The Deceptive Beauty of Natural Roman Shades.
I had a huge German friend visiting the other day, and when we went through for lunch, he seemed nervous about something, and sort of dilly dallied about looking at my plants and carefully selected terracotta murals and the group of pendant terracotta lamps above the dining table. When I told him to sit down, he looked embarrassed and said he doubted if the rattan dining chairs at the table would take his considerable weight! Well! At least he was considerate enough! And I launched into an impassioned speech about the deceptive fragility of cane, rattan, bamboo, and woven grasses, assuring him that we’ve had these items of furniture for years, with a multitude of people, both big and small, having used them. And he sat gingerly on one and took some time to relax, in spite of my having told him that I’d had a cousin who weighed 150kgs staying with us during the holidays, not too long ago!
Oh, but the beauty of cane! I was always fascinated by it, especially as child going through those Home and Garden mags that would have pages of the pictures of these beautiful homes with sunrooms furnished with white and natural rattan and bamboo, surrounded by lush greenery! And more so when I visited an aunt who’d decided to set down her roots in Chennai, India. She has this stunningly appointed beach house completely furnished with cane furniture. When I asked her if they wouldn’t catch mold as the place was so humid, she said that the furniture spoke for themselves, didn’t they? She had her French doors open all the time; only her bedrooms had air conditioners, she was so hooked to the natural elements of the beach! In India, after cane or bamboo furniture is made, they are given a coating of colorless polyurethane paint that makes them impervious to the growth of microorganisms and protects against moisture loss or gain.
The Self-rejuvenating Property of Bamboo.
Today, we have all sorts of bamboo furniture, both traditional and contemporary, chunky and sleek, in regular styles and modular styles; bamboo is a timeless material that is being reinvented continually into modern designs. Bamboo is becoming more encompassing in its use as it’s one of the best examples of eco-friendly wood or material – it is a self-rejuvenating member of the grass family, becoming an important product in the burgeoning green market. Given the right conditions, bamboo grows at the rate of two inches per hour! On the slower side, it is estimated to grow 24 inches per day. Considering that oak trees take a 100 to 150 years to reach full maturity, there’s no disputing the value of bamboo. Bamboo is said to collapse ion itself every 10 years, starting the growth cycle again, sprouting from its fibrous roots. Due to this factor, bamboo is best harvested for construction, flooring or furniture after its full maturity, between 3 to 7 years, depending on the species.
Interiors and patios done up in a combination of bamboo and light wood, terracotta and greenery is my passion. Over the years, I’ve helped many friends put together very contemporary styles for their homes in the same combination. I’ve always used bamboo blinds and woven wood shades in my house. Of late, I’ve come across natural woven curtains, but I’m no fan of drapes and have always used woven bamboo roller blinds. In the last couple of years, I’ve replaced the roller blinds with the Tradewinds Natural Roman Shades from Graber. Slowly. Room by room. They are exquisitely crafted, the finish beautifully executed, and they blended in with my state of the art bamboo furniture, and in combination with my terracotta lamps and artefacts and my lush indoor plants, gave my interiors an earthy but comfortable sophistication. My walls and ceilings were all white, all the woodwork and flooring was dark wood, so the soft natural tones of bamboo and white upholstery stood out in sharp relief.
The Tradewinds Natural Roman Shades.
Graber says that there are all sorts of natural elements that create variations and inconsistencies in the color weave, grain, and texture, and warns that they may crack, twist, bow, etc. But if there are any such things, it’s not visible. And cane and bamboo, like all natural products, improve with age, its color deepening, making for rich overtones, rather than the lived-in shabbiness of unnatural products. As for cracking and twisting, as most homes are temperature regulated, such things don’t happen. Yes, being subjected to extreme climatic differences do affect the structure to an extent, but all Graber’s products are treated to withstand variations in temperature – which makes them resistant to the growth of mould and bacteria as well.
Well, I opted for the looped sheer Anyl (Bamboo Reed) Natural Bamboo Roman Shades with tan privacy liners, all in one go, for the living, dining and study, with turned headrails to fit seamlessly into the narrow depths of my French door frames. For the bedroom and corridor windows, I chose the elegant Standard Roman style with TDBU, in the light filtering Yunnan (Bamboo Reed) with cocoa room darkening liners, also motorized and integrated with the rest, as and when they were fitted, over 18 months.
Now, the Roman Shade style is one where the panel of the shade is suspended from a headrail, extending to a bottom bar or rod for weight. Behind the panels are thin/narrow cross sections of wood or plastic fitted at even intervals, embedded with rings through which the cords run to lift the shade in neat bands or folds of the fabric. Available in all the standard varieties of operation, I chose the motorized one. My French doors are large, and why would I want to bother lifting and lowering the shades when technology enabled programmable operations that would allow fantastic energy savings was available to me, making up for the cost of motorization in no time at all, which is negligible, really.
And though they were available options, I dislike gimps and trims and hem bars – too fussy for my style. Don’t hesitate to go for the Tradewinds Natural Shades and Drapes from Graber – they promise decades of use if you so wish, and they are the unsurpassably eco-friendly option.