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Illinois Country Living

Blocking the Elements
What was old is new again

Remember those foam-backed drapes that grandma had hanging in her living room? The ones that were heavy and you could slide in behind them during a good game of hide-and-seek?

Well, they haven’t entirely disappeared and for good reason. Wisdom has superceded modern design. Massive poufs and extravagant window treatments of the ’90s that were intended for decoration, are disappearing. Today’s look is once again a clean, streamlined look. Though it’s simple, manufacturers have found a way to incorporate some of the time-tested principles that made grandma’s drapes so popular.

Budd Goldman, CEO of Ellery Homestyles in New York, says his 10-year-old company launched an eco-friendly line of curtains in 2006. There are two types of energy-efficient, noise-reducing, black-out curtains in his company’s line of “Eclipse” curtains.

The company, which sells to Bed, Bath and Beyond and seven other major retailers including Wal-mart, K-Mart, JC Penney’s, Sears and Lowes, has developed two styles in the Eclipse line – Amanda, a Thermaweave and Ashby, a Thermaback.

What’s the difference?

Unlike ordinary curtains that typically are double woven, says Goldman, Thermaweave is a triple woven fabric. The third yarn woven into the product is a black yarn sandwiched between two ordinary layers, creating an insulating effect, “a better barrier to energy transferrance,” Goldman says, noting that they should help keep heat in and cold out in winter. The opposite is true in summer. The upside to Thermaweave is that being all fabric, they hang more shapely than perhaps grandma’s curtains. But then using her’s as hiding places couldn’t have helped.

Thermaback curtains are available, too. Traditionally they were called “foamback” – yes, it is these that graced grandma’s décor. They’ve simply changed the name, but they’re worth revisiting for their insulating qualities. Today they sport new colors and patterns.

Do they really work?

Goldman spoke candidly saying that any curtain is better than no curtain, and that the greater the barrier, the better. He believes, however, that tests his company devised to measure energy efficiency have led to quality products. He said to date there is no standard for measuring or marking energy efficiency in the drapery line, so his company partnered with a lab to “objectively measure energy-saving qualities.” He said they built a test room with a window and used various variables to test quality. Those results are proprietary.

Other stylish window choices

Linden Street Basswood Blind


• Genuine basswood

• Tilt Cord

Available at: JC Penney

Linden Street Thermal Roman Shades


• Help protect home from heat and cold

• Cotton duck is backed with insulating foam

• Room darkening.

Available at: JC Penney



© 2016 Illinois Country Living Magazine.
Association of Illinois Electric Cooperatives

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