Monthly Archives: May 2011

  • Window of Opportunity

    Posted on 31st May 2011 by Chris.

    One of the most significant features of a home is it's windows. They not only draw in the natural light that enlivens the atmosphere of your interior, they also have tremendous aesthetic importance to the interior and exterior of the house. The wide array of frames, styles and glass options can be combined to produce some very striking and pleasing results. And then you may even consider adding extras such as Controliss window blinds to give complete control over the amount of light you let in through your windows whilst completing a really stylish look. When choosing a frame, the more common options that come to mind are UPVC, timber and aluminium. But the less common selections, such as composite and cut stone frames may suit some homes better. Composite window frames combine the durability of aluminium with the natural insulation of timber, allowing your window frames to better withstand the extremes of the weather on the outside and still help to prevent heat escaping the home. For these reasons, composite frames are growing popularity. Another alternative is the cut stone window surround. Although these will not suit all homes, they give a grand look and are very long lasting. The style of the window very much depends on the window's location and surroundings. You may want your windows to tilt, swing open or be made to do both, but you will need to consider anything around the window that could potentially obstruct it's operation. For example, if you plan to have window blinds top fixed within the recess of the window, it may be in the way when opening a window that tilts and opens inwards. Alternatively, you may decide that you want a box sash window that you can simply slide open. Or you may even decide to install a sun tunnel. These are particularly beneficial for internal rooms as they will allow natural light where it would not normally reach. The various options available for your glass mean you can choose to make your windows, not only energy efficient, but also unique. Coloured or stained glass is a popular choice, but also obtainable are vinyl stained glass films that can be applied to a window to add an off-the-shelf design or even your own design. High quality windows are expensive, but by making the right choices, there is lot of opportunity to create something original that will be pleasing every time it is seen and that could last a lifetime too.

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    This Post was posted in Window Blinds and was tagged with blinds, frame, frames, glass, natural light, window, window blinds, windows

  • An Edwardian Revamp

    Posted on 31st May 2011 by Andy.

    After a delightful weekend spent at my brother’s house in Northumberland, I set about thinking what we could do as a bit of a surprise for when he gets back from his duties in the forces. My brother owns a very beautiful Edwardian terrace in a small seaside village, and is very intent on furnishing the house as it would have been in the Edwardian period. He has some lovely antique furniture and quite a modern kitchen which the previous owners have installed. Can you successfully mix old and new? I think sometimes you have to, although my brother does not have a television, he doesn’t believe that it’s worth having one, he has plenty of books and ahem a laptop. What I do love about the house is it feels really homely, it doesn’t feel like something trapped in time, it’s very tasteful and as a bit of a surprise, together with my brothers partner, we’re planning on giving some of the rooms a face lift. Project number 1 is the main bedroom. Currently covered in strange anaglypta wallpaper with the most hideous curtains.  Luckily it’s very on trend to find a vast array of wallpapers which copy old Victorian designs, and we have found such a paper which is beautiful and very elegant.  Because the bedroom window faces north the sun streams into the room all day long which is nice, but if you’re trying to sleep in summer its annoying getting the sun in your eyes at 5am. So I suggest blackout roller blinds, in a design of fabric that works with the house or maybe even some wooden blinds, this way you’re blocking the light out. The Controliss blinds are fab because you can lie in bed and open the blinds by remote control, plus there are no hanging parts, so the cat won’t end up playing with dangling cords. Project 2 is the conversion of the small rear garden, imagine if you will the opening scene from Coronation Street, small back yards with the original coal shed and privy. This will soon be magically transformed into a Greek Terrace, in white and blue, with lots of pot plants, furniture. There is a lot of paining to do, and a lot of moving stuff, I’m just hoping my brother will appreciate this, and not get too angry! We’ll try and be as Edwardian as possible, but I’m hoping it will be a nice surprise and he’ll appreciate the work we put in. Here’s to the Edwardian House in all its glory. Stick with the Controliss Blinds Blog to see how we’re doing with the house projects.

    This Post was posted in General Posts and was tagged with blackout, blinds, controliss, Edwardian, house, Remote Control, roller blinds

  • Batteries For Your Controliss Blinds

    Posted on 28th May 2011 by Chris.

