Sunday, February 05, 2012

New Window Shades

Last November, when I was in the middle of my stripping and plastering work, I ordered new shades for the house.  Until now, we've been living with faded green shears that we had from our old place.  They didn't look terrible but they never fit the windows and didn't provide much screening. 

Last week, the new shades arrived.  We decided to do a plain cotton ecru shade from Handwerk Shade Shop.  Everything arrived carefully wrapped and labeled.  I created a small template out of cardboard to use to mount the hardware and went at it.    
The hardware for our shades is mounted inside the jamb, above the rope weight for the window sash.  When Linda from Handwerks suggested this arrangement, I was skeptical.  I had never seen them hung this way and in my window jambs still had some old hardware from previous shades mounted on the jamb.  She was the expert so I took her advice and went with it.  I think it was a good decision. 
The first shade went up very quickly.  We fretted over the measurements and Linda took time to review the measurements with me over the phone.  

I started hanging the second shade and encountered a problem; the shade didn't fit.  It seemed to only be off a little so I grabbed a hammer, took down the piece of hardware and tried to flatten it a bit.  I put it back up and it still didn't fit.  After about an hour of this, I compared this piece of hardware with the others.  It was different.  I then held it up to the shade and realized that it was the wrong piece and the shade wouldn't fit into it at all.  I'll have to get Handwerks to send me another bracket.  In the meantime, I ran to the store and got a substitute bracket to hold the shade for the time being.  It still doesn't fit right but I am sure that with the correct bracket it will.   
The character of the house is very different with the shades and I like it a lot.  They block a lot more light than the shears.  We'll have to get used to that.  Also, at night, more light reflects off of them so the rooms feel a little brighter.  We'll have to get used to that also. 
All in all, I am very happy with them and the folks at Handwerk did a great job.  The craftsmanship of the shades is very good and details, like the simple brass pulls are a perfect fit with the house. 
I still love the idea of putting lace over the shades.  Perhaps something like these fancy ones from Cottage Lace.  My wife isn't in agreement so for now, I will just concentrate on getting the lighting and mural in order so that I can consider the living room and dining room projects "done". 


Shasha Kidd said...

The shades look nice. How do they operate? I'm still trying to decide whether to make them or not. =)

If you decide to get lace curtains, check out J.R. Burrows,, their prices are quite a bit lower than Cottage Lace. Though, the Cottage Lace curtains are beautiful; I bought 3 panels from them.

Chris said...

The operation is smooth though the pulling and re-pulling to go up or down takes a little bit of finesse. The most shocking part is how much light they block. I don't know if I would change it because I like how substantial and strong they seem but a more translucent material wouldn't be so bad. Thanks for the tip on the lace.

ann wallace said...

The bracket you have that does not work is for a back roll shade. The flat pin that makes the spring work the shade has to be in a square hole or slot. Be careful using it with the round hole...eventually it will stress and even break the spring.

Chris said...

I should have clarified a while back but sometimes don't update as needed: Handwerk read my blog and sent me the missing bracket so the shades all have the correct brackets now.

gardenmin said...

Came across your site looking for reviews on the shades. I am in Hyde Park, Chicago and am considering these shades for a Victorian. How has the mechanism held up over the years? The shades look lovely in your house. Thanks. Monisha.

Chris said...

They have been up for 5 years now and I am very happy with these shades. There is one caveat though. We have two of the shades that do not work as well as the others. The reason is that someone who didn't know how to properly pull them became frustrated and unraveled the entire shade. I had to take the shade down and "re-roll" it. If I am careful, I can still make these work properly but those two are finicky. There have been no problems with any of the ones that weren't pulled out of place. So, if you have someone regularly using these that isn't patient, they are susceptible to damage. Otherwise, they work great, look awesome, and are pretty easy to clean. Hope this helps!

gardenmin said...

Thanks Chris: will keep that in mind.