Tips for sleep in the sweltering heat

summer sleepWell it’s no secret that we’ve been experiencing higher than average temperatures around the country this summer.

When the night time temperatures don’t drop off that much, remember that there’s actually a scientific basis as to why you can’t sleep when it’s hot.

You might not be aware of this, but sleep is actually dependent on a fall in your core body temperature, your internal temperature, so to do that we need to get rid of heat.

It’s also particularly difficult to sleep when it’s humid, as we can’t get rid of the heat.

Though the temperatures can seem overwhelming at times, there are things we can do to help sleep better.

Experts recommend keeping curtains closed during the day, using a fan, or air conditioning if possible, and keeping your windows shut until the late afternoon or evening, when it’s cooler.

Yes, it is tempting… to want to open the windows and doors and let in whatever “breeze” or “fresh air” there might be outside. But that just lets the hot and humid air inside, and traps it there.

Which window furnishings can keep your home cool? 

Awnings can reduce solar heat gain in the summer by up to 65% on south-facing windows and 77% on west-facing windows. You can use an awning to shade one window or have an awning custom-made to shade the entire side of your house.

In the past, most awnings were made of metal or canvas, which need to be re-covered every five to seven years. Today, awnings are made from synthetic fabrics such as acrylic and polyvinyl laminates that are water-repellent and treated to resist mildew and fading. Whatever the fabric, you should choose one that is opaque and tightly woven. A light-coloured awning will reflect more sunlight.

You can roll up adjustable or retractable awnings in the winter to let the sun warm the house. New hardware, such as lateral arms, makes the rolling up process quite easy.

Blinds—vertical or horizontal slat-type—are more effective at reducing summer heat gain than winter heat loss.

Interior Blinds

Because of the numerous openings between the slats, it’s difficult to control heat loss through interior window blinds, but the slats offer flexibility in the summer. Unlike shades, you can adjust the slats to control light and ventilation. For example, when completely closed and lowered on a sunny window, highly reflective blinds can reduce heat gain by around 45%. They can also be adjusted to block and reflect direct sunlight onto a light-coloured ceiling. A light-coloured ceiling will diffuse the light without much heat or glare.

Curtains ability to reduce heat loss and gain depends on several factors, including fabric type (closed or open weave) and colour. With such a wide variety of curtains available, it’s difficult to generalise about their energy performance.

During summer days, you should close curtains on windows receiving direct sunlight to prevent heat gain. Studies demonstrate that medium-coloured draperies with white-plastic backings can reduce heat gains by 33%. Curtains also stay cooler in the summer than some other window treatments because their pleats and folds lose heat through convection.

To reduce heat exchange or convection, curtains should be hung as close to windows as possible. Also let them fall onto windowsills or the floor. For maximum effectiveness, you should install a cornice at the top of a curtain, or place the curtain against the ceiling. Then curtain at both sides and overlap it in the center. You can use Velcro or magnetic tape to attach drapes to the wall at the sides and bottom. If you do these things, you may reduce heat loss up to 25%.

Two curtains hung together will create a tighter air space than just one. One advantage is that the room-side curtain will maintain around the same temperature as the interior space, adding to a room’s comfort.

What else?

It’s helpful to avoid or limit alcohol and caffeine during extreme heat, and keep hydrated.

Wearing loose cotton clothing at night also draws sweat and heat away from your body, but avoid polyesters!

Though the weather is heating up, we hope you’ll use these tips to keep your home cool into the night, so you can rest easy.

The fashionline team.

Entertaining Outdoors? Stay cool with an awning.

folding-arm-awnings (6) (deleted c3a3f841ca2bb23eb98351c5628a0ab6)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you have an outdoor living or entertaining space, then you know how beautiful it can be outdoors – just not when it’s blaring hot with the sun beating down on you. That’s where a retractable, or folding arm awning comes in. They can be a great way for you to enjoy the outdoors. There are some factors that you should however consider when purchasing retractable awnings. We’ve outlined them below:

Price

You should always compare pricing when purchasing retractable awnings. Folding arm awnings are some of the most expensive shade furnishings, and you should expect it to be a significant investment, even for a basic set up. For a purchase like this, avoid buying a product of lesser quality for a cheaper price, as the cheapness will become evident in not much time at all.

