Window Coverings. I Like Solar Shades

The Seattle Times has a rather humorous article on a window covering battle in Queen Anne, Women block windows to keep peering neighbors out:

They waged a fierce battle involving spotlights, construction paper and crude signs, but in the end roommates Sophie Parker and Karen Linebarger bowed to the realities of city living and tinted their windows, lengthened their blinds and stopped strolling around their apartment in underclothes.

Picture of the battle:

2008130558 Window Coverings. I Like Solar Shades

I had a similar revelation one day. For the longest time I didn’t have window coverings for my place and would walk around not really worrying about people seeing in because I didn’t really think anyone was or would. That is until one day I realized that just because I couldn’t see into the neighboring building didn’t mean they couldn’t see into mine. My realization was that they had tinted their windows while my windows were not tinted; they could see me but I couldn’t see them.

That and the onset of summer put my window covering search in high gear.

My first consideration was solar shades from The Shade Store. This is where I bought the blackout shades for my bedroom.

After having lunch with Rob Sinclair of HTI I then became enamored with automated window coverings that raised and lowered with the sun’s position in the sky but ruled those out after I got a ~$10,000 quote which is pretty pricey considering manual solar shades would run $800 to $1500 depending on the vendor. Also with automated shades instead of having one in each of my 8 windows, they’d install 3 large window coverings spanning windows .

At about the same time my friend Rob pointed out that JC Penny’s was having a father day’s sale where solar shades were $30/window, much cheaper than $10,000 and cheaper than the solar shades I found online that were in the $80-$150/window range. So I ordered them but they turned out to be too good to be true. They were indeed cheap looking but also lacked a pull cord mechanism to raise and lower them. With 70″ high windows I needed a cord. Fortunately I was able to return them which is not true of all solar shades.

I then ordered samples from JustBlinds, SelectBlinds and Smith and Noble.

I liked the patterns from JustBlinds the best, they turned out to be a little more expensive than SelectBlinds who had a big sale at the time, but were still much cheaper at $90/window that the Shade Store. I’m sure some of you would hesitate about buying window coverings online but I found many of the shops had both satisfaction and quality guarantees and were featured on numerous home improvement shows. This and the ability to get samples ahead of time gave me the confidence that I’d like the finish product and if I didn’t I’d have some sort of recourse. Of course they don’t have a guarantee against you messing up the measuring so I must have measured each window 10 times to ensure I got it right.

Once they arrived a week after ordering I found them relatively easy to install after I gave up on trying to level them relative to anything (turns out that in an eighty year old building nothing is level.) My only compliant is that the pull cord is plastic and not metal but I’m sure with a little of effort I could replace them with new cords.

What I like best about the solar shades is that they block the sun but still allow me to enjoy my view when they are down. However, my south west corner place still cooks up to around 85′ on hot days.

In the end it also looks like the Queen Anne girls also settled on solar shades:

2008130727 Window Coverings. I Like Solar Shades

Update: Here’s some pictures of my window coverings.

357429957 Ga8Nd S Window Coverings. I Like Solar Shades

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About Matt

Matt , Urbnlivn's publisher, has a love for lofts with industrial features and new construction condos that is only eclipsed by his passion for outdoor sports and urban living. Phrases such as “polished concrete” and “exposed brick” are music to his ears. You can also find Matt on Twitter or skiing.

  • Bob

    Why oh why do I always get the ugly ones instead of these two? That old couple is dumb. The show could have gone on for years without anybody getting wiser. First rule of voyeurism: spy in absolute darkness.

  • Bob

    Why oh why do I always get the ugly ones instead of these two? That old couple is dumb. The show could have gone on for years without anybody getting wiser. First rule of voyeurism: spy in absolute darkness.

  • Bill

    That’s an amusing article. They sound a little naive for Queen Anne!

    Solar shades work OK in older buildings but not in new buildings with modern windows. Newer Low-E windows are designed to stop heat escaping, so the heat bounces off the shade and is trapped against the window. It may keep the room darker but won’t do much for the heat compared to an external shade.

    Applying tinting to the inside of Low-E windows can actually cause the seals to pop because of trapped heat. Most tinting companies will ask you to sign a waiver because of this.

  • Bill

    That’s an amusing article. They sound a little naive for Queen Anne!

    Solar shades work OK in older buildings but not in new buildings with modern windows. Newer Low-E windows are designed to stop heat escaping, so the heat bounces off the shade and is trapped against the window. It may keep the room darker but won’t do much for the heat compared to an external shade.

