Tag Archives: Entry

A Blind Decision

Off of our kitchen, there is a little entry vestibule that leads to the backyard.  We had no plans to ever replace that back door, but when we changed the locks, we realized it may have to happen.

Back Entry

(Sidenote: this past weekend, we knocked out all of those shelves on the left, and got rid of those weird cabinets on the right, and we can’t believe how much larger the space feels!).

While trying to decide what kind of door to replace it with, one of our favorite options was something like this (but stained to match the existing woodwork):

Screen Shot 2013-10-21 at 2.08.37 PM

What we loved about this door is that it would maximize the amount of light in the vestibule/kitchen, but I had two concerns.  Being that we live in Minnesota, which has exceptionally cold winters, I was concerned that having a glass door would be a huuuuge source of heat loss.  Additionally, I was worried about people being able to see directly in to our house when we weren’t home.

Now I know there are options to prevent people from looking inside, but I didn’t like any of them.  We used a window film on the front door of our last home, but I don’t like that option for this house because then we can’t see Roxy when she’s out in the backyard.  Sure, we could hang a curtain/shade, but that would be so annoying whenever we open and close the door, not to mention the fact that it would look really weird.  So as I was wracking my brain for a solution, I remembered something Noel and I saw on the Parade of Homes: blinds that are built in to the door between the glass panes.


Well, this seemed like the perfect solution to my “how do I keep people from looking in our big glass door” problem because their seamless design was stunning, the blinds wouldn’t bang around when you open the door, they wouldn’t be clumsy/bulky/awkward, the glass would be easier to clean, and kids/pets wouldn’t be able pull on them/destroy them.  I was completely sold on the idea, so off I went, searching for the right door.  

Truth be told, I actually had heard about these doors awhile ago, and from what I knew, they received mixed reviews.  So, about a half hour into my search, that little voice in my head chimed in, insisting that I read some reviews before I fell in love with the idea and there was no turning back.  And boy am I glad I did.

After reading countless reviews, I concluded there were three major drawbacks about these doors:

Drawback #1: They aren’t as energy efficient as a normal glass door.

Glass itself is a terrible insulator, which is why majority of windows are double paned.  By doing this, the glass sandwiches air in between it.  To make a window more efficient, a gas called argon is often sealed between the two panes, and a low-e coating can be applied to the glass to reflect heat.

Well, when you put blinds between the two window panes, you can’t have the argon sealed inside, which dramatically reduces the efficiency of the window.  It’s also important to note that the blinds themselves don’t add any significant insulation.  So, by buying a window with blinds, your window is far less efficient than just buying a double paned window.

There are companies that make triple pane windows so that there can still be argon gas between two of the panes, and then the blinds can be in the other cavity.  However, if you go this route, you’d get a lower U-factor* (more efficient window) if you just bought a triple pane window without the blinds, because then you’d have two layers of argon gas.  Plus, triple pane windows are expensive, and the ones that have the blinds in them are even more money.

Drawback #2:  The blinds still get dusty and are hard to clean.

One of the major misconceptions with these doors is that the blinds don’t get dusty.  And that’s completely false.  There are tiny holes that allow dust to enter the space between the glass, so the blinds will in fact get dusty.  With some of the windows, you are able to remove one of the panes of glass to clean the blinds, but it is quite the process and the instructions are quite elaborate.

Drawback #3: If the blinds break, they are hard (if not impossible) to fix.

If it so happens that the blinds between your window panes break, you are in quite a sticky situation.  If you are lucky enough to have the kind where you can remove one of the panes of glass, you will be able to fix them.  However, I wouldn’t consider yourself too terribly lucky, because the replacement blinds are NOT cheap.  Furthermore, if you don’t have the kind where you can remove a pane, you are stuck with broken blinds, and the only way to fix it is to replace the door.  Whomp whomp.

