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DRESSING for LOFT WINDOWS – A combination of Artisan Roman Shades and Drapes

A combination of Artisan Roman Shades and Drapes

Lately, I’ve been seduced by the idea of living in a loft…all that boho New York charm from the 60’s! Having visited the UK recently, I noticed that loft conversions were a popular form of home improvement there, as they translate into added space for a bedroom, study, office, or even for a gym! But what has me really charged up are the spacious warehouse lofts that were typical of the SoHo area of New York City in the days of the hippy! Obsolete industrial buildings were illegally converted into living areas by impoverished artists in the heart of the city. The early 70’s saw NYC legalize this form of residential spaces, and ‘loft living‘ soon became the new buzzword that induced its spread to previously industrial neighborhoods like Tribeca, Chelsea and Greenwich Village.

Today, Tribeca could easily be considered one of the best places to live in NYC – with nary a crime committed, a great transit system and schools, living in light-filled loft-type apartments in painstakingly rehabbed industrial buildings is quite the norm. Having already overtaken the Upper East Side as the richest precinct, lofts in Tribeca are insanely expensive to buy. Visiting friends (designers, albeit in the line of restoration) who recently moved into a remodeled 1830’s Tribeca loft, I felt my dream begin to crumble! $1.8 million for a 2000-sq ft loft apartment for heaven’s sake! They retained the original windows but got new gas-filled glazing with a low-E coating; the original tin ceiling was reinforced and insulated; the brick walls were worked over to retain its traditional looks. You could really get the feel of the 19th century,even though a few modernist elements were introduced, like a couple of white walls, pale oak floors and stainless steel Miele kitchen appliances. The renovations set them back a whopping $700,000! A welcoming fireplace and 12-ft walls make for spaciousness, and along with the vintage media center cabinetry, evoked seamless traditional tones.

The kitchen and the dining area is in the middle of the loft, a place that’s often dark in 19th-century buildings, as the windows are in the front and the back. Taking advantage of the 8-ft space between their building and the neighbors they punch out three windows to light up the eating area, the kid’s room and the guest room. The window in the dining room was made with a window seat that comes in handy when they entertain, which is every weekend!

So the couple considered the following factors before they decided on the window dressing they chose:

· With the added windows, the loft was quite bright. In summer, this could prove to be a problem, even though their east-facing windows are smaller than the new additions.

· UV ray protection to prevent interior fading.

· Energy efficiency, as they’d already taken steps to create a more or less green home.

· Privacy, as the area was crowded with other buildings, some higher than theirs, allowing a clear view into their rooms if the windows were left uncovered.

Being designers who work closely with architects and builders, they’re quite savvy about all the options available to them. Though they know that cellular and solar shades are almost too good to pass up on, they decided against them as they looked too modern in their 19th century set up. As were vertical blinds, though these didn’t quite measure up in terms of energy efficiency. Wood Blinds and Plantation Shutters were excellent options that met with practically all their considerations, but the lady of the house thought they should go for fabric options as they had too many wooden elements in all the rooms.

They zeroed in on a combination of the Classic Roman Shades with light filtering liners (with a seamless front and a scalloped hem) and complementary Drapes that could be caught back with scrolled finials for the common areas; Roman shades with plain hems blackout liners and complementary insulated drapery for the bedrooms; cordless white composite blinds for the bathrooms; and brushed aluminum cordless mini blinds for the kitchen, to go with all the stainless steel appliances. The insulated drapes, while adding to the Victorian elegance of the interiors, also provide added insulation in the summer and winter. Their only concession to cutting edge technology was to opt for automated shade controls that are recommended for green living; more importantly for them, this option ensures child and pet safety. Composite blinds for the bathrooms provide absolute privacy when required and no warping of slats over time.

The Artisan Roman Shades and Drapes from Graber are beautifully hand-crafted with an intricate eye for detail that is unmatched by any other. Available on Zebrablinds at just the click of a button, the couple had made informed decisions that allowed them to make their order online with absolutely no glitches. The DIY instructions were also comprehensive, and knowing that assistance from Zebrablinds was something they could always rely on, they installed their window dressings with the minimum of fuss.

A ‘warmly modern’ Victorian abode! In the middle of New York City! Just what I’d always dreamed of. But I know it’s just not going to happen for me – it’s all way beyond my budget. I have to set my sights elsewhere, where the boho chic is more prevalent than it is in NYC today!

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