02 March 2011

Cellular Service

Or, Can You Not See Me Now?

I'm a huge fan of top-down, bottom-up cellular shades. They may not be the prettiest window coverings out there, but you can always add curtains over them, and I really like how lowering them halfway provides both privacy and natural light. (Click here to read about the green building concept of "daylighting" and why I think it's such a great idea for green living, and, well, just plain living.)

As construction drew to a close last spring, I started researching cellular shade options. I've had Hunter-Douglas before and really liked them, so that was a logical starting point, but the word on the street was that they were about to stop selling through blind/shade websites -- which they did in June 2010, just before the house was finished. We could have ordered our shades before then, but with so much else going on and the financial hemorrhage still underway, we just didn't get to it.

So we put up some temporary paper shades when we moved in (which are still up on the windows facing the street) and eventually contacted someone through Costco for a Hunter-Douglas quote. The service was disappointing and, despite Costco having a sale at the time, the prices were astronomical, so we refocused on different brands that we could either order online or get directly from Costco (without having to work with a local decorator). We ended up ordering Graber cellular shades for the master bedroom, exercise room, and guest room. They don't look quite as nice, in my opinion, as the Hunter-Douglas ones, and they definitely don't function as well.

They are great for providing the simultaneous privacy and natural light we were wanting:

And for even more privacy or to keep the sun out, they go up with a tug of the "top down" cord (they're certainly not room-darkening shades, but putting them all the way up blocks direct sun and will help keep summer heat out):

The problem comes when we lower the "top down" part:

Every time we lower the top, the internal cords that are supposed to keep the shade taut lose their tautness, and the shade puckers inward. We then have to pull the other cord (the one that controls the "bottom up" part). It's not a big deal, but it's an annoyance that we never had with the Hunter-Douglas shades.

What to do? I want to finally replace the paper shades on the front windows, but Graber hasn't met our expectations, and I can't bear the thought of working with the Costco decorator to get Hunter-Douglas shades. I could try another local store, but they would surely be even more expensive than the Costco route. I keep checking to see if maybe Hunter-Douglas reconsidered their decision not to sell through websites, but no luck. If anyone has experience with a different brand and can make a recommendation (or knows of a super-secret source for Hunter-Douglas), I'm all ears.

1 comment:

  1. No suggestions, but we're thinking of these for our sunroom, so I'm interested in seeing how this turns out...