So, with all of that being said, what’s the verdict for us?  There are a lot of great features, but in the end, they just aren’t for us (at least not for us in this house).  Right now, I can’t justify spending that kind of money for a triple paned version, and I don’t want a window with no insulating properties.  With that being said, even though they aren’t for us, doesn’t mean they can’t be for you.  Just please make sure that if you do buy them, you don’t buy them because you think they are more energy efficient. :)

*In homes, a product’s insulating capabilities are measured by either an R-value or a U-factor.  An R-value measures heat resistance, so you want your R-value to be as high as possible.  U-factors are just the opposite.  They measure the rate heat is transferred through a material, so the lower the better.  U-factors are generally associated with windows, and they usually range anywhere from 0.2 to 1.2 (with anything under 0.4 being “energy efficient”).

moravian star pendant lights

For a few months, I’ve been kind of obsessing over moravian star pendant lights.  I love the touch of character they add to a space, and the fact that they pair well with many different design styles.  I really want to include a few of these in either our front porch of our new house, or else potentially in our entry way or stairway.

As beautiful as these lights are, they are really tricky to do right.  The main problem I’ve seen is people using too small of a moravian star for their space.  Like with many things in design, scale is everything.  In the three above images, notice how each of the designers incorporated multiple star pendants.  This is because each of the spaces are long and narrow, so if they only used one star in the center of the room, the room would swallow it up.

Below is an example of what I’m talking about.  The room itself is adorable, and I think adding a moravian star was the perfect touch, they just should have used a larger star.  The star is too small for the scale of the space, and even if it was only a little bit larger, it would have felt more proportional.

Here is an example of one that is scaled correctly (so stunning, isn’t it?):

If you have a larger room, but you don’t necessarily want to use a larger star (or if you have lower ceilings so a larger star wouldn’t work), try hanging multiple stars.  Here’s another great example of how multiple moravian stars were used proportionally with the space.

While I think these stars look stunning in porches and outside, I think my favorite place for them is in hallways, little nooks, or stairways.  It’s like a little unexpected surprise in an otherwise ordinary space.

I mean how adorable is that little moravian star peeking out in that reading nook above?  The green isn’t exactly my cup of tea, but the rest of that little area is so stinkin’ cute.  And last but not least, get a load of this wedding reception setup.  So dreamy.

So what do you guys think?  Are you as smitten with these stars as I am?

reclaimed wood furniture

I’ve been having a love affair with reclaimed wood furniture for quite some time now.  I just adore the mix of old wood with the modern lines of the furniture.  Since the house we’re buying was built in 1913, I want to embrace the history, but have the home still feel fresh and new, so I’m definitely going to go for a blend of old + new in the design of the house.  Because of this, I’ve seriously toyed around with the idea of including some gorgeous reclaimed wood pieces, and I just had to share some of my favorite finds with you today.

My absolute favorite company that sells reclaimed wood pieces is called Blake Avenue.  There isn’t a single piece of furniture they make that I wouldn’t consider putting in my home, and I honestly don’t know if I could say that about any other store.  The piece of furniture that originally made me fall in love with the company was the credenza below, and from there, the rest is history.  Look at all of these beautiful pieces:

There’s only one problem with these gorgeous pieces: their price.  In reality, they are pretty fairly priced when you compare them to something you’d purchase from Crate & Barrel or Room & Board.  But when you’re trying to furnish an entire house, I’m going to save the major money for the big pieces (like our couch and table).  Sidenote: I’m also completely determined to try and build something out of reclaimed wood for this next house go-round.
Anyways, so we’ve established the fact that I love reclaimed wood.  Well, imagine my excitement when last night, I was cruising around Pinterest, and I stumbled upon this picture:
“Ooooh, pretty,” I thought to myself.  And then as my eyes wandered down the screen, I saw my favorite 6 letter word: TARGET.  I thought for sure it was too good to be true, so I quickly clicked over.  Sure enough, this jaw-dropper is available at Target, but the fun doesn’t stop there.  Check what else is in this stunning collection:


Those prices!  I mean, come on!  It was all I could do to prevent myself from running out and buying them all right then and there.  Thankfully, there’s this little thing called our storage locker that is currently overflowing, and then there’s the fact that I’m not positive how I’d use these pieces in our next house.  Oh, and that little issue of us not actually having the house yet….yeah. About that. Come on house.  I need this furniture.  Do me a favor?  Go buy it and make your house beautiful.  Because if I could, I would.

ps…if you head over to my facebook page, I posted all of the before & after pictures from our first house today.  :)

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