Category Archives: Electric Window Treatments

Can I control my shades from iPhone or iPad?

Control Shades and Curtains via iPad with Hunter Douglas PlatinumApp
Screen Shots of iPhone PlatinumApp

The short answer is YES,

With all Hunter Douglass electric shades, all you need is a small box called App Bridge and your iPhone or iPad.

We recently installed electric roller shades and used Hunter Douglas motorization system for that. The reason was that the client heard that there is a special app
that allows to control the shades via iPad. I was curious and went to check it out after the shades where installed.

I have to say that is one of the most simplest and easiest apps I have seen, great work Hunter!

Here is some back ground,

A typical remote has 4 buttons that allows to choose a shade to control via each button. Actually you can assign more than one shade to a button
say if you have 3 shades on the east side and 4 on the west. You can choose button1 to control all eastern shades and button 2 to control all western shades.
But what if after the installer left you wish to change that. it is a simple process for an installer who does it every day but not so simple process to a client who never done it.

Well that is where Hunter Douglas new Platinum App comes to help.

First you have a welcome screen with a master category you can call it Living Room, Bedroom or which ever room you like. Than you click (+) to add a shade call it a name say Beth’s Blackout Shade and click on Sync in the iPad at this point you click on a button on the shade the shades move and that is it Beth’s shade is working via iPad.

You can add more shades and assign them via clicking on a button in each shade and the beauty is that you can create as many top categories as you like say you wish to control
all kids room at once you add a category for “kids rooms shades” click (+) to add shade 1 (+) to add shade 2 and that is it. When you select “kids rooms shades” all the shades in your kids room will go up or down at once.

I must say its is so simple I was very impressed!!!

Electric Shades Up in the Sky above Bloomingdales

A few weeks ago a client, who just bought an apartment in a in Mid-Town, called us to schedule an appointment to discuss installing electric shades.

Apparently they were moving into 205 East 59th Street, a building developed by Manhattan Skyline that was built in 2005. This building has unique apartment layouts with 20′ ceilings and double height windows. Although it makes the apartment more dramatic and spacious but it also makes it very hard to reach to open and close any window treatments.


In cases like that, we allays recommend electric shades. For a modern look most people prefer roller shades that are minimalistic and practically disappear into its built in metal fascia leaving the window with its full view of the city completely open. Flat sheer roman shades could also work well with those windows (example here)


Phifer SheeWeave solar fabric will help save energy on cooling costs letting only 5% of the light into the apartment and blocking the heat and glare that comes in the after noon and evening hours. Two weeks after the order was placed I came with the installers and our electrician to install the shades.

I thought after installing so many time climbing on a scaffolding or a tall ladders would be easy and they would be used to the height but Juan our installer mention that every time he goes up there is a point of fear right at the top of the ladder, specially when you carry a 10′ shade in one hand.

In trying to get exact size and leave no gaps there is always a challenge to get the right size but in this case the shade fit just exactly that means it is much harder to push it into the bracket, but with a big of an effort it is in and the shade is going up and down.

I did not have a chance to see the end of the installation but in the bedroom the client selected blackout curtains using Carol Fabric’s Westbury and Griffen Collections

Westbury Silver                     Griffen Optic White                     Westbury Natural


Those fabrics are naturally tending to wrinkle so to end the installation we normally take some time to steam the curtains and make sure that are smooth and stay in shape.


13 foot electric shade installed in Newswalk Condos Brooklyn NYC

BTX powered electric shade in Newswalk Condominium

You probably remember Newswalk Condos from early re-developments of 2006 and later with connection with Ratner’s plan to knock down all the buildings around Atlantic Avenue and Flatbush. Well it is still standing even after the Barclays Center Was completed.

The windows in that building are extra wide and extra tall, plus they windowsill is waist high so any shade installed on the window is
harder to control.

As it happened we were called to install solar shades in on of the units and came across a window that was 13 foot wide.

Now 150″ wide shade doesn’t sound so big but its kind of heavy, especially when it doesn’t fit in the elevator and you have to go 7 flights of stairs carrying it on you back.
When you lift a shade like that to put it back into the bracket and it doesn’t go in on the first try you have to hold it and try until it fits. (it gets heavier and heavier)

In a nut shell that is the story of our installation in Dean Street. It started when a motor stopped working on a 9 foot shade. When I came to take a look I found a 10 year old
shades with fabric that did not look so good and a non working motor. So first we had to find out what system was installed, Elero did not mean anything to me until with a bit of search on the web we found out that it is fabricated by BTX, a well known very repayable and long time veteran in electric window treatments industry. We called them up and after a short discussion learned that it could be the motor, the switch or the wiring. To be on the safe side I ordered a motor and a switch and we scheduled to take down the shades to replace the fabric.