Manufacturing

Australian made is a great choice for awnings. Australia make some of the best window treatments in the market, and for good reason. We have some of the harshest climate conditions in the world. It’s good to know that your awning is designed and fabricated within our local standards, and that the product will therefore withstand the harsh conditions we find here, especially when summer hits.

Again, beware of companies that offer you low-cost retractable awnings at prices that seem too good to be true. Often they are too good to be true.

Warranty

You should always purchase your awning from a reputable supplier who offers a full service warranty. You can expect to pay a bit more up front, but the cost is worth it. In many cases, suppliers will provide a five-year warranty, which will ensure that your awning gives you stress free service throughout the five-year period.

Installation

If you haven’t thought about the cost of installation of your folding arm awning, before you shop is the time to consider it. If you go for a cheap product, you will not only (no doubt) find quality issues, but you will also likely have to install the awning yourself. Unless you are a DIY awning expert, you should probably leave it to the experts. This will have some cost attached to it. Also keep in mind, if you do choose to install the awning yourself, that in some cases this may void your warranty. Find out all the facts before you do DIY or have the experts install your awning.

We hope these tips have helped you out for buying your own folding arm awning, and we hope that you have a relaxing, cool, shady area to enjoy this summer!

Consumer Errors 101

Window coverings are in investment in the home; they add value to the home, and they can solve a number of problems. 

Some of the main Consumer Errors that we often find are outlined below…

window furnishings right

Consumers who buy the cheapest product

Window coverings can be expensive. But they are an investment. They will pay for themselves in no time in both use value, and the value they add to your property. There are many budget options in the business, who will skimp on fabric quality and quantity to keep their prices cheap. Consumers should educate themselves thoroughly before purchase.

Consumers who use fragile products on West facing windows

The Aussie sun is extremely damaging and you will simply be wasting your money if you do not purchase heavy duty products and materials for west facing windows. Find products that will not fade, warp or disintegrate under these harsh conditions. It is best to speak to a professional to discuss options available and ensure you are not throwing money away.

Consumers who don’t consider window size

Consumers are sometimes unaware that there is a maximum size you can successfully make a blind; and perhaps multiple blinds are the solution. Alternately, narrow windows may not be the right choice for roller blinds or shutters. They should speak to a specialist to discuss the best options for difficult window sizes.

Stack

The vertical stack of a blind is important, especially on a door so you don’t bump your head when it is pulled up. You may also have a view that you don’t want to obstruct. Horizontal stacks are for curtains. When you open your curtains, you must consider how much room you have for them and if they will impede any view you want to leave open.

Consumers expecting full blockout from all products

Full blockout can only be achieved from curtains with pelmets. Blockout roller blinds have small gaps at the sides and the top, whilst shutters have very small gaps all the way round. Keep this in mind if you need total darkness in a bedroom or home theatre space.

Consumers not looking for quality features such as lined curtains

Lining protects the fabric and also the other furnishings in the room. The extra cost for lining could save thousands in the long term and buyers should be aware of this when they are making their choice.

Consumers not comparing apples with apples

This sounds obvious, but if you are getting a number of quotes, they can vary greatly due to a great number of variables, such as fabric quality and price.

Consumer DIY Installations

Just don’t do it. Ever. In most cases, it will reduce or void the warranty on your products.

Consumers not considering the era of their homes

A period home should not be “modernised” with minimalist window treatments; it simply doesn’t work. If you don’t like elaborate drapes, ask your window covering professional to give you some options.

Consumers who don’t think about street appeal

Using plantation shutters on colonial windows may not seem like a problem to some, but from a designer’s perspective and the view from the street, they can be a real eye-sore with so many lines going horizontally and vertically. You should try not to use too many different styles of window coverings in your home as it can look cluttered, and lack cohesion. Another important note is to be careful of the colours of blinds and sheers, as these can be seen from the outside, and need to look good with your external features.

