January 2015 Entries by Northern Comfort Windows and Doors in Aurora
10 Creative Ways to Reuse Old Shutters
Posted by Northern Comfort on January 23, 2015
Shutters add interest to your home and break up the expanse of colour on your siding. They give your home a finished look, and depending on the type of shutter, they can add extra protection to your home.
However, if your shutters are cracked, with the paint peeling and a few slats missing, then it may be time for an upgrade. Swapping out shudders can improve the value of your home and breathe new life into its appearance.
But wait! Don't throw your old shutters away—you can still use them for a variety of new purposes.
Memo and Mail Board
If you feel overwhelmed with your mail, or you have Christmas cards or birthday invitations you want to display, you can give your old shutters new life by turning them into a memo and mail board. Add a fresh coat of paint as needed, then use clothes pins to attach cards to the slats. Or, turn the shutters sideways, and simply slide the cards halfway into the slats.
Have too many subscriptions to Explore magazine? Not quite sure what to do with your partner's collection of Ontario Out of Doors? Mount your old shutters on a wall, or prop it up in the corner. Then, drape each magazine over the shutter slats. Your magazines stay organized and your shutters gain new purpose.
Turning your old shutters into new shelves is one of the simplest uses for them. Sand the shutters, paint them to match the colour of your home, and then mount them to the wall with sturdy brackets. It's a unique way to display your favourite books, houseplants, or decorative items.
You'll want at least three shutters for this project, as well as hinges and a screwdriver. Attach hinges along the sides of the shutters, and then attach the shutters together. The multiple shutters will help them stand upright, and the slats will provide nice coverage whether you want to separate a room or change your clothes behind them.
For a unique look to your entry way, screw in pegs and knobs along the side of the shutter. Mount the shutter sideways on the wall, and you'll have an instant coat rack. Shutters with coats can be heavy, though, so be sure to screw the shutters into wall studs rather than just the drywall.
Lay rows of shutters together to match the width of your bed. Keep them together using small brackets, or keep them together by screwing them into a strip of pine board. Mount them securely to the wall, then slide your bed next to your new headboard.
Stand four shutters up to form a square; this will make the base of your table. Measure the square, and purchase eight art stretchers of the same (or slightly larger) size. Place the stretchers to form two square shapes: one for the base, and one for the top of the table.
Drill screws through the frame of the table to hold them together. Have a glass store cut a ¼ inch piece of glass for the top of your new table – then slide the glass into the stretcher's bevelled edge. And voila! A unique side table for your bedroom.
Enjoy Your Home's New Look
New shutters on the outside will brighten your home and give it a nice flash of colour. And old shutters with a new purpose can give your home a creative focal point and can clear up some of your clutter.
With a little creativity, you can enjoy your old and new shutters for years to come.
Create a Winter-Friendly Sunroom
Posted by Northern Comfort on January 9, 2015
It's time to break out the boots, gloves and shovels—winter is here. Since most cities in Ontario see upwards of 250 centimetres (98 inches) of snowfall every year, homeowners have gotten the art of shoveling down pat. There's no escaping it, unless you own a sunroom.
Canadian winters may seem long and bleak, but that doesn't mean you can't enjoy a little bit of sunshine every day. Instead of jumping up out of bed to shovel first thing in the morning, why don't you head on over to your sunroom and soak up a few rays to keep you energized throughout the day?
Sunrooms offer a quiet sanctuary where you can relax and ready yourself for the day ahead. Follow these tips to create a winter-friendly sunroom so you can still get an ample amount of vitamin D and maybe even a little tan during the coldest months of the year.
New windows won't allow cold drafts of air to disrupt the warmth of your sunroom. Consider using insulated windows that have double-paned glass. Double-paned glass is made up of two pieces of glass that have a space between them. The airspace between is sealed and acts as an insulator. Double-paned glass windows offer a number of benefits, including the following:
- Decreased electric bills: Double-paned windows offer an extra layer of insulation and will save you quite a bit of money on heating bills.
- Decreased carbon footprint: Since double-paned windows insulate your entire sunroom, you won't have to burn as much fossil fuel to keep your room warm.
- Decreased noise: Double-paned windows will reduce the outdoor noise and allow you to enjoy the quiet sanctuary of your sunroom.
Cold air seeps into gaps in window frame caulk and will cause the temperature of your sunroom to plummet. Inspect your window frames and paint over any gap (even small ones) with a heavy-duty caulk (most window experts recommend latex-silicone). Latex-silicone should last for years and will keep your sunroom warm and comfortable.
Thermal-insulated draperies offer an extra layer of insulation to windows. Since most sunrooms are composed of windows, draperies will act as a barrier against cold air and will help you control the level of sunshine you prefer to let in.
Although winter mornings are chilly, you can combat the cold with electric space heaters, baseboard heating, floor heaters, or an electric fireplace. Once you decide which option is best for your space, install a fan to allow warm air to circulate all day long.
Carpet the Room
Most hard floor surfaces—tile and wood—become incredibly cold during long winter nights. If you can afford it, install carpet in your sunroom. Carpet adds a barrier of insulation and will help keep your room (and your feet) warm.
If you can't afford carpet, lay an area rug over your sunroom's floor so you don't have to step on freezing cold tile or wood first thing in the morning. If you can't afford a rug, make sure you wear a thick pair of socks whenever you're in your sunroom.
Stock Up on Blankets
When the weather outside is frightful, blankets will help you feel warm, comfortable and cozy. Keep thick blankets in your sunroom so you can grab one and warm up the minute you walk through the door.
Keep Plants Inside
Although plants won't heat up your room, indoor greenery will help you feel energized and refreshed. There are a number of indoor plants you can use to spruce up your sunroom, but some of the most popular include the following:
- Easter cactus
- Passion flower
- Boston ferns
- Spider plants
If the temperature in your sunroom drops below seven degrees Celsius (45 degrees Fahrenheit), keep an electric heater running during the night. Most indoor plants don't require a lot of maintenance, but when it's cold and snowy outside, green plants will help you visualize the look, feel and comfort of summer.
Decorate with Warm Colors
Warm colours—red, yellows, oranges—won't raise the temperature of your sunroom, but they will help it feel cozier during the winter months. Incorporate warm colours throughout your room (use blankets, pillows and rugs) to trick your mind into thinking the room is warmer than it actually is.
Most Canadian winters make homeowners want to stay cuddled up under the blankets all day, but if you want to enjoy the sun without stepping outside, prepare your sunroom for winter. Sunrooms take some of the torture out of winter weather and offer an extra space to unwind, relax and get cozy and comfortable.
Keep your sunroom warm with the tips mentioned above so you can enjoy the space all winter long. If you don't have a sunroom but want to add one to your home, contact your local window expert to discuss your options.