living room sketch by Grace Allen Design

Who wore it better? Window Treatment Designs 2 Ways

We’ve all seen the people magazine feature where they show the same dress/outfit on two different women and ask readers to vote on who wore the look better, right?

I mean.. the hairdresser is the only time I really let myself indulge in People magazine, but every six weeks I can’t help myself.

Well- here is my take on that same thing, but with window treatment design … Occasionally a fabric will resonate with more than one of my client.  What I find fascinating is that depending on the details, the finished look can have a dramatically different feel.

Pictured below is a popular grey and greige trellis design shown made up as cafe panels with a valance, and then again in another home as a flat roman shade.  Which do you like better??  That is such a great fabric I think it works either way!  It also bridges the look between the last color trend (warms) and today’s new cool grey colors.

Roman Shade, Trellis Fabric, Cafe Curtain

Roman Shade and Cafe Curtain made from Taupe and Silver Trellis Fabric


Here’s one more…

This navy fabric was done as full functioning traverse drapery panels  and then for another client as cordless roman shades.  The end result is two very different window treatment designs and a different impact in the space- I can’t decide which I like better.  Can you?

Roman Shade, Navy Geometric

Navy, Teal and Cream Geometric Pattern Fabric Made as Traverse Draperies and Cordless Roman Shades


Regardless of how you use it, a great fabric window treatments adds depth, color and style to a space.  If you live in the Oklahoma  City Metro area and need help with window treatment design, curtains, roman shades, draperies or valances for your home give Grace Allen Blinds a call at 405.509.5164


What Makes a Quality Roman Shade

Roman shades are everywhere today.  All over Houzz, Pinterest and popular home magazines.   Have you noticed though, that they  don’t all look the same?  If you are thinking about buying Roman Shades for your home – how to you get that gorgeous finished look you see in photos and not a rumpled mess that never looks quite right?

Over the past few years I’ve specified and installed many roman shades from many different workrooms and I’ll share with you some of what I’ve determined results in a great finished quality shade.

Fabric- You need a fabric with good body.   Not too slippery and thin.  If it’s slippery, it looks messy to me.   I’ve found fabrics that have a natural fiber to their content do a good job for me.  They hold their shape and they have a nice crisp look to them.  This is not to say all synthetics should be avoided, just that the hand of a natural fiber usually insures a good finish.

Liner-  A good liner goes a long way to giving that structure and crispness to the shade.  There are two types of linings I use when ordering from a full custom workroom.   Dim out foam backed liner, and Outblack room darkening liner.  If your face fabric is thick, and you don’t need to sleep during the day in the space, the dim out liner is usually plenty sufficient.   Outblack is a good choice with thinner fabrics, and also when darkness is desired.  A detail to note about room darkening liners is that when they are pieced as the workroom sews through them they do allow a pin hole of light to leak out.  This is considered standard.  Some workrooms offer a putty of sorts that can be dabbed on the back to cover up those holes.

Style-  There are many different styles to choose from, and as the product is custom, you should explore options with your consultant to find the best fit for you space.  However, my favorite is a flat roman shade, with the fabric off the back of the board and a valance – usually 8-10″ off the front of the board.   Flat style shades are great at showing off a patterned fabric.  They look really nice when stacked up in the window.   When you put a valance on the face of them, the treatment has enough depth that it does not look like you are hanging a sheet of the window.

Construction- This is a huge area that separates a roman shade that looks “eh” with a roman shade that look “Ah!”.     Lift Mechanism:  There are three types of lift mechanism’s.   Cordlock,  Rollease and Cordless.

Cordlock- As you raise the shade, the cord gets longer.  This leaves you with a bundle of cords that need to be wrapped around a cord cleat hung on the window.  These are the least child safe/ pet safe option.  It is also typically the cheapest.

See the cording on this shading that must be tied up to remain child safe?

See the cording on this shading that must be tied up to remain child safe?

Rollease- A beaded looped chain stays the same length at all times, regardless of where the shade is positioned.  This is my preferred system.   It is available from most all custom workrooms.  You can see the metal lift cord if you look to the outside of each shade on these doors below.


Cordless-  A very nice system with no lift cords, different suppliers use different mechanisms.  Typically a tensioned spring devise is used to hold the shade in place as you raise and lower it.  This style of shade is usually only offered from larger scale, production workrooms.  It does have some minimum and maximum limitations that can cause a little grief if you are trying to do several windows.  This varies by supplier.

Navy Cordless Roman Shade

Navy Cordless Roman Shade

Construction Basics– Attention to detail and careful placement of the strings on backside of the shade contribute to the shade raising and lowering neatly and evenly.  This is most critical in the placement of the strings on the outside edges.

In large shades, I like adding hidden rib tape.  This tape is adhered on the backside of the shade (it doesn’t get sewn through thus interrupting the pattern) with an adhesive and again, especially on a larger shade it helps the shade raise and lower neatly.  A word of caution- if your fabric is thin, and you don’t want to “see” those ribs as the light shines through the lowered shade – chose a blackout liner.