When we came back after about 12 days to put them up, I wanted to make sure there were no issues in the installation so showed up with our installers. Too bad for them they had to carry the shade up to the 7th floor. When they finally placed the shades on the windowsill to install them they discovered that the motor was on the wrong side. What to do? take out the fabric and flip the tube around. As you can see BTX does not take any chances with special 3″ tubes for that size shade and a grove where the motors are bolted into the tube.

After putting the shades up it was time to figure out the wiring. Black, Red, White and green. But we have 2 switches and which wire is for up and which one is for down. Well that was not so hard, we connected the wires set the limits (so the shade will stop automatically when reaching the top and bottom) and then worked on hiding the wires behind the shades.

That is it job complete. Client was happy he did not have to buy 2 new shades and continue using the existing system but they look new since we replace the fabric. SheerWeave 4400 3% White Grey was the selected fabric this time. The slightly darker color will enable to see more of the view and 3% openness will cut the heat dramatically.

Inside 50 Gramercy Park

Electric shades in 50 Gramercy

Working in High-End condo owners most often means working with high-profile designers.
And that was the case with 50 Gramercy Park when Geoffrey A. Blatt asked us to price out
a job in that building.

Sheer Roman in Bedroom 50 Gramercy

Even though we have less control of fabric selection its always fun to work with new fabrics
and push our limit when asked to make bigger shades or non standard patterns and styles.

The windows in 50 Gramercy are fairly wide and when making large shades like that its always recommended to add a motor since they tend to be heavy to lift. In this case there was no need for us to connect the shades to a home automation system but in the bedrooms we did install two layer shades with electric blackout shade close to the window and a soft sheer roman shade in front of it. Motorization system is by Somfy. It is a high voltage system with wireless switches on the wall. A very reliable system where the motor size is selected according to the weight of each shade. And although it is high voltage it has quiet operation.

In the master bedroom Mr. Blatt chose to have a blackout Tier Drop Roman Shade. This shade (as seen bellow) has its folds always visible even when the shade is down. A style that gives the shade a soft elegant look at any position.

Tier Drop Roman in Bedroom 50 Gramercy

Put Your iPad to Work Controlling Your Shades

How many remotes do you have throughout your home? How many wall switches control everything happening in your home from the home speaker system to the garage door opener? What if you could electronically open and close the window shades with ease right from you iPad or tablet computer? Yes, it’s that easy.

What’s the Platinum App?



You love your apps and now there is one to control your Hunter Douglas Powerrise 2.1 and PowerGlide 2.1 window coverings using your iPad, iPhone or your iPod Touch. Look at some of the features of this system.
• You can use them to control the natural light in the room. Just choose one of the scenes, such as Summer Afternoon. This allows the shades on the east side of your home raise and those on the west side lower.

  • Perhaps you want some privacy during the daytime. Not a problem, select the right setting on the app and the vanes of the Silhouette window shades offered by the company open wide.
  • Time the operation to just what and when you want. You can set where you want your window coverings not only at specific times during the day, but also various days of the week.
  • Allow it to control windows room-by-room if you like.
  • Control individual window coverings. You can program it to control every single shade, drapery or window panel in your home, office or apartment.

To use this Hunter Douglas app, you will need to have the right components. This includes the Platinum App Bridge, which is the brain of the system. It holds all of the programming data and it will send a signal to the appropriate window covering using the Platinum Repeaters. You’ll also need the Platinum Repeater Kit, which includes the power supply you need. You’ll need one for each room.


You’ll need to use your Apple device with an iOS 5.0+ operating system to control it. It does provide you with free updates, too.
Would you control your window shades using the Hunter Douglas Platinum App? If you want ultimate control with real time programming options, there’s nothing quite like sitting back and controlling everything with the touch of your iPad.

Creating Study Space for Homework

As the school year fast approaches, it is important for parents to step back and think about the success of their children. One way to encourage good grades and getting homework done is to create an appropriate space for homework. A study space or homework nook does not have to be large, but it should be inviting enough to encourage kids to sit down and relax while studying.

How to Create the Ideal Space

What goes into a homework study space? First, focus on the desk. It should provide ample room for more than one book. It should be clean and clear of anything that will distract the child such as toys or pictures. This is not the place for a laptop either. Place that in a central area in the home so that parents can monitor what the child is doing in the space.

Image Courtesy of

The following tips can help you to create the ideal space for your kids. Remember, the entire space should encourage great studying habits.

Image Courtesy of
  • Make it theirs and only theirs. In other words, make this space just for your child to just do homework. Allow them to have some say in the organization of it, too. If you cannot devote a lot of space to it, use some drapery to create a hidden area of their room. With a running track along the corner of the room, this can ensure there’s plenty of privacy present.
  • Relax the feel of it by ensuring it is comfortable. Make sure the seat to their chair is comfortable and the desk is at the right height.
  • Encourage light. One way to do this is to use natural light coming in the room through the windows. Natural light is easier on the eyes while reading from a textbook. To do this, use blinds or shear drapes that encourage light to pass through them rather than darkening shades. Open up those drapes to let more light in.
Image Courtesy of

To make this space enjoyable, be sure to encourage your children to set it up and to maintain it. Keep it clean and organized. If it is the only place homework is done, there’s no risk that papers will go missing or books will be forgotten either.