    Applying tinting to the inside of Low-E windows can actually cause the seals to pop because of trapped heat. Most tinting companies will ask you to sign a waiver because of this.

  • http://nakedloon.com/ The Tim

    It’s cute that the girls in the article would think that living in a dense part of any city would afford them some sort of privacy. I guess they never watched “Friends.”

    It does seem awfully silly though. Windows are inherently not private. That’s exactly what blinds are for. Duh.

  • http://nakedloon.com/ The Tim

    It’s cute that the girls in the article would think that living in a dense part of any city would afford them some sort of privacy. I guess they never watched “Friends.”

    It does seem awfully silly though. Windows are inherently not private. That’s exactly what blinds are for. Duh.

  • Anonymous

    Spy vs. Spy and
    Pervs vs. Pervs.

    “”Come on, we wear boy shorts,” she said in disgust. The boxer-style briefs, she said, “are the least sexy underwear in the world.”

    Well, I don’t know. Topless on these narcissistic “hot cix” striding around their bedroom together… bed on the floor right by the window.

    Works for me.

    They’re lucking the video didn’t show up on YouTube or LiveLinx.

    Clueless? Don’t think so. And they’ve finally gotten the attention they’re looking for.

    Plus you can bet there will be more than a few people studying the pix and walking about Queen Anne trying to figure out where they live.

    Or you could probably just hang out at Paragon until they came in for a cocktail.

  • vanderleun

    Spy vs. Spy and
    Pervs vs. Pervs.

    “”Come on, we wear boy shorts,” she said in disgust. The boxer-style briefs, she said, “are the least sexy underwear in the world.”

    Well, I don’t know. Topless on these narcissistic “hot cix” striding around their bedroom together… bed on the floor right by the window.

    Works for me.

    They’re lucking the video didn’t show up on YouTube or LiveLinx.

    Clueless? Don’t think so. And they’ve finally gotten the attention they’re looking for.

    Plus you can bet there will be more than a few people studying the pix and walking about Queen Anne trying to figure out where they live.

    Or you could probably just hang out at Paragon until they came in for a cocktail.

  • Matthew Warren

    Hey Matt–

    This is great leg work that I can definitely use!

    I remember you posting that you met with Rob Sinclair from Home technologies for an estimate on solar shades. What happened with that?
    I tried to get an estimate from him for a pretty big job (lots of tall windows), but he was very unreliable in getting back to me (and kept on provided strange excuses for it). I guess he wasn’t interested in taking my money…

  • Matthew Warren

    Hey Matt–

    This is great leg work that I can definitely use!

    I remember you posting that you met with Rob Sinclair from Home technologies for an estimate on solar shades. What happened with that?
    I tried to get an estimate from him for a pretty big job (lots of tall windows), but he was very unreliable in getting back to me (and kept on provided strange excuses for it). I guess he wasn’t interested in taking my money…

  • http://twitter.com/mattgoyer mattgoyer

    I completely forgot about the automated shades so I edited the post to reflect my thoughts on that. To recap them here, I got around a $10,000 estimate and compared to $800 for manual solar shades I just couldn’t justify $9000 to automate them :).

    That’s strange he didn’t get back to you, I found him to be pretty responsive. I believe there are a few other vendors in town if that’s the route you want to go.

  • http://blog.mattgoyer.com Matt

    I completely forgot about the automated shades so I edited the post to reflect my thoughts on that. To recap them here, I got around a $10,000 estimate and compared to $800 for manual solar shades I just couldn’t justify $9000 to automate them :).

    That’s strange he didn’t get back to you, I found him to be pretty responsive. I believe there are a few other vendors in town if that’s the route you want to go.

  • Matthew Warren

    Post some pics of your windows-shades!

    Give the people what they want!

  • Matthew Warren

    Post some pics of your windows-shades!

    Give the people what they want!

  • http://www.mikeplummer.com Mike

    I have some wicked 3m window film that not only provides privacy but some pretty intense security as well. If you choose the lighter white colors rather than tinting, you seriously reduce the risk of busting the seals on your low e windows and letting that tasty argon gas inside.

  • http://www.mikeplummer.com Mike

    I have some wicked 3m window film that not only provides privacy but some pretty intense security as well. If you choose the lighter white colors rather than tinting, you seriously reduce the risk of busting the seals on your low e windows and letting that tasty argon gas inside.

