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Window covering solutions for slanted windows

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Joined: Mar 28 2005

Does anyone have any ideas on how to cover the tall slanted windows under a pitched roof? It gets too hot/cold to leave the windows uncovered, and right now I have tacky and old vertical blinds that fall down if opened/closed too quickly. I would love a more streamlined and modern look, but can't think of anything.

Thanks, Julie

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Joined: Sep 16 2005

I am having my windows tinted with a film. The film I chose is only slightly tinted gray so it should not change the appearance of the house. It will greatly help with the heat and sun fading. It is suppose to help with the cold but that I will have to feel to believe. If you are interested shoot me an e-mail mchester at berkeley dot edu.

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Joined: May 21 2004

We use the Honeycomb blind from Hunter Douglas. It brings a modern look and the best part is that you can get the motorized version. It operates on batteries (last 1 year with daily use) or power line. Really convenient to adjust the blind level depending on the weather.

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Joined: Mar 28 2005

ecrins wrote:
We use the Honeycomb blind from Hunter Douglas. It brings a modern look and the best part is that you can get the motorized version. It operates on batteries (last 1 year with daily use) or power line. Really convenient to adjust the blind level depending on the weather.

Thanks for the reply. Do the Honeycomb blinds really work on a slant? And on really large windows?

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Joined: May 8 2005

We are dealing with the same issue.

How thick are the honeycomb blinds when rolled up? And have they provided any insulation?

We installed roller shades in our office to protect the computer/make it possible to work during they day, and they look really nice--very clean and simple and modern and they virtually disappear behind the beam when rolled up. We've really liked the look/function and so have tentatively planned to go with custom roller solar shades for the larger wall.

But I'd love to hear more about the honeycombs, as we initally liked them a lot.

Lisa

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Joined: Apr 2 2003

What roofline do you have where you've used the roller shades--flat or slanted?

When you say the roller doesn't show behind the beam, are you saying you have a ceiling beam running parallel to the window? I'm curious because all of the beams in the public areas of my home (living room, kitchen, multipurpose room) run perpendicular to the windows.

Can you tell me the brand and installer of your roller shades--I might still be able to use them in the study/4th bedroom where the roof is flat.

Thanks for any and all info.

Cheers.
Jake

eichfan at rawbw dot com

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Joined: Apr 2 2003

Re: Honeycomb on slanted rooflines.

I looked into this quite a bit. And the conclusion was that you cannot put a honeycomb blind in that covers the entire space of a slanted window.

The salesperson said it would be possible so I hired the installer they recommended to come and measure. I don't know if the salesperson didn't pay attention to what I was saying about the slanted roof or just didn't know their product, but the installer said it wasn't possible to do what I wanted. A blind that would cover the entire expanse, side to side and top to bottom.

He gave me only the obvious option which was not suitable to me:

-You can run the header across to create a retangular space from there to the floor and put the honeycomb in this lower area.

- You can leave the triangular space above the header open or have a *fixed* shade installed.

Since I didn't go to the trouble of getting single expanse glass just to have it cut up by blinds, I scrapped the honeycomb idea. Neighbors repor they are beautiful and functional (though a bit pricey), but it seems they are best suited to flat roof areas/homes.

I've been investigating a cable and clip system from IKEA--it's main drawback is that the clips only hold lightweight material. With that (or instead of) , I will probably use a seasonal cover on the atrium again.

Let me know what you end up with.

Jake

eichfan at rawbw dot com

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Joined: Mar 28 2005

Yes, I've heard also that you can't put normal Honeycomb on slants, because it wouldn't hang correctly and wrinkle. I would assume that roller shades wouldn't work either for the same reason.

I did find this Colorado-based company online:
http://www.blindcornersandcurves.com/

They said their blinds are fully operable, from top to bottom. They have patented a special mechanism that allows for this on slants or just about any shape. I will be contacting them for an estimate, hopefully it won't be too expensive. You would think that with all the slanted windows out there, there would be more options than this. Business opportunity?

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Joined: Apr 2 2003

Sounds promising--actually sounds too good to be true, but I'm desperate ;-)

Not sure how the mechanism would work that would be able to bring the retracted shade to parallel the slanted roofline, but I'm curious. I'll try to contact them in the next week but if you hear from them first, I'd love to know what they tell you. Seems to me if these blinds really work, they have a large untapped market of Northern California Eichlers...

