I am working with a client that has a family room sliding panel door. The windows of the door are beveled to look like square panes. The other windows in the room are covered in two-inch wood blinds. The blinds are stained to match the decorative wood trim that surrounds all of the windows and the glass door. Above the door is a narrow arch window that has no trim, and is inset into the wall about one foot above the woodwork on the top of the doors. The client does not want to cover the doors, but needs to protect the wood floor which already has begun to discolor. What ideas can you offer for covering these doors without taking away from the woodwork or cut glass? One idea I am considering is a wood pole and rings.
Answer: A sliding patio door can be difficult to cover without interfering with its function, especially if it is used frequently. The square panes and decorative wood trim are beautiful accents that you would not want to cover. However, when sun protection is required to prevent harm to the floor and surrounding furniture and accessories, you must create a treatment that is both pleasing in itself as well as complementary to the window.
If there is enough room on or around the casing area of wood, you may choose to use a DuetteŽ or soft shade that has a very small headrail system and stack is a possibility. When the door is used, the treatment can be drawn up tightly and not be damaged easily by the wind or caught up in the door. I also like your idea of a drapery on a wood pole and wood rings. When mounted outside the window frame, however, it would hide the wood trim along the top of the window. This could be a drawback. I would choose an area about halfway between the bottom of the arched window and the top of the slider window and mount the pole on the open area of the wall. Also, use a one-way panel. Depending on the color of the walls, I would choose a fabric that would blend with the wall, which will in turn blend with the existing wood blinds on the other windows.
Another suggestion would be to use wood blinds. Mount two under one headrail. This would keep continuity with the existing wood blinds.
Also consider sliding shutters with two-inch slats to match the wood blinds. The panels are installed, one stationary and the other sliding depending on which side of the door opens. Vertical blinds may be a possibility, depending on the style of the room. A color to blend with the wood blinds and furnishings would make a nice, versatile treatment.
Remember if you choose a light and airy fabric, you should line it. This will give the much needed protection for the wood floors. A fabric that is not lined will probably not withstand the harmful rays of the sun.
All windows can be treated in one way or another with a protective film. Up to 90 percent of the sun's damaging light will be blocked out. This would allow you to use a lighter style of treatment.
Be sure to visually sketch your idea for your client, either by hand or with pictures. This will ensure that your design is what the client wants. Even a simple sketch can be enough to help the client visualize the treatment in place. This can save you money in costly errors or an unhappy customer.
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.