CHALLENGE: My first design presentation and sale has involved a very complicated and detailed window treatment scenario. I visited the client’s home on three occasions to safely and accurately measure the windows and the areas surrounding them for the treatment design. The day of installation proved to be one of the worst days of my life, as all the window measurements were off by one inch and the treatments were short and did not fit on the window properly.
I am an experienced designer with a team of three salespeople that work with me. What went wrong?
SOLUTION: Based on personal experience from about 25 years ago, I can understand everything that was going on in your head on your first sale. The first job I sold was a wall of windows! I was not about to make a mistake. The first item on my agenda was accurate measurements!
Accurate measurements are absolutely critical when creating window treatments, but time is money, also. Three trips to a client’s homes to check measurements shouldn’t be necessary.
My drapery workroom taught me a very valuable lesson: The best insurance for an accurate job is to have the installer do the final measure for each and every job, no matter how experienced you are as a designer.
I have lived by that rule on a daily basis ever since and it has paid off.
Here are some tips for the designer and installer to use each and every time:
1. Measure each window separately. When windows appear the same . . . they are not!
2. Establish a left-to-right scenario. Then you always will remember what you have measured and in what order you have measured them.
3. Measure all windows in three places for width and length.
4. Always measure window framing, molding, etc.
5. Consider all rod placements and mounting boards. Consider inside and outside mounting of hardware.
6. Read the manufacturer’s instructions, always.
7. Always use a heavy-duty measuring tape. Never use a cloth tape.
8. Check the width and also check the length of the angle of the framed window.
9. Record all your measurements the same way as your installer would. For example, all in inches or all in feet and inches. Never intermix.
10. Be aware of all light switches, heaters, vents, etc.
11. Floors can be uneven, double-check the window treatment length in three places.
12. If using an open weave fabric, be aware of how the fabric can “grow” in humid conditions.
13. Be aware of and understand all window treatment terms.
14. If your drapery workroom requires a specific form, be sure you understand all of its specifics for placing an order for accuracy.
Remember, your installer is your best friend. Rely on him or her for the accuracy and success of a window treatment job.
Editor’s note: This is a continuing series of articles written by Sharon L. Anderson that will answer some of the many questions we receive at Draperies & Window Coverings as well as questions Anderson has encountered in her own business. If you have a question you would like Anderson to address, please send it to:
c/o Draperies & Window Coverings
1724 E. Grand Ave.
Lindenhurst, IL 60046
Fax: (847) 356-9013
Sharon L. Anderson has more than 20 years experience in the residential and commercial areas of interior design. She is currently a faculty member at two Southern California colleges. Anderson has been featured in numerous books and publications.