Their website doesn't say much. I'm hoping they've done some installations out here with customers who'd be willing to act as references.

Thanks for the lead.

Jake

eichfan at rawbw dot com

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Joined: May 8 2005

I agree the website looks great, and we're going to contact them, too, so it would be great if whoever hears first could post some futher info.

Jake, to answer your questions: we were desperate for window coverings in our office when we moved in last summer. It was impossible to see the computer screen during the day, and we both frequently work from home...But we were not willing to invest lots of money on window coverings that we weren't certain about, so we got our roller shades at Bed, Bath and Beyond and hung them on the three panels in our office. They did the trick and they look nice. I would love the same look in the kitchen/living space. And yes, because of the sloped roof line, there is a gap from the roller to the roof line of maybe 6-8 inches at the widest. It is nearly impossible to see, as the gap is hidden behind the beam that parallels the window on the two narrow windows. You can see the gap on the double wide window where the door is located. BUT this room is quite small, and the shades are almost always down, because I work in here off and on during the day. so we don't really get the perspective that would allow us to really notice the gap breaking up the window line--which would really bother us. So, my husband thinks (& I agree) these may not be a good solution for the larger room, where the windows are the focal point, we get a long and wider perspective on them, etc. Our thought was to order just one, see how it looked, return it if it didn't work, but now we will probably seek out this other company first.

We, too, are desperate for some window covering as it nears summer. And actually, early summer wasn't so bad for us, but late summer and fall were unbearably hot due to our exposure. Jake, what kind of seasonal covering have you used?

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Joined: Mar 28 2005

I received an estimate for 7 large trapezoid window coverings. I think it's probably reasonable for custom-made fully-operable blinds, but it's still a little out of our price range (we're a little poor right now). It's the only fully-functioning solution that we can find, so we will probably revisit this option when we have more money or when the blinding afternoon sun drives us crazy, whatever comes first. The person I talked to at Blind Corners & Curves is really nice and helpful and can probably answer any questions you have.

Julie

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Joined: Oct 10 2003

on the opposite end of the expense spectrum:

I had some blinds that needed repair a while ago, and the blinds company sent me a paper blind -basically butcher paper in a zigzag fold with tape at one end- as a temporary window covering.

We've ended up using that blind in our spare bedroom as a cheap-o window covering, and the funny thing is that it looks pretty good for windows you dont have to look too closely at. Under direct sun, the paper is fairly translucent, so it lets in a decent amount of light and acts as a decent glare stopper.

If your windows are above eye level, some butcher paper might do the trick while you decide what to do for real.

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Joined: Apr 2 2003

lharper said:

"We, too, are desperate for some window covering as it nears summer. And actually, early summer wasn't so bad for us, but late summer and fall were unbearably hot due to our exposure. Jake, what kind of seasonal covering have you used?"

The basic idea was wire attached to the facia of the atrium, strung parallel to the beams. Two wire per partition. Sun fabric was sewn into panels to a length about 1 1/2 times the actual length of the opening. Metal eyelet were punched every 2 feet or so along the two long edges of the panel. The wire was strung through the eyelets and attached to the opposite facia. The fabric sags between the eyelets. It creates the kind of billowed sailcloth look you sometimes see in magazines for outdoor terraces.

Hardware
I mentioned that I had picked up some wire and clip curtain hanging apparatus from Ikea. Although they are not meant for outdoors, we thought it would be Ok for CA's dry summers. The wire that came with the apparatus was not long enough so we bought the same wire but in a roll from Orchard Supply.

Fabric
We also had sun fabric panels which the previous owners had left. You can get the material from Orchard supply in basic colors (black, white, beige, I think). They had sewn the panels crosswise to to make the desired length.

We might put it up again this spring (when the rains stop). If so, I'll post some pics.

Jake

eichfan at rawbw dot com

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Joined: May 8 2005

Thanks, Jake. I like your solution a lot, especially since it's temporary and can be removed for all those months when it's not really needed. I'd love to see pictures if/when you get these up.

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Joined: Apr 2 2003

I was in OSH today picking up cactus soil (yes, I am transplanting cacti in the middle of our monsoon...takin advantage of my landscaper neighbor's downtime). Anyway, I stopped to see what colors of sunscreen fabric OSH had this season and was reminded they now sell a "solution" very similar in concept to what I was describing. It's called "SunScreen Canopy" and it's made by Easy Gardener.

