Sunday, June 3, 2012

Windows: some answers to your questions

Art and Surf is a beautiful modern residence designed by Steven Harris Architects and located in Montauk, New York.
If you build a house like this one, you aren't worried about privacy or any of the other obstacles even a small 24" X 36" window can have.  However, now that I have your attention----let's talk about window questions from the everyday homeowner.  

Question #1. I want to enjoy my view during the day, but we need privacy at night.     If you want "total" privacy or room darkening abilities, you will need something that is raised or opened during the day to see outside.  Room darkening usually requires a special fabric lining, wood blinds or shutters (but there may be some cracks of light), or cell shades with the foil lining inside the shade (not visible on the outside).  Also check out the answer below about Nantuckets and Silhouettes.  They are available with a room darkening vane.  Woven woods add a texture and natural look to your home, but do require a lining for privacy.

Bamboo shades with blackout lining.  Provide total privacy and sun control.

Question #2: I need some privacy during the day, but still see if someone pulls up to my home.   Your decorating style will have a lot to say about this answer.  Many things can fall into this category, and some depends on the "level" of privacy desired at night.  If it is total privacy, we are back to the answer in question #1.  There's also the option of having a two layer approach, with the first layer being a sun-filtering option, and the second layer having the blackout ability.  If you don't mind your neighbors seeing a light on in your home, there are some semi-opaque shades in many different styles that would work for you.  Also, for a more traditional look, there are many fabrics that allow sunlight (sheers) but when pleated and hung at the window, provide a level of semi-privacy.  You need to see these fabrics in person to appreciate them.  It's difficult to photograph!  Hunter Douglas has their Nantucket and Silhouette shades that will also provide filtered light and privacy all in one shade.  They look great alone, but can be used with other decorative treatments.

From the Hunter Douglas website.

Question #3:  I don't want to hide my transom/arch, but we can't see the television, and I'm afraid the sunlight will fade my sofa.  What can I do?  We've said it so many times, it sounds too simple, but the easiest fix is tinting your windows.  No, it doesn't look odd, and you won't even know it's there unless you get the super-duper/heavy-duty (not official names) tinting level.  In Joplin, we send out customers straight to Tint-n-More.  It is a great "first line of defense", meaning that it adds an extra layer of protection to anything else we add.  Some windows, and those facing the west are the biggest offenders, just need more than one layer of protection.  If you get a lot of sun during a small portion of the day, this might be a fix for you, too.  Not every window needs a treatment, but you could use the UV protection.  If you aren't in our area, checkout Vista Window Films for your problem windows.  

Case Study: Interior Designer: Jamie Drake, ASID, from the Vista website.
 Question #4:   Wow, why are window treatments so expensive?  Yes, they are, and your oversized windows are going to be more than you expected.  It all adds up, and quite quickly!  Unfortunately, the builders get to you first, and decisions are made, budgets are exceeded, and there you are:  beautiful windows that need a treatment.  Cheap hardware and wimpy curtains are going to take away from that wonderful home you now have.  We advise our clients to go a step at a time.  Don't ever try to plan it all in a day!  Work on the most important room, first, which may be the bathroom because of privacy!  When you see the quality that custom work provides, you'll be ready to move forward as your budget allows.  Please, if you have a budget, let us know at the beginnning.  We can tell you what is/isn't possible, and we'll only look at our choices within your budget.  The options are less, but that's not a bad thing---it helps keep us all focused and makes the decision making a little easier in a lot of cases!  Sometimes special hardware doesn't call for expensive fabric, but something simple, and vice versa.   And, if we do quote a price that is outside your budget let's sit down and decide if there is another fabric or brand of hardware that could be substituted.

Unknown original website.

The room in the above photo could have been accomplished in several steps.  The woven shades would have been the first layer, along with the furniture.  The addition of the area rug, lamps may have come into play before drapery panels.  Wall art and throw pillows are one of the last additions to bring the look together.  Obviously, this homeowner was partial to their well worn leather chairs (or maybe re-upholstering is their final step!). 


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