My question is how to cover the windows shown in this photograph. My first thought was to use hand woven window shades. If these were used, would I mount the treatment on the outside or inside of the frame? If I mount them outside, when down, I was hoping the windows would blend with the wall. The reason the room gives an appearance of being narrow, is that the ceiling is 20 feet high. What would your suggestion be? I do not want to leave them bare, as the sun will bleach the fabrics and floor coverings in the room.
First, the windows themselves are beautiful. They definitely need a treatment that will provide protection from the sun. My first suggestion would be to install a window film that will help delete the harmful rays of the sun. There are many different types of window film that vary in color. An additional suggestion for the lower, functional windows that have screens, would be a new type of solar screening material that may control a large percent of the harmful rays of the sun. New screens could be made of this material.
The shades you suggested also would work well for the situation. Or, you also may consider a soft shade with pleats. The colors available would probably be your deciding factor, as you should be concerned with blending the color of the interior wall. The use of a horizontal blind will work well to contrast the dominantly vertical scope of the room.
Depending on your budget, another idea would be custom shutters. Ordering a custom color to blend with the walls is another possiblility. Mounting the shutters on the outside of the window will take care of the contrast of the moulding around the windows that breaks up the wall. A second and less expensive alternative in wood, is wood blinds. You could match the finish to the wood trim.
Overall, no matter which type of treatment you choose, you should consider motorization for simple and convenient operation. The top windows could then be adjusted for light as well as aesthetics with the simple flip of a switch or by remote control.
To achieve a feeling of unity with the window coverings and the wall, you could paint the wood frame that surrounds the windows. If your client does not oppose this suggestion, soft window treatments may be mounted on the inside of the windows. This will appear somewhat more pleasing to the eye architecturally.
By choosing a more translucent type of window treatment, you will allow the beauty of the view to still enter the room, while retaining privacy and sun protection for fabrics and furnishings. The type of shade backing available from different manufacturers for the shades is another important factor to consider.
Keep in mind the shape of your windows. The manufacturer will charge additional for the shape of the upper windows. There also will be a surcharge for any type of window that is not what the manufacturer considers standard size.
Overall, there are various ways you may go to achieve an inviting, warm and tastefully decorated wall of windows.
Editor's Note: This is a continuing series of articles written by Sharon L. Anderson which will answer some of the many questions we receive at Draperies & Window Coverings, as well as questions Anderson has encountered in her own business.
Sharon L. Anderson, Associate Member, Interior Design Educator's Council (IDEC), has more than 14 years experience as a commercial and residential design professional. She has taught numerous courses at colleges and universities throughout Southern California and is a published author and frequent public speaker.