I also prefer a lined valance as opposed to a self lined valance.  Again- I don’t want to see a bleed through of pattern with light coming through it so using actual liner (not just folding the fabric over on the valance) helps with that problem.

Hidden Ribs + a Lined 10" valance give this roman shade depth

Hidden Ribs + a Lined 10″ valance give this roman shade depth

When possible, I recommend using a local workroom.   Some of the nuances of fabric just can’t be predicted, and if your window treatment supplier has a relationship with a local workroom, the communication and execution just seems to go so much smoother.  Plus- you are contributing to your local economy!

If you need help with quality Roman Shades, give us a call at 405.509.5164



New Roller Shade Product – Great for Clean Lined Homes

A few months ago I was introduced to a relatively new roller shade product on the market.  It is basically a hybrid of a roller shade.  Some people call it a Zebra shade.  The fabric is made of a solid and a sheer, rotated horizontally every 4-10″ depending on the fabric.  The fabric is hung off the shade two layers thick.  As a result, as you raise and lower the roller shade you can position it in a variety of privacy levels.

You can evenly stack the sheers in one of many fabric rotations so that you can see out and it has a very linear and horizontal feel.


roller shade, zebra shade

Hybrid Roller Shade with Sheer and Privacy Panels

You can offset stack the layers so that the privacy panels overlap the sheers for complete privacy.

Roller Shade

The roller shade can be positioned to proved complete privacy.

Hybrid roller Shade with Sheer Panels

Shown in the lowered position with sheers aligned for view through


What is really unique about this method of roller shade construction is that you can do this while having the sheer raised to any point in the window AND you can also raise the shade completely up for an unobstructed view.

It comes standard with a beaded chain and a fabric covered cassette or header.  You have the option to motorize this shade product as well.

If you love a modern, clean design then this may the a great product for you.  Or, if you were considering a product like Hunter Douglas Silhouette or Nantucket and found it just wasn’t in your budget,  this is a nice lower priced alternative.

A couple important things to note —

Unlike the Hunter Douglas Window Shadings- Silhouette and Nantucket (the most similar product out there)  I have found the sheers on this roller shade do have “moire”.  This is the slight distortion your eyes see when it looks through two layers of fabric.  If sun control + view is paramount, I would recommend  the Hunter Douglas Products.

Also- the Dim Out fabrics let a lot of light in still- because  you don’t get a really tight close when the privacy panels are stacked.  If you need a lot of darkness in your bedroom, this product alone will not do the job.

I’ve installed a handful of these new hybrid roller shades and all my clients have been very happy with both the look and function of the roller shade.  It’s a great choice for a contemporary or very clean lined interior.

Neolux Raised Shade

Partially Raised Privacy Sheer in Modern Home.



Motorized Blackout Roller Shade for Sliding Glass Door

On this project the client was a builder who wanted a motorized blackout roller shade to cover a set of by-parting sliding glass doors.   Due to the length and width needed, it was not possible to order a single shade.  So instead, we ordered a coupled blackout roller shade.

A coupled shade is made up of two individual roller shades that share a common center bracket.  As a result, a single motor can drive both roller shades up and down at the same time.   This way they always stay aligned with each other.  You also only have the expense of one motor, which is an added benefit.

Another plus is that the gap in between the two roller shades is smaller with a coupled bracket shade than it would be with two side by side shade brackets.  Gaps are a concern on any tubed product (see the buying guide here for  more information on that subject).

Coupled shades are not available with battery powered motorization, only AC Power (plugs into a standard 110V Outlet) so pre planning or access to an electrician is best if this type shade system appeals to you.

On this particular install, we ordered the roller shades and when they arrived we went out and installed the brackets.  After bracket installation the trim carpenter came back in and built a cornice box around our roller shade brackets and the power outlet to discreetly hide the moving part of the system and we reinstalled the shades after final clean was complete.  If this idea isn’t an option for you there are several similar options available through our roller shade suppliers to help give you a finished look as well.

As of this writing, this fantastic modern home in Nichols Hills is still available for purchase, and is beautifully staged by 30A Home, a local Oklahoma City interior design firm.

Here’s a vide of the system, raising and lowering.  The speed has been increased in the video to show you the motorized roller shade operation in a shortened time.

Solera Soft Shades from Hunter Douglas Product Review

Solera soft shades by Hunter Douglas offer so many features in it’s base pricing, it’s one of my favorite window treatment options.

So I tell clients if a honeycomb and a roman shade got married, and had a baby- it would look just like a Solera soft shade.   You have the larger fold look like a roman shade, but you also get a crisp pleat in the center of it, much like a honeycomb.

What makes it one of my favorites is it’s wide variety of fabric options with a few great entry level choices, that make Solera an option when someone likes the feel of a traditional soft treatment look, but maybe doesn’t have the budget for it

All lift systems (besides motorization) are included in the price (not an add on feature) which makes the buying process a lot simpler for a homeowner and also puts child safety and the convenience features they offer easily within reach for the homeowner.  There is more details with images on that in the video version of this post.

