A Combination of Shades for Healthy Living
I live alone in a studio apartment in NYC. I came here ten years ago in great anticipation, an aspiring actress, so seduced by the Theater, the plays we’d watch when we visited on occasion. My parents are Dutch immigrants settled in Philly. We would land up at NYC to visit dad’s sister who was and still is, a nurse at the New York-Presbyterian. But dad loved the theater, and we’d sneak off to watch a play, and I was so impressed with the likes of Madame Butterfly and Cats and Fiddler on the Roof and Oklahoma! I became obsessed, signing up for classes as I was growing up, and it was my greatest ambition to become a theater professional on Broadway. The theater district, established in 1811 sits between the 41st and 53rd Street and between the Sixth and Ninth Avenues, and comprises more than 40 theaters and numerous other venues beyond the actual street of Broadway. In the 1930’s, Broadway experienced a major meltdown with the introduction of motion pictures that had sound; however, many of the Hollywood greats debuted (Marlon Brando, Al Pacino, Robert De Niro) as theatre professionals before they could find a foothold on the silver screen. After the WW11, the Tony Awards were introduced to encourage an element of competition and attract a broad audience.
And competitive did it become! It’s a rat race out there – I left home after high school to find my way in the Big Apple, and it took scores of failed auditions to get me to realize that I needed professional training. This got me moving into the world of theater for good, and I joined the School of Theatre at Columbia, after which I got myself into small time gigs, and later, into better roles. But living this life has left no room for family, and other than an occasional visit back home, and visits from the siblings and their kids, I’ve not found the man of my dreams. And living in NYC is not all glamor. The downside to being an ‘impoverished’ actress is having to live in pokey little rentals, sharing space with messy roomies, all sporting the lean and hungry look, portraying the artsy look with straggly hair and unkempt clothes! I’ve been able to save some money and have put down a deposit for an itty bitty 400-sq ft studio apartment in the upcoming Inwood, which is smaller than the bedroom I occupied growing up. The disparity of life strikes me frequently, from luxury apartments exceeding 4000 sq. ft. to a two-bit place like mine that is 400 sq. ft. And micro-units seem to be the order of the day, in an attempt to house singletons in 300-sq ft. studios. As if Gotham is not crowded enough. But I also know plenty of people moving back to the cities and towns they came from, in an attempt to avoid the claustrophobic living typified by NYC. The city that never sleeps is truly the single capital of the nation, with 46% of all NYC households having only a single occupant.
So what really freaks me out about my studio is that while I have two fairly decent 4’ by 2’ windows with a view the street and trees blocking the view into my space, the one 4’ by 2’ window to the west and the kitchen windows facing south overlooked other apartment spaces – apartments that are built in close proximity, and not much light coming through. And while it’s all hunky dory to finally own my own little place, the utilities, I’m told, don’t come cheap. And though I’m glad I don’t have the window a/c I see on a lot of the older buildings, and the HVAC is more efficient and all that, I know that if I don’t cover my windows sensibly, the power bill is going to bleed me dry. And me on a shoestring budget!
All the windows were double hung, except the kitchen window, whose double sashes swing outward, below a sun shade. Research and consultation with an online window shading retailer allowed me to zero in on faux wood blinds for my kitchen, a combination of solar shades and blackout cellular shades for my west window, and light filtering double cellular shades for my street facing windows.
I decided on the 2-inch faux wood blinds from Crown for the kitchen cause it is easy to maintain, and I can turn the vanes up to block the glare and view inside while still allowing air in, if I were of a mind to leave the windows open. And I chose a Golden Oak 254 that picked out the color of my wooden floor, and the blinds were so well crafted that they looked like he real deal.
I had Crown Exterior Solar Shades in charcoal installed outside my west facing window to block the view from out during the day and allow some air and enough light in at the same time. I could have them retracted at night and deploy my Crown Feather blackout cellular shades at night that protected my privacy and offered the insulation I so needed. As this area also had my bed in it, it blocks the early summer sun, which is slower to rise these days.
The Crown Maestro Light Filtering Double Cell Shades for the street side windows offered me a muted view of the outside if I left my window covered during the day or night, but allowing enough light in that I didn’t have to use electric lighting during the day. And in the coming cooling months, I wouldn’t have to turn the HVAC up high to warm the place as the cellular shades would keep the heat gained from the sun or the ambient warmth in. Crown offers some of the best window shading products at the most competitive rates that spell affordable. I opted for the regular corded control and valances that all came free with the shades.
Next, I will have to find ways to make my studio more of a home than a temporary resting place. But all in good time. And though there are more than a few bread and butter days ahead, I feel optimistic with a home to my name.