Window Fashion VISION Magazine: May/June 2023 | Volume 45 Issue 3

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BE INSPIRED Discover more


VISION 1 Introducing Coulisse’s latest child-safe by design solution: Twin Pull. The operating wands are the safest way to manually operate shades and provide all the benefits of chain operation in a child-safe design. By eliminating the continuous loop present in most clutch-operated shades, Twin Pull can safely raise and lower roller shades to any position at any time. Discover the range including Twin Pull, Cordless and Motorized.





President/Publisher | Grace McNamara

Vice President | Ania McNamara-Munzer

Contributing Editor | Maude Campbell

Art Director | Eric Taylor

IWCE Conference Director | Shannon Flaherty

Marketing Coordinator | Tracy Herold

Social Media Coordinator | Corina E. Buzdugan

Accounting | Kim Rick


Roger Magalhaes, O’D McKewan, LuAnn Nigara, Kathy Cragg Pace, Oliver Schreiber, Chelsea Stamper


Emily Cloutier Photography

SUBSCRIPTION S 651-330-0574 •


Photography: Draper, Inc.

Project: Private Residence in Austin, TX

Installer: Shading Texas

Window Fashion VISION magazine makes every attempt to credit each person involved in the process of creating a window covering and will not be responsible for crediting any person whose name, company or participation did not surface during the information-gathering process. Crediting disputes between parties other than VISION magazine are solved at the discretion of those involved.

Window Fashion VISION (ISSN 08869669) (USPS 708930) published bi-monthly by AIM Communications LLC, 4707 Hwy 61 N #255, St Paul, MN 55110, Tel 651-3300574. Visit our website at Periodicals postage paid at St Paul, MN.

Postmaster: Send address changes to Window Fashion VISION , 4707 Hwy 61 N #255, St Paul, MN 55110. Allow 60 days for address change. Subscription rates: $22/yr. U.S. and possessions; $29/yr. Canada; $90/yr. Foreign (includes airmail postage). Copyright © 2023 by AIM Communications, LLC. Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission prohibited. Canadian Publications Agreement Number: #40036514. Canadian Return Address: 4707 Hwy 61 N #255, St Paul, MN 55110 MAY + JUNE 2023, VOLUME 45, ISSUE 3.

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MAY + JUNE 2 023 | 2

Queen City Gives Us the Royal Treatment

IIn this issue, we’re celebrating the outdoors—and how what we do as window treatment professionals can add to the happiness and well-being of our customers with our incredible products. Regardless of what climate you live in (I happen to live in Minnesota, where we crave nice weather), there’s a solution that can help you enjoy nature, right from your own home. In fact, even though I can enjoy the outdoors for much less time than many of you, I will be adding an alfresco room to my home.

I want to be able to revel in the beauty of nature without the plague of mosquitos (the state bird) and extreme sunlight, all while keeping my outdoor furnishings safe and clean. AND if I add an outdoor fireplace, that will extend the amount of time I can be outside! I hope you enjoy all the great ideas we share on outdoor living trends and take advantage of the potential sales increase with these specialty custom products.

As I write this, I’m just catching my breath after the most amazing International Window Coverings Expo since pre-recession. There’s nothing more satisfying than hearing your customers (exhibitors and attendees) tell you what a great experience they had in Charlotte, NC. For me, it was exhilarating to watch the robust show floor and see the packed seminars.

Grace’s Hangover Chicken Salad


■ 4 chicken breasts (or 1 whole roasted chicken pulled into pieces)

■ 1-2 sliced colored peppers

■ 20 seedless grapes halved

■ 20 grape tomatoes halved or 1 jar of sundried tomatoes

■ 1 pound bag of good cheese tortellini cooked al dente


Thanks to all of you that were able to make it this year. I hope to see you all in Dallas at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center next April. Being in Texas for the first time, it’s sure to be something special. See our show coverage in this issue and on our website.

I feel so blessed this year. I welcomed my seventh grandchild into the world this past February. Ania gave birth to sweet Ewalina—the next generation who was present at her first IWCE! I want to thank so many of you that welcomed her and amazed us with kind gifts, like a custom IWCE onesie. Ewalina was waiting across the street at the Westin for her mom to visit whenever she could.

Since I love to cook, I thought I’d share my world-famous summer recipe: Hangover Chicken Salad. It’s named this as I created it in my 30s the day after my girlfriends and I went out on the town and needed something satisfying to cure our condition the next day. Made with ingredients I had on hand, it’s become my most requested dish to serve and bring to parties in the summer. Enjoy this delicious salad with the cocktail we share on page 34 or a glass of rosé.

(this is key and may seem excessive but it needs to be to coat the ingredients and have a little punch)

■ 4 tablespoons olive oil

■ 4 tablespoons vinegar (you can vary the vinegar here but I prefer champagne/white wine vinegar)

■ 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

■ 1 tablespoon whole grain mustard

■ 3 cloves garlic minced

■ Salt and pepper

If using chicken breasts, marinate them in your favorite vinaigrette for 1 hour and grill until just tender. Slice the breasts into 1-inch pieces.

Whisk/blend the dressing ingredients together until creamy. Place the dressing into a large bowl, add the salad ingredients and enjoy with some nice crusty bread. Voilà! If you make it right, you will love it.

MAY + JUNE 2 023 | 4 GRACE NOTE From the Publisher
My daughter—and right-hand woman—Ania and I outside of the convention center. Granddaughter Ewalina in her custom-made IWCE onesie.

Advanced child safety solutions

With upcoming changes to legislation around child safety and window coverings, we are evolving our comprehensive range of products in manual and motorized solutions, so they comply with WCMA, Health Canada, and the pending CPCS Rulings.

Learn more about our commitment to child safety at

*Please note not all systems are available at this time

VISION 5 Lower to position Raise to position
Easy Spring Wand Automate Basics Chain Shields Easy Spring Air Easy Spring Ultra Advanced Clutch Wand


25 Outdoor Living

What’s located outside your back door is as close in importance to the inside as it’s ever been. We take a look at the trends and wellness benefits of outdoor living, as well as a designer who’s already putting these concepts into practice.


4 GRACE NOTE Queen City Gives Us the Royal Treatment

8 disCOVER

About the Cover

10 POINT-OF-VIEW: New & Noteworthy All That’s Interesting

14 FULL FRAME: Technology

The Advantage of Selling Eco-Friendly Motorized Window Covering Options

16 TRANSFORMATIONS: What If Your Products Are the Right Answer to the WRONG Question?

42 66

IWCE Recap

With 152 exhibitors and sponsors, as well as a strong attendance of 3,500 attendees boasting visitors from all 50 states and 36 countries, this year’s International Window Coverings Expo was one for the books.


Design Competition Awards

The annual Window Fashion VISION Design Competition Awards honor the most talented members of the window covering industry.


In the window fashion industry, we are meticulous with detail when it comes to transforming windows, yet we often miss the mark when it comes to our own brands. In Part 1, we’ll explore what branding is and the importance of logo design.


In the January/February issue in the “Motorization Mindset Shift for the Workroom” article on pages 18-19, the included photograph of a Vako Motorized 20.04 Headrail with External Rechargeable Somfy Battery Pack should be credited to Nina Zheleva of

20 FULL FRAME: Installation Is Outdoor Installation for You?

64 SHOW ME THE MONEY: Measuring Progress A Guide to Your Second-Quarter Performance

By LuAnn Nigara

70 FLAIR Product Spotlight

72 Sold! Two Easy Ways to Impact Your Bottom Line

By Oliver Schreiber

MAY + JUNE 2 023 | 6
® SheerWeave is a registered trademark of PHIFER INCORPORATED. The SheerWeave app is available for free download to all mobile devices.


The owners of a new home in Austin, TX, were looking forward to spending some quality time on their patio and by the pool. Unfortunately, there was a pesty problem.

“They were getting a ton of mosquitoes and flies on their patio,” said Jared Adams, co-owner of Shading Texas. “In addition, there were the concerns we often see in outdoor spaces: glare, rain and uncomfortable temperatures.”

As they searched for a solution, the size of the 25' x 10' was a sticking point. “Several other companies suggested installing a post in the center of the opening because it was too wide, but the homeowners wanted to keep the single large opening,” said Adams. “They came to us and we were able to accommodate them using the Draper® FlexShade® ZIP XL.”

The FlexShade XL headbox uses an integrated cradle support system to minimize deflection, which, in turn, allows wider outdoor “zipper”-style shades. But retaining the single large opening wasn’t the only aesthetic concern.

“The large modern/contemporary home has matte bronze framed windows and they wanted to be sure the finished look was perfect,” said Adams. “The Draper bronze color was a perfect match to enable a seamless look between the screen and window frames. Plus, the Phifer® TuffScreen® fabric retained their view of the pool.”

The FlexShade ZIP XL is powered by a Somfy® RTS motor, which ties into the home automation system via the Somfy TaHoma®. This gives the owners several control options: They can operate the screens using voice commands, a smartphone app and their smart home system. V

MAY + JUNE 2 023 | 8 dis COVER Cover Story


SHUTTLE MOTOR LINE-UP: Many control and integration options are available. All motors include a 10-year warranty. Plug and play installation or choose our battery powered option.

Learn More



With all products designed at the company’s New York City studio, it only makes sense that Chilewich’s products are sleek and fashionable. The company’s Bouble and Bamboo floor mats are both perfect for either indoors or outside and will complement whatever your style may be. Available in a myriad of sizes and colorways, no backing is needed for these Terrastrand yarn mats as they are latex-backed and slip-resistant. The benefits of adding one to any outdoor space include safeguarding against staincausing bacteria, mold and mildew.



To create a statement, put away the paint and dress up your walls with wallpaper. Thibaut’s Kismet collection, inspired by the definition of the word itself, wants to bring positivity to your space with a collection of eight wallcoverings in a kaleidoscopic color palette. Each print offers multiple colorways for you to coordinate best with your existing style.



The Helux Solar Umbrella is the latest innovation in outdoor living that’s perfect for those who want to enjoy the outdoors without worrying about the harmful effects of too much sun. This revolutionary and first-ever motorized solar umbrella is designed to provide shade and protection from the sun and is powered by solar energy, making it sustainable and eco-friendly. The built-in solar panel collects energy during the day and stores it in a rechargeable battery, allowing you to use the umbrella even at night when the sun has gone down. It’s controlled simply by an iOS or Android app and can even be controlled by voice commands via Alexa or Google Home.


MAY + JUNE 2 023 | 10 POINT-OF-VIEW New & Noteworthy


Chic up your outdoor dining space with How to Marry a Millionaire chairs by Peter Dunham that complement the earth’s natural tones. These Charcoal or Sand woven items are handcrafted and feature teak frames and all-weather rush seats and backs, which can withstand anything the elements have to throw at them. All of the company’s high-quality furniture is made to order but is available in stock for convenience.



After establishing itself as a leader in decorative trimmings and drapery hardware, Brimar has taken trims up a notch with its new Artsy collection. The 3-inch-wide geometric appliqué trim utilizes an open concept, which allows any fabric to show through. Fourteen colors make up the sophisticated palette and will add a striking contrast to draperies, roman shades, pillows and more.



Almedahls has developed a circular suite of hanging textiles for the professional market featuring OceanSafe technology. Circle textiles are based on a new generation of textile tech company OceanSafe’s polyester fiber, which radically reduce the release of microplastics to the oceans and air. CircleEase is an airy sheer with light-filtering properties and takes inspiration from the elements. CircleRest is a lightweight and textural semitransparent drapery that aims to create privacy while still letting light through. Items in the collection are toxin-free and biodegradable, and once products from this collection complete their life cycle, they are returned to the ecological system via a take-back system managed by the company.

» V

MAY + JUNE 2 023 | 12
POINT-OF-VIEW New & Noteworthy

The Advantage of Selling Eco-Friendly Options of Motorized Window Covering Options

We all know that selling motorization is the easy option for those that want the ease and convenience of using a remote, a mobile device or voice control, but I believe that many designers and window fashion professionals are missing out on the opportunity to sell motorized window coverings for their environmentally friendly and energyefficient aspects. By incorporating features such as timers, sensors, solar panels and other features, motorized shades can help reduce energy consumption, extend the life of personal property and decrease our carbon footprints. These should all be incorporated in your design and selling procedures.