If consumers find a recommended expert in window treatments, they will avoid costly mistakes and have functional and gorgeous window coverings that will last for many years to come, as well as add a lot of value to their home.

 

Mid Year Design Update

Let’s take a mid-year look at Interior Design Trends of 2017 that have been coming in … and those that will be heading out of style as the year continues.

IMAGE FL BLOG

  1. Dark furniture is coming back in

Darker pieces of furniture are back, and we will see plenty of richer and darker tones in side tables, coffee tables, cabinets or consoles.

Green is also coming in and these rich dark green colours work perfectly with the deep timbers, as well as making a room feel peaceful and luxurious. Think ornaments, cushions and window furnishings.

  1. Blonde wood is going out

Blonde wood was all the rage in 2016, but is now on the fade out.

  1. Terracotta is making a come back

Believe it or not, 2017 shows a surge in terracotta pots and terracotta tiles and décor items. Pair this look with some beautiful plants, and it will lift a space and give it some life.

If you keep the terracotta as a matte finish, it will not only add depth but also warmth to your home.

  1. Copper is going out

The 2016 copper trend is on its way out, according to leading Interior Designers, so keep that in mind.

  1. Cork is making a comeback

Not only is cork a stylish material that also adds warmth and texture, it is ideal for absorbing noise in our increasingly spacious, open-plan homes.

  1. Midnight Blue and Navy are going out

According to Interior Designers everywhere, in 2017 we say goodbye to midnight blues and navys. “Goodbye.”

  1. Woven baskets are on trend

Whether it be a linen hamper, a rustic planter or a woven lamp shade, woven baskets are making way to be a popular and trendy piece for any space. Keep this in mind when pairing the look with window furnishings.

  1. Scandi is out

That’s right. Scandi will be gone soon. There is a place for it, but more in the refined, traditional sense, rather than in the more generic way that we have seen it in recent times.

Of course, trends are always coming and going. Individuality is the real value item in any space. The best design happens when you take bits of the trends that are appropriate to you, and reproduce it in a way that is unique and individual.

 

The Fashionline Team.

Get in the mind of the buyer

Aesthetics and function combine when it comes to furnishing windows. Here are some things to consider that will be, or should be, top of the buyer’s mind…

A touch of Style

The aesthetic impact of window coverings is often the main motivating factor for buyers, as the right choice can completely transform a living space.

Social Media has had a huge impact on buyers -those beautiful inspirational pictures are generally centred on the style and look people want to achieve in their home, whether it’s contemporary, minimalist, country, industrial, beach hamptons, french provincial etc.

Pay attention to the pictures – there’s a reason they are showing you Instagram images. A buyer will want to “copy” the look and may go elsewhere if you try to steer them away from what they are showing you. Make sure you show them that you really ‘get it’ – the specific decorative style and colours they are after.

Control the light

Light control is an important benefit delivered by window coverings, and a facet that shouldn’t be overlooked, as it has a big impact on a home’s liveability. The buyer should know what they want, but you can ask questions relating to the room, what it’s used for, do they need to watch TV and movies in the room? What is the aspect and the warmth/cold that it endures? Make sure they’ve really considered light control and flexibility before purchase.

Ensure Privacy

With the majority of Australians living in urban areas and with neighbours close by, privacy is an important consideration.

If you can see through window coverings during the day, from inside at night, it will be the reverse, and people outside will be able to see straight in. So choosing the right coverings ensures a home remains private for your buyer.

Create Mood

The mood of a house is absolutely a function of the window dressings. Mood is influenced by many factors, including light, privacy and style – which can all be summed up in the right window treatment. Again, taking note of the pictures your buyer shows you is really important, and don’t forget to ask questions – what kind of mood do you see in this room? Peaceful, quiet… or fun, bright and active?

