A Short History of Window Coverings


When you look at the motorized window blinds or custom drapes in your home, remember to see them for what they are … the pinnacle of window covering technology!

People have liked to have windows in their homes since humans moved out of caves. Windows let light in and keep our homes from becoming dark and damp, but they also let in dust, cold and, during periods of social strife, even bandits! The question of how to control what goes in and out of our windows is an age-old concern.

The Greek and Roman empires left us with some history of how that question was answered. The Greeks are credited with the invention of the window shutter. They made the shutters out of marble to keep out the hot Mediterranean sun. These must have been very heavy and the idea really drives home our designer  Theresa’s assertion that shutters should be seen as a piece of fine furniture.

The Romans had their own problems. Not only was it hot, but their cobblestone roads were dusty, making it very difficult to keep a house clean. The process of building their famous stone buildings, like the Coliseum, also produced a lot of dust and Roman homeowners needed a way to keep their windows covered. They came up with the idea of hanging pieces of wet cloth in the windows to catch the dust and cool the hot air. In time, inventors developed a way to pull these cloths up and down with a cord in a way that made the fabric fold up evenly. Today, this is known as the Roman Shade.

In the Middle Ages, Europeans had to solve different problems. The northern climate is not as hot, but homes and communities had to be protected against attacks. They developed the Security Shutter, a shutter held closed by an iron bar. They also built castles and palaces that needed suitable decoration, resulting in the widespread use of elaborate treatments, such as the Festoon and the Austria blind, both of which were updated versions of the Roman shade.

The use of window glass became popular in the late 16th and early 17th centuries, but those palaces still needed custom drapes. Many of the dramatic shapes and valances we use today are based on those installed in the 18th and 19th palaces of Europe.

Today, most people prefer simpler custom drapes, at least in Colorado Springs. 21st century homeowners are also concerned with energy conservation, which is why solar shades and cellular shades were developed. We have more versatile fabrics than our predecessors too.

We can only imagine how helpful motorized drapery rods would have been in a European castle. It’s too late for King Louis XIV, but we can still design something beautiful and functional for you. Call us today!

How Your Recycled Water Bottle Becomes Home Decor

Are you the kind of person who carries empty bottles for miles until you come across a recycling bin? Do you mull over how to get the plastic and metal pieces of used containers apart, so they can go into the correct bin? If you are then we have a window covering for you!

Recycling works because the items you put into a bin are made into something new and people buy that new thing. Hunter Douglas participates in this process by making attractive, effective shades from a recycled polyester fabric.

The fabric used to make them comes from recycled water bottles. The process is really very interesting and you can read about it in this CNN Tech article. The bottles are shredded and then the plastic is turned into pellets. The textile company extrudes the pellets into polyester yarn and then weaves it into fabric. Depending on the thickness of the yarn and the type of weave, the fabric might be coarse and tough or soft and flexible. These days, you might find be wearing recycled bottles in your jacket or it might be protecting your planner.

Hunter Douglas offers shades made of a recycled product called GreenScreen Revive. Revive is made by Mermet, an Australian fabric manufacturer. The product is certified to be safe, non-polluting and fully recyclable. It’s made from plastic bottles and can go through the process to be recycled again at the end of the life of the window covering.

GreenScreen Revive is tightly woven so that it reduces glare and heat coming through a window, just like any other fabric used for shades. Unlike other fabrics, each square meter of the shade represents 12 water bottles that did not go into a landfill.

Hunter Douglas recycles other pre and post consumer wastes. For example, it uses recycled steel and aluminum in its blinds. In this way, metals that would have been wasted are retrieved and re-used, ultimately reducing the need to mine more metal and forge more steel.

Whether it’s recycled aluminum in blinds or fabric made from recycled bottles, the products derived from these materials look and feel just as beautiful as products made from virgin materials. You will love the way your home looks and you’ll be proud of it, knowing your purchases have made the planet a little cleaner.

Contact us today to learn more about installing beautiful, environmentally sound window coverings in your home!

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Engineering Your Custom Drapes Makes it Right the First Time

Picture this: You decide not to hire a designer with the idea of saving some money. “It’s just drapes,” you think. How hard could it be?

You’re pretty good with colors and art, so you order draperies that go nicely in the room and a box cornice to finish the look and cover the drapery hardware.

Everything seems perfect until you go to install it and the drapery hardware doesn’t fit under the cornice! Now what?

Now you have to reorder the cornice, an expensive mistake. What else could go wrong? Lots of things. The rod might not work with the ceiling. The rod may be cut at the wrong angle for a bay window. A door may no longer open once the drapery is installed.

