~ Shining a Light on the Most Exciting Interior Innovations of Our Times ~
PEARL RIVER, N.Y– Can you imagine living without the modern comforts of your home? Amenities that we have become accustomed to, like dishwashers and stain-and-fade-resistant fabrics, are standard fare in today’s interiors. For those who want the newest innovations in their home today, however, two categories stand out as leading the way: light control and energy management. Sally Morse, Director of Creative Services at window fashions leader Hunter Douglas, shares how and why.
Managing Light: Window Treatments
The earliest windows were just holes in the wall. “The evolution of windows is remarkable,” says Morse, “from hide coverings to panes made of translucent animal horn, then thin slices of marble, oiled paper and finally glass. And the shapes and sizes of windows changed too, requiring innovations to the original window treatments said to be invented by the Egyptians 4,000 years ago. Ever since, people have translated the core concept of a simple covering that blocks out light into myriad styles with increasing functionality.”
New breakthroughs date back to 1946 when Hunter Douglas brought out the world’s first lightweight aluminum Venetian blinds; before that they were made of unwieldy steel. The company has kept on innovating ever since, including creating the original honeycomb shade in response to the energy crisis of the late 1970s by blending a highly energy-efficient cellular structure that traps air with soft, colorful fabrics. Today, Duette® Architella® honeycomb shades take the cellular structure and make it even more energy-efficient by placing another cell within the cell.
Another highly innovative window treatment is the company’s Silhouette® window shadings, with the Signature S-Vane™ – a sheer product with rotating vanes that diffuse light and provide variable light control. With the original concept sketched by a Hunter Douglas design executive on a napkin during an airplane flight, it was developed after much hard work and more than a little genius in response to a real customer need for sheerness with light control. The flawless design still has the industry
buzzing more than 20 years later, and the innovations keep coming.
Enhancing the light control benefit is new Silhouette® A Deux window shadings that combine Silhouette shadings with a room-darkening roller shade that sits behind it on the same headrail, yet operates independently. It is especially ideal for bedrooms, media rooms and anywhere else that you want to cut the light.
Temperature: Save Energy and Time
“It’s so easy to control room temperature these days,” says Morse. “It’s among the most extraordinary advances ever.” Standing out bright as a beacon is the Nest thermostat. After a few days of turning it up and down, adjusting it so you are completely comfortable day and night, it
“learns” what you like and automatically sets the correct temperature on its own, even getting it right when you’re away. In addition, it connects with your smartphone so that you can change the temperature miles from home so that your temperature preferences are already active the minute you walk in the door.
Hunter Douglas is ahead of the pack when it comes to window treatments developed with temperature regulation in mind. One of its most innovative is Duette® Architella® Trielle™ honeycomb shades, which deliver 20 percent greater energy efficiency than original Duette Architella shades thanks to six layers of insulating fabric. The company’s most energy-efficient honeycomb shade, it can reduce heat loss at the window by up to 45 percent and solar heat gain through the window by up to 80 percent.
Artificial Lighting: More than a Light Bulb
Light-emitting diodes or LED-based lights are increasingly the homeowner’s light of choice. Available since the 1960s, though not in a form appropriate for day-to-day living, recent refinements permit them to be used in environmental and task lighting. With distinct advantages
over incandescent light sources, including lower energy consumption, longer lifetime, improved physical robustness and smaller size, they are a smart choice for every room of the house. And while they are not inexpensive, their durability and low power usage mitigate the initially
high cost and maximize your investment.
Recessed ceiling lights, under-counter lights, chandeliers, sconces, nearly every style of home lighting you can think of is now available with LEDs. In addition, there are sofa frames and tables, draperies and even wall coverings equipped with integrated LED lights. Morse
says, “It is awe-inspiring to see what designers come up with, and how they incorporate LEDs in their work. Take a look at what’s out there and you’ll see what I mean. Beautiful, imaginative and useful. Can’t beat that!”
A New Age of Enlightenment: The Connected Home
Home automation is developing at a rapid rate, and the connected home is at the top of many consumers’ agendas. From robotic vacuum cleaners to motorized window dressings, operation is automatic. Hunter Douglas offers a wide range of motorized window treatments that operate with its patented Platinum™ App, which can now be integrated into home automation systems. With a tap of a finger, consumers can easily preset and reset the precise positioning of multiple motorized window coverings for optimal privacy, security, energy management and ambiance.
It is also now availabl e with a sunrise/sunset timer feature that uses GPS data to calculate the location-specific times.
“Call it what you will,” says Morse, “innovation, progress or simply change. One thing is certain, we’re riding a wave of creativity, and I, for one, can’t wait to see what the coming years will bring.”
Hunter Douglas Inc., headquartered in Pearl River, N.Y, is the leading manufacturer and marketer of custom window fashions in North America and a major manufacturer of architectural products. The company is a national sponsor of Habitat for Humanity, covering windows in every Habitat home built in the U.S. and Canada. Hunter Douglas brand products are designed, developed and custom-crafted in the U.S.
For more information, visit www.hunterdouglas.com or call 1-800-274-29851-800-274-2985.
Follow Hunter Douglas at facebook.com/HunterDouglas, pinterest.com/hunterdouglaswf/ and youtube.com/user/hunterdouglas . Download “The Art of Window Dressing” iPad app through a link at www.hunterdouglas.com.