Tricky Window Tutorial #2: Floor to Ceiling Condo Windows

The ever expanding condo market in Toronto means that more homeowners are faced with the sometimes daunting task of covering large floor to ceiling windows. These windows offer beautiful views and wonderful amounts of light but can also present a few challenges to daily life.

Too much warmth from the sun, poorly insulated windows, the fading and burning of expensive hardwood floors, rugs and furniture, a lack of privacy and bad glare on media centers are just some of the reasons why a condo owner may decide to invest in window treatments.

Here are a few things to keep in mind while considering your choice of window treatment for floor to ceiling condo windows.

Avoid competing with or obstructing the view
Window treatments should always complement a beautiful view and not compete with it. The window treatment when open should frame the view and draw the eye out the window.
If the view isn't so charming use a slightly brighter or darker color, pattern or texture to keep the eye in the room. A sheer or a screen shade can also blur a less attractive view while capitalizing on the light.

Fabric choice
Avoid natural fabrics if the the space gets a lot of light. Natural fabrics will fade, burn and even disintegrate after long term exposure to light. If silk or another natural fabric is the only option, have it properly lined and be prepared to close them during the day to protect light from shining on the front of the drape.

Consider a track system for drapery panels that will allow flexibility when placing the panels. A simple ceiling mounted track system with a low profile practically disappears and allows panels to move along a continuous track. Tall windows should have a pulley system, motorized track, or fling rods.

Avoid bulky rod systems with brackets that hang the rod too far down into a window and that will limit the movement of drapes beyond each bracket.

Division of panels or blinds
Consider traffic movement in and out of balcony doors, access to windows for air circulation and the actual division of the panes of glass. How would the open panels frame the view and line up with the functional areas of the condo? Use the divisions to create a focal point by leading the eye. If choosing blinds, look at a sample when it is open. Does it drop too far down into the window? Would you knock your head on it when going out the balcony door?

Condos are synonymous with concrete and sometimes very high drapery installation, which in my opinion calls for a professional installation. Standing on a ladder in front of a window, often miles in the sky and trying to drill into concrete above your head is no picnic. I can only assume that having a treatment fall down with chunks of concrete is worse. Have your window treatments installed properly by a professional installer and they will stay hanging forever.