Curtains (or blinds) for Trapezoid Windows?

kashmiMay 5, 2012

We are looking for shades/curtains/blinds for two north-east facing side-by-side trapezoid windows in our master bedroom. We'd like to block the morning light, but let light in the rest of the day.

Vertical parallel sides: long = 69"; short = 30"

Bottom = 45"; angled "side" = 60"

From Bathroom

I've checked a number of sites on the web and have found three options, none of which seems optimal.

1. Stationary shades or curtains to cover the top triangular section and then a operating shade for the lower rectangular portion. This is our least favorite option.

2. Specialty blinds (usually cellular ones such as Hunter Douglas) that will pull up completely, stacking along the angled side. Extremely pricy: $1,200 - $1,600 per window!!

3. An approach from a DIY site. Fabric cut to the window size. Fasten it top and bottom to the long vertical side. Insert a grommet at the "inflection point." Then use a long pole to move that grommet over to a hook on the wall when wishing to cover the window. When unhooked, the fabric is said to hang in a nice tight coil along the long edge. I'm willing to try this, but since we'd want black-out fabric (or lining), I'm not sure it would hang in that nice tight coil.

Are there other options out there?

Thanks in advance for the help.

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Annie Deighnaugh

The beauty of those windows is their unadorned modern shape.

It would also have to be custom, but you can hang drapes where the top is shaped like the window and the top is fixed. Then run a draw string through the drape and up to the peak on the short side of each window. You can draw it up and open during the day and close it at night. Probably need a cleat for the string such as on a roman shade. The draw string is embedded in the drape.

Have you considered wearing these?

Here is a link that might be useful: Eye mask

    Bookmark   May 5, 2012 at 11:36PM
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You do have a challenge. They are hung for privacy so the assumption is the designer expected them to be uncovered. I am having trouble envisioning any of your options. There isn't wall space for much. Anything I have seen else where ruins the purpose/beauty of the windows. I am not sure I have ever run across these in a bedroom. I guess the architect forgot people like their room dark for sleeping.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2012 at 6:24AM
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Annie: Yes, eye masks! Could even be romantic. LOL!

On a more serious note, you are quite right about leaving the windows alone. Aesthetically, that really is the best option.

I'm not quite sure what the drape you are talking about would look like. I've created two drawings, is one of these what you have in mind? (The dotted line represents the embedded draw string.)
From Bathroom

Arcy: We only have ourselves to blame. We found the windows at the local building store's "dog pound" and for the price could not pass them up. We did not think about the sleeping issue when we built this room over the garage. Duh!

In the past, I sewed a triangular shade -- without a peak, because we couldn't figure out how to make it fit in the tight top -- that covered both windows. We raised and lowered it with a pulley system using a boat winch. That worked, but was very unwieldly and meant that we just left the windows covered most of the time. Now that we've repainted, we'd like to find a better solution. The cellular shade option (that stacks along the angled side) is attractive because of minimal intrusion to the look. BUT, so very expensive.

Maybe Annie is right. We just have to cover our eyes.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2012 at 11:18AM
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Annie Deighnaugh

I was thinking more like B. however, rather than connect the string on the left side to that bottom corner, I think you would want it to connect higher.

say, in your second drawing, the peak is point A and clockwise around are points B C and D. You have the string connected from B to D. I would suggest that instead, you measure from point A to point B, and let's say it is 40". Then the string should connect on the left side to a point E that is 40" down from point A. This way when you draw it back, it will lay the fabric fairly flat along A to B, and the rest of the fabric from E to D will taper down, like a jabot, along the B to C edge of the window.

The reality is that you would need to have that A to E distance be longer than the 40" to accommodate the folds in the fabric as it stacks back.

Actually I think it takes longer to explain than to sew!

Don't get turned off by this pic which is very country and your window deserves a much more modern look, but look at it only for the structure as it illustrates what I'm talking about. The lower you make point E, the more slack and drape you will get along the top...the closer you make it to that theoretical 40", the flatter it will lay.

And remember too your top will be angled, not square like the picture so the amount of fabric that s blocking the window will be much less than in this picture.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2012 at 12:11PM
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If you search for trapezoidal blinds, you'll find a bunch of sites, and they all push cellular blinds for trapezoidal windows, since the blind has a small stacking space.

Here is a link that might be useful: motorized cellular shade

    Bookmark   May 6, 2012 at 4:46PM
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Annie: Got it! I think I'll sacrifice a sheet to see how it would look/work. There may be enough room outside each window half to still let the windows "shine through." Thank you so much.

Suero: You're quite right about the small stacking space. It was just such a search that led to the post here -- when we asked for quotes, the prices were in the $1,000 (or more) per window range. As an aside, the company featured in the YouTube video never responded. But I agree, that seems to be the least intrusive option.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2012 at 9:49AM
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Annie, if you see this, one last question. Any thoughts about the embedded draw string?

Tie it off at Point E, run it through a casing up to point B. Then through something such as a metal eye on the wall, and then hang down so we could reach it. When we wanted to raise the curtain, we'd pull on the cord and, as you say, use a cleat to hold it in place.

Or is there a better approach?

Thank you again for your generous help.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2012 at 12:48PM
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Annie Deighnaugh

Yes, exactly. I don't see a better way to do it...

The other thing to play with is to see if you want to gather it along the fixed edge like the pic of the window above, or if it would work if it's flat.

I think making a mock up is a terrific idea. I've done that with old sheets from the goodwill....

and if none of this works, there's always the eye shades!

    Bookmark   May 7, 2012 at 7:46PM
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I have a similar problem that I've been working on. I have a trapezoid on either side of a rectangle high up on the wall in our living room. The sun comes in and most of the time is welcome but occasionally it makes it difficult to even see the TV. A friend has a similar situation and they made wood doors kinda like shutters to cover the windows and they have a big long pole to just open them when they want. If you didn't like the look of wood maybe you could make a wood frame and cover it with fabric including a lining. The only thing I'm concerned about is if you have enough room to swing them open without hitting the ceiling. Or maybe you could put them on a sliding rail - where panels would slide over each other. If you ever seen the Ikea window track systems - something like that? Hope this is helpful - be sure to post what you end up doing. Good Luck!

1 Like    Bookmark   May 24, 2012 at 12:13AM
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