we're here! north carolina is glorious, what can i say? chicago, i'm sorry, but you just weren't my thing.
so it turned out to be difficult to find a living situation that suited us. i guess september is not a hot month for rental turnover. what was available seemed to be small, gross, generic, sketchy or some combination of those qualities. we prevailed in the end and found an apartment that met two of our major requirements: no carpet and an in-unit washer and dryer.
the place does have a couple major drawbacks though - one being the horrid fluorescent pillow light fixture in the kitchen which makes me want to shrivel up rather than cook. i know that fluorescent bulbs are more efficient and "green" but honestly, the light is a killing light. it makes everything look flat and plain and unmoody and garish and dead. the solution to the kitchen lighting situation will definitely be the subject of its own post to follow.
the other major offensive item were the vertical blinds.
what is particularly annoying about vertical blinds, aside from the institutional ugliness of the things, is the fact that either you're completely on display to passers by when the blind are open (we live on the first floor facing the street so that's an issue) or you're completely in the dark with no natural light coming in when they're closed. though the large sliding door faces east, the heavy woods block most of direct sunlight until 11am or so, so the living/dining room are a bit on the dark side. (hopefully, come winter when the leaves are off, it will be brighter in the mornings.)
|barf, without privacy and the chopped up view drives me nuts.|
to solve the issue of allowing light into the space, while still affording privacy, i used the kvartal sliding track system from ikea with translucent but opaque rice paper panels in a grouping of five. i connected two of the triple rails at full length (you can cut them down to length and ikea even sells a miter box and saw expressly for the purpose) and added five panels.
|inexpensive and so much better. light comes in even on a cloudy day.|
installation was pretty easy, though time consuming as most ikea assembly projects are. the two rails together are about 16" longer to each side than the total width of the sliding doors. this means that when all the way open, the panels are almost completely open to the width of the doors.
|open if i so desire. in this photo the panels could still open wider.|
depending on the time of day or my mood, i can adjust how much of the outside is visible.
|total versatility as each panel slides individually.|
when the sun is shining and panels are closed, the rice paper glows!
|on a sunny day. (i may have look into switching out the sofa cover as i'm not loving all the horizontal line action.)|
so much better now. onto the next new apartment project.