    Over 80% of the batteries sold worldwide, are of the AA or AAA sized batteries. These batteries power a massive number of everyday devices, including Controliss battery powered remote control blinds, and are primarily categorised into single use, disposable and the rechargeable form. Different devices possess different levels of power demand and in correspondence to this, different types of batteries are better suited to different devices. There are currently 4 more commonly used technologies used in disposable AA and AAA batteries: Zinc Chloride, Alkaline, Oxyride and Lithium. Zinc Chloride batteries are the cheapest version and cope best with low power devices, such as a small basic radio. When used in anything that is more demanding, the power is consumed very quickly. Alkaline battery technology is the most popular compromise between cost and performance. An alkaline battery will usually cost around twice as much as a zinc chloride battery, but will last 2 to 5 times as long in most circumstances. While different battery manufacturers use of this technology may alternate in their batteries, varying brands will typically perform to within 5% of each other. Oxride battery technology was launched fairly recently and is designed to last longer than alkaline in high power applications such as a digital cameras and MP3 players. Lithium batteries are capable of lasting more than twice as long as alkaline batteries in more demanding devices. The range of operational temperature of Lithium batteries is much wider than others, making them the battery of choice for devices that are to be used in extreme temperature conditions.

    Rechargeable Batteries

    Disposable batteries will hold charge for a long period of time, in contrast to rechargeable batteries that, without use, can lose their charge in matter of months. However, we love the newer rechargeable batteries like the Sanyo Eneloop's that work great with all of the battery powered Controliss Blinds including Roller blinds, Venetian blinds, Vertical blinds and Wood blinds. These fantastic batteries can be recharged up to 1500 times, will hold up to  75% of their charge for 12 months and can perform just as well as disposables. The 2 common types of rechargeable battery are: Nickel Cadmium (NiCd) and Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH). NiCd Rechargeable batteries are the cheaper option. They usually discharge quickly, should be fully drained before recharging to maintain effectiveness, and are not recommended for high power applications. NiMH Rechargeable batteries can be used for higher power devices as they have up to three time the capacity of NiCd batteries. Capacity is measured in milli-ampere-hours (mAh). The higher the mAh of a battery, the longer it should last in your device. Recent developments in rechargeable battery technology have allowed the production of rechargeable batteries that have a high capacity and much lower discharge rate than was previously available. Rechargeable batteries such as Sanyo's Eneloop and Gold Peak Group's GP ReCyko+ can hold 75% of their charge after a whole year without use. Rechargeable batteries can also work out much more economical in the long run than the disposable batteries as, with every recharge, you are reducing the number of batteries going into landfill sites. Showing that it pays for both you and the environment to choose wisely.

    This Post was posted in Controliss® Blinds and was tagged with batteries, battery, battery powered, blinds, controliss, power, rechargeable, remote control blinds, roller blinds, Venetian Blinds, vertical binds, wood blinds

  • Even Sweeter Dreams With Blackout Roller Blinds

    Posted on 26th May 2011 by Chris.

    There is nothing like a good night's sleep to revitalise your body and mind. A lack of sleep doesn't just make you grouchy, it can have a negative effect on your metabolism, cardiovascular health and your immune system, as well as reducing your ability to learn and focus throughout the day. There are many ways to improve the quality of our sleep and the speed at which we manage to drop off, such as, reducing distractions, improving comfort, or even taking advantage of sleep assisting technology. One really cool and easily achievable step, is to remove as much light in from the room as possible. As summer is fast approaching, the days are getting longer; meaning even if you find the time for an early night, that last remnant of daylight is likely to prolong the amount of time it takes you to fall asleep. Controliss Blackout Roller Blinds are the perfect solution. With a wide selection of light blocking fabrics to choose from, you can pick a design that will look exceptional from the inside, as well as halt any light trying to enter from the outside. Not only that, you can lower any and all of our remote control  Roller Blinds in the room with the single push of a button, since the range of Controliss blinds Air wireless controllers can be programmed to command up to 99 remote control window blinds simultaneously. This is not the only technology out there that may be able to help you get your forty winks. There are various devices on the market that can play tranquil sounds that aim to help block out external sounds while relaxing your mind and help a lot of people get to sleep. These sounds are even available to download in the form of smart phone apps to play through your phone. Some sleep difficulties are not sourced externally, health care company, LifeWave, can offer the Silent Night sleep aid patch to help give safe relief from sleeping problems including insomnia. This patch uses nanotechnology to enhance the production of delta waves (waves occurring in our brains during sleep) to lengthen the stages of deeper sleep our bodies go through, resulting in a better quality and more consistently long night's sleep. Needless to say, you could, if you haven't already, try the traditional remedies a nice glass of warm milk to help boost your sleep pattern; but if this proves ineffective, I hope this blog has given some ideas to sleep on.