One of the primary ways motorized shades can be environmentally friendly is through the use of timers. Timers can be set to lower or raise window coverings at specific times of the day and, when set appropriately, this can greatly reduce the amount of energy needed to maintain a room’s temperature to the client’s specific needs, which can help reduce the use of an air conditioner or heater and thus help lower utility bills. For instance, during the winter, you can set a timer to raise all your south- and west-facing windows to allow as much solar heat gain in during the warmer

hours of the day and then lower all of the shades an hour or two before sunset to help trap the room’s warmth gained by the day’s sunlight. Conversely, in the summer, you can set the time to lower all the shades a few hours after sunrise to block out as much heat from entering the room as possible. These settings can be easily set in most manufacturer’s motorization apps. Many manufacturers also offer a Celestial Timer, which can automatically adjust to the local sunrise and sunset, maximizing the potential savings for the end user.

Sensors are another great opportunity to reduce consumption on multiple levels. The two most effective sensors are temperature sensors and light sensors. Temperature sensors can be used year-round and in multiple rooms to help maintain thermal equilibrium and help reduce air conditioning and heating costs much like a timer but with more accurate control. A thermal sensor can detect a room’s temperature and adjust the shades accordingly. It can automatically lower a shade when the temperature rises, thus reducing the need for AC, and can be programmed to raise a shade when the temperature drops to reduce the need for the heater. A timer doesn’t know what the weather outside is, so it could be automatically raising the shades on a very cold and cloudy day, letting all the room’s warmth escape out of the window. Using a combination of both timers and thermal sensors can really help control the environment.

MAY + JUNE 2 023 | 14 FULL FRAME Technology

Another commonly overlooked sensor is a light sensor. Light sensors can be used for daylight harvesting, a more comfortable environment and asset protection. If you are unfamiliar with daylight harvesting, the general concept is that you can use the natural light from outdoors to offset the use of artificial light created indoors. So, with a light sensor, when the sunlight is shining on a window in a room, the shades will rise to allow natural light to brighten the room, allowing you to turn down or turn off the artificial lights in the room. This can reduce your electrical consumption. You can also use the sensor to block out light. You can set it to lower the shades when the sun is too bright, thus creating a more comfortable environment to work or relax in if wanted. A light sensor also has an overlooked protective aspect. You can use a light sensor to protect your valuable assets in a room from the damaging effects of the sun’s harmful UV and solar rays. At first, you might not think this fits in the energy-efficient/eco-friendly category, but it does in the sense that it can reduce your need to replace items such as furniture, floors, artwork or other precious items that could be damaged by the sun’s harmful rays.

I also want to briefly discuss the use of alternative power supplies, mainly the use of solar panels to recharge battery-powered motors. With the ever-increasing technological advances in battery power production and the overwhelming demand for battery-powered motorization, the use of a solar panel to recharge the batteries (both internal and external battery packs) is still a debatable advantage. Although the short-term advantages appear to be clear—including less batteries to dispose of, less chance of injury or harm from charging or changing said batteries (e.g., climbing on ladders, damaging window covering or walls), which can be good for the environment, your health and your pocketbook—the long-term environmental effects of the disposal of rechargeable batteries and solar panels has yet to be determined.

Lastly, I want to touch on the more advanced concept of home automation and building management systems. The combination of using sensors and timers with a whole home automation system for a residence and a building management system for a commercial application is the best option overall. When you are able to directly tie in the HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) and lighting to your motorized window coverings, you will get the best ecological, environmental and economic benefits of all the options discussed. Of course, there is a larger upfront cost for choosing this option, but when was the last time you had a utility company lower their prices? Using your knowledge of how to sell custom motorization, you should be able to offer your clients some excellent energy- and moneysaving products. V

O’D McKewan is the product coach for Window Covering World, an expert on motorization and an industry leader in the field of motorized window coverings. He has extensive hands-on experience with motorized window coverings, including fabrication, installation and selling.


The centerpiece of our new additions is our awardwinning French Pole set. Available in hollow or solid 1-3/8” or 2-1/8” acrylic poles with metal mitered elbows in 2 finishes. It’s the perfect finishing touch to your custom window treatments.

With draperies on the move, we make it so easy to hand traverse with Clear Vue metal passing brackets and C rings.

Rounding out our new accessories are acrylic moveable elbows for those bays, bows and corners. All items are available in both 1 3/8” and 2 1/8” sizes and chrome (CHR) and satin brass (SBB) finishes. Think of the possibilities!

VISION 15 | | 877.476.6278 The Clear Vue Collection is Growing! ORION ORNAMENTAL IRON, INC.

What If Your Products Are the Right Answer to the WRONG Question?

If you’re finding it harder to sell these days and people are holding on tighter to their money, stop everything, go directly to a quiet place and do not pass go until you’ve finished reading this article—the third in a series focused on selling transformations. The first two dealt with the brain on sales and today we pivot slightly to matters of the heart.

Bringing heart into the success equation requires self-reflection, freedom for new ideas to develop and an open mind. It challenges the status quo, so it feels a little risky at first, but a glimpse of what is possible is there for the willing. I promise it won’t be hard to tilt your head to one side and say, “Hmm, I hadn’t thought of it like that before.”

I can’t fault you if you are somewhat taken aback. For me to insinuate that you have been asking the wrong questions in your appointments goes against well-established habits and pretty much everything we’ve learned in training. Aren’t we supposed to discover customers’ pain points? Once we know the problem, we’ve been taught that it’s easy to educate the client on the features and benefits of the product to solve it. If we’re a little more experienced, we might even introduce problems the client doesn’t know they have. Next, we present facts in a rational way to convince the client your product will solve the problem. Overcome any lingering objections, persuade, when necessary, and the outcome is sure to be sold. But more often than we want to admit, we’ve done all those things and it is not.

We’re left wondering where we went wrong with what seems like a very sound sales formula we’ve been using for years. If problems need a solution and our products are the answer, why aren’t more clients buying?

The thinking that got you to where you are is not the thinking that will get you to where you want to be. You do have great products

that solve problems and yet you struggle with quotes and design boards that don’t convert to revenue. The thinking that got you here—including most sales training— is stuck in a time warp and it’s time for innovative thinking to move us forward.

To illustrate, shall we play a word association game? Close your eyes and mentally list the things that come to mind when you hear the word “salesman.” Don’t dwell on it, just note what quickly comes to mind. Chances are your list contains one or more old stereotypes. Someone pushy, fast-talking, gimmicky and too slick to be trusted, even though most people who sell these days are professional, respectable and doing the best job they can.

Your list was influenced by an old style of transactional selling that included pressure situations wherein one person wins, therefore implying the other person is the loser. Unfortunately, that thinking is still top-of-mind for both buyers and sellers and it’s reinforced far more often than you may realize.

When it comes to sales, we need a transformation!

There is a way to sell more that doesn’t involve being “salesy,” which is good because everyone hates a salesy salesperson, but will you do it? Will you use innovative, modern thinking and human connection to transform the way your clients experience design-related purchases? Answer “Yes” because it starts with you. Answer “Yes” and you will sell more. You will be the positive change you wish to see in the world. Another word for positive change is transformation.

First, be willing to replace outdated win-lose thinking with a modern win-win mindset.

You can do this if you focus on how you help. ABC is replaced with ABH: Always Be Helping. Helping is the goal, not closing, and this is where real transformation begins. If you really want to help, there is another belief well past its sell-by date that you must be rid of. We’ve been programmed



The new ELEMENTS® SHADE COLLECTION features unique specialty shade solutions strategically designed and positioned to help you grow your business.




MORE, CONTACT US AT 833.743.1314

to believe a sales transaction takes place between two people who don’t know one another. As a result, we keep the people we work with at arm’s length for fear that something may be taken from us. Both buyers and sellers approach the interaction as if there is more to lose than gain.

Transformational thinking starts with asking yourself these questions: Can you let down your own wariness of being taken advantage of? Get rid of your fear of your ideas and prices being shopped? Of “wasted time” because a client can’t buy right now? Will you, instead, be open and fall in love (just a little!) with each prospective customer you meet? If you do, sales will follow. You may even fall back in love with your business and remember why you started it in the first place.

In our earlier word association game, it’s safe to say “love” wasn’t on your list, nor the words “innovation,” “modern thinking,” “human connection” or “transformation.” These are NOT words the selling profession is known for. The very culture and reputation of sales are stuck. This presents a great problem for today’s thinking entrepreneur trying to build a thriving business.

Businesses must create customers. The definition of a customer is someone who buys goods or services; therefore, a sale is necessary to create customers. You can see the conundrum when selling has such a bad rap. Something needs to change fast!

Here are the RIGHT questions for you, the seller. Do you love your customers when you are selling to them? Do you love helping them, whether they buy from you or not? Do you prepare and make recommendations like you would if you were designing for your best friend, your daughter or your parents? Or do you make recommendations like a salesperson?

Today’s business climate, with clients uncertain about what the future holds and prone to holding discretionary dollars a bit closer to the vest, is not kind to the traditional salesperson. The thinking that got us where we are is not the thinking that will get us to where we want to be. Transform your practice to modern thinking, which, these days, includes professional relationships with a more human connection. Maybe, dare I say it, loving your clients is the way to sales success. It is outside-thebox thinking to go into an appointment to love your client. But it is well-established that clients buy from those they trust. A high-trust, low-resistance, connected friendship doesn’t happen from a place of wariness and a fear of being taken advantage of. Remember, these

are feelings both buyers and sellers experience, so someone must make the first move. An intention to love might just change your trajectory and be your ticket out of this mess that traditional salesy sales got all of us into in the first place.

Second, understand that the wise designer is the WHYS designer.

Socrates said the wise man is the man who knows what he doesn’t know. I’ll rephrase that for the purpose of design sales. The wise designer is the WHYS designer. The one who doesn’t immediately jump to recommending products to solve light and temperature, privacy or hard-to-get-at windows. The product is the right answer but for the wrong problem. Wise pros remain curious and continue to ask “Why?” And why again after the first answer. And then again, down to the real root feeling, philosophical in nature rather than practical. The root cause is always bigger than the functional problem. Solving bigger problems equals selling more products.

Rather than go in already knowing, a WHYS designer will start with a beginner’s mind. It takes more time and more caring o be WHYS. When you slow down and make a genuine connection, human to human— not seller to buyer—and ask questions because you really care, you will uncover that the client made the appointment because something just didn’t feel right about their room. It’s causing them to be uncomfortable in their own home, which just isn’t right. There it is! The philosophical problem is that home should be a sanctuary; a place for love and rest, a place to gather and spend time with people who mean the most to us. Not a place to feel uncomfortable.

It’s bigger than heat, glare or privacy. Do you see, now, what you must solve? By making an appointment with you, your client is saying “Please help me. How can I have a more comfortable, inviting home?”

That is the question you are there to answer. Your product is the solution, but care enough to answer the question lovingly by selling how life will change for the better. That is win-win. Once your products are installed, love is evident because the way your client feels in their home is completely transformed.

Your clients feel; therefore, they buy.

Descartes said, “I think; therefore, I am.” For the sales profession, being wise means knowing that clients feel; therefore, they buy. They buy the feeling that comes from owning the thing, so you must sell the feeling of transformation. When you do, you also solve a very important business problem—the one that’s been keeping you up at night worrying about how to help clients stop hesitating and start buying. You don’t have to stay stuck in the sales time warp. Everything changes when you decide to get rid of old beliefs and introduce modern thinking. Don’t worry about the close; help, instead, by transforming the room. There is plenty of business for WHYS designers. The change you want to see starts today with you, with all of us in the sales profession on a win-win mission, one transformation at a time. V

Kathy Cragg Pace teaches modern sales for people who hate “salesy” people. Her specialty is elevated design sales for individuals and teams, empowering them to provide an irresistible selling experience. Throughout her decades-long career, she has led her own award-winning design franchise, real estate and custom home-building companies, a network of large and small independent window covering business owners and a nationwide retail team of in-home design professionals. She is currently director of sales for 3 Blind Mice USA in California.


Is Outdoor Installation for You?

As the weather gets warmer, people have a tendency to enjoy the outdoors more. Adding to this is the fact that during the pandemic eating outdoors was the only way restaurants could serve their patrons. Almost three years later, many restaurants have kept an outdoor space for customers that enjoy the fresh air.

After doing a quick survey through several Facebook installation groups, the trend is confirmed: Outdoor shades are on the rise. I witness daily posts of completed installations, searches for installers or recommendations for outdoor products manufacturers.

But before you jump on the outdoor shades bandwagon to offer them, there are some major differences between interior and exterior products, including sizes, installation time and variety of tools. I will highlight a few things that you must consider before incorporating these products into your portfolio.

