The Decorative Roman Shades.
Fluttery sheers on a warm sunny morning; the graceful feel of the warmth you can bask in with heavy drapes closed off to seal off the bone-chilling freeze outside; decorative valances to elevate boring window and curtain styles; exciting finials and holdbacks that allow for added grace to the framed picture of the view outside – this is what I grew up with. Now that I have a home of my own, I want something different, yet give me that elusive comfort that was home to my inner child! But one thing I’m sure about – I don’t want layers and layers dressing the smallish windows of my tiny apartment.
Ever seen a lawyer’s office windows dressed in anything other than Venetian blinds or drapes? Well, it was a nice surprise to visit a well-decorated one, the said lawyer a charming 40-something lady. She had these beautiful decorative roman shades on her windows with classy style that minimized the otherwise formal tone of the room – two walls lined with wooden bookshelves, a large Victorian table with a single Tiffany lamp – if she’d used drapes, the room would’ve been downright stuffy! But the Roman shades sort of lent the correct finishing touch to bring about a formal elegance that wasn’t overpowering. And they matched her upholstered chairs, the fabric, candy-striped sateen. And no decorator stepped foot in her office! Masterful lady!
A Variety of Choices.
While Roman Shades has its origins in Europe, I wouldn’t say they lend a European flavor to the decor at all unless you want them to. I find that there are these varieties- like the Looped or relaxed roman shades that has teardrop loops that cascade down its face to create draped elegance; the Classic Flat Roman that has a seamed or seamless flat face and creases into neat flat folds up the front bottom when raised for an excellent minimalist appearance; the Relaxed Roman that has the bottom fold drooping slightly for that relaxed or casual feel, especially if you have a lot of period furniture; the Balloon Roman shades that can be used as a stationary or functional Roman shade that drops into a series of poufs when lowered completely, and when raised, they form generous skirted look to the bottom edge that serves to soften the formality of a room, at once creating the ambiance provided by conventional drapes. Roman shades are available in any fabric type – cotton, jacquards, silks, satins, linen, woven natural/grass/ bamboo, polyester blends, etc. And the colors and prints available will have you going absolutely gaga, to suit any interior decor possible!
I am told that windows lose 20 times the heat that a comparable wall space would lose, so heat loss and infiltration were factors I had to consider before making a choice among the various Roman shades available. Though my windows aren’t fixed, they, along with the pair of balcony doors I have sport glazed, nitrogen-filled double-paned glass, which is I’m told, good blockers of both the heat and cold. However, I’m pretty sure that some amount of infiltration happens as I do feel that whisper of a draft as I pass by. I’m sure I need to get a mason to check them out, but while that may not be very high on my to-do list, I will make sure to opt for shades that have liners that will provide protection to my interiors, so I don’t run up my power bills. And Zebrablinds have many options, from the standard fabric protective lining to moisture repellent, thermal and blackout liners; I am told that insulation without a moisture repellent backing is completely counterproductive as my windows could crack due to sudden expansion due to hot air hitting glass panes, or sudden contraction due to cold air hitting the glass panes (and ensuing condensation), resulting in untold disaster. Who wants that? Also, those who require room blackout can opt for opaque fabrics with a blackout liner. This would also provide optimum protection to interior elements and prevent the ever dreaded fading.
Privacy and Lift Controls.
The traditional cord lifts (continuous cord loops or not) that are still pretty popular (mostly because it comes at no extra cost) don’t excite me in the least. What holds my fascination is the top-down, bottom-up feature – one could never have this option with regular drapery! The shades can be lowered to reveal only a view of the treetops and the sky, blocking the view of any activity inside a room – a great privacy measure, don’t you think, then if you were to raise the shade? Apart from the TDBU feature, there are the cordless and automated lift controls that you could take advantage of in consideration of child safety and ease of use and energy savings. The automated lift option is so cool that it allows for the operation of all the shades at the same time, integrated with your lighting and a/v systems as well! It works on a radio frequency that can operate the shades at the touch of a remote button from a distance of up to 65 ft. It can be fitted with a timer so that the shades can be configured to raise and lower automatically at preset hours, without your having to consider it, in order to optimize the sun’s energy during the day and provide insulation at night.
So as they say, a little knowledge is dangerous. This fear had me speaking to the consultants at Zebrablinds who walked me through all the pros and cons possible, and I finally chose the classic flat, seamless Roman shades, as I like the clean and elegant lines on them. They are from Graber’s handcrafted line of Artisan Roman shades – intricately crafted with an eye for perfection, I also selected the water repellent and thermal liners, and had the shades mounted on the insides of my window niches and the frames of my balcony doors, a couple of inches from the glass panes, which I’m told is best for prevention of cold air infiltration and warm air seepage. I got some FREE coordinated valances for the shades as well; the automated TDBU lift control is integrated with my lighting and a/v system, so I can catch a movie on a Sunday afternoon in peace – no light glinting off the TV screen to give me a headache! In a self-printed cream color, as I have a super duper leather sofa that’s pale green, and the cream shades accommodate the changing colors of my bed coverings that are all of a cream background anyway! And all at practically a steal, a fraction of the sum I was willing to invest in them!