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    This Post was posted in Blackout Blinds and was tagged with blackout, blinds, insomnia, light, Remote Control, roller blinds, sleep

  • Sun Seeker App - Where's The Sunshine Gone

    Posted on 25th May 2011 by Chris.

    Despite being estimated at a distance of 149,597,900 km away from Earth, our nearest star, the Sun, has an undeniable effect on our everyday lives. For instance, it is the Sun's rays that we, here at Controliss blinds, are giving people control over with all of the electric window blinds we deliver. Throughout history, many civilizations have utilised the Sun's phenomenal power. From the ancient sun dials and water distillation methods, to modern day uses such as electricity generation and heat gain for buildings, or nearest star can certainly be considered one of our most important natural resources. Now there's a really cool way to predict to predict where that wonderful sunshine will be at the time of day that you need it – or the times when you do not need it. Thanks to Australian iPhone and iPad app development specialists, ozPDA, nature's ultimate multi-purpose tool can now be a little more predictable. They have developed Sun Seeker app that, combining the iPhone or iPad's 3GS, built-in GPS and camera, can show a 3D view of where the Sun will be at specific times of the day and even specific times of the year. This is displayed on the screen of the iPhone or iPad overlaid on top of the camera view. The Sun Seeker app may provide incredibly useful information for individuals in various professions, for example, landscaping. Better consideration could be given to help decide on the optimal position for buildings, plants etc to best utilise the effects of the Sun at certain times of the year. With other features at this app's disposal, including an overhead map view and a display of details such as sunset/sunrise times and elevation angles, the Sun Seeker app (available as a download for just £2.99 from the iTunes store) could prove to be much better value than similar apps; whether intended as a professional aid or just something to play around with. Of course, if excessive heat and glare from the Sun do become a problem, regardless, the team at Controliss blinds just might be able to recommend the ideal solution...

    This Post was posted in Smart Home and was tagged with app, apps, blinds, controliss, electric, iPhone, sun, Sun Seeker

  • Charley's Summertime Revamp

    Posted on 24th May 2011 by Andy.

    Searching for some inspiration for a summertime revamp I came across a few finds that I thought were worthy sharing on the Controliss Blinds Blog. So if you are thinking about renovating or decorating this Summer, maybe its worth taking a peek at some some things I'm using to inspire my summer revamp. In my case window blinds, curtains, tables, chairs, colour schemes and other furniture pieces are all on the agenda. There is a lot to play with, many great sources of inspiration, and as is usually the case for me, surfing the web is proving to be one of the most convenient and useful ways for a little keyboard tapping research.

    Firstly thinking about colours, summer is all about warm mellow long days, relaxing in the garden with a glass of wine, so chalky pastels are very apt. Take a look at the Dulux Forest Falls range  of gorgeous greens and team with dusky pinks and baby blues. The greens bring a fresh element to the home that is welcome all year round, and creates a calming and tranquil environment.

    If you’re thinking about some key furnishings or pieces of furniture, take inspiration from around the world take a peep at Traidcraft recycled furniture and fair trade homeware website . There are lots of beautifully crafted items to look through that will inject lots of ethnicity into many interiors.

    Let’s travel back to the 1950’s another seasonal trend for this year. Think muted primary colours, retro prints and furniture, with simple design implementation.

    Natural and fresh is another enduring style to pursue this summer, think about natural colours and materials, go for greens and browns, a selection of eye catching accessories and some statement furniture like these gorgeous rattan day beds for those  garden.

    So there are just a few ideas I've found so far but keep posted as I have been known to change my mind, especially when it comes to paint colours. That reminds me, I must buy those paint tester pots this time.