SIZE: While most interior products are measured in inches, exterior shades are usually measured in feet. That alone is an indicator that 99% of the installs won’t be handled by a single installer. Not only does size matter, but weight too. Because these shades cover greater open spaces such as patio doors, balconies and commercial windows, their components must be oversized for best performance. For instance, while a huge interior shade would use a 2-inch-diameter tube, it is very common to see 3- to 5-inch-diameter tubes for outdoor products. All those extras make exterior products extremely heavy. In most cases, three would be the minimum crew to handle such projects.

TOOLS: With interior shades, many times you can walk into a house with a drill and some screws and that’s it. With exterior products, you have to be prepared with a large assortment of hand tools, power tools and even electrical tools and connectors. Tim Sanders, president of Solar Shield. Blinds, Shades, Solutions., said, “In our early days of installing exterior shades, we would

have to stop and go get tools or materials as we ran into unforeseen circumstances. Now, we have a very good assortment, but it takes way more time at the beginning of the install just prepping the area and getting our tools ready versus any type of interior install.”

WEATHER: Most of our interior installations are done amid the perfect temperature. Regardless of the temps outside, we have air conditioning or a heater in the room to make us cozy. That isn’t the case when installing products outdoor. The vast majority of projects will be done in the Southern states and you may face extreme heat while installing; however, freezing temperatures could be just as bad. I recently installed a project in Marlborough, MA, when the temperature was 27 degrees. Every 30 minutes or so, we had to go back to our van to warm up. Something else to consider: Under freezing temperatures, there is always a chance that the ground may be icy and a bit unstable.

MAY + JUNE 2 023 | 20 FULL FRAME Installation
While weathering the elements might present a challenge, it's all worth it for the added benefit to the client.

MENTALLY FIT: There are so many different variables when it comes to exterior zipper shades, so before you can even really get started installing, you have to have a plan for each one of those steps. Unlike interior shades that you can easily snap in and out of a window, exterior shades are a very different animal and having to redo something can take up valuable time and energy. Sanders continued, “It’s very possible if you do something out of order, you will lose even more time by having to backtrack and uninstall something because you missed a step. So, you just have to approach these installs differently and think through each step before you do it. They require a lot more muscle and way more patience. You have to be mentally prepared and allow plenty of time.”

MOUNTING: Most indoor installations can be accomplished using small screws, wall plugs or toggle bolts. However, when it comes to outdoor products, the structures that are supporting the product must be solid and same with the fasteners that you use. In many instances, you will face a steel beam designed to hold such products. Again, extra time, proper planning and the correct tools are vital to succeed.

PRICE: On average, installers charge between $20 to $30 per interior shade unit that takes about 15 minutes to install. Meanwhile, $200 may sound enticing as a dollar figure, but it is not even a reasonable amount if you don’t account for the time and labor involved. Some of the seasoned installers I know won’t even consider $400 per unit given the

work involved. So, make sure to price accordingly if you are considering this category.

INSURANCE: Before you start advertising your new services, consult your insurance agent to make sure that you are covered. Remember you’ll need extra hands and additional tools and will be dealing with more expensive products and installing them on exterior structures. A misstep can be very costly if you don’t have the proper insurance.

To conclude, I think Tim Sanders summarized it best when he said, “Even though there are some stark differences in the install processes from interior to exterior shades, the reward at the end of a job well done is still very fulfilling. The function and added benefits exterior shades provide our clients makes all the extra work worth it in the end.” V

Roger Magalhaes is the founder of Trading Up Consulting, which provides installation training for window fashion professionals. Magalhaes has more than 15 years of experience as a professional window treatment installer in the Boston area. He is also the installation instructor for the Window Fashion Certified Professional FastTrack program and is the president of Window Coverings Association of America.


The function and added benefits exterior shades provide our clients makes all the extra work worth it in the end.


Best for Kids Certified: Twin Pull

Introducing Coulisse’s latest child-safe by design solution: Twin Pull. The operating wands are the safest way to manually operate shades and provide all the benefits of chain operation in a child-safe design. By eliminating the continuous loop present in most clutch-operated shades, Twin Pull can safely raise and lower roller shades to any position at any time.

Child-Safe Solutions

Coulisse designs window coverings that are child-safe by design, as they take the safety of young children very seriously. Every day, the in-house engineering team is working to develop and improve their manual and motorized child-safe solutions. Discover the range that includes Twin Pull, Cordless and Motorized.

Available for Roller and Honeycomb

The child-safe by design solution Twin Pull is available for Roller and Honeycomb, which have been designed with beauty, performance and sustainability in mind. The Roller collections showcase the various lightfiltering, blackout, sheer, solar, screen and nature qualities—all categorized by functionality and appearance. These timeless collections, from must-have classics to luxurious statement pieces, are available in neutral earthy color tones to fit any interior style or taste.

Sheer, Solar & Screen Collections for Roller

Sheer, Solar & Screen Volume 1 focuses on the commercial and residential market, where functionality and style unite. These timeless and durable fabrics in beautiful neutral color tones offer healthy and inspiring spaces. The functional excellence of these fabrics creates perfect natural lighting, a pleasant indoor climate and optimal acoustics for office buildings, public places, health care facilities and hospitality venues. Sheer, Solar & Screen Volume 2 focuses on the residential market, as it embraces tactility and refinement. These modern fabrics consist of delicate fabrics in a variety of weaving textures: from linen-like materials to edgy-looking fabrics with a coarse wool texture. The soft color palette suits contemporary as well as classic interior styles.

Benefits of Honeycomb

The Honeycomb fabrics of Coulisse work like insulating blankets for windows and are proven to reduce heat loss in the winter by 46% and to reduce heat absorption in the summer by 78%. These energy-efficient shades save up to 12% of energy throughout the year. The unique cellular structure offers excellent insulating properties by trapping air in the distinct pockets. There is an additional built-in aluminum layer in all the blackout fabrics.


All products are fully stocked and ready for delivery from the Coulisse warehouse located in Miami. This is the hub for sales, support and logistics for North, South and Central America. The strong and dedicated team of passionate experts work at the core of the window shading business and always go the extra mile to give partners the inspiration, products, knowledge and support they need.

MAY + JUNE 2 023 | 22

Safe Smart Home: MotionBlinds

MotionBlinds is Coulisse’s answer to smart home. MotionBlinds is a safe and cord-free way to operate blinds, shades and draperies using a smartphone or a voice assistant to open and close window furnishings at anytime from anywhere. Smart window coverings make your home safer in more ways than one. You can make a home seem inhabited by setting a timer to automate your blinds to open and close at certain times, even when you are on a trip, helping to prevent break-ins and giving you that peace of mind. Also, if you connect MotionBlinds to other smart devices such as locks, doorbells and cameras, you can always keep an eye on your home wherever you are in the world.

Award-Winning Eve MotionBlinds Is Matter Certified

Pioneering Eve MotionBlinds is the first smart blinds motor platform on the market to use Matter-over-Thread and was named CES 2023 Innovation Award Honoree for its Upgrade Kit for Roller Blinds at the biggest smart home and tech event in the world in Las Vegas.

Tech Pioneers: Coulisse and Eve

Coulisse launched Eve MotionBlinds a year ago in collaboration with German smart home specialist Eve Systems. Seeing the gap in the market, the two companies put their designers and engineers together to create the firstever smart window covering motors. They support the latest smart home technologies Thread and Matter and work seamlessly in any smart home. Smart shading increases comfort, enhances security and helps save energy, making it an essential smart home product category.

“We are extremely proud to be the first company in the world to integrate Matterover-Thread technology into motorized blinds,” said Jop Vos, Managing Director of Coulisse Americas. “This allows our products to work seamlessly with other devices that support the universal smart home standard Matter, which is being developed jointly by Amazon, Apple, Google, Samsung and others. Being honored with an award is a major recognition of our forwardthinking developments in smart window coverings.”

About Matter

Matter is a new smart home protocol developed jointly by Amazon, Apple, Google, Eve and many other manufacturers to eliminate incompatibilities in the smart home once and for all. Matter-certified products are a breeze to integrate into your smart home. Your entire family can control your home via a smartphone or a voice assistant effortlessly using any device they choose. That’s because Matter doesn’t mind if you use an iPhone, Android device, Alexa-enabled smart speaker, Google Assistant or Siri.

Smart Window Coverings

Smart shading increases comfort, enhances security and helps save energy. Natural light and temperature in smart homes can be controlled automatically by letting devices such as blinds, thermostats and lighting work together. In doing so, smart blinds can open and close automatically to control heat and light, helping to reduce energy consumption, save costs and create the perfect indoor climate anytime, anyplace, anywhere.


Visit the Coulisse Experience Center in Miami and get a personal tour around the new showroom. Discover the total solution of smart window coverings and child-safe solutions. Find out everything you need to know about MotionBlinds smart technology. See and feel the iconic collections, discover the latest fabric trends and get personal advice on how to create the best assortment to fulfil your customers’ needs. Be inspired!


Schedule a visit to the Miami Experience Center by scanning the QR code.

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What’s located outside your back door is as close in importance to the inside as it’s ever been. In the three years since the pandemic was declared, enjoying the outdoors has taken on new meaning and the design industry has tailored its offerings to give consumers what they desire. The benefits go far beyond beauty—health is as top of mind as it was in March 2020. How can we continue building on this momentum?

Photo: Graber Artisan Grommet Top Outdoor Drapery: Iconic, Opal 5593
26 MAY + JUNE 2 023 |
Photo: Serge Ferrari Group / Photo Courtesy of YG Photographies


Creating practical and stylish outdoor living spaces has become one of the hottest trends in home renovation. Just tune in to HGTV or pick up a consumer magazine and you’re sure to see a profile of a homeowner extending their living space to the great outdoors. Whether it’s a multilevel deck, a luxury covered patio with retractable shades, a sunroom with floor-to-ceiling windows or a Florida-style lanai with motorized screens, outdoor living is high on the priority list for many homeowners.

These home improvement projects do much more than extend the home’s living space, increase the property’s resale value and provide more entertaining or relaxing flexibility. According to a growing body of research, they also contribute to your physical and mental well-being.

Unplug and Recharge

Whether you want a more functional area for large gatherings or just a place to unwind when the workday is done, an outdoor living space often beckons; most of us spend much of our waking hours indoors. Now, researchers are discovering the health benefits of spending more time outside, making having an outdoor living space more attractive.

In the busyness and distraction of our digital age, connecting with nature is a great way to slow down, unplug and recharge your mental batteries. Taking a break from digital devices and focusing on the natural landscape can help you forget about the stresses of everyday life and refresh your brain, reducing tension and anxiety.

Digitally speaking, spending time outdoors can even help protect your vision! As the Journal of International Ophthalmology reports, it’s well-documented that the blue light emitted by laptops, cellphones, televisions and other electronics can strain your eyes, especially when you use those devices for long stretches. In children and teens, too much screen time can increase the risk of developing nearsightedness.

By stepping away from your electronics and focusing your attention on the beauty and wonders of nature, you’ll give your eyes and mind a much-needed break from the continual distractions of modern life. Spending time with family or friends on a deck or patio or in a sunroom or on a lanai—without your cellphone or tablet—can prove restorative.


Take Care of Your Body

The pressures and pace of life can take a toll physically, leading to dangerous conditions like high blood pressure and heart disease. While health problems like these are rising, science suggests that spending more time outdoors can reduce your risk of developing them or help reverse their effects.

Researchers at the University of Cambridge found that taking a daily walk of just 11 minutes can cut the odds of premature death, while a study published in Scientific Reports found that spending just two hours a week outdoors can cut the risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes and obesity. And if you’re worrying about how to find a two-hour stretch, there’s no need to stress: It’s the total weekly time that counts! Adding a short morning walk every day or enjoying a meal on your screened-in porch are terrific ways to take in the sights and sounds of nature and take care of your body.

Spending more time outdoors can even help you sleep better—and better sleep means better health. One study reported in Preventive Medicine found a connection between more outdoor time and improved sleep quality, especially for people who enjoyed green space, the ocean or other bodies of water and sunlight. With sleep quality connected to many health benefits, including improved cardiovascular health and a lower risk of obesity, that’s a strong reason to invest in an outdoor living space that draws you to nature.

Suppose you’re wondering exactly how nature is connected to your health. In that case, Professor Richard Fuller from the University of Queensland, who studies the connection between green spaces and health, explained the reason in a recent QC magazine article: “Looking at natural settings produces changes in our brains and our blood, leading to less stress and better recovery from stress. Since focusing on nature requires our attention in a much different way than focusing on the demands of everyday life, it can make us mindful in a much healthier way.”

