Wow! Now I know why we have never really had curtains in this house - or any house for that matter! Just had a quote from Spotlight to do 4 bedrooms and 3 windows in the lounge at a cost of $4500!! It must be because I am a nudist/exhibitionist/cheapskate at heart - but I have never ever thought of curtains as a necessary item in a house. Just another thing to wash, and keep clean and decide on. I was a little more interested in these soft furnishings when we moved to the city and we had neighbours for the first time, well close neighbours, ones that could see you naked if they looked out their loungeroom window, kind of closeness. Rather than scare little children with our heathen, country ways, I put up (VERY temporarily) 'curtains' in the bedrooms. 11 years later and they are still there.
Very ingenious they are too - take a white plastic coated rod, pop a little rubber stopper in one end and on the other end is a cap with a big spring in it. Cut the rod so that it will fit inside the window frame, quickly sew a pocket across the top of some material (hemming is optional) and thread the material onto the rod. Push in the end with the spring and shove it all into the window frame. Viola - curtains!
Now that we have done the rooms up nicely, and we are grown-ups now, I thought it time to do things properly and put up real curtains. Out came a lovely lady from Spotlight, with her book and tape measure and samples to give me a 'free measure and quote'. That was the last of the bargains!
She did have a very good eye and taste, suggesting the material that I had already bought as a sample from Ikea - funny that spotlight have it too!! So, guest bedroom sorted - three pinch pleats, 2.5m of material for each window with a long drop to the floor. With rod, clips etc and fitted - $1000! Now I know this material is $14.95 a metre. It will take 6m per window so about $90 x 2 = $180. Add the tape at $10, 2 rods and rings at $50 and it comes to a total of $240 all up for 2 windows. Well you do the maths, its $240 as opposed to $1000! For a little sewing and persuading Mr K to put up some brackets, I think this will be a DIY project with $760 in my pocket. That pays for my new lounge in the reading room.
The other windows I am having white PVC shutters, easy to buy and install at a cost of $170 per window. Same quality, same effect - savings of $1000.
The lounge/dining 'sheers' can wait for another day. We have lived without them just fine so far, and a few thousand dollars saved is, well, a few thousand saved! I did have romantic visions of a sparkling spring day, warm breeze billowing the curtains, while I laughed carefree and martha-esk. But then I realised it wasn't my vision at all, but a toilet paper commercial on TV and I went right off the idea.
Throughout this process, all I could think of was that if I was where I wanted to be - on my farm - we wouldn't even be having a curtain conversation! We would be talking about the pro's and con's of having a chicken pen with laying boxes that you could access from the outside.