Curtain Call – Our Terrace Shades

Curtain call

Almost every afternoon we get treated to one of nature’s most spectacular shows.  It’s a show that we never tire of watching, and every afternoon we are eager to see the curtain rising.

Or rather, curtains.

Because our apartment faces west there is a lot of sun coming our way in the afternoon. At some point, when the sun is very low, you can almost get a suntan sitting in the living room. And it is not as much fun as it sounds.

To shade the terrace during most hours of the afternoon we needed a very special type of shades: weather resistant, durable and that would, preferably, let through some breeze.

Curtain call

Seeing as this is a very common need around here we checked with local vendors.

The good news is that they offered great shades, very strong, even able to withstand the wind by the ocean. The bad news is that we could not afford them at the time (what we needed cost several thousand dollars). And we needed them as soon as possible.

We decided to check if we could find an affordable alternative, something that could tide us over until we could buy heavy duty ones (trust me, a storm here is something serious).

Mocha rollup coolaroo

After a lot of online research and reading, we bought these shades on Amazon. (Amazon affiliate link). The shades were 8′ by 6″, the correct width, but way too short.

I had a cunning plan.

I also bought a roll of Coolaroo 12-feet by 50-feet extra heavy shade fabricIr? T=dominicanccom 20&l=as2&o=1&a=b002r5a1gy (Amazon affiliate link) and set out to replace the shades still using the same mechanism. It’s a wonder my little sewing machine survived the ordeal.

The curtains turned out alright. They aren’t able to withstand a strong wind, but in everyday situations they are fine.

In the photo above you can see the difference between the heavy duty  shades sold locally (photo on top), and the ones I made (below). The fabric was very wrinkled in the roll, and the wrinkles have barely relaxed in about 9 months of use.

Something else we had to add were crab-claw hooks to tie them down. I bought these at a local hardware store. We use some strong tie-wracks attached to the rail to fasten the hooks.

Curtain call

But why spend nearly a thousand dollars on a temporary solution?

First, we needed shades immediately, custom-made shades take weeks to be made and installed. Second we could not afford the expensive ones at the time (we had a long list of things to buy, like chairs to sit, for example), so spending a great deal of money on shades wasn’t a priority at the time. And third, we are going to reuse the shades elsewhere when we change them. We’ll re-install the original fabric and use the shades I sewed as removable shade sails in the terrace upstairs.

In the meantime we were able to enjoy our terrace, and afford a sofa to sit on and enjoy the show.

I wish we had been able to buy the right curtains from the start, but so is life, we must balance our priorities some times. At least it won’t be a total waste in the end.

Have you ever bought anything “in the meantime”, knowing you would have to upgrade sooner rather than later?

Similar Posts


  1. Yes – sometimes it's all about making the best in the meantime..Incidentally – I never tire of your views either!

  2. Anonymous says:

    This sounds like a complicated undertaking. I am glad it worked out for you.About your question, the answer is yes. I have to compromise all the time because some things are out of my reach. Don't we all?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.