The Shade Store – Installing roller shades

Bob Borson —  November 29, 2010 — 17 Comments

Few things say Happy Thanksgiving like a turkey home improvement project – and this year we decided to put some blinds on the windows in the kitchen. After spending all day in the kitchen last Thanksgiving, with two ovens and 4 burners running all day, being able to screen out the sun just to shave off a few degrees was a requirement.

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To solve this problem, we decided to install some roller shades … could you have guessed I wasn’t a curtains person? We looked around a while but I decided to go with an online providor –  The Shade Store. They have about 1,000 options and selections and they will send you samples of the all the different fabric material options. Their website is a great resource for finding and looking through different options – almost too many options for most people – but since I have pretty specific tastes when it comes to my own house, this was more about finding what I wanted.

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You can order samples from them for anything that you want – I couldn’t tell you if there was a limit on the number of samples or not. If there was, we didn’t hit that number and I think my wife requested around 15 different swatches to look at (eventually we’ll get around to doing more than just the kitchen).

I knew that I wanted a roller shades and that I did not want a blackout shade or printed fabric shade. I also knew that I wanted the material to be dark – our kitchen window faces South and it really get hammered by the sun and if I went with a lighter color, I’d have a glare issue. Even knowing what I wanted still left me with an unbelievable number of options; I’ve included a screenshot of the materials page but I cutoff probably 80% of the materials that are available.

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Once we selected our material and measured our windows, it was time to submit our order – which we did completely online. The one tricky thing (at least for me) was figuring out where to order my shades on the website – there isn’t a page or button that reads “Order here” – something their web designers should change. You have to actually order your window treatments from within the section of the treatments you are going to buy – meaning, if you are getting roller shades, you have to be within the roller shade section to be able to submit your order. Other than that one particular issue (for me) the website is easy to navigate and the process of actually ordering your shades is very simple and direct.

I ordered 3 roller shades and since none of the windows were particularly large, I didn’t have to pay any sort of premium. All told, my shades cost me just over $400 and I didn’t have a separate charge for shipping. I received a confirmation that my order would be filled and sent out to me within 10 business days.

Pretty good right? I mean, we didn’t leave ourselves a lot of room for error in our schedule if we were to actually get these shades installed in time. I placed my order approximately 14 days before Thanksgiving so if all things went as planned, I should have a few days to install them.

But did they come in 10 business days? Of course they didn’t. I received my shades 4 days after I ordered them! Cha-Ching! I am all about the customer experience and so far, everything went better than I had expected.

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This is a shot of the tools you need to install your new roller shades. It’s a pretty straightforward list of tools, most of which everyone would have on hand.

  • Drill
  • Level
  • Phillips Head Screwdriver
  • Socket Wrench
  • cold beer (not shown here, it was already in my belly)

I will tell you this – the reason most contractors are better at installing things than you are is because they have the right tools – this is very important. I used a socket head wrench even though the instructions told me to use a Phillips head screwdriver. I could have used a screwdriver to install the screws but the area the screws go isn’t all that large and a socket wrench allows me to get my deceptively large hands where they need to be. This means I won’t end up putting the screws in at an angle nor will I strip the screws (makes removing these screws easier down the road if needed)

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This is a closeup of the end bracket for the shades. The brackets themselves are not metal but a plastic that is coated with a finish that you can specify (I chose chrome). Once I got out all the right tools, I don’t think I spent more than 30 minutes total installing these shades. Yes, it was that easy and the action on these babies is smooooooth. They seem totally pro – I suppose it’s because they are.

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This was an incredibly easy process and makes our kitchen space significantly better and vastly more enjoyable.  If you want to know what I specifically ordered, it was:

Roller Shade – Light Filtering / Specialty – Nature Concept – Grassweave Bark (price group A) – Inside Mount – Chrome Brackets – Regular Roll type – Sewn In Bottom Bar – with no additional features (no valence).