The implications for human health could be significant. As a study in Scientific Reports concluded, spending 30 minutes or more each week in outdoor green spaces could reduce the incidence of high blood pressure by 7%. And with hypertension connected to so many serious diseases, cutting down on the risk is a great reason to make outdoor living part of your weekly routine.

The Sun Can Do You Good

With concerns about the dangers of too much exposure and the connection to skin cancer, the sun often gets a bad rap. But there’s evidence that spending a little time in the sun can boost your vitamin D levels, which is important to your health.

Of course, it’s never a good idea to spend too much time directly in its rays without protective clothing or sunscreen, especially when UV levels are at their highest. Yet, short stints in the sun can help your body produce natural vitamin D, which many physicians say is lacking in most adults. That’s a big potential benefit since vitamin D is linked to better immune function (helping you fight off illnesses and infections), reduced inflammation (known to be a contributor to many health conditions), better calcium absorption (critical for strong bones) and lower risk of cognitive decline and of some cancers, as reported by the Harvard School of Public Health.

Besides all the physical benefits, those sunny rays can contribute to better mental health. With the rate of depression, anxiety and feelings of loneliness skyrocketing, especially in our post-pandemic world, adding a little sunshine to your day could boost your mood and keep negative thoughts at bay. Enjoying your morning coffee on the deck or reading a book on the patio may be just what you need to lift your spirits.

Soak Up the Sights and Sounds

What is it about being outdoors that’s so good for our bodies and minds? It’s the combination of what we see and what we hear while outside that makes an impact.

Gazing at a bright blue sky, looking out over a blooming garden or watching a bird land on your porch railing can have a calming effect. Listening to the evening crickets from your back patio or taking in the soothing sounds of your garden fountain can be peaceful and serene. All the more reason to add an outdoor living space that brings you closer to the sights and sounds of nature! When you can’t get away from it all and flock to a lake, the ocean or a national park, having your own oasis from the noise and frenzy of everyday life can be just as uplifting.

Even when you can’t get outside, you can take in all that nature offers in other ways that are just as good for the soul. Sitting near a window while you eat lunch, working in a space with natural light and a view of the outdoors or downloading an app with soothing sounds of an ocean, a waterfall or a rain shower can calm your mind, bring down your heart rate and melt away your stress. It’s the next best thing until you can escape those four walls!

And, of course, bringing nature indoors is a great way to connect with the outdoors when you can’t venture outside. Add different varieties of houseplants and potted herbs in planters that reflect your style to surround yourself with greenery. Just opening the windows and inviting in the breeze or the scent of fresh-cut grass can create a soothing, tranquil environment.

As science supports, making nature part of everyday life is a prescription for better health. From recharging mentally to staying fit physically, the benefits are clear. Perhaps that’s why outdoor living spaces are among the top home improvements on consumers’ lists today. V

MAY + JUNE 2 023 | 28

Style is Sprouting

Natural Fabrics Continue to Grow in Popularity

Bring the Beauty of Nature Indoors

As the demand for natural and sustainable options continues to grow, finding materials that are made sustainably can be tricky. Fortunately, natural fabrics are made from renewable materials like bamboo, reeds, jute, and grasses. These materials are expertly handwoven into beautifully textured natural fabric which can be turned into custom Horizons window treatments.

Playful Pops of Color

With more and more time spent at home, it’s important to keep interiors looking fresh. Whether you’re creating a space to entertain guests, get some quality shut-eye or need to create a place to get some work done, color can play a role in creating the right ambiance for your needs. For spaces that need focus or concentration, consider choosing a tranquil green or blue. Reds, oranges, and yellows are ideal in spaces you use for entertainment or hosting such as a living or dining room. In bedrooms, try a neutral, earth-tone pallet or rich purple tones to help you get into the right mindset for sleep.

An Eye Outside

With Horizon’s Averté Natural Fold, a technique that turns natural fabrics into a window treatment that looks like drapery, you can cover wide windows and patio doors with ease. The possibilities are endless. Averté can stack left, stack right, split or even center stack with a gentle push on the guide rail. Coordinate with Natural Roman Shades for a finished look.

Welcome Dealers: New and Existing!

It was great to meet so many of you at IWCE. We can’t wait to see all of the new designs you bring to our workroom this year. Keep an eye out for our upcoming product launches which are sure to take your sales to the next level.

Please feel free to reach out to our customer service team with any questions you may have either by phone 800-858-2352 or email Let’s get ready to grow together!

(03/23) 23-437555


No Matter the Temperature, OUTDOOR LIVING IS STAYING HOT

Consumers can’t get enough of outdoor living, as evidenced by the surge in home improvement projects. In the early days of the pandemic, many turned to their backyards to escape the monotony of the same four walls. But even as restrictions eased and travel resumed, people often showed a preference for staying closer to home: investing in outdoor living spaces that turn a simple backyard into a relaxing oasis.

As AD PRO’s 2023 Outdoor Forecast illustrates, outdoor living is a hot trend that shows no signs of cooling down. And as the experts at leading outdoor shading, screening and fabric manufacturers report, consumers remain passionate about outfitting their outdoor spaces for the perfect blend of form and function. They expect trends like the following to drive more growth in 2023.

Blurred Lines: Outdoor Becomes a Seamless Extension

Forget about the barriers of exterior walls: The border between indoors and outdoors is fading fast. “Homeowners are continuing to find innovative ways to repurpose their outdoor living spaces as an extension of their homes for relaxing and entertaining,” said John Fryc, director of business development, solar protection, Serge Ferrari Group.

Sarah Dooley, director of upholstery at Sunbrella, agrees: “We’re seeing new demands for seamless indoor-outdoor connections at home, meaning there should be connection points between an interior space like a kitchen or dining room and an outdoor space that is used for a similar function, like a porch or patio.”

Often, blurring the lines means borrowing design ideas from the home’s interior to create a unified look. “Designers and their customers are creating outdoor spaces that reflect their indoor spaces,” said Marc Knight, director of design at RM Coco. No longer confined to traditional “outdoor furniture,” they’re outfitting these areas like they would an indoor room—adding a vintage side table, a contemporary floor lamp, a lush rug or a custom wall hanging.

This trend has transformed the fabric choices available for outdoor furnishings, with more options that reflect the homeowner’s style and preferences, said Holly Bridwell, marketing manager at Mermet.

MAY + JUNE 2 023 | 30

“Outdoor living in 2023 will revolve around extending your interior style preferences to your outdoor living spaces, while incorporating fun pops of color, textures or patterns,” she said, with this approach showing up in everything from roller shades to furniture to decor, sporting playful hues like bold blues, lively greens and vibrant oranges. Other consumers are favoring a more sophisticated palette, as Rollease Acmeda has noticed a trend toward dark colors for screens and shades—like black, charcoal and dark gray—combined with matte finishes and textures.

Much like indoors, consumers are craving more texture in their outdoor spaces. With a nod to that trend, Sunbrella introduced Momento, which Dooley described as “a

highly textural fabric with a channel-like ribbed surface, featuring chunky boucle yarns that looks beautiful when layered and feels luxurious in any outdoor space.” Similarly, Mermet sees natural fibers like rattan and jute making a big splash outdoors, adding depth and fusing patterns for visual interest.

Sol-Lux views the blending of indoors and outdoors as touching every element of design. “We’re seeing interior designers expand their reach outside the home by coordinating patio furniture, pots and planters, and shade systems, namely awnings, as an extension of the home’s interior look and feel,” said Kevin Mayer, the company’s vice president of sales and marketing.

When outdoor living abuts the indoors— along an adjacent patio or a deck— designers will appreciate an expanding array of shading and screening options that make the transition seamless. Many are creating a design statement on oversize patio doors or floor-to-ceiling windows with treatments like Norman’s Woodlore Plus shutters, featuring lightweight, durable ABS and an aircraft wing-inspired louver construction for greater strength and less weight. Those who prefer a softer look will find lots of choices, too, like SmartDrape from Norman. “The undulating sheer and fabric vane construction is specially made to bring style, versatility and seamless indoor-outdoor living,” said Derek Tran, marketing coordinator.

MAY + JUNE 2 023 | 32
SmartDrape from Norman Norman’s Woodlore Plus Sunbrella’s Momento in Dove Graber Artisan Grommet Top Outdoor Drapery: Iconic, Opal 5593

Editor’s Picks

An outdoor oasis isn’t complete without a proper centerpiece and this firepit fits the bill. Ideal for casual gatherings, entertaining and quiet nights, this gorgeous bowl design features an efficient burner system to pair functionality with a lasting design.

Year-Round Outdoor Living? Absolutely!

AD PRO noted one of the hottest outdoor trends isn’t about the heat, it’s making outdoor living possible year-round. For consumers that desire four-season outdoor living, there are plenty of solutions to make the experience comfortable—from fire pits and built-in fireplaces to shading and screening systems that combine ease of use with practicality.

“Historically, patio spaces were used mostly during warm summer months, but increasingly those outdoor spaces are being designed for year-round use or at least three-season use,” noted Kevin Anderson, product and marketing manager at Insolroll. While protection from the sun’s heat and glare remain top priorities, some of the newest shading systems help keep the heat in. Insolroll’s Oasis 2900 is a prime example: a retractable patio shade that provides heat retention in colder months, along with protection from insects, heat and glare when it’s warm.

The right shading or screening solution can extend the usability of an outdoor living space by several months, noted Clint Childress, director of residential markets at Draper. For example, the company’s FlexShade ZIP can turn a roofed patio or

pergola into a screened enclosure, “keeping out insects, maintaining comfortable temperatures and protecting occupants from rain and weather,” he said.

Of course, year-round outdoor living demands shading and screening systems that keep out the elements, including sun, glare, wind, rain and those troublesome bugs! Perhaps that’s why Serge Ferrari’s top sellers include Soltis mesh fabrics suitable for zip screens, tensile shades and interior shades. One standout is Soltis Proof W88, a waterproof translucent material for awnings and canopies that allows up to 21% of natural light to shine through while blocking out heat, rain and glare, Fryc said. At Mermet, outdoor fabrics for retractable solar screens, roller shades and zipper systems can block up to 99% of UV rays, yet still provide a crisp, clear view, Bridwell said.

Bring a beachy vibe to your backyard setup with a weather-friendly handmade wicker pendant. Each one is custom-made, so just as in life, embrace the slight imperfections that lend character.

Mcalister Textiles Bug’s Life Pillow Covers

Take the creepy out of the crawlies with these beautiful indoor-outdoor throw pillows that have the added benefit of being machine-washable. The thick woven tapestry textured fabric can work with neutral colors or on its own as a statement piece.

Calcutta Adjustable Chaise With Wheels by Brown Jordan

Brown Jordan’s weather-resistant chaise luxes up your lounging with countless fabric options and bamboo patterns on the base, arms, back and tapered legs. Added wheels help you easily adjust your location to find the perfect sun spot or natural lighting for a page-turning experience.

Draper’s FlexShade ZIP Serge Ferrari’s Soltis Proof W88
Insolroll’s Oasis 2900 Benno Fire Bowl by Lulu and Georgia Pacifica Outdoor Pendant by Serena & Lily

More Purpose, More Amenities

Consumers increasingly look to their outdoor living spaces to do more, creating separate and distinct spaces with different functions and equipping them with all the creature comforts it takes to make this home base a draw.

AD PRO’s forecast reported that the timeless appeal of dining alfresco got a big boost during the pandemic, creating a welcome respite from the day-in and day-out of eating at home. Now, outdoor food preparation has evolved from a simple grill to full-fledged kitchens sporting high-end appliances, pizza ovens, wine chillers, beer fridges and more. Homeowners are requesting better lighting for easier cooking after dark, outdoor cabinetry built to withstand the elements and designs that mimic their indoor kitchens.

Complementing these dazzling outdoor kitchens are separate spaces for equally important functions: a dining area that seats many guests, small conversation

spaces, larger areas for hosting parties, a cozy hideaway and plenty of space for a rousing game of cornhole or pickle ball.

The more we ask of our outdoor living spaces, the more important it is to incorporate functional shading and screening solutions that suit each use. Sol-Lux retractable lateral arm awnings are one great example.