Deliver Thermal Comfort

Windows are essentially ‘holes’ in a home, so keeping the heat out in summer and the warmth in during winter is an important job for a home’s window coverings. They also help to reduce electricity bills.

Well-fitted, custom-made window coverings will deliver the highest level of thermal comfort, so make sure you bring this up when speaking to customers.

Add to Energy Efficiency

With Australians typically spending 41% of their household energy expenditure managing their home’s temperature, the right window coverings can save money, all year round.

Muffle Sound

Many people don’t consider the acoustic benefits of great window coverings.

A room with lots of hard surfaces that echoes, or hearing road noise from inside can be pretty unpleasant. But choosing the right window coverings can help dampen these sounds, so find out how noisy your buyer’s neighbourhood / family is.

Safety for Kids & Pets

Safety might not spring to mind when thinking about window coverings, but tangled cords pose a serious safety risk to children and pets. Most Australian households have either a child or a pet, or both, so safety is an important consideration. All modern window treatments comply with the latest child safety regulations, but make sure you mention this to buyers, find out if they have young children, and take appropriate action to minimise risks with their purchase.

We hope these tips have been helpful!

The Fashionline Team.

All This Rain is Making Everything Dirty!

We’ve had a lot of rain this autumn already, and this weather can lead to dirt, grime, mould, mildew, and lack of energy for cleaning!

Here are some tips from the experts to help with some of your common window cleaning issues…

If your screens are worse than your windows 

Remove and take them outside. Pick up the screen by its edges, hold it at an angle so most of the screen surface is facing the ground, and tap one edge lightly against a firm surface. This will shake any dirt loose. Using a broad, soft-bristled brush, scrub both sides of the screens with warm or hot water and lemon-scented dishwashing detergent. Rinse with a hose and air-dry thoroughly before reinstalling.

If your windows get dirty unusually fast

Change the filter in your heating and/or cooling system. Modern airtight homes trap more dust, pollen, dander, dangerous mould and other particles inside than ever before. While air conditioner filters extend the life of your appliances, they also help trap that dirt. Filters should be changed every month or two, or anytime you can’t see through the filter when you hold it up to a light. Cleaning your air conditioning filter regularly is also an inexpensive way to keep your house cooler/warmer.

If your blinds are the problem

Dust or wash them. Dust blinds regularly with a soft cloth, a duster, or the dusting brush on your vacuum. Be sure to dust both sides of the shades. If they’re stained or spotted, it’s time for a real cleaning. Though you can wash them in place (with a drop cloth over the floor and furniture), it’s best to remove them. Place one shade at a time across a worktable covered with a plastic sheet or shower curtain. Wash vinyl blinds using a sponge and a solution of 1⁄4 cup white vinegar in a tub of warm water. Washing them in the bathtub is even easier. Run some warm water in the tub, add a squirt of dishwashing liquid, and wipe each side with a large sponge. To rinse, dunk them in clean water or hold them under the shower. Then wipe with a clean, soft cloth. Many fabric blinds can also be washed, but take a close look at the care instructions before washing them! It’s best not to leave them in the water for more than a minute.

If you can’t keep outside windowsills clean

Apply a coat of floor wax. Because your exterior windows are, well, exterior, they are subject to collecting a lot of dirt. Wax is the simplest (and most effective) way to protect your sills. A coat of WD-40 can also protect your windows from the elements.

If there’s mould or mildew on your window frames

Wash with a bleach-detergent solution. Black or gray mould spots on wooden frames can be cleaned for good with a solution of 2 parts household bleach and part laundry detergent in a tub of water. Wear rubber gloves to protect your hands, sponge the solution on the spots, let it sit for ten minutes, and then rinse thoroughly with clean water.

If your blinds are always dusty

Use an antiseptic spray (read care instructions first though!). The best way to keep dust from piling up quickly is by applying a spray, such as Static Guard, on the window blinds right after you clean them. If dust is a problem in other parts of your home, other cleaning strategies may be more effective.

