I've been on a forced hiatus for the past couple of months due to a broken right wrist.
For years I lived carelessly, teetering one legged atop many ladders, and nothing ever happened. Back in July, I finally lost my balance while stepping off the bottom step of the ladder to the floor! The fall wasn't that bad except that I smacked my wrist on a nearby chair frame, breaking it in several places.
After seven weeks in casts, I am recuperating nicely and glad to be able to use my right hand again for many reasons. Read into that what you will.
Although not climbing ladders to measure for window treatments, I have been busy this summer with many requests for 'those 'see-through' shades' for new construction in Chicago.
These shades are usually made of pierced PVC panels and allow you to look out over the beautiful views of Chicago. You may have seen them in new condos or commercial office spaces. They come in many colors ( white is the favorite ) and in different degrees of opaqueness ( densities that allow various visibility ) . They can work in many different styles of décor, but are most at home in a contemporary setting. The advantage is that because they roll up, they do not block any of the views on large windows.
There are, however, several limitations that I always point out to clients who ask for them.
The first point that I clarify for people is that visibility is at the side of the light source. Just as you can see the city when there is sunlight, the city can see you when the sun is down and your interior lights are lit. In other words, there is no privacy provided by these shades at night time. Misinformation is often given that 'you'll just see shadows at night'. This is not true! Case in point is a client of mine who lives opposite a hotel. Whoever furnished the hotel put these shades in the bathrooms. At night you can see everything that the guests are doing in the bathrooms!
The second characteristic of these shades is that there are limitations on the dimensions. The shades can only be ordered at certain maximum lengths and widths. This is because of the limited dimensions of the goods used and the durability of the roller systems on the shades. If, for example, you have several four foot wide floor to ceiling windows in a row, you will not be able to have one shade to draw over all of them. The space will have to be broken down into several shades, probably several that are four foot wide.
Another point that many people don't consider is that there has to be a control on each of the shades. If you are fortunate enough and have the foresight, you can have electrical wiring installed to have remote controls on the shades. If not, then each shade will have what is known as a 'clutch roller system', which is a continuous chain on one side of the shade. This chain hangs down at all times and controls the height of the shade. Sometimes it is possible to have the shade on a spring roller ( eliminating the need for the clutch control system ) if the window is not too tall, but this is rarely the case. Also on the market are systems that are battery operated for remote control, but these require extra components that may not physically fit in all situations.
Also understand that these shades are strictly a custom-order product. They require very precise measurements and extensive experience on planning and installation.
If you are considering this type of shade for window coverings in your home, be sure that you keep all of this in mind before placing any orders.
Joseph Rice is an interior decorator who specializes in window treatments. Visit his Web site at www.josephriceinteriors.com . You can e-mail him at email@example.com or call 773-271-2361.