Mavromatic reader, Michael, recently had all his windows and doors replaced in his house and it was during that process he decided to redesigned his den which required him to replace the blinds in there. That’s where all the fun begins…
Never shopping for blinds before, I did not know what to expect. Checking out the major retailers I came away unimpressed. The quality of the shades and lack of ‘modern’ designs available left me without an answer. Until, I stumbled across an advertisement in Home Theater Magazine for Lutron’s motorized shades. Checking out the website I fell in love with simplistic design and modern take on a shade (the motorized keypad was also a plus). After ordering samples to match the walls and specs on the system, I knew this was the way to go.
What I got
I ordered 2 motorized QED shades, 1 manual shade (for office), 2 IR receivers, IR remote, 2 power supplies (for motor and keypad), 6 button keypad and white metal fascia (to cover rollers and motor unit) one shade is a standard Lutron QED motorized shade (Roller 100) 67w x 75h. The other is a Sivoia QED in line Coupled shade 105w x 75h (each shade being 33 1/2w x 75h). What’s special about this shade is only one motor is required to power all three shade. They are connected in a pin locking system and move in unison. The keypad is a 6 button layout in a Satin Black finish with OPEN CLOSE PRESET labeled buttons for each shade. This allows me to operate both shades individually or set different Presets.
The remote along with the IR plug ins allows me remote access (raise/lower) of 25 feet. Sitting on the couch or away from the keypad I can control the shades.
The two power supplies are standard AC to DC, I stuck with Lutron units to not violate the warranty.
The install took a full week with 2hrs a day on and off. I had to move furniture as well (not factored in) I had to cut the sheet-rock in 6 places to guide wires I also had to retrofit an electrical outlet with a six port frame (pic A17). The outlet and 2 power supplies are hidden behind the couch. Seven 16-20 AWG wires are needed to power the units and connect to the keypad (for each shade). I used 16 gauge solid core, you can use CAT 5, but your run length is limited. To level the brackets for the QED roller shades I used a laser level. This allowed me to get an accurate mounting point on a long length.
Note on install – I recommend anyone trying an install to plan ahead. Have a detail plan of where you’re going to put the power supply, run the wires and keypad type/location that best suits your need. I laid out my shades complete on the floor (brackets and all) and re-measured the given dimensions. This gave me a more accurate length to plot my brackets and a ‘snugger’ fit for my shades. Also you must have some electrical knowledge, be able to cut / repair large pieces of sheetrock and ability to run wire in tight places (running wire on exterior walls is a pain in the butt) I recommend a wire snake, right angle drill, drywall saw, laser level, wire strippers, and multiple screwdrivers.
The shades came out great and really are an eye catcher (especially in action) The shade color is Cream 311. The type is Translucent II, which allows some light in but not enough to shine on the TV or see from outside looking in.
The motor units are also top notch, run very quiet, and move the shades up and down with ease. I am so happy with the outcome that I am thinking of doing my other rooms.
A+ on LUTRON SHADES
Total cost: $3250 (includes shipping and tax)
Michaels next project is a water feature for the pool. Four jets will stream into his pool, control will be remote (RF all the way) with an electronic actuator for on/off. I’m looking forward for that write up!