If your windows are always streaky after washing

Use a window-washing squeegee with a smooth, soft rubber edge. Dry a one-inch strip at the top or side of each window and always start your squeegee there. Starting on dry glass is one key to avoiding streaks. Don’t wash windows in direct sunlight, because quickly dried glass is more susceptible to streaking. Evenings or cloudy days are the best times for window washing.

Happy cleaning!

The Fashionline Team.

Let’s have a chat with a Fashionline Member!

harlequin logoHarlequin Blinds and Security was first established in the early 1990s. It started by manufacturing vertical drapes and security doors in the local Sunshine Coast area. Since then it has grown to become one of the Sunshine Coasts best known manufacturers of Internal and external Home Improvement Products. This was achieved by their aim of always putting the customer first.

Harlequin Blinds and Security is a proud Fashionline Group member. They feel that membership gives Harlequin Blinds and Security’s customers access to the quality, range and prices of a national company with the service, care and reliability of a local company – which we all know is true!

Harlequin manufacture and supply the most comprehensive range of home improvement products. With Blinds, Awnings, and Security Door products, their customers have access to a One Stop home improvement shop, and they have products to suit all budgets.

Owner, Marilyn Black is also an ambassador for Sunny Kids and an avid supporter of Boystown. With three children of her own these charities are close to her heart.

We spoke to Marilyn about market trends and her plans this year… Marilyn Black

 

 

 

 

 

 

What did you find was your biggest mover over the summer season?

The Ziptrak Awning! It’s a great Awning System that customers LOVE, it is easy to use and has many advantages to a person’s outdoor living space!

ziptrack harlequin

 

 

 

 

 

What’s your best tip for our harsh Australian environment? (window furnishing wise)

Know what products are needed for our temperature and climate.  Where and when you need shade, air and light and how maximise your area to do that.

sloping shutters and ziptrack awning Harlequin Blinds

 

 

 

 

 

Tell us a little bit about your team?

We have a small but dedicated team. There are five who have been here from 4 to 17 years, and one has been in the industry for nearly 25 years, with a wealth of knowledge and experience.

What’s the best thing about your service? Is there anything that really sets you apart? 

We are local, and we manufacture a majority of our products on site.  We are readily available and have good knowledge of our products and how we can help a customer to ‘Complete the Vision’ to their home and office!

Any exciting plans for the rest of the year?

We are looking at expanding our premises and continuing our staff training and advancement.

Thanks Marilyn, we’ve enjoyed the chat!

You can get in touch with the team at Harlequin here: 

5/46 Enterprise St Kunda Park QLD

07 5476 9888

www.harlequinblindsandsecurity.com.au

 

International Women’s Day is here, on March 8th…

To celebrate we wanted to bring to light this exciting story, in Success Business Magazine (Issue 29, Feb/March p.55), which features one of our Fashionline Group members from Ede Shade Solutions in Townsville!

Director – Bronwyn Ede-Mansbridge

Family Roots

Ede’s Shade Solutions, formerly C.Ede Pty Ltd, is a 102-year-old family-owned Townsville business. We specialise in internal and external blinds and awnings, in shade sails and structures. I have always worked in the business; I actually cancelled my plans to study after high school when I was offered a position to work in the family business.

First Female Director

Being part of a 100-year-old business verifies to me how society and a woman’s role in the workforce has evolved. I am honoured to be the first female Ede family member to officially work in the business to continue on to become a director. It’s a common joke around our office that I relate myself to the cartoon character She-Ra with the guys, but it’s a metaphor not to underestimate women and what we can do.

Innovation Is Evolution

Products and techniques for manufacturing those products we supply are always evolving. It’s exciting to see the evolution of products we use, and where this is going in the future.

Looking Back

If I could go back and give myself advice as I was preparing to leave school, it would be, “Be more confident, just get in and do it!”

Success Is Being Grateful

For me, success can be measured in reaching points in your life both personally and professionally. What naturally comes to mind when I think about success is being grateful that my husband Jay and I have a happy home life. My goal is to aim to be financially secure to do what I want when I want, and that I am doing all I can to sustain and grow our fourth-generation family business. Success is knowing that my family and friends are proud of me.

