Q&A: How to Cover Angle-Shaped Windows Without Blocking all the Light.

As a certified window covering dealer for over 15 years, I get asked to help find the right window covering for many types of specialty shaped windows. And I will be the first to say that I can find the perfect window covering because I have a very talented and skilled window covering installer backing me up. His knowledge and experience compliment my product knowledge and design aesthetic and together we measure (sometimes re-measure) to ensure a perfect end result for the client.

That experience led us to be involved with a colleague’s client who needed to replace the blinds on their 3 angled windows.

Question: I have 3 angle-shaped windows and I need a window treatment for them. What type of blinds can fit these windows without blocking all the light?

Angled top shaped windows need new window covering

Before

Answer:  Blinds for angled windows are not items you can buy off the shelf at your local hardware or home decor store. They need to be custom made from a template that is sent to the manufacturer. An experienced window coverings installer would make the template and install the custom made blind.

There are a surprising number of custom window treatments for your angled windows. Here are my top five specialty shaped blinds for angled windows:

1. Woven wood shades

Woven wood shades are made from natural grasses and reeds which add a unique natural style to your windows. Made to order for a perfect fit for the rectangle and angled-shaped windows. On a specialty angle-shaped window, they will only raise up to the bottom point of the angle. The angled part will be covered with an extra-long valance.

Woven woods angle top shades

Woven woods angle top shades. Photo from Hunter Douglas

2. Roman Shades

Roman shade blinds are a classic style of window covering. The soft fabric fold fabrics are available in a wide range of patterns, textures, and colours. The fabric can be lined to be light filtering or blackout. In an angle-shaped window, they would be made as a stationary covering.  The same would be true for other specialty shaped blinds such as hexagon, octagon, oval and arch.

Angle windows roman shade

Vignette roman shade by Hunter Douglas

3. Shutters

Polyvinyl or wood shutters are a perfect fit for triangle windows.  Durable louvers move individually inside the custom built frame, offering the most custom light control of any of the specialty shaped window treatment options. If the louvers are made stationary because of the size of the window, they would be placed in an open or closed position. Shutters can be custom built for most specialty shaped windows.

Shutter custom for triangle windows

Shutter custom built for triangle windows

4. Cellular Shades

Cellular shades made for angled windows can be stand-alone stationary shades or mounted over any rectangular shade.  They are lightweight and do not have a large head rail or bottom rail.

They are energy efficient because the fabric is a honeycomb shape. This traps the air coming through the window, which insulates the room from outdoor heat and cold air. The honeycomb fabric can be light filtering or opaque. The latter is typically preferable for sleeping quarters and media rooms. In the photo below, another client chose this type of blind for their large specialty shaped windows because they needed sun protection without blocking too much of their view and daylight.

Duette by Hunter Douglas angled top and triangle shades

Duette by Hunter Douglas angled top and triangle shades. Photo by Nancy DeVries

5. Sheer horizontal shades

Different manufacturers will have different design styles for this product in a specialty shape window. One manufacturer will have only a bottom rail and clear clips holding the fabric at the top of the window. This option is preferred by those who do not want raised trim around their window frames.

Another manufacturer builds a custom shutter frame, inserting the sheer fabric inside. You can choose to have the fabric vanes in an open or closed position.

This is what the client who asked the above question decided to go with.

A template is made for the manufacturer to ensure a picture-perfect fit.

template for custom window covering. Do-Rite Installations

The end result. Sheer shades in a custom built frame, providing privacy and light control for the client’s over height angled windows.

Custom sheer horizontal shades by Maxxmar

Sheer horizontal shades by Maxxmar. Photo by Nancy DeVries

If you have a window that is not a standard size window and you would like to learn more about custom window coverings, call or email Nancy to find out what your options are.

Here are the links to the window covering manufacturers that I use:

Hunter Douglas 

Maxxmar

Elite Window Fashions

 

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Seven Stylish Treatments for your Kitchen Sink Window

In my childhood house, the kitchen sink had no window over it, only a mirror. Even at a young age, I imagined how much better it would be to have a window with a view, providing distraction from the daily drudgery that is dish washing.

Clients usually ask me for ideas for their kitchen window coverings that have unpleasant aspects or a lack of privacy. Happily, the house I live in now does have a window over the sink and I love looking out to my back garden. This window doesn’t need a covering for sun protection or privacy, but I sometimes find myself thinking of how I would dress it if I needed to.

Here are seven stylish treatments for your kitchen sink window to make it not only functional, but stylish:

1. Valances: padded, awning and swag styles.

A valance is a window dressing that covers the top portion of the window. Styles range from fabric-covered padded boards to dressy swags to flat straight-cut valances. A valance is usually mounted on the outside frame of the window, allowing for a privacy blind or shade to be mounted underneath.

 

Valance photo collage

Pinterest and Urban Aesthetics

2. Roman shades

Roman shades can be made as a valance (decorative) or as an operable shade. This classic design works well in both traditional and modern kitchens. Custom Roman shades can be made with your choice of fabric to bring colour and elegance to your kitchen.

