How to get curtains for a large odd window arrangement
August 26, 2011 8:53 AM   Subscribe

Are there like curtain engineers or something? My house has a very tall vaulted ceiling with windows going all the way up and in the late afternoon the room is completely not usable because of sun.

This is a (bad cellphone) picture of the backwall:
Picassa Link

The peak of the vault is 25 feet. Looking at it, I have no idea what I would do to get curtains or blinds something to be non-obtrusive when the sun isn't peering in but easily available when it is and we want to use the room.
posted by cmm to Home & Garden (14 answers total)
that picture link doesn't seem to work - maybe upload it to mlkshk or imgur?
posted by nadawi at 8:57 AM on August 26, 2011 [1 favorite]

When you say "not usable" is the main problem brightness/glare, or heat?
posted by aramaic at 9:00 AM on August 26, 2011

Maybe better? I couldn't see how to rotate.

Sorry about. I assumed Picassa Web's Link this picture thing would work.
posted by cmm at 9:01 AM on August 26, 2011

Brightness/glare. Heat isn't a problem.
posted by cmm at 9:01 AM on August 26, 2011

oh man, that's a beautiful window wall!

the only thing i could think of would be to put blinds on the middle section, because i'd bet that's where a lot of the direct brightness comes in. but that has the negative side of hanging blinds in the middle of that epic wall.

i wonder if there's a film you can apply to all the windows that will diffuse the light some...
posted by nadawi at 9:09 AM on August 26, 2011

I might suggest some of the window film options. They will cut the glare/light for you. Gila actually makes specific glare control films for this purpose.

I have some of their UV-filtering films on my windows. They were pretty easy to install, and I had to remove one earlier this year and it was pretty easy with the squeeze bottle of on/off solution they include.
posted by zug at 9:16 AM on August 26, 2011

There are people who make blinds for custom shapes.
posted by nomisxid at 9:16 AM on August 26, 2011

You could put up really tall draw curtains. It would be a bar going across the top of the window, and you would pull the curtains closed.

It's going to be a hassle to take down and clean, but anything you put up there to block the sunlight is going to be a hassle.

If it wouldn't bother you, I wouldn't put it across the top top of the window. I'd put the bar in line with the middle horizontal divider (right where the angle starts) (crudely drawn image)

The other option, depending on how wide this window is, is to put individual curtains over each window pane. (Another crudely drawn image)

The first one is easy to open and close, hassle to clean
Second one is harder to open and close (but you get better selection of what to block and what to let through) and potentially easier to clean.
posted by royalsong at 9:20 AM on August 26, 2011

The middle of this page looks very similar in shapes and sizes. Seems like you need to get custom blinds worked up to really do that wall justice.

It used to be that major department stores had "custom decorators" who would come to your house with swathes and measure and then give you solutions. Nowadays, you generally have to go to a custom shop for that kind of service (like you would for tile or carpeting installation, but for window coverings).

If I knew where you were located, I could give more specific ideas, maybe?
posted by misha at 9:26 AM on August 26, 2011

Thanks for all the links and answers so far and I appreciate the compliments as well.

I live in Edwardsville IL (62025) about 30 minutes outside St. Louis.

Yes, the main problem is that block of windows second up from the bottom. Fortunately that is before the vault starts. There is a shelf below that block of windows (you can see little potted owl statues slightly in the poor picture) so I don't think a single hanging curtain will work.

The custom blinds look interesting. Motorized custom blinds might work well.
posted by cmm at 9:37 AM on August 26, 2011 [1 favorite]

They make really great shades that are not attached to the walls but the frame of the window. I think Home Depot actually has them on display. I don't know how you install it, my knees get weak thinking of how high your ceilings are! They also make them for the odd shaped windows like the triangle you have on top.

If you get the film for your window, just know that they shrink over time. Try to get ones that cling on rather than have an adhesive back. The adhesive leaves a residue as the film shrinks. I have lots of experience with these. So far, the best one I have used is one that is like a mirror on the outside side of the film that blocks out light. Not as much shrinkage with the cling on film. Gila Privacy Window Film, I think it is called. I am sure there are many other manufacturers, Solyx may be another. It's relatively inexpensive so if you hate it, you won't feel so heart broken over it.

Oh! And if you get the film, get lots of Windex. Or prepare soapy water. You will want to drench the window, put the film on the soapy surface, adjust it to where you want it and then slowly squeegee or sponge the film flat pushing the liquid outward to the bottom or edges of the window frame. If you do it without the wet and soapy prep, you will have trouble positioning the film.

Good Luck!
posted by Yellow at 9:46 AM on August 26, 2011

I wouldn't go with curtains or hangings that cut that wall in half, by the way. I'd work with the space. Here's an example of a perfectly done window treatment with a whole wall of windows, including angled windows like you have on the top.

Look for "angled blinds" or "angled window treatments".

I live in Edwardsville IL (62025) about 30 minutes outside St. Louis.

Here you go!
posted by misha at 9:50 AM on August 26, 2011 [1 favorite]

Lutron's shading solutions division makes curtains and shades to your measurements and they are electronically driven and some even have the ability to be set to go up, down, etc at certain times of day or in certain sun conditions.
posted by SuzySmith at 12:28 AM on August 27, 2011

That Lutron link only had square shades though.

I met with a window treatment designer on Saturday. She didn't know of any triangular motorized blinds 8(
posted by cmm at 8:47 AM on August 29, 2011

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