Where to find vintage style woven wood shades with yarn woven through it, like in the 1970s and 1980s? We now have a magnificent source: Beauti-Vue shades from Beauti-Vue Products Corp. in Bristol, Wisconsin.
It turns out that Beauti-Vue is located in only an hour from where Kate lives — so a Retro Renovation road trip was most definitely in order. While she was there, her mission was to get the whole Beauti-Vue backstory — and also, as many details as possible to help you with ordering.
Our biggest tip: The yarny woven wood material is New Old Stock no longer in production — so if you are interested in getting a roomful of these vintage style window shades, break all your piggy banks and get them now, because when that 1970s goodness is gone, it will be gone!
During Kate’s visit, sales and customer service manager Kristin Grumbeck allowed her to peek in the back of the factory where they keep their stockpile of retro woven woods — and my, oh my, were they a delight to behold. While Beauti-Vue no longer produces this material, they are eager to sell their remaining stock, which consists of about 48 different styles in limited quantity.
Last remaining stock — 48 designs — from the Wilkes-Barre plant
All of this stock was made by Beauti-Vue in the 1970s to early 1990s in their factory in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. In those days, the material would then be shipped up to their Wisconsin location, where it would be stored to fulfill orders for custom-sized and -detailed roman shades, roller blinds and even doors.
Beauti-Vue ended their own manufacturing in the 1990s. But today, they continue as a major national fabricator of custom blinds and shades. Current products include fabric roller shades and lots of contemporary-design woven wood shades. Note: While Beauti-Vue will sell us the old-stock close-out retro woven shades directly, to order anything from their current line, you must go through one of their dealers.
All these many years, they have kept their remaining supply of 1970s-style retro woven wood shade material in their warehouse to fulfill the occasional order. Mostly, orders have come from Hollywood film and TV production companies, who knew about the stash. In fact, we learned about Beauti-Vue when we interviewed production designer Mark White about all the luscious interiors in ABC-TV’s The Astronaut Wives Club.
We did a google search and could not find one other home decor website that has discovered or written about these Beauti-Vue shades before — now the news is out!
Buying a custom retro woven wood shade or blind from Beauti-Vue:
After Kate’s visit, then synthesizing all we learned, we came up with the following tips to consider before placing your order. Disclaimer: This is not a definitive list — be sure to work with Beautie-Vue to get your order right.
#1: Choose your material
- To make your choice, see Beautie-Vue’s web page showcasing their 48 different designs still available. Tip: Click an image, then look for the link to further enlarge it on screen.
- Get samples? See Kate’s report just below on how the colors look live vs. on the website. If you are serious about this, you probably will want to get samples. You can get these from Beautie-Vue, cost for a 9″ x 12″ sample is $10 plus shipping. The $10 is refundable if you place an order. Use the email on their website.
Based on some of the samples Kate saw during her trip to the Beauti-Vue factory, the yarns are quite a bit brighter in person than they appear on their website. For example:
A note on the Blenweave style:
Two of the styles listed on Beauti-Vue’s website — Blenweave Chateau and Blenweave Sunburst pictured above — are made with metal slats instead of wood. The edge tape used to finish the ends of the metal slats on these two styles of blinds is no longer available. Stormy tells us that they only make blinds out of the Blenweave style for decorations on TV and movie sets because without the protective edge trim, the cut edges of the metal slats are very sharp and can cause injury when being opened and closed.
#2: Choose the style of shade or blind that you want:
On all measurement and details issues, see Beauti-Vue’s Price List, which includes measuring and ordering instructions for more information.
Important note on style choice: Beautie-Vu tells us that 95% of their sales of woven wood shades are in the Roman category. Romans are generally advised as preferable because of two limitations/concerns about using woven woods for roller shades. Use on a roller shade, woven wood with the yarn may have a greater potential to veer to one side… any constant pulling may cause them to stretch [whereas this effect is minimized to the degree possible in a Roman design]… and since the yarn-weave material is relatively thick, rolling it up to the top of the roller on a roller shade can make the roll itself quite large and potentially ridiculous.
- Roman shades (the kind where you manually pull strings)
- Clutch roman shades (on a clutch mechanism, specify right- or left-hand pull chain)
- Roller shades (old style, pull it down with your hand)
- Clutch roller shades (on a clutch mechanism, specify right- or left-hand pull chain)
- These can each be ordered as inside- or outside-mount installations.
#3: Get your measurements right
- Measuring your window correctly is key to ensuring your shade will fit. Few windows are truly square, so be sure to measure in three places both vertically and horizontally to determine your final requirements.
- Check for obstructions within the window in different spots — are there places where the window might jog in to interfere with the use of your shade? Beware.
- Be aware, when filling out the forms and thinking through your order, that the final width of the cloth [or in this case, the retro woven material] will be less than the final width of the entire shade including the mechanism — roller or clutch — that you chose. Make sure you understand all the measurement jargon requested so that your shade ends up the size you want it.
- Note: The width, height and weight of your overall shade drives the size of the mounting hardware and rollers. That is, since this material is relatively thick, the longer your shade, the thicker it’s going to get when rolled up to the top. Will you have any projection issues? Talk to Beautie-Vue if you have concerns.
- If you are ordering a roller shade with a spring roller, you will need to specify how you will be mounting it; talk to Beautie-Vue for details.
#4: Do you want a special valance and/or edge profile?
- Above: A page from a vintage Beauti-Vue catalog that we will be showing within the next few days. These scallop styles can go on either the valance or the bottom of the shade or both.
- In fact, the catalog is loaded with ideas on style choices. We’ll hotlink it here as soon as we publish it.
- We believe that most of these scallop styles can still be produced, but be sure to check with Beauti-Vue to verify the style you like is still available.
- Talk to Beauti-Vue about valance options and details.
#5 — Do you want vintage trim?
- Bling it up! Beauti-Vue also has a stockpile of original vintage trims, color-queued to match the blinds and shades. We will have a story on all the vintage trim shortly and will post a link here when it’s published.
- You can order samples — they will be 6-to-12″ long — for $5 plus shipping. The $5 is refundable when you place an order.
Beauti-Vue’s collection of NOS retro woven wood blinds are a visual — and tactile treat. In fact, Stormy had to chuckle when he noticed Kate ‘petting’ the samples with a goofy grin on her face. If you have room in your home for some of these amazing woven wood blinds, consider contacting Beauti-Vue to see if they can make a custom window treatment for your home. These are the real-deal, made in the USA gorgeous goods right here, folks — and they seem fairly priced, to boot!
Mega thanks to Stormy, Joy, Kristin, and everyone at the Beauti-Vue Products Corporation for their patient, welcoming and kind help with this story and all of the stories in our series!
- View Beauti-Vue’s entire collection of NOS Retro Woven Woods
- See their price list and ordering information