“The fully enclosed cassette systems protect the awning and its components from the elements when not in use, and the

Watermelon Mint Mocktail Total time: 5 minutes • Yield: 1 mocktail


■ 2 fresh mint leaves, plus more for garnish

■ Ice

■ ¾ cup watermelon juice (see Tip at right)

■ ½ cup club soda

■ Small slice watermelon for garnish





cassettes enable the awning to nest tastefully on the side of any building,” Mayer explained. The new Sol-Lux Freedom awning uses a battery-powered solar charging system that allows it to be placed anywhere, without the constraints of installing a hard-wired power source.

With resort-worthy pools gracing many backyards, cabanas are all the rage, requiring shading or screening systems that protect against the elements and provide a clear view of the landscape. To accomplish both, designers are specifying ultra-wide openings—and manufacturers like Rollease Acmeda are responding with solutions like the Wire Guide and Zipscreen outdoor shades, which range up to 23 feet in width.

When a small seating area or secluded nook needs a little relief from the sun, homeowners are turning to versatile options like the Helux umbrella from Current Luxury. The industry’s first motorized solar umbrella, it’s part of an innovative line that includes a cafe umbrella version and a coordinating table, according to Ed Slatton, vice president of sales and marketing.

from EatingWell MAY + JUNE 2 023 | 34
by Andrea Mathis
Sol-Lux Freedom
mint leaves in the bottom of a large cocktail or pint glass with a muddler or small wooden spoon. Fill the glass one-third full of ice; add watermelon juice. Top with club soda and garnish with a watermelon slice and more mint leaves, if desired.
make your own watermelon juice, puree 1½ cups cubed seedless watermelon in a blender until smooth. Pour the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl, pressing with a spoon to release juices. Discard solids. Cover and refrigerate the juice for up to four days.

No Signs of Slowing Down

With demand for these projects soaring and advanced options continually emerging, the outdoor living trend is clearly here to stay. And that’s good for consumers and the industry.

“This is a huge opportunity—not only for homeowners to maximize their living space, but also a major business opportunity for retailers to move beyond the windows of a home,” said Childress. Mayer agrees: “Other regions, namely Australia, have similar lifestyle and design preferences, and we fully expect to see that direction become realized in the U.S. and Canada.”

And though the economic environment might seem a constraint, in some ways it’s a boon for outdoor living. “Aside from all the amazing possibilities of expanding your living space, homeowners are also concerned about rising energy costs,” noted Anderson. “Cooling down outdoor spaces and installing shade products on the outside of windows is more effective at reducing the temperature in the house as it stops the heat before it hits the glass.”

Slower home sales also might keep the outdoor living momentum going. “I think outdoor products will become a huge focus as home sales have slowed, with people investing in where they live and maximizing their outdoor experience,” Slatton said.

No matter the goal, it’s evident that consumers are eager to create outdoor spaces that reflect how they live. With an increasing variety of choices, there’s no limit! V

Standing Up to the Elements

Outdoor spaces can’t just look good; they need to brave the weather too. Thanks to design and production advancements, homeowners have countless options that can withstand whatever nature brings.

Many outdoor textiles incorporate characteristics that make them suitable for the rigors of outdoor life.

“Our outdoor fabrics offer high abrasion results, are fade-resistant, soap- and water-cleanable for daily living, and bleach-cleanable for more stubborn stains,” Knight said, adding that the outdoor vinyl is treated to reduce heat buildup and outdoor trimmings are fade-resistant. The Mermet Natte line of textiles uses a fiberglass core that’s resistant to harsh elements, making it less likely to need a dealer service call. And, according to Dooley, “All Sunbrella fabrics are woven with our proprietary Color to the Core technology, ensuring each fiber of every yarn is saturated to the core with UV-stable pigments for long-lasting, fade-proof beauty.”

Advanced shading and screening options are up to the challenge too. Rollease Acmeda’s Zipscreen is made to withstand high winds and incorporates highperformance materials like marine-grade 316 stainless steel, making it ideal for coastal homes. Similarly, Sol-Lux uses 6060-grade aluminum extrusions and zincplated components on its awnings, designed to withstand extreme

exposure. The acrylic fabrics are marine-grade, tested against the harshest elements and the awning automatically closes if the onboard sensors detect a chance of wind damage. Draper makes sure its solutions can face the wind, too, putting its FlexShade ZIP through rigorous wind tunnel testing.

Durability is even a must for shading and screening systems in adjacent indoor spaces. Norman’s manufacturing techniques and processes make its products “more resilient against natural elements that can degrade window treatments over time, such as warping due to heat or color fading from long periods of sunlight and UV exposure,” Tran explained.

And while it’s not always visible, there’s a lot going on behind the scenes to keep these solutions looking good and working well.

“Features like welded edges on the fabric panels on our patio shades may not be obvious at first glance, but our weld significantly improves the durability of the shade fabric and extends the life of the shade,” Anderson said. Current Luxury uses a fiberglass framework, powder-coated aluminum rods and yarn-dyed canopy fabrics to preserve color on its Helux umbrellas, while Serge Ferrari uses patented, exclusive Precontraint technology for dimensional stability, stretch resistance and protection against UV degradation. V

Mermet Natte Current Luxury’s Helux umbrella in red

Livable &


DESIGNER SPOTLIGHT: 3/8 and Co. Creates a Florida Outdoor Space That Achieves Both

Florida homeowners love the outdoors. Well, mostly. They may love the warm year-round temperatures and mild winters, but they certainly don’t relish the insects that can wreak havoc at an outdoor summer gathering or ruin a relaxing evening.

So when homeowners in Florida build an outdoor living space, they want to enjoy nature while staying protected from those pesky flying and crawling critters.

Enter Kim Boynton, CEO of 3/8 and Co. Kim and her team specialize in providing customized screening and shading solutions that make outdoor spaces livable and beautiful in any climate. From motorized screens, solar shades and awnings to louvered roof pergolas, hurricane shutters and patio covers, the company’s innovative solutions bring form and function to homes and commercial properties across the country.

One of Boynton’s recent projects in Florida underscores the importance of having the right window shading designer as your partner when working on an outdoor living project.

New Look, New Life

A homeowner in Tampa, FL, had hired Ryan Hughes Design/Build to transform their backyard by adding a large functional outdoor living space adjacent to their luxurious in-ground pool. Boynton partnered with the Ryan Hughes to help create a bug-free space that the homeowner could use comfortably at any point during the year. Enjoying the Florida lifestyle without having to contend with the state’s notorious bugs, even in the midst of summer heat and humidity, was the ultimate goal.

Boynton and her team designed a screen solution to enclose the newly constructed outdoor living space, which boasts a fully equipped kitchen, a spacious dining area and a comfortable conversation seating area—all of which open up to a resort-style pool and patio surrounded by soaring palm trees and low-maintenance ground cover plants. Of course, an unobstructed view of this beautiful, serene environment was a must.

The 3/8 and Co. design included four large motorized, retractable insect screens, combining Somfy motors and Phifer NoSee-Um screening. “When you look out the screen, it’s like it’s not even there!” Boynton said. All of the hardware and mechanisms are built into the structure, too, so when the


screens are rolled up, the owners enjoy a clear, complete view of their backyard oasis.

Just as important, it’s easy to raise, lower or adjust the motorized screens, separately or as a group, with the touch of a button. A simple-to-operate remote control moves the weighted bar up or down to rest on the floor or the countertops. Motors can be integrated into home automation systems or smartphones for even easier operation.

Bringing a Backyard Vision to Life

By using the latest motorized screen technology for this project, 3/8 and Co. demonstrated that you don’t have to choose between comfort and aesthetics when it comes to outdoor living spaces. You can have both! As Boynton said, “We help owners lose the bugs, not the view.”

The 3/8 and Co. team began the project in March 2022 and completed it in early 2023, working closely with the builder to ensure a seamless process from concept to execution.

“I credit our in-house professional installers with making the final product function perfectly and look beautiful,” Boynton said. Now, the homeowners can enjoy their poolside paradise year-round, no matter the weather, for everything from big parties to intimate social gatherings to a relaxing evening at home.

3/8 and Co. is nationally known as a trusted supplier of shading solutions for patios, garages, lanais and entryways for new construction and existing residential and commercial properties. The company handles everything from sales to installation to service, offering a wide range of solutions to suit any need. Whether a homeowner is looking to keep insects out, block the sun or gain protection from wind or rain, 3/8 and Co. can offer a screening or shading solution that’s both functional and stylish.

Licensed and insured as a Florida Specialty Structure contractor, Boynton has been bringing innovative and practical motorized solutions to satisfied clients for 20 years.

“We focus on customizing a screening solution to meet the owner’s needs, with options that are sleek, elegant and able to complement the look of any home or business,” she says. The company offers motorized screen solutions in sizes up to 32 feet in width and 16 feet in height, Panoview shades up to 60 feet in width, along with many other outdoor comfort solutions that can suit any design and accommodate just about any size opening. And with many of these options sporting bug-proof seals around every side of the opening, homeowners and their guests can enjoy the outdoor living experience they’re looking for—even in humid environments that naturally attract bugs.

Whether working with custom builders or do-it-yourself homeowners, the 3/8 and Co. team prides itself on delivering durable, functional and stylish shading and screening solutions that make outdoor living more enjoyable anytime, anywhere. V

» Learn more about 3/8 and Co at

OUTDOOR LIVING Designer Spotlight MAY + JUNE 2 023 | 38
“The homeowners didn’t want to see any bulky aluminum products or unsightly components. And with our solution, it was mission accomplished!”


new Sunbrella® custom window treatments. Discover how you can bring more value to your customers with our stunning new curated assortment. Scan here to learn more.
® is a registered trademark of Glen Raven, Inc. LEARN MORE
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Draper and Shading Texas Create Dream Outdoor Entertaining Space

he owners of a new home being built in Austin, Texas, had one very special request: an enclosed patio effect without losing the outdoor connection to the beautiful views and sounds of nature.

“They wanted to be able to use this outdoor space as a much more comfortable space,” said Matt Pierce, owner of Shading Texas. “To be able to enjoy dinners, have the barbeque out here without having to worry about bugs. [We were] able to take this space and basically make it an additional living space by using the shades to enclose it.”

The outdoor patio area includes several larger bays and a couple of entry points, all separated by steel posts that also serve as mounting points. Pierce and Shading Texas used various sizes of Draper FlexShade ZIP with Phifer TuffScreen fabric to enclose the space.

A combination of unique side channels and a ZIP feature welded to the sides of the shade fabric protects people using the patio from the sun, wind, rain and pesky insects. In addition, because each unit is custom, smaller sizes were used here to separately cover entry points. That allows people to enter and exit without going back through the house and without opening a large area and losing the enclosure effect.

Pierce says he prefers using the Draper FlexShade ZIP because it is a quality first product.

“This is someone we’re going to have a relationship with for a long time, so we need to make sure the product actually lasts the

MAY + JUNE 2 023 | 40

length of that relationship,” said Pierce. “A lot of other systems are just meant for a couple of seasons, they’re just meant for a few years. They don’t have that lifespan that you get with a Draper product.”

FlexShade ZIP is part of an extensive line of outdoor residential shading solutions offered through Draper@Home. Motorized and manually operated shades are available in a variety of styles and fabrics. And while the Draper@Home line does offer standard colors, custom colors and even custom fabric patterns are also available.

“Our goal with such an extensive outdoor offering is to be able to help people create that perfect outdoor space whatever the size and configuration,” said Clint Childress, director of residential markets for Draper. “That, along with our custom powdercoating and printing capabilities, gives shading professionals a toolkit for capturing expanded opportunities.”

Another major tool in the Draper kit is a real focus on customer service.

“Working with Draper staff is fantastic,” said Pierce. “They’re able to help you from start to finish. There’s never any lapse in being able to be there and support us as a Draper dealer. That’s very integral when you’re choosing who you want to partner up with, because you need somebody who’s going to stand there with you and be there with you from start to finish, not just when it’s time to collect the check.” V


Product: Draper FlexShade® ZIP shades

Dealer: Shading Texas

To learn more about Draper and the FlexShade® ZIP, visit

Scan the code to see a video with more information and views about this project.

Content Sponsored by Draper


IWCE 2023 Was One for the Books

The move north from last year’s location of Fort Lauderdale, FL, to Charlotte, NC, enticed 152 exhibitors and sponsors, a 50% increase from 2022. With a sold-out show floor, 3,500 attendees from all 50 states and 36 countries enjoyed thousands of new product offerings, including decorative fabric, hardware and trims to the most cutting-edge shades, all with motorized options and new growth in outdoor sun-control products such as sunscreens, awnings and high-tech umbrellas. We thoroughly enjoyed networking with our industry professionals, reconnecting with returning attendees and exhibitors, and meeting fresh faces coming to IWCE for the first time.

