When I started in this design business, I went to work at Chintz and Company in Calgary. I learned about high-end fabric there, and how to use my school-smarts when designing window treatments. I learned about table-scaping and I learned what makes good furniture. That was MY blinds 101.
After Chintz I worked at Cricklewood Interiors in Calgary. They sell high-end furniture there too, have a full design service and were, at that time, one of the most successful retailers of Hunter Douglas window covering products in Alberta. I learned about blinds and shades at Cricklewood. We didn’t sell just Hunter Douglas, we sold the other top four or five blinds and shades products as well.
Now that I have expanded my services to include Hunter Douglas window coverings, I have gone through their extensive training program and just last week I got my Certified Professional Dealer designation. To get this designation, I had to attend about 35 hours of training learning about each of their products.
I learned how the products work, what their features are and what Design Dilemma each product is geared toward solving. I learned how the new products are installed (I’m a Certified Professional Installer, too) and how to trouble-shoot problems. My head was spinning and I’m not kidding.
So, the upside is I learned that there have been a lot of advances in the “hard” (manufactured ) window coverings industry in the last few years. Not just Hunter Douglas, all the manufacturers have made huge advances.
The hardware is sleeker than ever before and almost any shade can be fitted for remote control without having to get an electrician. The fabrics are stronger and last longer and best of all, there are many, many more fabric choices. Textures are magnificent and the colors are truly reflective of today’s design esthetic.
There have also been significant changes in the insulating and UV protecting properties of many of the products. For example, the Architella shading is the highest R-value rated shade on the market, with a rating of R-7 to R-8.
In the spirit of sharing, I’m going to write a few columns over the next while about the different types of manufactured window coverings. We will look at what the differences are between the different styles, what problems they are made to solve, what to look for when you are about to purchase, and hopefully help you make the right decision.