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  • chitra

    Hi Bob: almost 4 years on from your purchase and install how are you liking the durability of the shades you got from the shade store. I am a home owner looking to procure shades. Quite attracted to how the shade store is set up, but saw some dicey comments on The Apartment Therapy website. It was about 5 years old, so wanted to get your feedback as well since your experience was more recent. Appreciate it. Thanks Chitra.

    • http://www.lifeofanarchitect.com Bob Borson

      I still love them and have never had 1 issue with them. They literally look and act exactly as the day I installed them.

  • http://www.jonroemer.com/blog/ Jon

    Bob – I just ordered from The Shade Store this weekend. Glad to see it was such a positive experience for you. How are the plastic brackets? Are you happy with them? They have metal brackets you can upgrade to for $15 ea. Just curious if you think that’s worth it or not.

    • http://www.lifeofanarchitect.com Bob Borson

      The plastic were okay – you really don’t see much of them. If you over-tighten them, you can break the finish. If I had the choice to upgrade to metal I probably would but I am crazy about things like that.

    • http://www.lifeofanarchitect.com Bob Borson

      The plastic brackets work fine – I haven’t had any issues. I do wish that they were metal – that was one disappointment but it has more to do with my expectations, not any shortcomings I’ve experienced with the performance.

  • Steve Jordan

    Unbelievable timing. I was JUST trying to find a local source for Mecho Shades this morning, or a similar product…. Now that I know it is this easy, i will go for the online ordering… Gracias!

    • Anonymous

      No problem … ahem … it’s what I do

      (no I don’t, its usually a complete accident)

  • Anonymous

    Love the post and the kitchen! Not wild about the exposed rollers though. They always look fussy to me, like there should be a box option to conceal it or maybe a flat piece of aluminum stock to match your frame that runs across all of them and overlaps the frame.

    • Anonymous

      You do get the option to add a valence but I chose not to do so. I actually like the look of the rollers and for me, the valence simply adds to the idea that you think you are hiding what we all know is there … so I embrace the roller and say “stick that in your face!” (not to you of course but to the imaginary people I let into my kitchen)

  • Anonymous

    Bob,

    This is great. I went to the site and put in what I wanted and these are really affordable. Therefore I will probably go ahead and pick something more expensive than what I originally wanted so they are unaffordable.

    • Anonymous

      That logic makes perfect sense on opposite day. I’m telling you, they work better than the ones in my office that cost 3x as much.

      • Anonymous

        Really glad to hear it… I have some extra money right here… AWWW it’s going to the AIA. And that wan’t extra money. I’ll have to wait a bit, but I’m excited already.

  • Theshadestoremedia

    Awesome post! Will pass your feedback on to our web team about swapping out the continue button. Thank you from The Shade Store.

  • http://twitter.com/Alexandrafunfit Alexandra Williams

    Oh man, David beat me to the cereal comment. I thought it was Lucky Charms. And what have you got against curtains? Not modern enough? I thought you liked to cover all your windows in pink girlie bathrobes! That’s quite a unique decorating style.
    PS. The neighbors paid Bob to get the shades, David. The naked thing was ruining their resale value!

    • Anonymous

      Alexandra,

      I don’t think you are supposed to make more jokes about people seeing me naked on my site than me – just an observation.

  • http://www.wood-and-light.com David Mathias

    In the first photo, the cereal box on the refrigerator appears to be Fruit Loops. In the second photo, it’s difficult to tell. Cinnamon Toast Crunch?

    By the way, nice job on installing the shades. But won’t the neighbors miss watching you do the dishes naked?

    • Anonymous

      Very observant of you … I ate the Fruit Loops because my daughter did like them (and nobody like Cinnamon Toast Crunch). What you can’t tell is that there are about 8 cereal boxes up there but the only one anyone likes is Honey-Nut Cheerios.

      Oh yeah … I raise the shades to accommodate my neighbors