The OSH near me (Bird and San Carlos in San Jose) has a small mockup and a pamphlet on the system. For some reason, the Easy Gardener company doesn't have much info on the product on their website. However, you can see a bit of a promo at the media company they hired:

http://www.media-motion.net/news-easy.htm

It's different from what I did in that it uses small plastic clips to attach the sunscreen fabric to the wire, whereas I thread through gromitts. Otherwise, very similar. They have 2 fabric weights--lightweight (50% UV reduction) and heavy (90% UV reduction, the weight I used). Their fabric comes in 6' w by 25' l prepackaged for $40, or you can name your length at slightly more per foot. All hardware is sold separately: anchors (for attaching the wire to the facia at either end), clips, wire, etc. so you can buy just what you need.

Anyway, for those interested in using their product or creating something themselves along the same line, I'd recommend taking a look at an OSH display.

Cheers.
Jake

eichfan at rawbw dot com

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Joined: Apr 2 2003

And back to the original question re: blinds for slanted windows.

For those interested, I followed up on Julie's original pointer to the Blind Corners & Curves folks out east and spoke to the same lady (Margie). Here's what I found out:

- They have a patented headrail system to handle those awkward windows shapes.

- The blind itself is made out of Hunter Douglas material--good to know as you may have both straight and slanted windows to cover and probably want them to match. It is double cell--so it helps not only with heat-gain in summer but heat -oss in winter.

- Blinds are measured and installed by homeowner (or you can hire someone if you are not comfortable). They can give you instructions on how to measure.

- At this point, it appears they are opened and closed via a pull mechanism not the remote Hunter Douglas offers. I've asked for confirmation on this.

- If you send them your rough dimensions, they will send you an cost estimate. The blinds aren't cheap, but appear to be made from good quality material, are custom made to fit, and appear to solve a particular problem. To give you a rough idea, a large-size slant topped windowruns about $1000-1200. Don't know yet how this compares to the Hunter Douglas regular variety, but given this solution can help year around, I'm thinking it's worth the price. (Certainly cheaper than a new boiler and/or AC.)

- Takes about 6 weeks to manufacture from order time, can pay all or part (at least 50%) when ordered, full due before shipping.

- They have no redistributor in California. The lady I spoke to (Margie) offered to send me fabric samples, some photos (same as website but print resolution rather than web so easier to see), and is faxing me some reference letters.

- I'll let you know how things turn out. If these work, we should probably approach some of our local blinds people to redistribute for them.

Cheers.
Jake

eichfan at rawbw dot com

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Joined: Mar 28 2005

Thanks Jake, for posting all that info about the trapezoid blinds. When I talked to Margie (a very nice person, I might add), I was a little hung up on price and never got to some of the detailed questions. Also, I have three little boys hanging onto my ankles, wanting my attention, inevitably whenever I'm on the phone, so she may have actually mentioned all those things, but I was just so distracted I didn't remember them.

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Joined: Apr 28 2006

I'm a design student up here in the San Francisco Bay Area specializing in Eichler homes. My most recent project involved exactly this. 3 Day Blinds has the capabilities of altering the length of the pulls on the cellular (Honeycomb) shades. I would check into the one near you and ask if that is possible once the shade is ordered?

Natalie

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Joined: Mar 28 2005

I checked with 3-day blinds, and the blinds they offered are not fully operable. They would stop rising at the lower of the top edges, forming a triangle that is always shaded.

So unless the person I spoke to didn'f fully know their offerings, 3-day blinds would not work.

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Joined: Mar 28 2005

Jake, just wanted to follow up with the discussion from last spring. Did you end up ordering the blinds for trapezoid windows? And if so, how are they working for you? Or did you figure out another solution?

As winter is approaching (and huge PG&E bills), we're reconsidering getting the blinds for added insulation. Expensive, but still cheaper than new double-paned windows.

Thanks, Julie

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Joined: Dec 14 2003

I have all flat roof, so I can't address the angled question. However, from my research it appears that honeycomb blinds actually have a better R-value than the best double-paned windows. I have them installed on a few strategic windows and when raised they are quite unobtrusive.

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