WINDOWS – THE FAVOURITE FOCAL POINT OF EVERY HOME
Today windows are the favorite focal point of every home. Such a lot of thought and effort has been put into the way they are dressed. They should not only beautify a home but be functional too. However in earlier times, windows used be just tiny holes or narrow slats cut into the walls of primitive homes to let in light. They did not protect man from inclement weather conditions until they were covered either with animal skin, the compressed horns of animals, and thin slices of marble or even paper. In the middle of the 1st century, it was the Romans who used glass for the first time to cover windows. Today windows can be covered with single sheets of glazed glass or are even double glazed.
MANS INFLUENCE ON WINDOW
Man is in a continuous process of evolution or change into a different, more complex and better form. With his development of aesthetics, art and beauty, the environment around him too has been completely transformed for the better. So has it been with the homes he has built and the methods of decoration used. He has advanced drastically from the pictographic designs found on the walls of caves in the present form of art and interior designing. This has in turn influenced the type of windows that have been built and the various kinds of window dressings used to adorn them. Today, with the advancements made in science and technology they have been completely modified. What was once considered merely for its function has now gained immense attention for its aesthetics too.
THE ORIGIN OF WINDOW DRESSINGS
While the first curtains were made of stiff animal skin and fixed over doorways by means of hooks, drawings of reed blinds have been reported in ancient Egyptian tombs. These blinds were made from the reeds collected from the banks of the River Nile.
The early Venation traders are said to have brought the idea of blinds from Persia to Europe. Venation slaves, once freed, took the idea of blinds to France for their own personal comfort and also as a means of livelihood. The French called them “Les Persiennes”.
Centuries ago the tribes of African and Asian deserts used plain sheets of fabric to protect themselves from the blazing sun. This was the beginning of the history of roller shades. When early homeowners began to have actual windows, the first type of window coverings used were fabric nailed to the top and retracted to the side, with no mechanism used to lift or lower the shade.
The first shutters made of marble date back to Ancient Greece. Not being conducive to the average consumer at that time, wood workers mastered the craft of making them in wood with an improved design and functionality.
The Roman shade came into existence during the time that the Coliseum was being built in Rome. A wet towel was hung window openings to catch the dust. They soon realized the dual purpose that they served, and they continued to be used to keep the sun’s heat away and make the room cooler. When the Coliseum began to function, events took place for a greater part of the day and for spectators in the upper stands it became uncomfortably hot. Horizontal Roman shades suspended on poles, over the crowds, could be raised and lowered.
THE EVOLUTION OF WINDOW DRESSINGS
The first pioneer of Venation blinds in the U.S was John Webster, who began to advertise his ware in 1767. From then on, the blinds grew in popularity because of the technical advantage they had over cloth shading systems. These wooden blinds were found to be more durable and economical than other window treatments and were easier to operate. Venation blinds have stood the test of time and are still stylish and functional window treatments. In 1946 home decorating took a major turn when Aluminum venation blinds hit the market. These blinds incorporated fabric strips to control the raising, lowering and tilting of the metal slats. Although many of the historical versions are wood blinds, Venation blinds are now produced in Aluminum and Faux wood. They are more lightweight and cost-effective than wood and long lasting in high humidity spaces of the home because they are warp resistant. In the 1980’s vinyl began to replace Aluminum and became the standard mini-blind. Mini-blinds are available in more colors and textures. A variety of slat sizes gives more options for light control and privacy. Designer Headrails give them a sleek and fashionable look, and a dust shielding coating repels dust.
IN the 1800’s shades were made of a single ply fabric. This more sophisticated production of fabric allowed for new designs. The spring system of controlling them allowed them to be raised or lowered up to a desired level and left there in that position. This made light control more flexible. Later, chain lifted roller shades replaced the spring load roller shades. Further enhancement in the fabric has made it possible to use it for a distinct purpose. Now one can choose privacy without limiting light while others can choose complete darkness. In 1985 Honeycomb shades were developed for more efficiency. No longer were window treatments a stylish addition to a home. On the contrary they would provide privacy and reduce energy bills.
Whether casual or elegant, the Roman shades styles made available is always perfect for the home. The choices are limitless from Flat and Classic to Relaxed and more. Along with their elegant looks, they are available in a wide choice of fabrics in a variety of colors. They are provided with a lining to control the intensity of daylight and a coordinating valence that compliments the color and texture of the shade material. Decorative tapes and hems add to their style.
With the development of machinery in 1840, there was an advancement in textile production, weaving, and dyeing. After World War II, massive homes got broken up into apartments and curtains became an essential component incorporated into the style of the architecture. Simple, plain curtains with elaborate top treatments were used. In the last decades, simple curtain panels in silk, cotton, linen or any other synthetic fabric adorn our homes. Curtain lining for warmth and light insulation may be simple or multilayered.
WINDOW DRESSINGS OF THE 21ST CENTURY
The new technologies for motorization include battery powered options, simple installation and ensures silent whisper functionality. Motorized window treatments are the next step to technologically smart homes. They are integrated into a home’s automation system that enable us to control everything through our phone or laptop. By installing the corresponding app into our phone, raising and lowering shades is as easy as texting a message.
Previously cord free options would become stuck or bunched and require extensive repair. New technology has made better functionality and safety possible without this hassle.
Exterior shading solutions are becoming increasingly popular and many new constructions feature built-in window treatments.
More multi-layered window treatment options is another fast growing trend.
Window dressings are evolving to reflect current trends and are becoming eco-friendly, energy- efficient and technologically advanced to embrace the scientific knowledge of the 21st century.