Extra wide roller shades are always tricky for 3 main reasons: (1) most vendors don’t carry fabrics wider than 106” - so you have to split up the window with multiple shades, (2) the fascias (or headrails) are usually open at the bottom so you end up looking at the less appealing underside of the roller mechanism, and (3) freight charges now apply to anything over 60” in length, so it is outrageously expensive to get an extra wide shade shipped; the shipping cost alone on a long shade can routinely cost over $120.
But, since most people want to let the light in and savor their view of the outdoors, a number of my clients have needed really wide shades (over 108” – or 9 feet wide) so I’ve looked for a good quality vendor that can meet this need with a single shade. After tapping my network, a colleague of mine in the Massachusetts Chapter of the Window Coverings Association of America (WCAA) introduced me to Porter Preston, a shade and drapery hardware vendor in Waterbury, CT. Last week I had the opportunity to visit Porter Preston in person. The people there were great as they showed me around, and I was very impressed with their shade offerings.
I am happy to say that Porter Preston solves the three problems listed above both stylishly and cost-effectively for my clients. Their selection of extra wide fabrics makes the “problem window” no problem at all. They’re even close enough to Massachusetts to enable me to pick up the shades (and drapery hardware) for quick-turn projects if needed. Plus, they’re happy to support New England small businesses, just like us. I’m glad to be able to add them to my stable of vendors.
Pictured below are some of the manual and motorized shade options available from Porter Preston. Note the fascia (headrail) and how it wraps underneath so that the working parts of the roller are not visible. This would look great in any setting in your home with wide windows or French doors, so that the view is the star of the show, not the window treatment. I had a project last Summer with a modern living room overlooking the pool. These shades would have been perfect and would have provided an additional solution for my client to choose from.
To better meet my clients decorating and window treatment needs I’m always on the lookout for new vendors that solve the latest design problems. Porter Preston is yet another way for me to do that. Here's the link to their website if you want to read more about them: http://www.porterpreston.com/
Thanks for welcoming me so warmly, Porter Preston! (…..and the chocolates in your welcome package were divine – my daughter loved them…..)
I’ve always been an advocate of using the latest technology to help my Interior Design clients get a better idea of what their design choices are – before they have to commit to painting the room, purchasing furniture, selecting fabrics or having me fabricate custom window coverings. In fact, one of the mainstays of my design process is to prepare computer design renderings of what the room would look like in different configurations and with different styles or treatments using the “Dream Draper” software. You can read all about how I go about this on my website’s “Design Renderings” page here.
I’ve also integrated the Color Muse device that helps determine, match and select colors of any object (paint, fabric, furniture, accessories, etc.,) into my business. Here’s the blog from 23 July 2017 on that.
I’ve even got some apps to allow me to take better photos on my iPhone and to edit out unwanted items in the photos before I load them into Dream Draper so that I can start with a blank canvas. Here’s the blog from 26 March 2018 on that.
But these days the technology moves so fast that now “Augmented Reality” (AR) is starting to make waves. What’s “Augmented Reality” - it’s a technology that superimposes a computer-generated image on a user's view of the real world, thus providing a composite view. Since smartphones and computers are becoming ever more powerful this technology is getting ready to explode – and not just for video games. Here’s a great example that I recently ran across: the Dulux Visualizer App.
“The easy to use app lets you pick a colour from anywhere, and, with augmented reality technology, allows you to see the colours live in your living space. You can save as a video or photo; which you can also share with your family and friends if you’re finding it difficult to narrow down your colour choice."
Here’s a link to their website if you want to see even more detail:
Ikea has even launched their new “Ikea Place” app:
“Available on the App Store, IKEA Place lets you virtually ‘place’ furnishings in your space. From sofas and lamps, to rugs and tables, all of the products in IKEA Place are 3D and true to scale so you can make sure it’s just the right size, design and functionality for your room."
I’m not sure where all this technology will end up – but these tools sure help with the upfront planning – and I’m sure that the emerging AR technology will make things even better. So, if you run across any great technology that you think would be useful in Interior Design drop me a note.
Barbara Phillips, interior designer and owner of Center Stage Interior Designs, has delivered impeccable window treatments and design services to both residential and commercial clients in Massachusetts since 2001.