos. These were the two I found most helpful.

 How to make a roman shade from Online Fabric Store.    This is the one I followed in terms of how much fabric to cut, etc. The only change I made was to use eye screws and a cord cleat instead of the pulleys and cord locks.

How to make a roman shade from Sailrite.  This one was very similar, and they also have a handy fabric calculator. I’ve watched other videos from Sailrite and they are always quite clear.

The hardware I ordered from DIY Insulated Shades
I ordered:

An iron rod to weight the bottom, cut to the correct size
A 1X2 piece of wood for the top (I realize now I could have easily got this at Home Depot and saved on shipping. They are by the dowels).
Cord Cleat
Cord condenser
Roman shade rib tape (this stuff is great – you just iron it on and then fit the dowels in. Just be sure to get the right size dowels. Mine were too big so I had to go back and get 5/16″ dowels and they were perfect).
Dowels (from Home Depot)

They have some good info here about what you need and have pretty much everything you need to make a roman shade on their site. 

I probably spent about $70 on hardware, though I ordered enough to complete a second project. So, all in all, this project cost $60+. Much cheaper than having it custom made. It took me about a day to make. In addition to the materials above, you also need a staple gun, screws to screw the headrail into the window frame, etc.

I’m really happy with how it turned out. It’s not perfect. I’m not great at cutting fabric square. It’s a skill I need to work on. Jon hung the shades, and we had some issues, mostly because the window is so high. I could have made them about an inch wider as well. But yesterday, for the first time, as the afternoon sun poured in, we just lowered them and had immediate relief. It was great!

Note about the pulleys/cord locks vs. eye screws/cleats. I didn’t bother with the pulleys and cord lock because I didn’t think it was worth the money or hassle. With just the eye screws, it operates really smoothly, and it’s not a hassle at all to just loop the cord around the cleat to hold it into position.

View of the cord cleat
This is the cord cleat. We attached it right to the frame since it seemed least noticeable.
With the shade half way up

Roman shades from above, halfway raised Close up view of roman shades View of roman shade from upstairs

My next project is a tiny window in the master bedroom, also quite high up, where I’ll also be making roman shades. It’s a cute little window, but when Jon is sleeping during the day, it comes in and lets in a lot of lot. I think I got most of the kinks out with this project so that one should go more quickly.

Here’a bunny bonding update:

Bunny bonding - Albus and Jazzy sit near each other

This is Day 3 of bunny bonding. Albus is reluctantly asserting his dominance and Jazzy is pretty chill about the whole thing. Are they the cutest?

A bunny bonding adventure

Last weekend, we adopted a new member of the family: Jazzy! I’ve wanted to get my bunny Albus a bunwife for some time, but it hasn’t been feasible. We had two cats and were already a bit overwhelmed with pet care duties. Our cat Donovan was older and had a lot of issues… he needed regular steroid doses and had recently gone blind (he was also deaf). He was my dude and I loved him so much. When he passed away in April, it broke our hearts. We buried him in the rose garden and I found a beautiful orange poppy to plant on the spot.

I was hoping with Albus and Gerry the only pets left, that they’d become closer. The fact of the matter is that Albus loves his feline friend, Gerry, but the feeling isn’t mutual. Most days Albus just finds a place to hide (his current favorite is behind the ironing board in the guest room) and would give us love for a few minutes a day. Based on things I’ve read, I started to think that a bunny companion might improve his quality of life. So the search began.

Jon and I have often joked that all we wanted in a bunwife for Albus was a spayed female mini-lop around 2 years old named Penelope. Shockingly we couldn’t find such a bunny. Jon really wanted a mini-lop (that’s what he wanted when I talked him into getting Albus instead), but they are few and far between, and I have yet to find a spayed female.

Meanwhile, I had been following a rabbit rescue in Lamoine, Maine, called Cottontail Cottage Rabbit Rescue. I don’t even know how I found them, but I follow them on Facebook and they do such good work. I’ve been wanting to visit the shelter for years now, but the 2 hour drive was a bit of a deterrent. Well, a few weeks ago, they posted a photo of what looked like a female Albus in brown. Her name was Jazzy. I emailed them, asked if she was available and sent them a photo of Albus. Then, I worked on convincing Jon that Jazzy was the one, and that we need to drive up to Lamoine!

He played it cool, and I wasn’t sure he was going to go for it, but in the end, he agreed. We drove up, met her, and fell in love. Now, the hard part begins… bonding them.

Bunny bonding seems to be more of an art than a science and there is a lot of conflicting info out there. I’m following instructions from the shelter manager at Cottontail Cottage as they certainly have a lot of experience with bunnies. She instructed me to put Jazzy’s cage next to Albus’ and let them get used to each other for at least a week. So far it’s been a few days, and all seems to be going well. They’ve sniffed each other, watched each other, even kissed each other. But I’m still nervous about what will happen when we finally put them together.

We’ve been told to try it out in a neutral space for 10 minutes and separate them if they fight. I’m soooo hoping that they just love each other and start cuddling. Probably unrealistic, but I can hope!

Anyway, I’ll keep you posted on the progress. I think Saturday is the day.