A word of mouth referral led to a phone call before Christmas from a delightful couple who were interested in roller blinds for their house, nestled in beautiful surroundings near Llantrithyd in the Vale of Glamorgan, Wales.
Moghul Director Charlie White and Bath Consultant Lou Ball hot footed it over to see them, armed with a large collection of roller blind books from the major suppliers, spanning an array of colours, textures and price points.
The house was built in the 1960’s by our clients David and Gillie, who proudly gave us a tour and later treated us to a wonderful lunch as they regaled us with anecdotes of how back in the ’60’s, a young couple had come to build such a ground breaking property in rural Wales.
Acres of glass and steel combined with minimalist decor, Gillie has over the years shrewdly adorned the property with evocative objet d’art, as well as splashes of colour that are right back in vogue this year, such as over sized lime green and poppy red cushions – testament as Lou remarked, to how cyclical design tastes can be.
The challenge ahead
Gillie had a clear vision for what she wanted to achieve. Various window treatments had over the years adorned the two main living areas (pictured above) – the first floor and ground floor sitting rooms. These had now been removed leaving each space in need of something to add a soft, completing touch. Gillie liked the idea of roller blinds and Charlie set about completing a technical measure whilst Lou discussed the fabric options.
Large panels of glass presented challenges in terms of the maximum widths that roller blinds can operate to, and in the downstairs sitting room, the configuration of the steel roof joists and aluminium sliding doors meant there was no obvious fixing point for the blinds that wouldn’t leave window showing past the edge of the blind fabric.
After much deliberation spanning the next few weeks – and quite a lot of samples through the post, Gillie decided upon the Silent Gliss Colorama fabric (specifically the thicker shade 2), and as she liked the idea of splitting the window spaces into alternating swathes of colour – we decided to err on the side of caution and have a larger number of narrower blinds (rather than spanning two or more panels with each blind).
With some revisions to the brief, and given the size of the project we thought it wise to pay a further trip to the property, to double check measurements and finalise the design of the bespoke bracket system that would be required in the downstairs sitting room (see further below).
We specified reverse rolled blinds – where the fabric rolls over the front of the blind cylinder, thereby hiding it – because this would keep the fabric away from handles and other obstructions, and further away from any window condensation.
Why Silent Gliss? When specifying bespoke soft furnishings (and in my case, particularly hardware) we have to constantly strive to maintain an unbiased approach – to recommend the best product for a particular environment or budget.
Silent Gliss roller blinds are more expensive than many made to measure roller blinds on the market. To be brutally honest, when faced with a Silent Gliss roller blind and its cheaper alternative, typically our clients opt for the cheaper option. Why? because generally, that client will be after a functional solution for privacy (think ground level bay window in suburban London), and there are some very good reasonably priced products on the market in various hues and levels of opacity that do the job perfectly well.
But this project delivered up a timely reminder of the brilliance of the Silent Gliss roller blind system…
Superior mechanism – the first thing you notice when you operate a Silent Gliss roller blind is the silky smoothness of the mechanism. It glides like no other manually operated roller blind we have fitted – providing some justification for Silent Gliss often being described as the Rolls Royce of roller blinds.
Peerless fabric – Gillie and David loved the texture of the Colorama fabric – which is available in two thicknesses (or opacity levels) – Colorama 1 and Colorama 2, a large variety of colours and up to 335cms wide in its stiffened (roller blind) version. In short, (with apologies for the sweeping generalisation!) roller blind fabrics tend to have a crispy feel, and so there are few fabrics on the market that come close to Colorama in terms of emulating the softness of a curtain drape.
No surprise then that it has been Silent Gliss’s most successful fabric over the last 20 years. Laminated roller blinds give you more choice but have limitations in terms of the width and drop that the blind can be made up to.
The downstairs sitting room was by far the trickier of the two rooms. On the rear, facing wall we were able to fix the roller blinds in the obvious place (see above right) – on the aluminium panel above the sliding doors. However on the longer side wall, the positioning of the steel joists along the ceiling meant that this fixing point would have left some of the blinds not completely covering their corresponding windows.
It’s always a shame when a bespoke product leaves the glass exposed down the side of the blind, so we decided to take the blinds under the steel joists, and in the middle of each window, support the blind brackets with a Silent Gliss 3135 bracket (see above left) – which is more typically used for Silent Gliss’s curtain track systems.
And finally – a spot of more traditional DIY was required to shorten 5 book shelves that obstructed one of the roller blinds!