When I went to order window treatments for my kitchen, Colleen from my local hardware store took one look and recommended 2″ aluminum blinds. “It’s what we rip out of every other 50s home,” she reassured.
We chose from the Hunter Douglas “Macro” line. These horizontal blinds are PERFECT, and from my reading of scores of mid-century magazines, I know that “venetians,” as they called these then, are totally authentic. About two years ago – when I originally ran this post — I even saw that Hunter Douglas has come out with a new color palette with circa 50s colors. I chose a soft neutral metallic, as my window is quite large, and I didn’t want the shade to overpower the room.
Other tips: I ordered “traditional” slat styling – that is, I wanted the holes in the middle of the blind to show. The alternative “De-Light” option offers a design with no cord holes, the cord run outside the blind. De-Light is just an option, so you can get the old way too. The old way — that’s what I wanted! I WANTED to see the cord holes.
Also, I chose the “wand” rather than the cord to adjust the slats horizontally. Finally, you get a self-colored valance free as part of the order. Go for it. However, I later added a fabric valence that I made myself.
- I find that Hunter Douglas’ website is relatively complicated to use if you just want to get to the color selections by blind. So be patient in making your way through it — the info is there. In any case, before you order you are going to want to see live samples. So, use their dealer locator to find a store that carries this line and go see all catalogs and color samples and check everything out there.
- These blinds are relatively expensive, but in my experience the quality and service were worth it. For example, after I ordered my kitchen window shade, I found that I needed to have it cut down by about 1/2″ on each side. My local sales rep got it done for me at no charge. She was great, and so was Hunter Douglas. Be nice – and the niceness comes back around.
- One final idea: If you are installing a new window – talk to your contractor about adding a support behind the drywall all the way horizontally across the window top and even beyond if you think you will need a stack-back (for pinch pleats). That way – you will not have to hunt and peck looking for the studs (which will always be in the “wrong” place) when you go to install. Oh, this is also a good idea in a bathroom, in a tub — even if you don’t think you need that grab bar now — you may eventually — so if you have the space opened up, add the support now and make a note of where it is so you can add a grab bar if you need it…
This classic Retro Renovation post has been updated from the original, which was first published on March 19, 2007.