Our new addition was completed this past summer. It is now winter. This large three-panel door faces almost due north. I urgently need to find something that will provide significant insulating protection, especially because I am located in Maine. Do you have any suggestions for what I can use?
SOLUTION: What a huge window/door combination at that! Let me offer you a couple of options for treating this north-facing sliding door in your new addition.
The first issue I would like to address is color. With a wall of windows this large, the choice of color will play an important role as it does in all interiors that are successfully decorated. I would keep your color choices fairly close together in shade or tint based on your choice of wall color for this particular room in your home. For example, if your wall color is neutral such as a soft ivory color, I either would stay with that shade for the window treatments or choose a few shades in variation. In this particular case, because the window treatment is such a huge part of the room, I feel all the walls should blend together¬including the wall of windows. You then will be able to use your chosen accent colors throughout the rest of the space.
The next thing I would suggest is to check into the possibility of insulating the windows if they are not already protected with some sort of solar protection such as window film. If the windows are insulated already, there are a few additional ideas I can give for you.
One is a product called sun screen or shade cloth, and it offers optimun solar protection and energy savings as roller shades, flat shades or soft-fold Roman shades. Several companies supply sun screens, such as MechoShade Systems, Inc., and have been featured in product showcases in the pages of D&WC magazine.
Many other companies¬Comfortex, Hunter Douglas, Window Fashions, Inc., Novo Industries, Skandia Window Fashions, Vertilux and Steven Fabrics, among them¬offer energy saving products. (See D&WC, January 1998, page 72.) Each of these businesses also have Web sites that provide additional information about products.
A center-draw drapery treatment could be ideal. Be sure to check into quilted fabrics or drapery linings for added insulation and sun control. Vertical blinds also will offer you light control and the option of a one-way draw across the center, opening portion of the door.
Depending on your budget for this room, shutters are another possibility that would provide light control and insulation.
Do not rule out honeycomb shades or horizontal blinds. Many suppliers allow for multiple shades under one headrail. Opening the center shade independently from the others would allow access to the door. Be sure to check with each manufacturer, however, as to the maximum width for each shade or blind under a single headrail if you choose this option.
As for the accessorizing the hard window treatments, adding a dynamic valance to this area would be nice. The advantage to this choice is the softening of the wall of windows. Again, the choice of color is very important because it's such a large area. Various shades and tints of neutral colors would be an excellent choice.
Remember, you have 19 feet of window treatments that will definitely make a statement in your room. I would keep the fabric choice simple, yet elegant in this situation. Color can be used throughout the room in various degrees of strength, but this wall should be a color choice that will serve as a backdrop to the rest of the room.
Stay warm in Maine!
Sharon L. Anderson has more than 20 years
experience as a professional interior designer in both commercial and residential design. She has taught at numerous colleges throughout California and currently is an educator
at Moorpark college in southern California.
She is a published author and frequent public speaker.