You may remember last year’s Best Dressed Window Challenge. Our readers submitted photos of their windows, and votes were cast to determine the “best dressed.” The photo above is from one of the winning windows, featuring custom accent drapery from Madison area designer Mari. After the contest, the client decided he wanted to dress up his windows in his second home in San Diego, and I was called in to help.
The client loves his Midwest home, but comes to San Diego for the winters because he likes to get out and walk every day. At the age of 88, that just isn’t possible for him in wintery weather. He told me he wanted drapes for the main large window – the only source of light in the small studio condo – but as we talked, I realized that they might be difficult for him to deal with. As a designer, I believe it’s really important to take the time to get to know your clients well, so you can help them solve their design challenges in a functional way. A beautifully designed window treatment doesn’t do a client any good if it doesn’t also fit their daily lives. This is a really good example of that.
Keeping his age and his mobility issues in mind, I asked him how his grip was. He replied that it wasn’t great, so I know that blinds probably wouldn’t work for him and a treatment with a hard pull cord definitely wouldn’t. As we continued to chat, I learned that his foster daughter, who often came to stay with him, has an eye disorder and, as a result, is very sensitive to light. To further complicate matters, the studio condo was very small and an elaborate window treatment would not only add clutter, it might also overwhelm the space.
As we visited, talking all the while about his fascinating life, I mulled the problem over in my mind and finally settled on a recommendation for the stylish and streamlined Vignette Traversed Shades. I knew the stack on it was small and that it had a hand-draw handle, which would make it easy for him to manipulate. And I knew it would also provide the room darkening that his foster daughter required. We chose a fabric with some texture and just a little bit of shimmer – Etched Pewter.
After the shades were installed, my client emailed me to tell me how much he loved his new window coverings. He said he really liked the color, that it was easy to both open and close, and that it didn’t take up much space. It wasn’t what he originally went in to the appointment thinking he wanted, but these shades look great and suit his life much better.
These consultation appointments are really important. I value the chance to listen to my clients, learning how they live and what they are looking for. Designing an appropriate window treatment isn’t only about making a space look attractive. It’s also about providing a treatment that really meets the client’s particular needs. Of course we’re here to help you make your life beautiful – but we want to make it easier, too!