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    This Post was posted in Colour & Design and was tagged with blinds, colours, controliss, furniture, green, greens, inspiration, Summer, window blinds

  • In The Auto-Garden

    Posted on 23rd May 2011 by Chris.

    This year has brought us the warmest April in the UK since Met Office records began, over a century ago. On those sunny mornings, drawn to the windows by the streaks of sunlight breaking through the gaps in our curtains or window blinds, we looked out and immediately started to make this year's 'To Do' list that will transform the garden we see before us into our own sun-blessed delight. The usual routine of mowing the lawn, weeding the flower beds and then giving the area it's necessary water can be a back-straining or, at least, time consuming process. There are, however, ways to make this easier on the back and your schedule as gardening is yet another act that can now be automated. As mentioned in the previous Controliss blinds blog, 'Robot Chores', there are a range of robot lawn mowers available to buy, such as the MowBot. The MowBot works by sensing the signals sent from a border wire that is laid down to separate the areas that do need mowing from the areas that do not. It can also detect objects such as trees and then work around them. While there is currently no practical technological device capable of removing weeds from your garden effectively, there are many chemical weed killers that are formulated to target specific types of weeds. An impressive gardening development that is becoming more and more common, is the automated micro irrigation system. This consists of a water computer or water timer, a pressure reducing unit, and any watering components that are required for the garden. The system can be set up and programmed to water the garden at a constant rate or at certain times through a series of water outlets including drippers, that will allow an accurate set amount of water to a particular pot or row of plants, and spray nozzles or sprinklers, that will cover the other areas. Automated micro irrigation systems not only make the task easier for you, they are also more efficient because they use the exact amount of water that is required. Just imagine, next time the sun graces your garden with it's radiance, you could get up in morning, open your blinds, and be presented with a glorious garden that is actually maximising its own magnificence while minimising your labor.

    This Post was posted in Home Automation and was tagged with automated, blinds, garden, gardening, Home Automation, Smart Home, window

  • Get Lean While Your Office Gets Green

    Posted on 21st May 2011 by Chris.

    When most people hear the phrase: 'Just another day at the office', the mind will generate images of a smartly dressed individual; sitting at a desk, typing away or filling in forms, rarely showing any signs of happiness, enjoyment or content. But with all the wondrous technology available today, surely the office need no longer be given such a humdrum stereotype. Well there are designers and engineers out there making it their goal to inspirit the area where so many, spend so much uneventful time. The workplace is, more often than not, deprived of the latest technological developments. But such an update can not only improve the occupants' quality of life but can also increase energy efficiency. In an 'Intelligent Workplace', heating bills can be reduced using solar thermal energy and recaptured heat from generators. Steps may be taken reduce electricity use as well. Sensors can be installed that  will measure daylight levels and detect occupancy to avoid the use of lighting when it is not needed. Office workers may prefer to be given the power to control the office themselves. This is easily obtainable, as their work station can be set up to provide a great amount of control over amenities such as air temperature and flow, and lighting levels and directions. For example, with Controliss electric blinds installed on the office windows, a Controliss blinds wireless remote control will give the user control over the natural lighting levels in the office and, as the remote controls operate on a radio frequency, direct line of sight is not required.

    The inactive nature of working in an office often makes obesity an associated issue. However, solutions have been made available to confront this too. For instance, Utilia produce a piece of furniture, the ScooterDesk, that is designed to stimulated you to gently move and change position often, training your ligaments and muscles, and stimulating your circulation and metabolic processes. Experts have even developed and tested a treadmill desk, that will allow you to walk while you work, to burn more calories.

    Increasing portability of office technology means workers are no longer confined to sit at their desks. In response to the growing popularity of this scenario, we are presented with the Globus workstation designed by Michiel van der Kley. This is a compact mobile workstation, with a rotating chair and pull out table top, that can be moved wherever it is needed, opened and then used as a normal desk. So let's all look forward to the day when 'Just another day at the office'; fills our minds with excitement, surrounds us with delightful technology and helps us maintain a healthy waistline.

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    This Post was posted in Home Office and was tagged with blinds, control, controliss, desk, home, lighting, office, Remote Control, technology

  • The Old Ways Are The Best

    Posted on 20th May 2011 by Andy.

