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Back Issues
2012 - Summer Issue
Casas Bonitas
Window Treatments
Article: Jessica Muncrief
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Say good-bye to cheap, metal blinds and faded old curtains that do very little to enhance the look and feel of your home. There are a number of much more attractive and functional window covering options. So many in fact, that selecting the right treatment can quickly become an overwhelming task. We talked to three local experts, Mike Robalin of Southwestern Home Products, Sherry Franzoy of Decorating Den Interiors and Lynda Power of Designs by LL Power, and they helped us wade through the waters of the window covering market. "Every window should have something," notes Sherry. "Even if you don't want to dress it up, there are so many low profile options, that you shouldn't go without the added protection and privacy."

    Photo Captions

1.) Hunter Douglas

2.) Decorating Den Interiors
     Sherry Franzoy

3.) Hunter Douglas

4.) Designs by LL Power          Lynda Power

5.) Hunter Douglas

6.) Designs by LL Power          Lynda Power

7.) Shop Girl Interiors

8.) Trinity Homes

9.) Designs by LL Power          Lynda Power

10.) Designs by LL Power            Lynda Power

Decorating Den Interiors
Sherry Franzoy

Designs by LL Power
Linda Power

Home Products

Functionality First
It's easy to get caught up in style when choosing window treatment options, but our experts agree that functionality should be your first concern. "Function first, aesthetics second," says Sherry, and Mike concurs. "The first consideration is the homeowner's objectives, whether that be to create privacy, eliminate glare or reduce heat gain," he says. Window placement and direction in regards to views, neighbors, and light are all important initial considerations.

Privacy, Views and Lights
These are the three main concerns when selecting window treatments, and there's no reason that you can't have it all. Sheers and shades are available in translucent materials and fabrics that can filter or deflect the sun's rays while still letting the light in and giving you added privacy. Many horizontal window treatments are now able to be lowered from the top down, in addition to the traditional raising from the bottom up. This allows you the advantage of the view and extra light at the top, while still maintaining privacy on the bottom. Wood blinds are beautiful options that can really round out a room. For optimal views, choose versions with large slats that don't obstruct the panoramas when open. Mike also recommends retractable shades that are installed on the outside of the home, but easily operated with just the push of a button inside. These shades are like large screens. They don't mar the view at all, they block heat and UV rays, and they can even lower your energy bills.

Horizontal vs. Vertical
The dimensions of your windows and the direction they open are going to help determine whether they are best suited for vertical or horizontal window coverings. Hunter Douglas, the leading manufacturer of window fashions in North America, recommends horizontal for windows that are wider than they are tall and those that open from the top or bottom. Windows that open from side to side and are wider than they are tall are often best suited for vertical coverings.

Combining Materials
There are so many products on the market that it can be overwhelming trying to decipher them all. Sherry says a simple way to break it down is between hard and soft treatments. Hard treatments include blinds, shutters and shades, while soft refers to fabric treatments like drapery and valances. Often times, a combination of both is ideal. You'll probably need the hard treatments for privacy and light and heat control, but fabric softens the room in terms of both style and noise level. Lynda explains that it isn't difficult to seamlessly incorporate the two. "For example, we can design an upholstered cornice board in the customer's choice of fabrics and then use a 2 to 3 inch wood blind for privacy," she says.

Personal Style
Although function is tantamount, you will naturally not want to neglect style. Both of our interior design experts say they look at the décor, colors, furniture and accessories in the home prior to selecting window treatments. "I believe window treatment design can transform the interior of a home more than almost any other design element," notes Lynda. "There are many lavish fabrics and trims, as well as a vast array of drapery hardware, that can transform an ordinary window into something very dramatic. These elements can pull together the furniture, accessories, and rugs, setting the tone for the entire room."

Professional Advice
There is no arguing that you have a lot of options to choose from when it comes to window coverings and treatments. The best tip Sherry would give to a homeowner interested in window coverings is to do some research and get some expert advice. "There's a lot on the market and they all do different things. It's easy to get lost and overwhelmed," she notes. "Contact a designer. We do more than just decorate; we can provide education and information so you get a finished product that will satisfy all your wants and needs."

From shutters and shades to blinds and drapes, there are a number of ways you can optimize the windows in your home. Don't be afraid to mix coverings and materials to get the look and functionality you are hoping for. "Be creative," says Lynda, "There are many wonderful new and innovative window coverings available and they are one of the only products in your home that can be sustainable, energy efficient and beautiful." ///
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