Shade These Windows
July 9, 2016 2:58 PM   Subscribe

I have a condo with this 6'x6' window in a box jutting out from the side of the building with another sloping window at the top along its length. There's a baseboard heater right below the window, but the current location of the mini blinds traps the heat behind them, meaning the heater has to do more work keeping the room warm. How can I set up a shade that doesn't have this problem?

The problem with any shading solution is to be able to shade both the vertical and sloping windows, without trapping any of the heater output behind it.

The two options I've thought of:
• Move the blinds to the top of the vertical window, with the sloping window shaded by putting up a fixed light-filtering shade (likely stapled).

• A bottom-up shade fixed to the base of the main window, that is pulled up slightly diagonally, with the top of the shade just out of the window box (where the current blinds are now). I don't know if this is possible. Can a top-down/bottom-up shade be made only bottom-up? Can a shade be pulled diagonally? It would sag in the middle, but the sagging might not be too bad at the angle of installation.

Any suggestions would be appreciated.
posted by ShooBoo to Home & Garden (10 answers total)
Tricky, I agree.

Many heating systems work by washing the walls with warm air on the theory that if the walls are warn, the room will be warm. Given that idea, trapping the heat behind the blinds is not a terrible thing.

Can you set the angle of the blinds so that the hot air will naturally diffuse out through the slats, I.e. tilted high on the room side, low on the window side? That will minimise the trapping effect.

I wonder what the architect was thinking, and I wonder what the blind installer was thinking.
posted by SemiSalt at 3:39 PM on July 9, 2016

Can you do 2 shades? Like this - skylight shades for the top and regular blinds for the bottom?
posted by oneear at 3:41 PM on July 9, 2016 [2 favorites]

Get yourself an expandable shower rod. Place it horizontal, from wall to wall, a few inches from the brace at the top of the windows.

Take the shade and place it between the shower rod and the windows. Now the shade is covering the angled windows, and the shade can be raised and lowered right next to the vertical windows, leaving the heater unobstructed.

posted by gnossos at 4:13 PM on July 9, 2016 [2 favorites]

Hard drive magnets fastened with epoxy on the bottom corners of the shade attach to top of baseboard heater.
posted by hortense at 6:53 PM on July 9, 2016 [1 favorite]

Of {easy, cheap, good-looking}, which one or two are your priority? Getting someone to install separate shades for you as oneear suggests ticks easy and good-looking, but it won't be cheap. Doing something similar yourself will be cheaper but not easy. Everyone else is suggesting along the easy/cheap, not good-looking dimension.

I would NOT use top-down bottom-up blinds like this. They're finicky in a normal setup (I love ours but we cheaped out just a touch and now the tops and bottoms are slightly uneven), so I wouldn't do anything nonstandard with them.

The easiest easiest thing would be to install clips or hooks at the bottom of the windows; keep your current blinds, but when the blinds are down clip the bottom to the base of the windowsill.

You can also get a film to apply directly to the panes of the top sloping windows with various levels of diffusion & shade. I'd do that before stapling anything to bare wood moulding.
posted by supercres at 7:30 PM on July 9, 2016 [1 favorite]

You can get a deflector thing for the top of the baseboard heater that directs the heat outwards instead of straight up
posted by fshgrl at 7:36 PM on July 9, 2016

You can get a deflector thing for the top of the baseboard heater that directs the heat outwards instead of straight up

My grandparents lived for these devices. Every vent in the house, obstructed or not, boom! deflected!

Anyway, I'm interested in the reason for wanting to cover the top set of windows. It looks like the whole windowbox was built with these meant to be bare. Is it light, heat, privacy or cover-the-windows-convention that's driving you here?

If it's convention, I think they would look quite nice with the top windows uncovered and curtains down to just above the vent.
posted by The Noble Goofy Elk at 8:26 PM on July 9, 2016 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks for the replies so far. Some clarifications:
  • It's a bedroom, so I'd like to cover the top window to keep the light out.
  • The heater is an electric baseboard - no vents and no forced air to deflect.
  • It's a rentable vacation condo, so I can't expect renters to to handle anything too non-standard.
  • I am looking to minimize the cost of things, but I'm also just looking to see if anyone had any ideas on a solution regardless of expense.
At this moment, I think curtains may be the best (and most cost-effective) solution, with just leaving the top window uncovered.

Actually, another idea: having two curtain rods - one where the current blinds are where the top of the curtains would be attached, and another rod where the vertical and sloped windows meet, for the curtains to be draped over and hang down.
posted by ShooBoo at 10:13 PM on July 9, 2016

Another option would be to install something like sidelight curtains in the top window. They are usually stretched between a rod at top and bottom. You could use sheers to filter the light and then install another rod for the curtains below.
posted by missmerrymack at 8:49 AM on July 10, 2016

I agree that something similar to sidelight shades would work best. I'd get two smaller ones and one large one, if you can find tension rods short enough to fit in the side sections.

Then I'd reinstall the existing blinds over just the lower section of the window, or get a fourth tension rod for a curtain.
posted by mgar at 6:46 PM on July 12, 2016

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