Many of you showcased your excitement and participation on social media by creating reels, sharing photos and highlighting your favorite parts of IWCE. It was a pleasure to meet a handful of our 20 Under 40 award recipients at our celebratory toast on Friday. It’s so important and encouraging to connect with the next generation who will pioneer our industry forward. IWCE brings all of us together in one central location to network, learn, and grow and we look forward to bringing you an exhilarating show in Dallas next year!

» Want to be the first to hear about upcoming IWCE news? Visit and subscribe to our complimentary e-newsletter. See you all next year!

“This was a designer’s dream to see the product offerings and take the great variety of classes. The indepth level of information with the professional presentation style of the speakers was excellent. Each seminar attended offered an abundance of solutions both for business savvy and design creativity.”

MAY + JUNE 2 023 | 42
“As a retailer, I was impressed with the wide array of manufacturers and supporting businesses that were on the floor.”

“The event was a sight to behold, with countless vendors showcasing their latest and greatest window dressing creations. Seeing so many talented individuals and companies pushing the boundaries of what’s possible in the world of window coverings was inspiring. But it wasn’t just the products that made IWCE 2023 special. The atmosphere was electric, with attendees from around the globe coming together to share ideas, exchange tips and tricks, and celebrate their shared passion for home decor.”

“Great experience for Serge Ferrari Group at IWCE for the second time! We are thrilled to be awarded by attendees as Best Booth Experience from the People’s Choice Awards 2023. We look forward to showcasing more of Serge Ferrari at IWCE 2024 in Dallas.”

“The show was a big success for Vako U.S. and allowed us to showcase all of our successful collections and new additions, which generated great interest. This is why we consider the event a great success that exceeded all of our expectations!”

Photos: Emily Cloutier Photography

The Feeling Is Mutual

While IWCE’s strong turnout might be due to the novelty of in-person events over the past three years, attendance topped 3,500 visitors from all 50 states and 36 countries. That’s two more states and countries, respectively, than last year! The geographical variety wasn’t limited to attendees either, as exhibitors from as far away as Australia decided to bring their wares to Charlotte.

And why did they choose to make the trip? The simple answer is because they care. Passion might not be the first thing that consumers associate with window coverings, yet year after year, IWCE reimagines this concept by bringing out the best and brightest exhibitors and products to enhance—and advance—the industry.

The emotion was palpable as we walked the show floor, moving from booth to booth in search of the stories and products companies were ready to share. And share they did: reasons why they keep returning to the show and what they’re excited about, all set to the soundtrack of leads being generated and people meeting face-to-face for the first time.

IWCE 2023 was my first time at the show. I made so many great connections and, more importantly, friends. The show is a platform for our industry to grow through shared knowledge, experience, and education and has opened my eyes to a side of my business I didn’t even know existed!

One company always eager to reach and teach people is Serge Ferrari. Founded in 1973, the company is a French industrial group with its sights set on the international market, including the U.S.A. As the crossroads of the industry, it’s no wonder Serge Ferrari chose to exhibit its performance fabrics for people to consider in future projects for a second year.

Brand Development Specialist Samantha Reynolds effusively spoke about the company’s products, so much so that it was a surprise to hear she’d only been an employee for three weeks prior to the expo. She said, “I’m very passionate about putting performance into product because, for example, think about how activewear

MAY + JUNE 2 023 | 44

I’ve had the pleasure of being an exhibitor looking for customers. The leadership makes the event welcome and beneficial for both sides. The amount of knowledge and resources you get under one roof makes this an easy investment for both groups.

has grown. People buy all their activewear based off of the type of performance it’s going to give them.”

And that passion isn’t reserved for tangible products. As its second year exhibiting, Australia’s Quoterite (formerly Smartpad Pro) continues to return and share its window furnishing software with the industry. Co-founder Aaron LeCornu’s love for window treatments dates back to 2002, when he and his wife, Reneé, had a successful retail business. With a $5 million turnover, business was booming, but there was no balance between work and home.

In 2016, they created this Cloud-based system designed for indoor and outdoor blinds, awnings, shutters, curtains, security screens and window films to streamline processes and smart automations and, ultimately, increases sales. The program’s conception was driven by, in Aaron’s

words, “living and breathing the industry” and “feeling the personal pressures and emotions.”

While he’s still a business owner, in his previous position, he said, “I may have owned the business, but the business owned my time.” Taking the time to reconfigure both his love for his work and

We feel that our presence at the event helped to establish us as a leading player in the window covering industry, and we look forward to participating in future IWCE events.

Photos: Emily Cloutier Photography

his family has more than paid off: Quoterite is the global leader in window covering software systems and services clients throughout Australia, the United States, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and South Africa.

Keeping it close to home has proven successful for many companies. Take Pennsylvania’s Angel’s Distributing, one of IWCE’s sponsors, for example. As a family-owned and -operated company since 1977, Angel’s knows that the customer is paramount in any

transaction. Each member of the team makes sure to serve each person with both the highest-quality fabrics and the best service possible. Taylor Angel, vice president and part of the third generation participating in the business, said, “You call in and you talk to a family member.”

While Angel’s might not have the ability to churn out the same number of products as a big name, the company returns to IWCE year after year to talk to its customers and let them interact with its products on a more personal level. Angel’s also

keeps its name top of mind with attendees by donating fabric to Workroom Central, letting the quality of the products speak for themselves, and placing its booth directly across from the space.

From residential to commercial, no project is off-limits to this incredible group of industry professionals. While profits are vital to remain in business, nothing comes close to passion and the satisfaction it provides. You can have the logs, but without a match—that initial spark— there’s no way to light the fire.

MAY + JUNE 2 023 | 46
Time flies when you’re having fun! I had such a good time at the IWCE last week! Amazing seminars, beautiful products and, my favorite part, catching up with friends and colleagues. I’m already looking forward to IWCE 2024 in Dallas next year!
We had the opportunity to meet some great new distributors and we’re excited to have a few new product launches up our sleeves!
Even with 20 years of experience under our belts, the learning never stops.
Always a great show for Rollease Acmeda! The people are great; we love connecting with our customers and potential customers. Nothing lets us do that, like the annual IWCE. We are so excited for 2024!

This Company Has Integrity

After more years than he can count, Integrity Blinds & Shutters, Inc., Owner Jeff Brannon once again brought his whole team to IWCE. Lucky for him, with his business located in Greer, SC, it was a little less of a hike than last year in Fort Lauderdale, FL. He said, “We feel that it’s really important that everybody in our company gets to get away from their daily routine. IWCE helps our admin people get a new perspective and a better understanding of what they’re a part of.”

And it’s not just the industry they’re getting to know. Brannon makes sure team building is on the agenda each year, this time in the form of white water rafting. “We just think it’s really important to get out and do things together as a team and get to know each other better. We like mixing people together, putting a lot of commercial people with the residential. It’s important for good company culture.”

We can’t wait to see you next year in Dallas!

Photos: Emily Cloutier Photography


After 26 years of bringing the industry together, IWCE decided to look to its exhibitors and attendees for exactly what they were buzzing about at the show.

At the inaugural People’s Choice Awards, we chose 10 categories and there was much to see by the time votes were due at the end of Day One. Once the ballots were totaled, each company was recognized with a ribbon and a large display announcing their victory to the show floor. We can’t wait to see what next year brings now that the fire has been ignited!












MAY + JUNE 2 023 | 48


Rowley’s Elements Collection

Nature is in and a win for designers. According to Rowley, “when you’re in your Element, it just feels right.” The company is taking inspiration directly from the earth with its new Elements Collection, which includes cellular shades, light-filtering and room-darkening options, exterior screens for outdoors, zip screens, solar screens, twin light shades and decorative film. The Decorative Textile Film can be applied directly to any window and is especially helpful with challenging window shapes. With five sheer and five semi-opaque neutral tones available, it’s easy to coordinate with any interior color palette.

Forest Drapery Hardware’s Tavira Collection

After years of requests, Forest Drapery Hardware is taking advantage of the outdoor market and offering traversing rails and pole sets with their signature quality. Burna Wright, a member of the company’s marketing team, said, “It started with us getting some large resort projects. Sandals Curaçao was the catalyst to bring us into the outdoor world. We’d have tons of requests for it, but it’s tricky with the materials because we like to offer a 10-year warranty.” Each powder-coated item comes with a one-year warranty and allows for a wall or ceiling mount.

Texton’s Highland Park Collection

Texton knows that walls aren’t the only place to display art in your home. The company’s Highland Park Collection for roman shades and draperies is the perfect way to make a statement in an unexpected way. Designed in the United Kingdom and manufactured in Dubai, everyone can gain the air of a gallery with these attainable statement piece patterns.

Orion Ornamental Iron’s 3D Drapery Panels

Finials are a gorgeous finishing touch on any installation, but what do you do when there isn’t enough space to include them? Orion Ornamental Iron, Inc.’s 3D Drapery Panels place the finials in front of the rod so you can continue to create new window designs. Their location can be manually adjusted to be above or below the rod and nearly all of the company’s finials are available for use with its 3D system. Talk about an enchanting enhancement!

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IWCE is the place to debut new products, to see and be seen by exhibitors and attendees alike. We’re not playing favorites, but we did find a few new items we’d like to share with you to get you excited about what’s still to come in 2023.


Located right in the middle of the show floor, designers, fabricators, installers and upholsterers flock to Workroom Central to learn and meet like-minded individuals. Among the many educational opportunities available, the annual Artisan Project lets industry artisans design and fabricate a treatment, which is then selected for display at the show. The winners are announced during the Design & Workroom Competition Awards after being judged by a panel of professionals. The cherry on top? The artisans get to keep their award-winning project after the show!

SECOND PLACE: Mid-Century Modern for Millennials, Sharon Gregory, 13th Avenue Place THIRD PLACE: Framed Artwork, Karly Dickson, Karly’s Kustom FIRST PLACE: Grandmillennial Glam, Kelli Vitari, Wild Fern Window Furnishings PHOTO: EMILY CLOUTIER PHOTOGRAPHY PHOTO: EMILY CLOUTIER PHOTOGRAPHY

Worthy of Recognition

As per tradition, the winners of the Window Covering Manufacturers Association’s (WCMA) 31st annual Product Awards were announced at IWCE. These awards recognize the best of the window covering industry’s new products and educational and merchandising programs launched in the previous calendar year.

This year’s judges included Susan Arann, an interior designer and principal of American & International Designs Inc., and Susan Hirsh, a decor consultant and industry expert formerly serving in a leadership position at Benjamin Moore & Co.

Once again, Hunter Douglas took the title for Product of the Year with their Luminette Privacy Sheers. The Luminette hardware system was redesigned with the customer top of mind. “The Luminette Privacy Sheers submission was selected by the judges for its design and innovation. WCMA congratulates the team at Hunter Douglas and all the industry’s engineers and designers on their hard work and vision,” said Ralph Vasami, executive director of WCMA.


The winners of the Window Covering Manufacturers Association’s (WCMA) 31st Annual Product Awards— which recognize the best of the window covering industry’s new products, educational and merchandising programs in 2022—were announced during IWCE.

Product of the Year:

Luminette Privacy Sheers, Hunter Douglas

Judges’ Award:

Normandy Shutters with OSMO Finish, Norman USA

Cellular & Pleated Shades, Best New Technical Innovation: Motorized TDBU Honeycomb Shades, Norman USA

Cellular & Pleated Shades, Best New Style Concept:

Portrait Honeycomb Designer Fabric –Whispers, Norman USA

Drapery Hardware, Best New Style Concept: Paris Texas Hardware

Clean Deco Collection, Rowley

Green Products, Best New Technical Innovation: Norman Wireless Charging Wand, Norman USA

Green Products, Best New Style Concept:

Normandy Shutters with OSMO Finish, Norman USA

The Judges’ Award, which is reserved for a product that exhibits measurable benefit or standout aesthetic appeal to end users, was bestowed on Norman USA for their Normandy Shutters with OSMO Finish. Free from harmful substances, these shutters use a safe and eco-friendly stain finish made from natural plant oils and vegetable waxes.

Horizontal Blinds, Best New Technical Innovation: LEVOLOR Trim+Go Strap

Lift Faux Wood Blind, LEVOLOR

Motorization & Automation, Best New Technical Innovation:

PowerView Automation (Gen 3), Hunter Douglas

Motorization & Automation, Best New Style Concept: Eve MotionBlinds, Coulisse

Roman & Roller Shades, Best New Technical Innovation: FlexStyle, Draper, Inc.