Maria Killam's roman shade

Maria Killam’s roman shade

3. Bamboo/woven grass shades

This is a great way to add a natural woven texture to your kitchen décor. A bamboo or woven grass shade filters the light and provides privacy. It can roll up under a valance or fold up like a Roman shade. Made from natural woods, reeds, bamboo and grasses, they are unique in that over time they attain a one-of-a-kind finish, like other wood features in your home.

Hunter Douglas Woven Woods

Woven woods roller shades

graber-woven woods

Roman shade woven woods

 

4. Stained glass window panel

This idea is practical and beautiful.  Stained glass windows have been used as decorative accents for hundreds of years. Choose the panel in a size to cover as much or as little of the window as required to hide the view or provide privacy, and in a design that provides the colour and style that complements your kitchen. As my friend who provided this photo of her window says, “While I love the view of my neighbour’s yard, this allows them some privacy. I don’t feel like a Peeping Tom, and I still get beauty and natural light.”

Photo by Sheilah H.

Photo by Sheilah H.

5. Shutters

Vinyl shutters are one the best options for window coverings in high moisture areas. They can be wiped clean and are incredibly durable in a kitchen environment. The second image below shows how this style of shutter can provide privacy when the bottom half is left closed, while still allowing light in by leaving the top half open.

shutters on kitchen sink window

Hunter Douglas Palm Beach shutters

 

Luxaflex shutters

Luxaflex shutters

6. Light filtering shades

While you may want privacy, you likely don’t want to block out all the light that comes through the kitchen window. This is where I recommend a light filtering polyester roller shade or honeycomb shade. They are easy to clean, easy to operate, and the honeycomb shades can be ordered with the top down/bottom up feature so you can lower just the top of the shade, allowing you still to see out your window.

Top down/ bottom up honeycomb shades

Top down/ bottom up shades

Sheer screen roller shade

Sheer screen roller shade

7. Shelves and plants

What I like about this option is that you can have plants do what they do best: grow in a moist area, provide shade and give you nourishment. Glass shelves secured to ledges in the window frame give you the perfect area to grow herbs or your plant of choice. And the best part is that you won’t forget to water them!

 kitchen-window-herb-garden orchids as window dressing

What is YOUR kitchen window wearing?

If you would like more information or even an free estimate regarding a treatment for your kitchen sink window, give me a call.

For more inspiration, check out my pinterest board.

 

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PowerView Motorization – coming soon to a window near you

The next step in window covering motorization technology is coming soon to a window near you. It’s called PowerView by Hunter Douglas and it’s all about two-way communication between you and your window coverings.

More details will come in July when it launches in Canada, but yesterday I, along with other authorized dealers, got a preview of how it works and how the new features, like the Pebble Remote and the Scene Controller, will transform how light and privacy can be controlled in our homes.

PowerView Motorization - coming soon to a window near you

PowerView Pebble remote is available in seven colours

The new remote is ergonomically shaped and is very user-friendly, with buttons for group of shades operation, shade up/down, vanes open/closed, and my favourite, a STOP button. Previous remotes had only an up or down button, and in order to stop the shade, you had to press the button that was the opposite of the direction of the way the shade was moving.

The Scene Controller lets the user create scenes to balance different lighting and privacy needs throughout the day. The user can create a scene that is called Good Night which can make the shades lower and close at a certain time or whenever it suits the mood.

PowerView motorization

Another great feature is the new PowerView App, (which is available for Apple, iOS and Android, where you can personalize how your blinds will work with your lifestyle. For example, you leave your house for work in the morning when its grey and rainy, you turn your lights off but forget to open your blinds are still closed from the night before. Around noon you see that the sun is out, and you want to make sure that your house plants don’t die from light starvation because your blinds are closed all day. You can go into the PowerView App via your mobile device and open your blinds from wherever you are.

Or, say it’s a Saturday afternoon and you are out doing your errands. Your teenager is at home still sleeping and you want the lawn to be cut before you get home. Use the App on your phone to open up the blinds in your teenager’s room! Now how have you lived without that powerful feature? LOL.

PowerView Motorization - coming soon to a window near you

For the energy conscious homeowner, you can schedule the operation of your window shades to optimize your home’s energy efficiency. So when the sun is beaming through your living room window during the afternoon, you can set the time for your blinds to close so you can reduce your solar heat gain, which then reduces the amount of time that your cooling fixtures will need to be running.

This technology is unique and innovative, as well as fashion forward, for you and how your live.

If you would like PowerView motorized window shades for your home, contact me at info@urbanaesthetics.ca to set up an in home consultation.

 

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Hire a professional to help you deal with an unexpected mishap in your home

There’s no such thing as a good time for a burst pipe or any other unexpected disastrous mishap in your home, but when you hire a professional decorator to help and assist in the recovery process, you can save time and stress! Let me give you an example:

Recently, a long-time client of mine woke up to flooding caused by a burst water pipe in an upstairs guest room. Although much of the damage was confined to the guest room, water also flooded into the rooms below, affecting family room, living room, dining room and kitchen.

Before_during

Family Room before and during the restoration process

I have worked with this client since 2005, assisting her to choose paint colours for her whole home, and select and purchase custom furniture, window treatments, light fixtures and other décor accents. Our professional relationship proved very useful during this stressful event.

