This post is in partnership with Bali Blinds.
We fell in love with our home for many reasons, but one of the biggest was the beautiful tree-lined street where it resides. Unfortunately, the Emerald Ash Borer hit our block hard and we lost more than a handful of trees to this tree-devouring pest. Luckily, the tree directly in front of our house was spared! The city was, however, forced to remove the trees on either side of it. It was a total bummer that left our front porch completely exposed to the harsh afternoon sun. During the late summer days, it was often too hot out front for us to relax and greet the neighborhood dogs as they passed by. CC was not pleased, and you can imagine how her mood set off the rest of the house – ha!
But! With the help of our friends at Bali Blinds, we gave CC (and ourselves) some much needed shade from the afternoon sun with a pair of handsome exterior solar shades. Exterior shades for our front porch has been on our list for years, and now that they’re in place, we’re wondering why we waited so long. (Isn’t that always the case?)
Note: You can also watch this video on YouTube.
Beyond handling the physically large size of the shades, the installation process was very similar to many of the other Bali Blinds in our home. Large L-shaped brackets are screwed securely into the vertical surface, and the blinds clip right into the brackets. To start, we determined the mounting height at one end and leveled the remaining brackets from there.
We opted to order our shades as an outside mount so that we could tuck it up into the fascia board, making them invisible from the street. There’s a sturdy 2″ x 12″ beneath the thin metal sheet, and our brackets were drilled directly through the fascia into the lumber.
Once all of the clips were in place and level with one another, we snapped the shades into the clips. The process is very straightforward, but a second set of hands is definitely recommended due to the length of outdoor shades.
We chose Frostine fabric in 10% openness for our shades. As you’re ordering shades, you’ll notice that fabrics are available in a range of percentages, typically anywhere from 1-14%. Think of openness like this: the higher the number, the more open the weave of the fabric. This allows more light to pass through, and a more clear view to the outside, which is what we were looking for. Simply put, we can see out, but during the day, passersby cannot see in. Perfect!
The white fabric and large cassette valance match the existing trim work on our home and tuck nicely inside the horizontal porch support beams. When not pulled down, they’re tough to detect from the sidewalk in front of the house!
Tip: Although the solar shades look mostly opaque looking in, all solar shades are see-through, and it’s important to keep in mind how this will impact your privacy at night. For example, if your lights are on in the evening, this will give others a view into your home. So although the see-through weave of solar shades offers you a brighter outdoor view from your dark(er) interior during the day, the opposite is true at night.
The shades open and close with a few quick pulls of the looped stainless chain. Operation is smooth and simple with very few moving parts.
Since exterior weather conditions can vary widely than interior conditions, the blinds include a reposition-able hook and ball system. This helps to keep the shades from blowing excessively in the breeze. Regardless of weather, these shades will stay where they’re supposed to!
Shade. Glorious Shade!
And about that shade that CC (and the humans of the household) so desperately desired? It’s absolutely perfect! Perhaps one of our biggest concerns – and a reason we put this project off for so many years – was the fear that it would feel too closed in. We’re happy to report that it’s quite the opposite! Because we chose a 10% openness (therefore, the weave of the fabric is more open), we still have a good view of the outside beyond the shades. It’s actually quite cozy, and we’re now able to enjoy our front porch all through the afternoon without the harsh sun sending us back inside! CC is quite happy, and so are we.
With a few pulls of the looped chain, our porch becomes a shady, private outdoor oasis in just a few seconds. CC is happy and so are we! This project was our first foray into exterior shades, and we’re officially huge fans. Down the road, we plan to give the front porch a massive overhaul that will include a tongue and groove ceiling as well as recessed lighting and a ceiling fan. We cna’t wait for that day, but until then, this is a huge step towards keeping this space comfortable all day long!
This post is sponsored by Bali Blinds, a brand we’ve used for years and continue to love. Our front porch is outfitted with Exterior Solar Shades in Frostine. Fabric samples are always free, and Bali Blinds can be purchased at any of these retailers or you can call their customer service directly. (PS: Did you know that Bali Blinds has a selection of custom Roman, Solar, Wood and Cellular Shades available at West Elm? Check those out here!)