Choosing blinds for your Self Build home – Interview with Grants
Many people want their self builds to have large areas of glazing in order to maximise the natural light. It is also a great way to enhance the look of the interior and provide a natural source of heat. However, with large windows, you may have an increased need to consider shading, room darkening, temperature, glare or privacy. You may, therefore, need to consider products such as blinds, shutters, curtains or window film. These additions can have a transformative effect on the spaces in your home.
Today we will present an interview with Grants Blinds, a company specialising in designing bespoke shading solutions. If you are looking for blinds for your home, this article is a must-read – presenting current trends and top tips that will help you choose the solution that is right for you.
WHO ARE GRANTS AND WHAT PRODUCTS DO YOU PROVIDE?
Grants provide architects, interior designers, self-builders and homeowners with shading and privacy solutions, and are specialised in blinds concealment. From whole houses to extensions, from contemporary through to traditional styles, we manufacture and install all types of blinds and curtains.
Founded in 1982, Grants have three showrooms in London, manufacturing in the UK and installations worldwide. We have a demo installation at The National Self Build and Renovation Centre, where we demonstrate electric curtains and blinds.
YOU ARE KNOWN AS SPECIALISTS IN AUTOMATED ELECTRIC BLINDS. WHAT ARE THE ADVANTAGES OF THIS SOLUTION AS OPPOSED TO MANUAL BLINDS?
Almost all blinds we install are electric and the reasons are many; larger glazing areas require larger blinds, focus on child safety with no cords, ease of control, control of more than one blind at a time, windows and skylights out of reach, security reasons with blinds moving on schedule or controlled remotely, consistent and controlled usage of blinds instead of manual handling. With concealed blinds, it also adds a wow factor with blinds appearing from nowhere at a push of a button.
YOUR BLINDS CAN BE INTEGRATED INTO THE HOME CONTROL SYSTEM. HOW DOES IT WORK AND WHAT FUNCTIONS DOES IT OFFER?
Blinds can be connected through cables or wirelessly to Home Control Systems and can be controlled from anywhere. It can be triggered by a user, a schedule or a sensor. It enables practical control of heat, light, glare and privacy.
Pre-set positions can, for example, be activated in the morning, when coming home, when watching TV and when going to bed.
YOU OFFER CONCEALED BLINDS THAT ARE HIDDEN WHEN UP. DUE TO THIS SOLUTION, THE INTERIOR DESIGN OF THE HOUSE IS NOT AFFECTED. DO YOU COOPERATE WITH OTHER SPECIALISTS ON THE DESIGN STAGE TO ENSURE THE INTERIORS WILL BE CONSISTENT?
Yes! We work closely with the architect, designer, builder and home owner to ensure the right provisions are made in each step. It is important to consider the space to conceal blinds in the earliest planning stages when there is still room to make alterations. When considered too late, ceilings may need to be lowered or walls extended to allow the space to hide blinds.
We recommend everyone, even if they are not considering having window blinds, to future-proof their windows and provide the space and hidden wiring, should they or someone else at a later stage want blinds in any of the windows.
WHAT DIFFERENT CONCEALMENT OPTIONS DO YOU PROVIDE AND WHAT ARE THEIR BENEFITS?
We provide Blindspace® solutions to conceal blinds in any type of window, gable or skylight. This can be for single blinds or double blinds. Top-down or bottom-up. The most common option is standard 100x100mm head boxes above windows.
In bedrooms and media rooms it is common with 110x130mm head boxes and 110x50mm side boxes to allow for hidden blackout blind side channels. In some cases, we install full frames around windows and doors for full blackout.
Concealment boxes can be installed for blinds to be installed towards the room or towards the window. This depends on the overall design and the windows, as a general rule you want the blinds as close to the windows as possible whilst not being interrupted by protruding door or window furniture.
For gables it is often bespoke concealment solutions adjusted at site, installed within the sloping ceiling or in the window middle structure to be pulled up towards the ceiling. The size of boxes used will depend on the size of the gable and what type of blinds that are used.
In skylight installations there is usually a frame installed with boxes on all sides of the opening. For small skylights 100x100mm boxes can sometimes be used, whilst larger skylights require boxes that are 135x200mm or even 210x270mm.
AT WHAT STAGE OF A SELF BUILD PROJECT SHOULD BLIND DESIGN BE CONSIDERED?
This should be considered at the earliest stage together with the architect. We assist self-builders and contractors at later stages too, however, options are at that point often more limited.
COULD YOU DESCRIBE THE PROCESS OF IMPLEMENTING BLINDS TO A SELF BUILD HOME?
We recommend an early meeting with client and architect to discuss options available. The concealment space should be included at the drawing stage. Concealment boxes and cables are installed during construction before decoration. Blinds are finally installed when the home is ready.
IN TERMS OF THE MATERIALS USED TO MAKE THE BLINDS, COULD YOU EXPLAIN THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF DENSITY AVAILABLE AND HOW THIS IMPACTS ON THE FUNCTIONING?
There is a very large range of available options, but still, most people select among the five most common fabrics and colours. Materials range from transparent voiles to full blackout fabrics and from no privacy to total light exclusion when using side channels. Independent of fabric colour, blinds can have a solar-reflective backing on the window side, to better reflect both heat and light out.
THE CASE STUDIES ON YOUR WEBSITE DEMONSTRATE THAT YOU ARE ABLE TO PRECISELY TAILOR BLINDS TO EVEN THE MOST UNUSUAL WINDOW DESIGNS. WHAT IS THE PRICE RANGE FOR YOUR PRODUCTS?
We do many smaller projects but also large luxury residential projects in excess of £100,000. The average project value is probably around £10,000. What you see in the case studies are often whole-house projects.
WHAT ARE THE MOST POPULAR BLIND SOLUTIONS AMONG SELF-BUILDERS?
Electric roller blinds concealed inside ceiling or wall with quiet motors.
DO YOU HAVE ANY TIPS TO SHARE WITH A SELF-BUILDER WHO IS CONSIDERING IMPLEMENTING BLINDS IN THEIR NEW HOME?
Preparing for concealed blinds make sense when motorisation is on the increase and it enables you to future-proof the new build. This opportunity is not available in the same way to those doing a renovation.