Somfy Introduces 400 Series Motors Sonesse 40 and Altus 40

Conveniently Quiet – Sonesse 40 (RTS & Wired) ® The Sonesse 40 Range with patent pending technology features a newly designed brake, rotor and gearbox to further reduce motor operating sound. Available in both RTS and wired versions, the Sonesse 40 can be used in a variety of interior window covering applications.   Power, Simplicity, and Convenience – Altus 40 (RTS) ® The Altus 40 RTS features an integrated radio receiver within the motor which eliminates any wiring between the motor and controls. Available in two torques 4Nm and 9Nm, the Altus 40 RTS is ideal for exterior product applications. 400 Series motors help Somfy compete with other brands quiet motors. Another feature of the 400 series is its size. It would fit an 1 1/2″ tube allowing the shade to be fit in smaller window ceil and tighter pockets. And with only 20″ in length it is ideal for corner windows.

Window Treatments Appropriate for the Office – Clients and Employees in Mind

Walk into any large Manhattan office building and the one thing that strikes you is the windows. Large, expansive, and amazing with beautiful views of the city, the last thing you want to do is to cover them up with layers of drapery and lots of fabric. Rather, you want your clients to be impressed with that view and you want your employees to know the prestige of your business. How can you manage office window treatments with both employees and clients in mind?

Electric Roman Shades - Courtesy of Horizon Window Treatments

Start with the Shade

Solar Screen Shades - Courtesy of Horizon Window Treatments

There are instances in which privacy is paramount. From the open design windows to the panel dividers separating cubicles, there is no doubt you need a great looking design that is going to provide some level of privacy when needed. Shades are ideal. They offer just enough flexibility easily to allow light to shine in without allowing curious onlookers to find out what is going on in the office space. Here are some ideas to keep in mind.

  • Cellular shades can help with comfort and climate control. In some of the high-rise Manhattan buildings, the windows can make the office feel colder during the winter months.
  • Hardwood shades are a good option when you want to keep a beautiful look without dressing down the office. They create a nice barrier for light and sound, too.

For other options, consider a few nice touches found in designs that are more modern. For example, as your client sits down for that meeting, you can easily reach over and use the motorization to close the binds or drapes. That is impressive.

Another option is to create customized solutions for the beautiful architecture of the building without hiding it. Rather than bulky shades or drapes, allow the curved building to benefit from customized designs that easily hold the shape well.

Courtesy of

When it comes to commercial window treatments for New York City offices, style is paramount. Work with a designer to create a beautiful experience that will capture the attention of any person who steps within the space. You may be surprised with just how much style and elegance the ring workplace window covering can really offer.

Somfy’s new Home Automation System – TaHomA™

Somfy innovates with TaHomA™, a Total Home Automation system that offers users control of their Somfy motorized products, lights and thermostats. Using Z-Wave®, an interoperable 2-way RF mesh networking technology, TaHomA enables users to control, schedule and monitor a variety of products and efficiently manages natural and artificial light, heating, and cooling according to users’ personal preferences, which saves time, energy and money.

TaHomA also features remote access, giving users complete control of their home even when they’re away. Any computer with an internet connection, iPhone, iPad, or Adobe® Flash® player supported tablet can be used to control TaHomA from just about anywhere.

For more information Visit to experience TaHomA for yourself.

Super Bowl and Windows – How to Enhance Your Game Time Experience


As you prepare for the Super Bowl, you may be thinking about things like the game day food and if your television is big enough. This is just the beginning. Many other things need to looked at as well in order to have the best party. You need to make sure that you have everything in order and that there will be no need to leave or  really move all that much in order to truly enjoy the game and to make sure you are having a great time while you are doing it.


What To Have Ready

You are going to first need to make sure that you have all of the right foods for the party and that you are able to keep everyone happy by having the right amounts. You need to look at and make sure that the fridge is stocked with the right refreshments. In other words, have plenty of beer and cold drinks to keep you and your guests happy. You will need to make sure that you have plenty of things to eat and drink with as well. The last thing you will want to happen is that the TV is not working and that people will not be able to hear what is going on. You will also need to look at the lighting for the room as well and what better way to control this that with having the proper shades for your windows. For example, for your home theater room, check out Somfy Shades.

Consider different options with the lighting. One of the best things is with your shades you can make adjusting them wireless which will make it easier for you to simply keep watching the game and to be able to adjust the light level. With Lutron’s products, you can control the light streaming in the windows with a simple use of a variety of remote control keypads.

Motorized Solar Shades

Super Bowl Game Day Tips

Now that you have everything ready and you have everything in place for the big game, double-check it all again. Make sure you have enough of everything. Have everything ready for game time so you do not miss a play or a commercial. It is all about being able to have the best experience and to be able to remember how much fun you had because everything was ready.