In Greenwich choices of window shades just got wider
Published 12:00 am, Saturday, January 7, 2017
In bygone years, our grandmothers as newlyweds trekked into Woolworth’s to shop for simple roller shades whose springs invariably sprung at some point whether pulled too far down or pulled too far up. What a hassle it was to properly rewind the spring. When Grandma had a bit more money, she shopped Macy’s or Bloomingdale’s curtain department, where the selection was better, but limited. Back then, every homeowner, it seemed, had the same shades on their windows.
With the Shade Store recently opening a showroom in Greenwich, a whole new world has been presented to us. Grandma won’t recognize the roller shade on display — it’s downright glamorous. There are 900 materials to choose from, four different styles, including waterfall and cascade, and different intensities of transparency that filter out UV rays so your carpets and upholstery won’t fade, but you still can see that glorious red maple in the front yard. There are bamboos, Belgian linens, grasses and jutes, blackouts with knockout floral, woven wood and fabric in solids or flush with prints. It’s an incredible trove.
No need to fret, says Michael Crotty, chief marketing officer of the company, as he waltzes you to the windows festooned with four variations of the solar shade. We’re at the Port Chester, N.Y., locale, where six women, some with husbands in tow, have popped in during the last half hour, and it’s only 10:30 a.m. They scout the sections of blinds and drapery, and then stand as if mesmerized before a bank of shades hung on one wall, on the window on the opposite wall and a credenza-like piece of furniture harboring a slew of swatches.
“The process begins with the drawers,” Crotty says. The ones in the handsome wooden credenza include tonalities of white, of course. Bring in a pillow, a photo of the room, even bedsheets and a clever, trained professional will select samples to complement your home and colors.
“It’s a fabulous idea,” says interior designer Katie Brown during the opening night festivities at the Greenwich locale. “You can take as many swatches as you want and tape them to your windows so you can see how the material works in your home.” She pointed to the large windows overlooking the lot where savvy women park their cars and then peruse the racks of discounted design clothing at Roundabout. “I bought solar shades for my house,” she says, “and I love them.”
Greenwich’s Shade Store anchors one corner of the stretch of West Putnam Avenue called “design central.” It is the latest showroom in the company’s portfolio of soon-to-be 50 stores nationwide, with headquarters and a much-larger showroom anchored in nearby Port Chester. All the showrooms are sleek and streamlined. Gone are the days of wading through fabric books that cram store shelves and counters of fabrics and sample shades pinned on every available wall space in a showroom. Shade Store is as pristine as a lake shimmering at dawn.
What a long way the company has come since founder Milton Goldstein opened a fabric store in Mt. Vernon, N.Y., in 1946. The company quickly became a mecca for the design trade scouting luxe materials for its clients. While the pinch pleat drape still lures those who want a traditional, formal look, the aptly named ripple is the current favorite. With its incredible ease of movement from ceiling to floor, the fluidity of the ripple is a perfect choice for tall, statement windows, especially since fashion-inspired fabrics are wending their way into the Shade’s showrooms. The third generation of the family — brothers Adam, Ian and Zach Gibbs and their cousin, Greg Spatz — has taken a giant step forward by partnering with such leading designers as Diane von Furstenberg, Jeffrey Alan Marks, Jonathan Adler and Kate Spade.
So if your head starts spinning with the rollers, the Romans, the draperies, the wood blinds (yes, you will find them here, as well) and the 14 different hardware collections vying for your love, sink into one of the couches as a design consultant steadies your nerves and narrows choices for you.
“We’re here to guide you,” says Adam Skalman, vice president of sales, as he points to a triple-layered window display: solar shade, topped by a Roman-tulip shade, topped by ripple draperies. Talk about drama at the window. “We are all about custom made simple,” he says, quoting the company’s mantra. “We are going to make the process as simple as possible for you.”
With prices for a simple shade beginning at about $160, the company is obviously targeting the affluent consumer and the woman you overhear whispering to her balking husband, “Now honey, listen. …”
Rosemarie T. Anner is a frequent contributor to Sunday Arts & Style.