Q. Our living room is two stories high, with windows up to the ceiling. We like the light, but we're in a new development and feel overexposed to our neighbors. Is it OK if we only curtain the lower windows, the ones through which people can see in, and leave the upper windows bare?
A. Esthetically speaking, it's fine to cover your privacy without covering all those windows to match.
Ecologically speaking, be aware that you risk supersized heating and air-conditioning bills, plus sun damage -- old sol can fade everything in your living room, including works of art and hardwood floors, and also pose a direct threat to you and your family, warns the Skin Cancer Foundation.
The good news is that there's a way to have your bare windows and be eco-savvy, too: apply a window film that promises to block 99.9 percent of those hazardous ultraviolet rays while it wards off excess heat and chill. Moreover, window film even guards against today's tempestuous weather. Should a storm shatter your windows, the film will help hold the shards in place.
Forget do-it-yourself: You want high-quality film that's applied by a trained professional. Two top sources to consider: 3M Sun Control Window Films (3m.com/WindowFilm) and Vista Films (vista-films.com).
Now about dressing the lower windows for both privacy and appeal, check out Canadian designer Alykhan Velji's eclectic solution in the photo we show here. He's one of the top young designers interviewed by Hunter Douglas, the custom window fashions leader (hunterdouglas.com), to learn how the millennials are reinterpreting interiors to suit their generation.
In case you've escaped contemporary marketing lingo, millennials are the generation born somewhere between 1982 and 2004. There are some 95 million of them, according to Douglas' research, the largest generation since the baby boomers. And they have a new attitude toward interior design: no playing by the rules. In fact, no rules at all.
What's in? Individualism. A blend of old and new. Blurred lines between formal and informal.
In this lofty setting, Velji (alykhanveljidesigns.com) stare-proofs the lower windows with silhouette "shadings," Douglas' contemporary take on window blinds, and then softens the scene with gathered curtains, extra long in keeping with the scale of the room. The space is both serene and energized -- not your mother's living room, for sure.
Q. I'm curious about the so-called Color of the Year. I mean, who decided we all wanted to be running around in or living with a color called "Radiant Orchid." So girly-girly!
A. Not according to Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute, the company that has been codifying color since l963. She says the 2014 Color of the Year, Radiant Orchid -- aka No. 18-3224 -- offers "an invitation to innovation," encouraging "expanded creativity and originality."
Eiseman describes Radiant Orchid as "an enchanting harmony of fuchsia, purple and pink undertones (that) inspires confidence and emanates great joy, love and health."
But how did Pantone choose it? "By combing the world," it says, adding, "looking for color influences … in the entertainment industry and films in production, traveling art collections, hot new artists, popular travel destinations and other socio-economic conditions (including) technology, new textures and effects that impact color, and even upcoming sports events."
Like the World Cup? How girly-girly was that!
© 2014, Creators.com