The Dilemma: Been spending a little bit of time in John Lewis of late. Hanging around their curtain department, and trying not to go too cross eyed. On the whole - most of the windows and french doors in the chalet are very straightforward - we choose a fabric (same fabric throughout actually - this one), give JL the measurements, and the style (eyelet), and off they go, and curtains, poles and whatnot arrive back in 7 days, along with a blind for the velux window. These decisions took all of half an hour to make. The only problem areas are on that damn top floor, with its inconvenient sloping ceiling. When we slept up here pre renovation, there were no blinds or curtains installed up there, probably because of the same difficulties we've been experiencing. So we were woken up every morning, bright and EXTREMELY early by the morning sun. Now that the windows are even bigger - and we are renting the property out, this morning wake up call is clearly not an option. The other window, is the newly installed one at the back - smaller, but still really difficult to put a curtain on.
The Solution: Has been really difficult to come by. We've now been to JL three times to try and solve it - it's not because JL aren't helpful (they really are), but that the space is so difficult that we need to gather more intel each time before we can place that order, and in fact before they can confirm that they can even make the damn things. This is because the windows are such an unusual size, that the following things need solving/ thinking about:
- Where the pole goes, and how it fixes to the wall given the angle?
- How do we stop the curtain sliding off the pole?
- How does the whole thing even work? When it's down, when it's up - the whole thing...
- How not to block half of the windows out while solving these issues
We've looked at lots of curtain solutions for this type of window:
Tape Measure Happy: During these recent JL visits we've been tasked with more fact finding each time. Last visit I measured up quite literally every single distance I could think of, just in case.
Maths: It still wasn't enough. That's where Actual Maths came in, for the first time for me (not Darren) since school pretty much. This is because - even though we know how wide the window is, and how long the drop is going to be - as we need the curtains to sit slightly outside of the side of the window space so as not to block any light, also to get as much draping away from the window as possible when they're open, the pole needs to sit around 20cm further on each side. But I don't have that crucial measurement…I have everything but that.
However: We still have the measurement of the width - adding on the additional 30 cm (20cm extra on one side, and 10 on the other) of the width. And we still have the height, adding on the additional 10cm to allow for the pole sitting 10 cm above the top of the window. So, using actual Pythagorus' Theorum in real actual life, we can therefore work out the length of the pole.
Simplicity: OK so this sounds incredible simple and logical written out like this, and had we realised earlier that it was this simple and logical, the whole visit wouldn't have been as painful and head scratching as it was. It took us long enough to realise that the pole couldn't possibly be the same length as the window, even if the other two measurements are altering very slightly. It also took us long enough to work out that we couldn't just guess it either. This measurement also radically affects the curtain size - and the more we discussed it, the more it became apparent that we can very easily end up with a wonky pole, not in line with the ceiling, or a wonky curtain that doesn't hang right instead. Disaster. So, seeing as the property is in France and they can't send their specialist measuring guys there, and seeing as we couldn't pop over and measure out an approx of the pole size, and seeing as we HAVE to get this order in this week, to ensure that they are able to make them in time for our final van load out there at the start of December - we had to solve it, there and then. I do also regret not phoning a Maths Friendly Friend at that point too, to double check our workings out.
All Done: So using Pythagorus, we were able to work out the value of 'c', i.e. how long the pole should be given all the other variables are known. It took over 2 hours to get there (not on this sum alone!), on exactly 2 troublesome windows (the other easier windows having been on order since Sunday). The curtains are now on order - but it remains to be seen in 4 weeks' time, if Maths did in fact win the day.