Below is the redecorated family room with new silver drapery hardware from JF Fabrics, drapery panels made with fabric from Maxwell Fabrics, and new wall colour from Benjamin Moore Paints CSP 830 Peaceful Garden.

Drapery panels on FR windows

Drapery panels and window bench cushion after renovation. Photo by Tracey Ayton Photography

Insurance and restoration companies often aren’t staffed with decorators who are experts in design, fabric, paint, and how to oversee the making of custom pieces that reflect a homeowner’s style. My client suggested to her restoration company that they bring me on board because she knew I could make sure that the items that needed to be replaced would be of the same quality as those we had originally installed. She also knew I had her information on hand, had her style in mind, and could supply the original purchase paperwork to make this process faster and smoother.

For example, years earlier we had chosen a beautiful light fixture with a lovely amber shade, and my client wanted to replace it when it was ruined in the flood. I still had the product code and contacted the light company to reorder the same style and the same colour. The salesperson confirmed the product via catalog photo and model number. I was assured the same fixture was on its way.

However, after almost six weeks of waiting, the fixture arrived and the “amber” shade was actually a reddish colour! Also, the size of the crystals was different (see photo below – original crystals on the right). The numbers matched, but the product had been revised and the original amber colour was no longer available.

chandelier mismatch crystals

I handled the situation by returning the fixture and taking my client shopping to find a new light that she loves.

Chandelier

 

Situations such as the light fixture can be hard to for a homeowner to handle on their own. It can be difficult and stressful to deal with wholesale companies or manufacturers when something goes wrong. I can handle the stress and deal with the bumps in the road for the homeowner.

I have professional relationships with furniture and design companies and their salespeople. I’ll visit the workrooms, check on the fabric, re-order and re-do things on behalf of my client. I can help speed the restoration and redecoration process so that a client isn’t living with dust and grime for what can feel like forever. It comes down to having a history of experience with my clients and connections in the decorating business that representatives from a restoration or insurance company just won’t have.

Working with the same professional decorator over time also assures that when something is redesigned, due to a change in preference or an unexpected problem such as a burst pipe, it’s easy to keep elements of the previous design and refresh other parts, such as paint colours or window treatments, to update a room. We were able to do that in the guest bedroom. Originally the walls were yellow and had no drapery panels. Now the walls are BM AF 515 Exhale (ironic don’t you think?) and match the drapery panels that were moved there from the master bedroom.

Drapery by UA1

When designs are classic and true to the style of the home, updating here and there is much simpler. And it’s exciting for me as a decorator to see how a client’s style can change over time.

If mishap does happen, be sure you know your insurance contacts, and consider hiring a professional like myself to save you time and stress in the recovery period.

I wish you a happy and prosperous 2015, and may all your renovations be planned!

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How remote control blinds can allow you to relax in your home

So you’re curled up on the couch with your favourite drink and your snuggle buddy (mine is my dog, Zoe) – ready to watch that highly-anticipated movie, ready to truly relax, when you suddenly realize that the glare on your screen means you need to close the window coverings! You could get up, ruining the comfortable little nest you’ve made for yourself on the couch. Or… you could close your motorized, remote control blinds without even leaving your seat! Wouldn’t that be nice?

Couple-Watching-UP-TV1

Automated motorized window covering products include drapery tracks (that roll from left to right across the window), solar screen or fabric pleated shades (that move up from the bottom), and even shades that move from the top down.

remote control blinds

Any motorized blind can respond to your command by the push of a button on a wall switch or a remote control.You can even move the shades with your favourite mobile device! For example, Hunter Douglas provides an app for Apple products that allows full control from your iPhone or iPad. hd_app_1_0

Some manufacturer’s automated shades can have a timer that can be set to respond to the time of day, a pre-set room temperature, or even the position of the sun. This means the blinds can:

  • automatically close to stop the sun’s glare from damaging or discolouring furniture and artwork
  • open in cold weather to keep your heating bills down
  • close in warm weather to keep your cooling bills down
  • open in the morning to provide a pleasant wake-up call
  • close when you’re away to prevent anyone from seeing in

The possibilities are endless. Just imagine if you have a motorized shade in your children’s rooms… While you are in the kitchen enjoying your morning coffee, you realize it’s late and you still can’t hear your kids getting up for school. To help them wake up, you pick up your iPad, and with a single swipe of your finger, voila!, their blinds are opened without you even having to step foot in their room!

In all of these great explanations why motorized shades are so convenient and easy to operate, the number one reason why most of my clients ask about motorized shades is because their furniture, or even their teenager’s pile of clothes, is blocking the access to the blind’s pull cords.

Remote control blinds

In spite of all these benefits, you might think that the cost of automatic blinds would outweigh the practical application. However, over the years they have become more and more affordable, as well as user-friendly. Furthermore, their cost can be off-set by the long-term energy savings from decreasing both your heating and cooling bills. There are numerous companies that provide excellent automatic systems, including:

With the right remote control blinds, you can make sure your home gets the light—or shade—it needs in a way most convenient for you.

If you would like an estimate on motorizing your window coverings, contact me through my website.

 

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