Blog

Showroom Updates

We have recently added to our selection of showpieces and samples in our Janesville location. Stop by and look through thousands of fabric swatches, view drapery hardware, and see examples of the following styles of shades:

  • Alta Cord Loop Dual Shade
  • Alta Cordless Window Shading
  • Alta Lift and Lock Cell Shade
  • Alta Motorized Cell Shade with Wand
  • Alta Top-Down Bottom-Up Cell Shade
  • Graber Motorized Roller Shade
  • Graber Vertical Panel Track
  • Graber Vertical Sheer Blind
  • Graber Z-Wave Cell Shade
  • Horizons Averic Natural Fold Vertical
  • Norman Cordless Faux-Wood Blind
  • Norman Flat-Fold Cordless Roman Shade
  • Norman Motorized Perfect Sheer Shade
  • Norman Motorized Skylight Cell Shade
  • Norman Motorized Wood Blind
  • Norman Soft-Fold Smart Release Roman Shade
  • Norman Smart Drape Vertical
  • Norman Smart-Fit Cell Shade
  • Norman Synchrony Vertical Blind
  • Norman Top-Down Bottom-Up Cell Shade
  • Norman Vertical Cell Shade

… and much, much more! Stop in and be inspired by our storefront between 9am and 5pm, Tuesday through Friday, or 9am to 1pm on Saturday.

Recent Jobs

Here are some pictures of recent window treatments we have done

Home Automation

Choices in Automating your Window Treatments.

Technology for automating the different systems in your house has come a long way in the last year. If you have an Amazon Echo (Alexa) or Google Smart home (IFTTT) system in your house, you are half way there to setting up an automation system that will use logic to open and close your window treatments at the appropriate times. The problem is completing the circle. Here are some choices:

Somfy systems

Amazon Alexa compatible systems

Somfy systems has created motors for shades for many years. They build them for many different companies. Recently, they have created a hub called “myLink” which is compatible with most older Somfy systems. You will need to download on your phone the myLink software and plug the myLink hub into a centrally located outlet. Following the instructions, you can connect to all the motorized shades in your house and create groups based on the rooms they are in. Somfy and other companies use the metaphor called “Scenes” to help your organize the different activities you want to do with your window treatments during your day. For example, you can set up a scene to open your shades in the kitchen at sunrise.
This scene combines the kitchen shade group with a timer. Scenes can control multiple groups making one scene able to control several rooms at the same time. The advantage of using your phone as the control center is that as long as you can connect to the internet, you can interact with your home from any location.

The myLink software has a “Routine” that can be connected to your Alexa system. This allows you to use voice commands to control groups of shades from anywhere. Download the Routine from the Alexa webpage and follow the instructions to connect it with myLink.

Here is a link on how to do this:
https://www.somfysystems.com/en-us/Blog/Post/2019-02-11-how-to-create-a-routine-in-the-alexa-app-using-somfy-mylink

Using Google Home

Google home uses similar software to control myLink connected devices. Googles system is called IFTTT (If This Then That). Like Amazon’s Alexa, it handles the voice interface and then sends commands to the Somfy system.

Like Amazon’s Alexa, it handles the voice interface and then sends commands to the Somfy system.

Here is a link on how to use Google Home’s app to connect to myLink.https://www.somfysystems.com/en-us/smart-home/ifttt

Graber Gateway

Graber has recently released a Gateway device and App which allows all “Virtual Cord” motorized shades to be controlled by a free App. This software is able to setup automation routines similar to Somfy software and allows Alexa and Google home to control your window treatments as well. Best of all, it is backward compatible with older motorized shades. All you need to purchase is the gateway device which can operate up to 30 shades and install the software. The software will walk you through setting up each room and defining routines to control shades individually or in groups.

Alta motorization

Alta Window fashions is a popular window treatment provider. They have a new automation system called Bliss. The Bliss system communicates with Amazon’s Alexa and Google Home systems. The Bliss system is in addition to their Somfy and Simplicity Automation products. Alta is extremely flexible in their choices for how to power your window treatments. You can choose from:

  • Rechargeable battery power — rechargeable using a power charger like your phone
  • Wired power — wired directly into your homes power circuits
  • Plugin power — plug your shade into an existing outlet

You can also control your shades through

  • Hand held remotes
  • Wireless wall switched
  • Using a Smart phone App
  • Using a home automation App (Amazon, or Google)

Note: You will need to purchase a “bridge” which will connect, using your network, your phone to your window treatments.

Alta has a wide variety of shades and blinds which are motorized:

  • Cellular shades (Sun Screen and Room darkening)
  • Roller shades (Sun Screen and Room darkening)
  • Double Roller shades (two shades in one window for light filtering and privacy)
  • Top Down / Bottom Up shades

Norman Window treatments

Norman is a growing manufacturer of shutters and shades. They offer motorized versions of the following products:

Norman Portrait cellular shades

Norman uses its own remotes to control its window treatments. The control allows you to group your windows and use one control to run all the rooms in your house.

Norman wood shutters

Norman’s shutters can also be motorized so that the louvers can be tilted at the touch of a button.

What’s New in the Window Treatment Industry

Motorizing your existing Wood Blinds or Roller Shades

Having motorized shades in your house is becoming more popular. But what about converting your existing window treatments? Two companies are now offering kits to convert Wood blinds or Rollershades from manual to motorized.

  • The Rowley Company offers motors to replace the springs inside the tubes of your existing roller shades. This allows you to keep the style and color of your shade and still be able to control them with a remote control.
  • Somfy Corporation makes a kit to replace the tilt mechanism of your wood blinds with a motor to control the position of the vanes of your wood blinds. This does not change the way you raise and lower the blinds but most people only raise their wood blinds when they want to clean their wondows

Both of these options have limitations and may not fit your window treatments. We recommend you contact us to setup an appointment where we would come out and evaluate whether these products would work for you. We also will come out and install the motors after you order them from us.

Norman Smart Drape Vertical

All the benefits of a vertical with a drapery look

You can have your cake and eat it too, when you get a Smart Drape Vertical for your patio door. Smart drapes allow you to pass through the vanes to enter and exit a room, yet the also swivel to limit the light coming in or give you privacy as needed.

We have many types of window treatments displayed in our store. Stop by to see which window treatments would be best for your house.

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