Roman & Roller Shades, Best New Style Concept: Vignette Modern Roman Shades, Hunter Douglas

Shadings/Sheers, Best New Technical Innovation:

Luminette Privacy Sheers, Hunter Douglas

Shadings/Sheers, Best New Style Concept:

Silhouette Halo Window

Shadings, Hunter Douglas Shutters, Best New Technical Innovation: Heritance Hardwood Shutters HiddenTilt with SoftClose Louvers with Quick Align, Hunter Douglas

Shutters, Best New Style Concept: Normandy Shutters with OSMO Finish, Norman USA

Verticals/Panel Tracks, Best New Style Concept: Adjustable Sliding Panels (Urban Plaid Brick Pattern), Calendar Enterprises Co., Ltd.

The Window Covering Manufacturers Association represents the interests of the window covering industry manufacturers, fabricators and assemblers. Its annual awards recognize products that raise the bar on style and design innovation.

MAY + JUNE 2 023 | 52
Arann Hirsh


Window Fashion VISION’s annual Design & Workroom Competition Awards fête the most talented members in our industry. To showcase their creativity, skills and expertise in residential and commercial designs, those who work behind the scenes took the time to let themselves be the statement piece.

Categories included period/historic window treatments, combination treatments, curtains and draperies, decorative hardware and trims, challenging window treatments, whole-room design, top treatments and motorized window fashions. As the first expo that truly feels post-pandemic, entries did not disappoint! We’re ecstatic to announce the winners of this year’s Design Competition.

Check out the winners of the 2023 Workroom Competition in the July/August 2023 issue of Window Fashion VISION


Kelly Macaulay Custom

LLC. Nashville, TN

Villa Finale, the last home of San Antonio, TX, preservationist Walter Nold Mathis and the only National Trust Historic Site in the state, was in need of some preservation of its own. To provide a similar look and feel as the existing tattered drapery, the reserve side of Womack Robin by Norbar Fabric was used to re-create two pairs of pinch-pleat decorative panels. Brimar tassel trim, tassel tiebacks and key tassel accents helped to honor Mathis, who partially restored up to 14 properties in the King William Historic District and sold them to individuals who would continue their restoration.



Sheffield Furniture & Interiors

Malvern, PA

This large bayside home on the New Jersey coast was built with spectacular views in mind, but with multiple areas and different-size windows, this blank canvas needed a solid blueprint to create both beauty and function for its homeowners. To strike a balance between providing privacy and natural light, a combination of traversing semi-sheer Thibaut fabric panels using Orion Iron Art hardware, decorative roman shade valances featuring Nina Campbell trim in the same Thibaut fabric, Hunter Douglas Palm Beach Shutters with PowerView and Hunter Douglas Vignettes with PowerView were utilized. Hard and soft treatments give this space an elevated look and catch the eye of anyone who’s welcomed into the home.

Diane Stein with Jessica Deal Fadgen PHOTOS: DIANE STEIN


Horyza Budget Blinds Meridian, ID

Think pink! This client didn’t want a stale work space, they wanted a place where creativity could flow freely while maintaining productivity. Vadain’s Loire fabric was the inspiration for the entire office and can be seen in the pinch-pleat draperies featuring Rowley hardware. The clean lines continue in Enlightened Style dual shades and wooden hexagons upholstered by a local workroom in Vadain fabrics. With a love of modern and industrial—but seeking a distinct feminine feel— natural wood tones grounded the room amid pastel walls.



Gillian Wendel

The Wendel Works

Houston, TX

For a room devoted to whiskey, a dark-tone room fits with the color of the spirit, but what about the warmth it provides? Three-finger French-pleat crushed velvet draperies using blackout-lined smokey gray Norbar fabric helped warm up either side of the arched window adjacent to the bar. Due to the window’s position, a treatment within the alcove would have accentuated the awkward framing and visually lowered the ceiling. Hobby Lobby cabinet knobs converted with a Dremmel tool and Select Hardware spindle attachments were installed close to the ceiling to frame the window and make a statement worthy of a built-in bar. Cheers!


With a fondness for flora, this client requested window treatments in orchid to incorporate the design elements already present in their sitting room. To achieve the exact hue being sought, Fabricut faux silk was used for the stationary panels and roman shades, which were then lined and interlined to prevent natural light from distorting the color of the fabric. Both were trimmed with 3.75-inch Samuel & Sons tape featuring an ombré effect to further enhance the draperies’ tones. For a final luxe touch, a Brimar Lucite rod with gold endcaps was chosen to lend a light and airy aesthetic to the design.

Diane Ten Broeck with Lori Yanez Sheffield Furniture & Interiors Malvern, PA PHOTOS: BRANDY STOESZ PHOTOGRAPHY PHOTOS: DIANE CANESTRA


Susan Kostelecky SK Designs Houston, TX

After falling in love with their living room panels, this client wanted to bring that same vibe to their dining room. The chosen fabric closely resembles that of the living room, but the client requested a Crypton performance fabric to fit into their bustling lifestyle. Using Amore Drapery Hardware, the 16-foot-tall panels were hung from custom arched rods with “sticky rings” to keep the treatments in place and matching holdbacks were selected to coordinate with the statement chandelier already in place. Outsidemounting the drapes was done purposely to match the living room and allow for the existing motorized solar shades to operate freely.


Quent Blodgett Budget Blinds Meridian, ID

When more than 14 different fabrics are used in the drapery, the hardware needs to speak for itself. Rowley’s Aria matte gold hardware was selected to complement the client’s love for mixed metals and tie the entire space together. A ceiling-mounted stem rod featuring sparkling finials and square rings pack the final punch for this treatment, carrying the client’s style from bottom to top.



Valerie Griffin

Round Rock, TX

With windows of all shapes and sizes, a sitting alcove and a glass patio door, this casita was in need of ayuda ahora. The alcove featured two windows on one wall that were a different type of window than the ones on the sides, narrowing design options significantly. The answer was found in custom Mitchell Fabrics drapery treatments utilizing a two-way manual draw on the back wall and a one-way draw on the side walls. The pleats were wrapped around the two corners to give the installation a finished look when the drapes are open. To address the patio door’s lack of light and privacy control, a roman shade was customdesigned with blackout lining to provide guests with exactly what was missing.


Lisa Jones Interiors

Lisa Jones Interiors Resaca, GA

This client was searching for the perfect candidate to dress up their home office’s bay windows. Because of their nature, the measurements of each rod section had to be exact so it didn’t go beyond its boundaries. There was only 3 inches of stack space on each side of the window and the right window had only 3 inches between the window’s trim and the edge of the built-in bookcase. Elbows were used in corners for literal angle wiggle room if necessary. Carole Fabrics slate blue Somfy motorized ripplefold draperies and Thibaut soft ivory ripplefold sheers create a cozy contrast while allowing the arched window frame to show off the view of the lake beyond.


MaryRose Brennan

Sheffield Furniture & Interiors

Great Falls, VA

Each space has a purpose, but what can you do when a room is large enough to serve more than one? To transform a high-ceilinged bare-bones room into a cozy retreat with designated areas, a color scheme, patterns and textures needed to be layered together to make this a place worth spending time in. Sherwin-Williams Agreeable Gray and Anew Gray paint set the tone and the lighting fixtures and custom Stout fabric drapery panels with Brimar Lucite drapery added an element of glam to an otherwise neutral color. Lafayette motorized sheer blinds mirror the wall color to eliminate harsh edges and allow for the eye to move easily throughout the space. Legacy Home velvet bedding and custom Stout pillows and shams fit in seamlessly with the Gat Creek, American Leather, Sheffield Classics, Jessica Charles and Hickory Chair furniture.

With a recently updated kitchen, this young and busy family was looking for help connecting the rooms to create a cohesive look. They wanted to work with their existing furnishings but needed a designer’s eye to edit what should be added or amended. The first step was to create a new statement wall, which was achieved with Thibaut grass cloth wallpaper and a variety of botanical prints from Uttermost. A Currey & Company chandelier took the place of the previous light fixture and was complemented by JF Fabric drapes featuring Europatex trim and Crown Hardware.



Lindsey Putzier

Lindsey Putzier Design Studio

Hudson, OH

A client with a healthy budget and a willingness to take risks is a designer’s dream. This client’s style in particular was British maximalism featuring lots of layered patterns and colors. To build on the room’s existing elements, the designer envisioned a custom intricate cornice design and was able to realize this with the help of a local upholstery shop. Once the cornices were complete, a window treatment workroom draped the swags located under the cornice boards. The smaller of the two featured two ruched Baker green velvet panels with Samuel & Sons tassel trim and a single Samuel & Sons multicolor cord, while the Morris & Co. fabric swag featured a multicolor ball fringe. The larger featured Samuel & Sons double multicolor cording, Samuel & Sons tassels and a larger bouillon trim. The two styles coordinate beautifully, but they do use different design elements on purpose!


Addie Conte Addie Designs

Lothian, MD

To refresh one of the room’s that should be the freshest, this designer created a custom board featuring soft returns rounding back to the wall. It was important to the client that the new design didn’t compete with the existing wall coverings. Soft blue Pindler linen fabric was accented with white linen buttons and white pleated bells. The designer dropped the button placement to allow the white linen to peek through the pleats to add a subtle amount of interest.


Susan Kostelecky SK Designs

Houston, TX

In order to outfit a 39-foot-wide by 16-foot-tall expanse, it’s all about teamwork! To align with the client’s specification to integrate the motorization into the whole-house system and insistence on a decorative motorized rod, Somfy motorized products with Select Metal hard with black fascia were chosen. Once that was established, lined Kravet ripplefold draperies and Williamson Supply sheers were employed to fulfill the homeowner’s preference of clearing the glass doors as much as possible to provide light and access to the view. More than 100 yards of fabric were used in this treatment, with two abutting rods, each controlled separately, used for each layer.

Sunny Sun

Fu’s Drapery

Irwindale, CA

After moving into a $4 millionplus home with existing drapery, this client wasn’t happy with the hand-drawn rods and bulky draperies, especially in the living room with an almost wall-width sliding door. They desired a lightweight drapery with an abundance of pleats all on an ultra-quiet motorized track. Direct import motorized tracks were dressed up with soft sheer gray draperies and a faux-leather cornice box to both hide the motorized track and add a luxe look to this space. V


Measuring Progress A Guide to Your Second-Quarter Performance

Half of 2023 is nearly history. How is this possible? Summer is upon us and the International Window Coverings Expo, High Point Market and Exciting Windows! Conference are all in the rearview mirror. It doesn’t seem right, but it is. I do hope you attended one or more of these industry events and that you learned something new to take to your business, that you found new resources to boost your profitability and that you reconnected with friends.

Re-energized and feeling positive, it is time for some CEO work. The work of working on the business, not in the business. Ideally, you should take time each month (if not each week) to do activities that up-level your business, as well as your business acumen. But, at this halfway point in the year, I want you to look a bit more closely at your business. Particularly if you have not developed the practice of doing this regularly, quarterly reviews are the minimum. I especially like the secondquarter review because we have enough data to see the year’s trends, but we still have enough time to either get back on track or to put the pedal to the floor and blow out our goals.

Your Quarterly Reviews Should

Address These Five Key Areas:

■ Finances

■ Sales and Marketing

■ Operations

■ Team Management

■ Year-End Goals


In reviewing your finances, start with an overview of your financial health by looking at your balance sheet, income statement and cash flow statement.

Look to see if you find trends in your revenue—either going up or down—and see if you can determine the reason for the trend. Did you take on soft treatments and average sales are higher, therefore so is the revenue number? Do you have a salesperson who is underperforming that you have been ignoring? Understanding the reasons for changes enables us to plan accordingly to maximize or mitigate them.

Look at the profitability of your business. Do you know which products and services generate the highest profit margins? You are in the driver’s seat. You can and should choose to sell the items that are the highest profit centers for your business. Things happen when we decide on them, not by accident. Identify any areas where profitability has improved or declined and evaluate the reasons behind these changes.

Look at your budget and compare projected to actual. Also compare the first second

quarters of last year to this year. Look for areas where you are either on track or off track. Remember, whenever you find you are exceeding your own goals, always take time to give yourself a high five … then figure out why and do more of that!

