Monday, October 22, 2012

DIY Upholstery, Window Treatments, and Tinting

Sea Gem's salon (main living room) is almost entirely surrounded by ports (windows), which allow for natural light to stream through the boat's interior. This is both a curse and a blessing. Boats without large ports can be quite dark, however the absence of natural light also keeps them cool. In contrast, our boat's interior is bright and airy, however the abundance of sunlight results in excess heat.

The majority of our salon's ports are covered by custom Bermuda shades, which allow us to manually regulate the amount of natural light (and heat) entering our boat. However, our large forward-facing ports, which receive sunlight nearly all day, are not covered by Bermuda shades due to their steep angle. Uncovered, they permit a tremendous amount of light to flood our boat's interior:

Forward-facing Ports
To keep the sun's powerful rays from entering the salon, Sea Gem's previous owners created custom panels that locked into place over the forward-facing ports:

Port Covers
This clever solution works well, but the fabric covering the panels clashed with our decor. The mismatched look bothered me, but since custom upholstery work is rather expensive, fixing the panels wasn't a top priority. 

Although Eric and I agreed to put this decorating project on-hold until after we finished more important projects, as I stared at the panels the other day, it occurred to me that they were approximately the same size as a king-sized pillow case. An idea formed (I may not be the poster child for DIY projects, but I most certainly can stuff something into a pillow case). So, off to Target I went and returned with these:

$10 Pillow Cases from Target
After washing the pillow cases to remove the wrinkles, Eric and I stuffed the panels into the shams and stapled the excess fabric to the back of the panels. The result? Newly "upholstered" panels:

Newly Covered Panels
Covering the panels with pillow cases allowed us to quickly and inexpensively achieve the look we desired. However, before even starting the project, it dawned on me that since the panels cover windows, their backside would be visible from outside of our boat, and our (potentially) shoddy upholstery job would be on display for the world.

Prior to being covered by the dark shams, this is how the ports appeared from the outside:

Pre DIY Window Treatment
And here they are after:

Post DIY Window Treatment
Overall the difference is negligible. The dark color of the pillow cases is muted by the storm covers, which results in a (custom) tinted look. Very fancy. While unintentional, I'd say it is an improvement to Sea Gem's exterior.

Martha Stewart would be proud...or perhaps horrified, I'm not quite sure. 


  1. I'm proud if that counts. lol.

  2. Looks good! Also, is there a difference between Bermuda shades and plantation shutters?

  3. I just looked and there is a difference between the two. Apparently, we have plantation shutters, not Bermuda shutters. I guess I'll need to correct the post!

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  6. I really wanted to learn on how to do DIY upholstery. It envy the ones who can actually do it perfectly.

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