Designing and installing custom drapery is as much about engineering as it is about art. Interior Designers and Professional Installers do a lot of calculation and use special measuring tools to make sure your job is right the first time. It’s more technical work than most people realize and interior design professionals use more geometry and algebra than the average person likes to think about.

“A million things can go wrong,” explains our designer, Theresa, “but it usually doesn’t because a professional knows how to make sure they order exactly the parts and sizes they need.”

How does it work? Once the window treatment design is complete and the customer has approved it, the designer and installer gather the information they need to engineer the system. They come to the home and spend time measuring every part of the window and surrounding area. They make drawings and schematics and may make phone calls to the manufacturer that result in adjustments. It’s a team effort that continues until they are certain every piece of your window treatment will work properly with every other piece.

Professional measuring is a big enough reason by itself to hire professionals for your custom drapes because you avoid the expense of mistakes. The rod alone can cost more than $500!

What’s the moral of this story? Even if you’re an engineer, it’s ultimately less expensive to hire professionals to design and install your custom drapes. Contact us today and less us do the math!

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Finding Fabulous Fabric for your Custom Drapes

“I want to see out, but I don’t want anyone to see in,” commented a client. “Can you design a window covering that works like a one-way mirror?”

We don’t know of any fabric that shows your reflection on one side and is sheer on the other, but we do have textiles that will do almost everything else. Read on to learn about some effects you can get from your drapery fabric.

Blackout Fabric

Do you need to sleep past sunrise? We can design almost any drapery to block out the sun and keep the room dark until you open the drapes. How do we do it? We use a blackout lining that prevents light from seeping through. Blackout drapes are often heavy and can be used to insulate your windows too. What could be better for sleep than a window covering that keeps the bedroom dark and cool?

Sheers

Suppose you want the opposite of a blackout drape. Can we make something beautiful and custom that will let light in? We sure can! You might be reluctant since the ready-made sheers sold in stores are no more than 54 inches wide and have ugly seams, but we know how to have them made right. Unlike factory-made sheer curtains, sheer custom drapes are made to be seamless and can be more than 110 inches wide. You can choose from a wide variety of solid and patterned sheers, and your custom drapes, unlike store-bought sheers, will be full and fit beautifully over your windows.

Iridescent

Do you like a little glamour in your home? Iridescent drapes are like haute couture fashion for windows. They reflect a rainbow of colors and can be subtle or dramatic, with solid or patterned fabric. We’ll add embellishments that enhance the look of the room and add to your enjoyment of these glamorous window coverings.

We can design custom drapes in fabric to suit almost every taste and need. But what about our client who wanted the one-way mirror effect? We were able to offer screen shades, a product that lets you see outside during the day without letting people see inside. Combined with beautiful drapery to block the view from outside to inside during the night, it was the perfect solution.

We can design the right drapes for your needs too. Contact us today!

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How Much Do Custom Drapes Cost?

Are you wondering how to budget for custom drapes? How much do they cost? What are you going to pay for?

Designers recommend budgeting 3-5% of the value of the home for your custom window treatments. This might seem like a lot when you do the math, but consider that the window treatments are going to fit perfectly, be just what you want and be installed correctly.

Drapes include many separate parts that have to work together.

Fabric

Fabric choices run the gamut from simple muslin to brocade with a raised pattern and gold thread. The cost of the fabric is determined by the type and by the amount needed. Our interior designer, Theresa, works with you to determine how much fabric will be needed to clear the window and to ensure the drapes open correctly.

Lining

Drapes are typically lined and you can choose the type of lining. The lining makes the drape look finished and it can screen out light. A blackout lining used for a bedroom is more expensive than a thinner lining used for rooms that don’t need to be darkened.

Hardware

Hardware, such as curtain rods, finials and rings will make up about 40% of the cost of the project. Don’t be tempted to use cheap hardware. The drapes may not hang or open correctly if the proper hardware isn’t used and they won’t stay up if the cheaper hardware fails.

Labor

When you order custom drapes with Pikes Peak Interiors, we send them to a local drapery workroom where experienced craftsmen and women make your drapes by hand. The cost will depend on how complex the drapery design is.

Installation

We want your custom drapes to be as beautiful as you imagined and to last as long as you’d like to keep them. Pikes Peak Interiors uses experienced local installers who do the job right.

High Windows

Installers require more equipment and expertise to put window treatments on high windows and this can cost a bit more than a standard installation.

When you work with Theresa, she shows you what the drapes will look like before you order them and you can be assured that they are worth the cost before you ever place the order. Contact us today to learn more.

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