Not just window dressing

Chances are most of your mothers strung up bed sheets on the windows putting makeshift curtains in place. Yes, we all inherently have the need for privacy and in our country keeping the sun is almost just as important.

Having said this, it is indeed a fact that many people leave the “bedsheet curtain” in place far too long. Why is this so? People are nervous to make decisions about style, colour, cost and functionality; so they defer this most pleasurable of decoration jobs.
Curtains afford privacy and keep the sun out but more importantly they are literally “Window Dressing,” dressing your windows on the inside. Blinds and bamboo entered our country in a big way but curtains continue to hold their own as the most popular choice. The dalliance with blinds and bamboo curtains is certainly a factor but for the most part curtains are the window décor most often selected.  You can make a statement with curtains just as easily as with the newer window dressings.

Pinch-pleated, fully lined couture-looking curtains have a majesty that is hard to match. They dress up the room with fabric and colour.  We are fortunate to live in a country with a wide array of fabric choices in every colour imaginable.

According to experts, lush fabrics are “in” now. Shiny silks in bright colours and linen in neutral tones are the most popular.

There are some artistic touches that you can use when you hang up your drapes. They should be hung one-third above the window for low ceilings and two- thirds above the window for a room with high ceilings. It is not advisable to hang the curtain rod just at the top of the window or conversely, all the way up at the ceiling. Likewise, curtains should not touch the floor. This of course, is a common sense suggestion in an environment like ours where mopping daily is a fact of life. To avoid the curtain fraying at the bottom hang it two to five cms off the floor. Speaking of common sense, invariably your curtain will need another fabric lining behind it. Besides the obvious merit in offering protection from the sun, it gives an air of fullness and body.

Perhaps the single-most important decision with regards to your curtains is “what colour fabric should I choose?” The curtain should match your wall colour. A shade lighter or brighter than the wall will work best. If your walls and furniture are plain, go for designs in your drapes. However, if the upholstery is say, floral, opt for plain curtains to avoid a busy look in your room.

Remember, you are the one who is going to be spending the maximum time enjoying your curtains, so make sure you choose something that pleases you. Yes, your curtains are “not just window dressing,” so get away from that bed sheet as soon as your schedule allows!

Prema Varadarajan

Smartest building challenge

A leading supplier of production, transportation and building technology solutions has announced the 2011 ‘Smartest Building in America’ Challenge, following the success of a similar exercise last year. It was launched on May 1 this year and continues until August 1.

The challenge recognises the innovative implementation of APOGEE or TALON building automation systems and the role these systems play in making buildings smarter, efficient and more sustainable.  Participants are asked to submit brief videos that explain why their buildings are the smartest in America. The winners are offered $80,000 in products and services.

The APOGEE building automation system provides an open system architecture that allows all of the information throughout a facility to be accessible to everyone who needs it, when and where they require it. The system’s backward and forward compatibility helps facilities of all types to improve performance, expand functionality, and adapt to the future.

The TALON building control system provides integrators with an open architecture based on protocols such as BACnet and LonTalk.  Its benefits include unlimited flexibility and project management tools that keep projects on schedule and within budget.  Its wireless sensors help improve a building operator’s return on retrofit investment, fulfil new tenant needs, and ensure building and energy efficiency. 

Last year’s winners of the Smartest Building in America Challenge included the Duke Energy Center in Charlotte, North Carolina;  the Iowa Central Community College Biotechnology and Health Science Building in Fort Dodge, Iowa; the Cold Climate Housing Research Center in Fairbanks, Alaska; and the Rasmussen Building at Grand View University in Des Moines, Iowa.

Achal Narayanan

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