Doing windows: New treatments abound

Lisa Koshkarian and Tom DiFrancesco topped their Potrero Hill house with a modern, clean-lined master suite last year that gave them views of downtown, the Bay Bridge and the Transamerica Pyramid through big, loft-style windows.

Covering up the views or the windows seemed a shame, so they didn't.

Oh, they have shades, "solar shades" that are the latest craze at the Roman Shade Co. for their capacity to block UV rays without blacking out the view. But you wouldn't see them if you weren't looking for them.

"The architect built frames around the windows that would make the shades disappear," Koshkarian said. "And we chose a color, bright white, that made them disappear even more."

The couple ended up with the perfect window treatments for their style and needs, but they had the help of an architect. Landlords usually end up with the perfect window coverings, too, functional white or alabaster mini-blinds that tenants might want to layer under drapes.

But what about the amateur decorator, shopping at Lowe's or online or in catalogs for a product that -- while the trend may be "less is more" -- overwhelms shoppers with options: hard treatments or soft? Screaming color or neutral? Cord pull or remote control?

Judith Oberoi, sales specialist in window coverings for Lowe's, sees a glazed look in the eyes of many of the customers who wander into her department at the San Bruno store.

"The first thing I ask them is what kind of look they want to give their house," she said. She leads them to catalogs full of curtains, shades, blinds and shutters, just to get some ideas, and then they talk budget.

600450 Doing windows: New treatments abound

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