Check out my video below which reviews why I love Solera soft shades and also gives you a glimpse of the product and fabric selections.

Choosing which window treatments are right for you can be tricky.  It’s a big investment, and it’s custom – which usually means it’s non returnable.

If you aren’t sure how to choose the right window treatment for your home head over to HERE to get our free buying guide.

If you live in the Oklahoma City metro area, Grace Allen Blinds is available for a home consultation to discuss you needs and wants, provide you measure, installation and great quality window treatment products.

Exterior Patio Shades

It’s that time of year again.  The temperatures are mild, and we are all finding our way to our outside spaces.   Soon however, days will be more than pleasantly warm, they will be hot.  How can you enjoy your patio more?  The answer may be exterior patio shades.

Patio Shades come in a few different configurations, but today I will focus on and show the ones I’ve found most practical.

The 2800 Series- Manual and Motorized:

  • These guys can go up to 25′ wide in a single shade.  Lengths available will vary depending on widths.  You can get a large shade in motorized than manual.
  • a 5″ header box is included in this system, and the header box protects the shade fabric while raised.
  • Hardware  (box and tracks) are available in 3 colors:  Bronze, White and Tan
  • Heavy Duty Side Tracks or a Cable System guides the shade up and down.  Some billowing in breezy conditions is expected as the bottom bar is held down, but the shade SIDES are not contained within a track.

Quality fabrics in a variety of colors and openness factors give you plenty of options in this product.

Check out one of our installs

 2900 Series- Motorized Patio Shades

  • The ultimate in Screen shades, these shades can make your patio function like a screened in room
  • Available up to 25′ wide
  • ShyZip zipper and track system keep the sides AND the bottom rail of the shade firmly in place.
  • Uses standard 110v power supply and a RF motor so that shades can be controlled by remote control or wireless wall switch.
  • Heavy Duty 5″ header box keeps fabric protected while raised

Let us help you get your space ready for enjoying this summer.  Call 405.509.5164 for more information or to set up an on site appointment.

Top Treatments for Your Roller Shade

You thought you had done all the difficult selections when you picked the fabric for you new roller shade.  Not true!  Now it’s time to choose the top treatment (sometimes caller roller shade hardware) for your Roller Shade.

This choice can greatly impact your finished  roller shade look, and if you are simply shopping for your roller shades based on price or fabric alone, you could completely overlook this important detail.

Depending on whether you want a contemporary look or a traditional one for your roller shades, and also depending on the width you are trying to cover in a single shade you may find you have a few less top treatment options than I share in the video below.

And sometimes you may find that they best top treatment for your roller shade isn’t an option from a roller shade supplier at all.  A box pleat valance is a nice, clean look and can be done in any fabric to add an accent in your interior space.

Here are a couple photos of valances over roller shades that I have done for my clients.

Box-Pleated-Valance-with-Embroidered-Lattice roller-shade-with-box-pleat-valance

How to Choose Roller Shade Fabrics

The prettier, more exciting sister to the solar shade is the fabric roller shade category.  Available in a variety of colors, textures, and privacy levels roller shade fabric can add pattern and personality to a window, or keep it neutral.  Part of the reason I chose roller shades as my first product to discuss is because it is one of my favorites.  It can add a TON of personality to a space, but can also price moderate (as far as custom window treatments are concerned) in regards to your overall investment.   I hope you enjoy the video showing you how to determine the right roller shade fabric for you, and seeing some of the roller shade fabric options out there today.   As always, if you have further questions, find me on facebook, or hit up my contact form and I’ll reach out to you and try to answer!


What To Know About Choosing Solar Shade Screen Fabrics

You see them at Starbucks, Chick-fil-a, country clubs and other high end establishments.   You may have seem them in a neighbors home or on Houzz and Pinterest.    How do those see through sun shades (also known as Solar Shades) work?  Does a solar shade screen fabric allow privacy at night?    What do you need to consider when choosing a solar shade fabric?  Check out this weeks video to learn more about how to choose a solar screen shade fabric.

This is the beginning  of a multi-part series on Roller Shades.  I’ve tried to break them into brief videos, and titled them according to the focus of the information contained within.  This series should provide you with the information that you need to make great choices for roller shades for your windows!  If you have a question about solar shade fabrics not discussed in the video, please reach out to me directly through our contact form and I will do my best to help answer any questions you might have about solar shades.


Introduction to Choosing the Right Shades, Blinds & More for Your Home

So in an effort to get the content that is in my brain out of it and available to all you lovely people I have started to vlog.   I will be diving into different products,:  shades, blinds, curtains, shutters, drapery and more.   I’ll be discussing in short intervals various aspects of each product that it is important to consider before making your final selections.  These products are custom, and so educating yourself before ordering custom window treatments is important.

And I also reserve to talk about products and ideas that are just cool and/or pretty!

So here is just a little introduction to me (heather) and this idea…I can’t wait to get started and share with you about shades, blinds, curtains and drapery.