Sales and Marketing

Look at your sales for the first two quarters, again comparing them to the goals you set as well as to the same period last year. This year may be different from typical previous years. Most of us in the home industry are not holding ourselves to an expectation of duplicating or exceeding the sales numbers of 2022 or even 2021, but, instead, we are projecting growth against the 2019 sales figures. As an aside, all of the goal-driven entrepreneurs I speak with are still giving an eye to 2022 … even if it’s just to have the big carrot. At Window Works and now at Exciting Windows!, Vin has trained us all to aim as high as possible because then no matter what we achieve it is almost guaranteed to be outstanding. So, do you, but do something. Have goals for gross profit for every salesperson, including yourself. Talk about the profit margins so everyone understands them, strives for them and achieves them.

MAY + JUNE 2 023 | 64 SHOW ME THE MONEY Best Business Practices

Also take a look at the effectiveness of your marketing strategies for the first half of the year. Identify the successful strategies and ask how you can capitalize on them. See if any fell flat. Can you improve them or should you discontinue them? Do you need to invest in a social media/digital marketing agency? We use Hamilton Creative for all of our businesses because with so many responsibilities on our plates, we know the things we should be doing and the things we are better served by outsourcing. Analyze your data and make the decisions that are in alignment with your strengths and gaps.


You know I harp on the importance of established, documented, duplicable processes and systems and it is for good reason. Having a strong, efficient back end is like having an efficient, smooth-running engine in a car. The snappiest paint job and a luxury interior are useless if the car can’t take you from A to B. This is the same in our businesses. Do you have mistakes that are happening more than a few times every month? This is an indication that there is a gap in a process. Simple things like does your installer know before he goes to the home if the replaced blind goes in the garbage, in inventory or back to the vendor for credit? And do you have an area designated for blinds to be processed post-service call? Or do you have piles of blinds, parts and return merchandise authorizations sitting in every which place?

Without a defined process that everyone follows, you are likely losing money in uncollected RMAs and trip charges. This is your money, money that could be used toward advertising, new hires or a vacation. When assessing your operations, consider all the systems and all the people who interface in each system and begin step by step in redefining them for efficiency and profitability.

Team Management

Look at the performance of your team, both as individuals and by department. Do you have guidelines and norms established for installers, office admins, sales reps? If not, work on this. How can you determine if an employee is exceptional if the bar is not established? If you do have finite job descriptions, next look individually to see if each person is performing under, at or above expectations. If under or at expectations, do they need additional support in the form of training, weekly meetings or mentoring? In this review process, you need to consider both their performance as well as your performance in supporting them and enabling them to be their best. If you find any gaps, create a plan to turn things around.

Year-End Goals

Finally, review the 2023 goals you established back in Q4 of last year. Start at the top and go through each one. If you are moving in the right direction, is there anything you can do to exceed the goal? If you are not heading in the right direction, what will you do about it? Do you need to focus and rededicate to your mission? Do you need professional development in the form of online classes, trade organizations or business coaching? Do you have the right team in place, a team that works together toward the goals in harmony and enthusiasm?

This is your business. You are an entrepreneur because you wanted to call the shots, because you wanted to be in control of your destiny. So, are you? Do you see the gaps in your business and make changes? Or do you function like an employee, floating through every day observing what isn’t right but not doing anything about it? Mediocre employees show up, complain about the circumstances and take no responsibility for change. Entrepreneurs show up, see what can be improved and work on doing exactly that. Change can happen small, day by day, month by month, and this is OK. What is important is making the time for self-assessment, creating the plan of action and then committing to the execution.

As I said earlier, the end of Q2 is my favorite quarter because the year is not written in stone yet. We have plenty of time to pivot, to lean in, to do whatever it takes to reach our year-end goals. Here’s to you achieving yours! V

With four decades of industry experience, LuAnn Nigara is an award-winning author, keynote speaker and the host of two podcasts: “A Well-Designed Business” and “Window Treatment for Profit.” She is also part of the ownership team of the Livingston, New Jersey-based Exciting Windows! and Window Works. Through Exciting Windows!, LuAnn University and her one-on-one coaching services, Nigara teaches window treatment pros and interior designers how to operate profitable businesses.

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What Is Branding and Why




Part 1: How Branding and Design Affects Your Bottom Line

A strong brand is essential for appealing to high-end consumers, especially in the window fashion industry. Our customers consider quality, exclusivity and status in their purchasing decisions. We are meticulous with detail when it comes to transforming windows, yet we often miss the mark when it comes to our own brands. In Part 1, we’ll explore what branding is and the importance of logo design.

What Is Branding?

Branding and design are the processes of creating a recognizable image for your business. This can be done through logos, colors, fonts and other visual elements that represent your company, as well as through brand voice and strategy.

Your brand identity should be consistent across all channels, including website design, social media posts, email newsletters, billboards, vehicle wraps and any print materials. It’s important to have a strong brand so customers know what they’re getting when they interact with you or purchase your products and services.

Why Does Branding Matter?

The more people recognize and trust your brand, the more they buy from you and the more they’re willing to spend. Let’s take a look at some compelling statistics:

■ On average, it takes five to seven brand impressions before someone will remember your brand.

■ According to a study by Lucidpress, consistent branding can increase revenue by up to 23%.

■ Forty-six percent of consumers say that they would pay more to purchase from brands they can trust.

These statistics suggest that branding is an essential component of business growth and success. Consistent branding across all channels can help businesses stand out and attract customers, which ultimately leads to increased revenue and growth.

MARKETING Branding MAY + JUNE 2 023 | 66

What Is Brand Strategy?

A brand strategy is a long-term plan for developing a brand’s identity and positioning it in the marketplace. It is a comprehensive plan that outlines the unique attributes of a brand, its target audience and the messaging and communication channels that will be used to reach that audience.

A branding strategy typically involves the following elements:

■ BRAND POSITIONING: This involves identifying the unique attributes and benefits of the brand and how it differs from its competitors. It includes defining the brand’s target audience and understanding their needs and preferences.

■ BRAND IDENTITY: This includes the visual elements of the brand, such as the logo, colors, typography and imagery. It also includes the brand’s voice and tone, which should be consistent across all communication channels.

■ BRAND MESSAGING: This includes the key messages that the brand wants to communicate to its target audience. It should be clear, concise and aligned with the brand’s positioning and identity.

■ BRAND ARCHITECTURE: This involves defining the relationship between the brand and its subbrands or product lines. It includes the naming conventions, hierarchy and visual elements that will be used to differentiate them.

■ BRAND GUIDELINES: This is a comprehensive document that outlines the brand’s visual and messaging guidelines, including how the logo should be used, the colors that should be used and the tone of voice that should be used in all communication.

■ BRAND EXPERIENCE: This includes all of the touchpoints that a customer has with the brand, from the website and the packaging to the customer service experience. It’s important that the brand experience is consistent with the brand’s positioning and identity.

Overall, a branding strategy is essential for building brand awareness, loyalty and differentiation in the marketplace.

The Importance of Logo Design

Your logo is your first impression. A captivating logo will draw customers to your business, while a boring or outdated logo will turn them away. I speak with so many business owners who have had the same outdated logo for more than 20 years. Oftentimes, a friend or family member drew something up for them, or they designed it themselves, and just stuck with it. This may have been enough to get by in previous years, but in 2023 and beyond, customers expect more.

These are the four key reasons your brand needs a strong, up-to-date logo:

1. BRAND IDENTITY: A well-designed logo can create a strong brand identity and help customers recognize and remember the business.

2. PROFESSIONALISM: A well-designed logo conveys a sense of professionalism and credibility, which can help a business stand out in a crowded market.

3. DIFFERENTIATION: A unique and memorable logo can help a business differentiate itself from competitors and establish a distinct visual identity.

4. TRUST AND LOYALTY: A well-designed logo builds trust and loyalty, leading to more repeat and referral business.

If your logo is outdated, you can redesign it completely or simply refresh it. Refreshing your logo involves a graphic designer modernizing the fonts and/or icon to appeal to today’s consumer.

Overall, the way your brand is perceived by your target audience can have a significant impact on your bottom line. A well-designed and well-executed branding strategy can help you stand out from your competitors, attract more customers and increase your profits. For a free branding consultation, visit or call 859-309-5987 today. V

Chelsea Stamper is the CEO of Creekmore Marketing, a digital marketing agency that specializes in helping window covering companies grow. She was raised in the industry and learned the ins and outs of the business from her father, who owns two Hunter Douglas galleries in Kentucky and Ohio. She worked in his Kentucky showroom for five years before launching Creekmore Marketing in 2013. To date, Creekmore has helped over 300 window covering professionals grow their businesses and increase sales.


MARKETING Branding MAY + JUNE 2 023 | 68
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Two Easy Ways to Impact Your Bottom Line

What are we supposed to do as business owners and salespeople with a potential recession on the horizon? Don’t take part in any recession and don’t take part in the negative conversations. Let me tell you why.

In 2007, I was employed by an exterior home improvement company and business was booming. For years, I had considered opening a business of my own and this seemed like a better time than ever before. A friend and I planned it out, and a short while later, we both quit our jobs and did what we had dreamed of: We went into business for ourselves and became entrepreneurs. Unfortunately, that story did not end the way we had hoped. It took two years, but with the economy crashing all around us, our business went with it.

Luckily, I ended up being hired as a sales manager for another home improvement company. Coming on board, I was blown away to see that they had doubled their revenue from 2008 to 2009 and they did the same thing in 2010. I attribute their success to two reasons: one, they flat out refused to take part in any take of a down economy and negativity as it pertains to business and sales, and two, the federal energy tax credit of up to $1,500 for replacement windows.


Spend time around positive people and influences and you will find it just a matter of course to be focused on the positive things around you and in your business. Take in positive energy and you will exude the same. The opposite is also true. Focus on the negative things in life and spend

your time with people spouting negativity and you will sow and breed that negativity. It is hard to ask someone to buy thousands of dollars of products from you when you spend hours listening to pundits talk about impending financial crises.


The window covering industry has been given a gift in 2023. The federal government is now offering energy tax credits on select energy-efficient window treatments that meet tax credit requirements. This allows your clients to earn up to 30% of the purchase price back in the form of a tax credit, up to a maximum annual amount of $1,200. Many companies sell the products that have met the guidelines for the tax credit, but few will make a big deal out of it. As a retailer and as a salesperson, we should be making sure everyone knows we offer those products. Any advertisements should mention the tax credit and all in-home sales people should be discussing it with our clients.

Only select window treatments meet the guidelines, but this should not stop you from screaming about the tax credit from the rooftops. Have you heard about solar systems that go on your roof? If you have, then you have definitely heard that there is a huge tax credit that comes with your purchase, offsetting the cost. Thinking about an electric vehicle? Part of what

is speeding up the EV as an industry is a $7,500 federal tax credit. Isn’t the same true for your customers and clients? They want to be informed of potential savings and it is not just in your best interest to share it with them, it is your responsibility!

What action can you take that will have an immediate impact on your business and closing sales? Share with and help all your potential clients with the additional savings they can take advantage of by choosing tax credit-rated and energyrated window treatments. Do this and you won’t just have happy clients, you will personally feel good about saving them money and helping them. Talk about positivity! And you will be able to put another check mark in the Sold column. V

Oliver Schreiber began his sales career more than 30 years ago and is CEO of Beltway Blinds in Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia. He leads a team that generated more than $11 million in sales last year. He has been a speaker at the International Window Coverings Expo, has received awards for being the largest-volume dealer with Alta Window Fashions for four years running and sits on the National Advisory Committee for a window covering group, Exciting Windows!. He can be reached at

MAY + JUNE 2 023 | 72


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Articles inside

Two Easy Ways to Impact Your Bottom Line

pages 74-75


pages 72-73


pages 68-71

Measuring Progress A Guide to Your Second-Quarter Performance

pages 66-67


pages 58-65


page 57

Worthy of Recognition

pages 54-56


page 52


pages 50-51

This Company Has Integrity

page 49

The Feeling Is Mutual

pages 46-48

IWCE 2023 Was One for the Books

pages 44-45

Draper and Shading Texas Create Dream Outdoor Entertaining Space

pages 42-43

Livable &

pages 38-41

Editor’s Picks

pages 35-37

No Matter the Temperature, OUTDOOR LIVING IS STAYING HOT

pages 32-34

Style is Sprouting Natural Fabrics Continue to Grow in Popularity

page 31


pages 29-30


pages 24-28

Is Outdoor Installation for You?

pages 22-23

What If Your Products Are the Right Answer to the WRONG Question?

pages 18-21

The Advantage of Selling Eco-Friendly Options of Motorized Window Covering Options

pages 16-17


pages 12-15


page 10


pages 8-9

Queen City Gives Us the Royal Treatment

page 6


pages 4-5
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