MODERN WINDOW COVERINGS
As someone who spent considerable time researching window treatments, most especially shutters, blinds and shades, I came away completely awestruck not only by the sheer variety that confronted me but also by some of the most fascinating advances that have been made in terms of innovation and function! Shades that combine the mystic quality of sheer drapes and the function of blinds, honeycomb shades that collapse to emulate traditional horizontal blinds or mini blinds, wooden blinds that are engineered to perfection to disallow the seepage of ambient light, motorized wood shutters for skylights, and the great strides taken in the improvement of motorization of window treatments!
Fabric blinds – Really? Who would’ve ever thought this was possible a few years ago? But these shades (in traditional parlance, all window treatments that can be raised and lowered and made of fabric or natural fiber are called ‘shades’, while those wooden or composite or metal ones made of slats or vanes are called ‘blinds’), or blinds have fabric vanes practically suspended in air between two exquisitely soft layers of transparent or translucent cloth, lending mystic grace and modern elegance to windows at the same time! Called Horizontal Drapery Shades or Horizontal Sheer Shades, this option is not something one can easily ignore, as they lend the traditional feel of drapes while making hem easily controlled for the view, room brightening and privacy as needed. Available as shades for doors as well, these shades are outfitted with manual and motorized control systems. Just as you can with blinds, the vanes of these shades can be manipulated for optimum light and privacy while in the completely lowered position, making for a shadowed view outside. Horizontal sheer shades also come in a dual combination of narrow and broad vanes in semi-opaque and sheer, lending a striped effect to your windows.
Another recent innovation that has me going ga-ga is something called Odyssey Insulating Blinds, patented by Comfortex. Here you have honeycomb or cellular shades whose cells collapse to form vanes that can then be adjusted to suit light and privacy requirements, just as you would with Venetian blinds. Unlike the regular cellular shades, when you want to have a look outside, simply flip the control mechanism that collapses the cells into vanes, and rotate them to the desired position without having to raise them, as you would have to, with cellular shades. When you want a level of insulation against the elements, flip the mechanism back to plump the vanes out into cells again! This is what I call ‘true innovation’!
Of late, even wood blinds and faux wood or composite blinds have been given a wonderful upgrade! Norman has had them patented with the ‘Smart Privacy’ feature that prevents any ambient light seeping through, as it does with blinds that have route holes for the cords that often create an irritating glare that would interfere with sound sleep or bounce off computer and TV screens, taking away from viewing efficiency; privacy is also curtailed to some extent with route holes. Light seepage is prevented with ‘smart privacy’ as the tiny holes for the cord to pass through is concealed by the overlapping slat. These newly upgraded blinds are also engineered with slats or vanes that are ‘colorfast’ and much more durable than they were previously.
An innovation that aids ease of control, thereby lending endless convenience is the Norman Skylight Shutters which can be customized to roof windows of any sort and size, and can be installed with “one position perfect fit” brackets in just a few minutes, as the brackets on the shutter itself are already pre-installed! Personalize it with a color of your choice that matches your window, and opt for either a manual or motorized vane control system. The motorized vane tilt mechanism is equipped with a remote control integrated with a radio frequency powered by solar energy. With today’s requirements of sustainable window treatments that warrants motorization, the latter control option makes complete sense.
And of course, the latest in motorized shades – the Z-Wave enabled shade control from Somfy! Automatic Blind Control! Sounds very “up there with the Jones’”, doesn’t it? But it really is an exemplification in simplified modern living! A convenient method of managing daylight for energy optimization, this system allows motorized shades to be configured with a remote, Smartphone or a handheld/wall mounted tablet so that they can be controlled from just about anywhere within the radius of the radio frequency chosen. You can have to appliances configured to work automatically, synchronized with your shades in order to maximize energy and lighting, be it lights that need to be dimmed or to fade off, the a/v system, the thermostats etc. Shades can be timed to raise and lower according to your requirements and also come equipped with light sensors that will raise, lower or adjust vanes according to the intensity of the sun. Hard to reach skylight coverings can be configured to work in sync with shades in the rest of the building! Well, what more can you ask for? And all at extremely competitive rates that will keep you coming for more!
Keeping up with innovation not only facilitates ease and convenience, but it is also a prerequisite for modern living, so don’t short change yourself – go for the best!