Work-Life Balance

Any tips on getting that work-life balance?

I’m working on it; when I figure it out I’ll let you know!

Advice From Mum

The best advice I’ve received are two little gems that we’ve probably all heard from our mums growing up, but they have really stuck with me over time. 1) Treat others how you would like to be treated. And 2) Learn from your mistakes. They are oldies but goodies.

Building & Window Furnishings – What’s On Trend?

One of the biggest building annoyances revolves around ceilings, and often comes to a head when your customers start talking to their architects and builders about built-in pelmets, curtains and blinds. Many don’t know the correct terminology and may come to you with pictures like the one below, and pointy fingers:

recessed curtain tracks

 

 

 

 

This is a ‘recessed track’ and it’s very much in style – the curtain tracks are recessed into the ceiling and it screams luxe.

 

The thing a lot of people don’t understand is that recessed tracks are considered a major architectural feature, and they need to be thought of right at the very beginning of the design stage. But because a lot of people associate this decision with window furnishings – which is not part of building, per se – they forget to mention it at the beginning.

If this is the case for any of your customers, they may be able to save the look if built-in pelmets with a hidden rail has been factored in. The hidden pelmets may be able to be widened, so that they effectively turn into bulkheads. This would allow the hidden rails to mimic the effect of recessed tracks without having to rework the design in a huge way. See below:

bulkhead NO cornices

 

 

 

 

(bulkhead, no cornices)

Ceiling mounted tracks:

Because the long, rippled lines of linen are so popular in celebrity bedroom photos, you might also find customers will be very satisfied with ceiling mounted tracks.

“Linen. Great swathes of linen with the sunlight glowing through them…”  Such a romantic look.  But they also need their bedrooms to be dark, they don’t love light when they are trying to sleep…

Suggest a double ripple-fold ceiling mounted track with two separate curtains or blinds.  An unlined linen curtain in front, a block-out behind (see image below). It’s perfect, the linen curtains can be drawn when they want a soft dappled light or privacy, and the block-outs are closed at night and are an extra thermal layer in winter.

ceiling mounted double track

 

 

The ripple-fold tracks are neatly mounted onto the ceiling, very unobtrusive, and window coverings can be pulled from one side right across the opening, and also stack on a single side.  This is a good option to save on dropping any height at ceiling level, and gives the illusion of higher ceilings with the long, vertical lines.

It’s almost the Holiday Season!

Fashionline Group would like to take this opportunity to thank you all for a wonderful 2016. To all of our members, affiliates and all of your family and friends, we would like to wish you a safe, happy and healthy Festive Season. May it bring you joy and prosperity.

We thought it only fit to remind everyone of some important holiday safety tips – because times can get pretty crazy when the silly season comes around!

Enjoy a Safe Holiday Season using these handy tips:

Theft – Pick Pockets & Identity

Take with you only the cash and credit cards you need

Don’t carry your passport or other important documents unnecessarily

Don’t let others distract you in crowded areas when your personal belongings are at risk

Limit the use of your mobile phone in busy public places

Home Burglary

Install security screens or cameras

If you are travelling, ask a neighbour to keep an eye on your house

Put timers on lights in different parts of the house

Have papers, mail and deliveries collected by someone you trust

Personal Safety

Park in well-lit and well-travelled areas

Avoid overloading yourself with packages

Be aware of your surroundings

Auto Safety

Leave nothing of value visible inside the car

Keep all your car doors and boot locked

Keep packages in the boot while shopping

Don’t leave your GPS visible

Credit Cards

Only shop at secure websites

Never respond to emails that ask for your credit card or any other personal information

Check your credit card and bank statements regularly

We hope these tips have been useful, and again, we hope that you all have a wonderful break! Stay hydrated, look after one another. We will see you in the New Year!

The Fashionline Group.

 

 

 

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