    If you’ve been reading previous blogs, you may know that over the weekend I stayed in Nottingham to look after a friend’s house and dog and to visit the guys at Controliss Blinds. One morning as I got up to go and freshen up I heard some clatter downstairs. It was the cleaner! The cleaner! Which is brilliant, and I realise that people do have busy lives and children and so on, so having a cleaner come for an hour or two to spruce up the house is wonderful, and to be honest she was fantastic, I couldn’t make a work surface sparkle like she did, and how did she do it? with minimum fuss and effort. Which got me thinking about how many products there are out there that do everything from  descale your kettle to clean the inside of the oven and remove stains on the carpet. But also these are highly formed chemicals, which although do a great job could be toxic. Kim and Aggies How Clean Is Your House created a flurry of home owners going back to the good old ways of using cupboard ingredients to clean. This saved them a lot of money on costly cleaning products and the results were just as good if not better. You’ll probably have some of the essentials for cleaning lying around the home and under the sink, like Lemon, white wine vinegar, baking soda and olive oil. These products are great for cleaning tiles, wooden floors and the great thing is they’re not harmful. White wine vinegar breaks down mineral deposits, olive oil will polish your furniture to a high sheen and protect it, and lemon will deodorise and destroy grease. They are all you really need!

    So the next time you peer through your beautiful Controliss electric blinds and spot murky windows grab some white wine vinegar and a newspaper and rub the window panes until they sparkle! The old ways are definitely the best.

    This Post was posted in General Posts and was tagged with blinds, clean, cleaning, controliss, electric, home, house

  • Robot Chores

    Posted on 19th May 2011 by Chris.

    In the 1950s, anyone with an interest in the developing computer world was eagerly anticipating the arrival of a motorised manservant, to do away with the menial tasks that take up so much of their leisure time. However, technological advances haven't fitted the bill entirely. We still do not have an all-in-one, human-like 'Robot'.

    Obviously, the predictions were not wholly inaccurate. Robotic technology has overhauled industrial manufacturing, where the capabilities of production are now simply incredible. Not only that, the capabilities are wide spread. Cutting, welding, spray painting, palletising and handling are but a few of the tasks that can all be performed with high speed and accuracy, thanks to this form of technology.

    Nevertheless, advances have not come an abrupt halt, far from it in fact. Robots have very much gone beyond industrial use and become domesticated. There are a wide range of advanced devices available to every household. These can fall into one of two categories: robots that perform necessary tasks and robots that serve a more leisurely purpose.

    From websites such as www.robotshop.com, you will find robots from various manufacturers such as iRobot. These manufacturers currently have machines for sale that will automatically clean and vacuum your floors and carpets. Although not in a human imitating shape or size, these cleaning robots can perform an effective job, with the added convenience of being able to navigate around and under tables, chairs and most other household furniture. Still, upon seeing these cleaners, the noticeable inconvenience is their proficiency when faced with stairs. They are capable of detecting stairs, to avoid falling down them, but they unable to ascend and descend the stairs and so owners with such an obstruction will need to choose between dirty looking stairs or a bit of manual labour that they had previously made an investment to evade. Other items available to alleviate your housework are LawnBott's robotic electric lawn mowers, which speak for themselves when it comes to their purpose.

    Other robots do show potential to fulfil the previously mentioned 1950s predictions. The only drawback being that they are not so much produced for servitude as for entertainment and leisure. Introducing the interactive robot toy, which has appeared in various forms and is where you are more likely to find your more human-like robot, for example; Robosapien, the interactive humanoid robot that attracted a lot of interest upon it's release. Another popular development in this category is Cyberstein's Titan, the entertainment robot capable of much human imitation and so has been given many public appearances at places ranging from holiday resorts to being on stage with the boy band JLS on their recent tour.

    Now, the common definition of a robot is: 'A machine capable of carrying out a complex series of actions automatically, and so on this basis you could classify a Controliss blind as a form of robot. Any of the 240V mains powered Controliss electric blinds, when programmed using the Air30GMT timer controller, is capable of carrying out a series of actions automatically at any desired time of the day, every day of the week. Is this not the ultimate robot for automating the window blinds in your home?

    This Post was posted in Home Automation and was tagged with electric, Home Automation, robot, robots, window blinds

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