  • http://www.ramadabooger.com YouGuysAreIdiots

    There’s nothing wrong with getting dressed and undressed in the privacy of one’s own home. Some of these comments are just ignorant, chauvinistic and disappointing. “First rule of voyeurism,” Bob? Get a life and go prey on someone who’s at least cognizant of – and making money on – the situation; it’s called porn, not your unsuspecting neighbors’ window via binoculars (read: CRIME). And for the record, we’re not “naive,” we simply didn’t have such a low opinion of our neighbors to have anticipated this.

  • http://www.ramadabooger.com YouGuysAreIdiots

    There’s nothing wrong with getting dressed and undressed in the privacy of one’s own home. Some of these comments are just ignorant, chauvinistic and disappointing. “First rule of voyeurism,” Bob? Get a life and go prey on someone who’s at least cognizant of – and making money on – the situation; it’s called porn, not your unsuspecting neighbors’ window via binoculars (read: CRIME). And for the record, we’re not “naive,” we simply didn’t have such a low opinion of our neighbors to have anticipated this.

  • Anonymous

    …. and then some.

  • Haywood Jablome

    …. and then some.

  • Vanderleun

    Humm, want some privacy in Queen Anne. Just tape a few McCain banners up on your windows and everyone will look away!

  • Anonymous

    Humm, want some privacy in Queen Anne. Just tape a few McCain banners up on your windows and everyone will look away!

  • Anonymous

    “Some of these comments are just ignorant, chauvinistic and disappointing.”

    We guys are disappointed that you are disappointed and promise not to respond to your Craigslist personal ads ever again.

  • http://americandigest.org Vanderleun

    “Some of these comments are just ignorant, chauvinistic and disappointing.”

    We guys are disappointed that you are disappointed and promise not to respond to your Craigslist personal ads ever again.

  • http://twitter.com/mattgoyer mattgoyer
  • http://blog.mattgoyer.com Matt
  • Bob

    YGAI, so which one are you, Sophie or Karen? If you don’t like the comments here, have you read the ones on Seattle Times? You are lucky you haven’t made it to voyeurweb or whatboyswant yet.

  • Bob

    YGAI, so which one are you, Sophie or Karen? If you don’t like the comments here, have you read the ones on Seattle Times? You are lucky you haven’t made it to voyeurweb or whatboyswant yet.

  • Alexa

    These girls are morons. Honestly, beyond naive, mentally deficient 25 year old boyshortin’ whiners.
    One of their public facebook pics is blatantly boobalicious, CMON?!?!
    When I lived in Magnolia as a single female, I knew what my windows faced.
    They are SAVORING this attention. Yuk.

  • Alexa

    These girls are morons. Honestly, beyond naive, mentally deficient 25 year old boyshortin’ whiners.
    One of their public facebook pics is blatantly boobalicious, CMON?!?!
    When I lived in Magnolia as a single female, I knew what my windows faced.
    They are SAVORING this attention. Yuk.

  • Anonymous

    Today the windows, tomorrow the pole dance.

  • http://americandigest.org Vanderleun

    Today the windows, tomorrow the pole dance.

  • Mike2

    Odd, when i lived in the U-district across the street from a “fishbowl” apartment building – the people that wanted privacy kept the shades down.

    The ones that didn’t want privacy did whatever they wanted in front of the windows.

    There were a few apartments where the occupants would only get naked if there was a sufficient audience. 3 people on the deck? No big deal. If there was a BBQ in progress with a dozen+ guests, the show was on.

  • Mike2

    Odd, when i lived in the U-district across the street from a “fishbowl” apartment building – the people that wanted privacy kept the shades down.

    The ones that didn’t want privacy did whatever they wanted in front of the windows.

    There were a few apartments where the occupants would only get naked if there was a sufficient audience. 3 people on the deck? No big deal. If there was a BBQ in progress with a dozen+ guests, the show was on.

  • http://www.blindschalet.com Bjolley2

    I also ordered Blinds samples from blinds chalet and was happy with the product they offered. Solar shades not only help with keeping the heat out but also privacy. Great article.

  • http://www.blindschalet.com Bjolley2

    I also ordered Blinds samples from blinds chalet and was happy with the product they offered. Solar shades not only help with keeping the heat out but also privacy. Great article.

  • http://www.blindschalet.com Bjolley2

    I also ordered Blinds samples from blinds chalet and was happy with the product they offered. Solar shades not only help with keeping the heat out but also privacy. Great article.

  • Anonymous

    shades is good but i think window curtains would be perfect.

    cheap curtain