Adding Fabric to deal with Sound and Sun

This week I would like to share with you a design challenge related to window treatments brought to my attention by Iara, a good friend of mine from Germany.

The grand piano in the former living room

The grand piano: next to the large window in the former living room

Gummersbach (Germany). In 2004, Iara, an accomplished solo pianist, and her husband bought a cute 60s style home in Gummersbach – a lovely little city near Cologne. The property features awesome views, a beautiful garden and is well connected to Gummersbach’s lively city center. Before they moved in they thoroughly renovated the place. One of the biggest changes they made was the extension of the house’s footprint to create sufficient room for Iara’s concert style grand piano.

Now the former living room space is taken up by the piano while the new extension houses the living room.

The new living room: the windows to the right protected by external Venetian blinds

The current living room (extension):  only the windows to the right are protected by external Venetian blinds

Making the best of the house’s views, the extension is almost completely encased in 2.5 m high glass panels. Very modern looking (programmable) external Venetian blinds (Raffstore) protect its south side against the sun. The east-facing windows did not receive any window treatment at all; Iara liked it plain and modern!

Initially, this fairly minimalistic design solution seemed to do just fine. However over time it became clear that the acoustics weren’t quite right. In addition, in spring the sun entered the space unchecked through the east-facing windows, causing glare and generating too much heat. Iara finally felt it was time to do something about it: additional window treatments were called for.

To resolve the problems with both the acoustics and the sun, installing additional external Venetian blinds was not an option: For one, this would not have taken care of the acoustics problem. Furthermore, the track for the Venetian blinds would have taken away too much space from the narrow path that runs in front of the windows.

What was needed instead was a solution that offered “more fabric” inside! But in what form? Drapes? Roller blinds? Venetian blinds? Roman blinds? Vertical blinds? And then, would it be necessary to cover all the extension’s remaining windows? What about the color? And the type of fabric?

Cascade Roman shades on the window next to the piano

The large window next to the piano with the new cascade Roman blinds. In the background to the right, the new living room extension.

After many deliberations and advice from Einrichtungshaus Wetzlar in Gummersbach, a satisfying solution finally took shape: Iara chose cascade Roman blinds for their modern looks – but with a twist. Since she liked the reverse side (featuring the little “tunnels” through which the supporting alum poles are filed) they were hung such that the tunnels face the rooms’ interior. The Roman blinds are installed on four of the windows: the large one next to the piano and then three narrow fixed ones, forming part of the extension.

The same type of Roman blinds covering the narrower (fixed) east-facing windows.

The same type of Roman blinds covering the narrower (fixed) east-facing windows (extension)

In terms of color she picked a very pale mustard yellow hue which works well with the color of the leather sofas, floor tiles and fire place. To avoid adding too much weight (as the windows are so tall), she stuck to a light (and easy to maintain) cotton/polyester mix.

It worked… !

Cheers, Sabine

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