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How to transform a first house or apartment into a home:

New window fashions from Hunter Douglas help

Whether it is a starter house in the suburbs or a loft in the city, making a first house or apartment feel like home is a daunting challenge to young people at the start of their careers. Furniture from Mom and Dad's attic or from stores making high-style sofas available at affordable prices can help, but what about those big, naked windows? And chances are that the windows will be big. According to statistics in the National Association of Homebuilders (NAHB) "Housing Facts, Figures and Trends" report published in March 2006, new houses in America continue to get larger and so do windows. NAHB states, "Fully 73 percent and 77 percent of echo boomers and Gen-Xers, respectively, say that they want nine-foot or higher ceilings." These soaring rooms often incorporate enormous windows. People want bigger windows to maximize their views and fill their rooms with natural light. This trend holds for apartments as well as houses, where realtors report that loft-style apartments and new glass towers are gaining preference over traditional apartments.

Privacy and light control are two important factors in turning a house into a home. The right window fashion will provide both plus mood and style enhancement. Hunter Douglas, the nation's leading manufacturer of custom window fashions, has new introductions to fashionably dress those big new windows and make even an almost empty first house feel like home. New Park Lane Privacy Sheers offer affordable luxury with the best features of sheers, draperies and vertical blinds in one streamlined product. With this window fashion even decorating virgins can't go wrong. Park Lane Privacy Sheers redefine the tradition of Privacy Sheers by offering a relaxed, casual alternative at a lower price point. The sheer fabric softens and diffuses light while fabric vanes rotate for light control and privacy. The textured sheer fabric is offered in six neutral colors that complement virtually any décor, with translucent or room-darkening neutral white vanes for a uniform appearance from outside. An optional decorative valence available in three painted finishes-Extreme White, Porcelain and Winter White-conceals the headrail and top of the sheer. With dimensions up to almost 16-feet wide and 10-feet high, Park Lane Sheers bring soft illumination, expansive views and dynamic performance to large window expanses.

Aluminum blinds, first introduced by Hunter Douglas in 1946, will never look the same again! It's easy to add sparkle to a home with Modern Precious Metals® aluminum blinds and now its new, patent-pending product -Reveal with MagnaView- revolutionizes the look of metal blinds. Tilted closed, they look like standard blinds. Tilted opened, however, the slats nest together to create double the view-through compared with standard blinds. For example, the 1" slat size opens to a view-through comparable to a 2" slat product. The 2" slat size opens to a view-through comparable to a 4" slat product. With such new on-trend color additions as as Venetian Bronze, Brushed Nickel, Turquoise Sky and Vintage Gold, Modern Precious Metals are available in dozens of colorful choices as well as fresh-looking neutrals.

For new homeowners who would like to have the classic look of wood blinds at an economical price, Hunter Douglas has expanded its offering of Chalet Woods® wood blinds, including four new trend-setting distressed finishes available in the collection's most popular stained colors: Straw, Hickory, Walnut and Black Cherry. Along with the new distressed options and the addition of two new paint colors -Bavarian Cream and Beechnut-Chalet Woods blinds now boast 24 finishes in both 2" and 2 ½" slat sizes. Additional introductions include 20 total decorative tape options and two attractive valance styles for a complete fashion selection. The light-blocking de-Light feature and the LiteRise® cordless operating system are also offered.

With its soft fabric louvers with an elliptical shape that tilt 180 degrees, Alouette® LightLouvers is arguably the quintessential window fashion, combining the clean architectural lines of a shutter, the soft, light-filtering fabric of a shade and the variable light control and privacy benefits of a blind in one product. To further expand its appeal, Alouette LightLouvers now offers an optional fabric-covered valance for those who prefer a more traditional look. This new optional accent conceals the pivoting headrail to prevent sunlight from seeping through the top of the window opening and to provide a unified beauty from top to bottom-the finishing touch for windows.

Brilliance® pleated shades are an affordable way to add dramatic design touches to any room and are offered in enough choices to truly personalize a new first home. Color, texture and limitless options set them apart from all other pleated shades in the industry. The recently expanded collection encompasses 160 SKUs and 18 styles, with seven exciting textured fabrics ranging from sheer to opaque. These fabrics add depth and visual appeal to any décor, and three of the new offerings are softer fabrics with a "pleat-on-pleat" design. The softer fabrics are backed with a neutral white non-woven fabric and come with the innovative Precise Pleat lifting system for crisp, clean, uniform pleats.

Among the new fabric offerings are Woodlands, which adds a three-dimensional look, and Potter's Wheel, which uses slub and cross-dyed yarns to add depth. The collection also includes 43 updated colors in neutrals, pastels and earth tones that follow the latest color trends. Brilliance shades offer a new SoftGlide® single continuous cord loop operating system that makes it easy to raise and lower even the largest shades and is ideal for homes with children and pets. Speaking of which, next to new window fashions, a pet is a great way to make that first house or apartment feel like home.

Hunter Douglas Inc. is the leading manufacturer of custom window fashions in North America and a national sponsor of Habitat for Humanity, covering windows in every Habitat home built in the U.S. and Canada. Headquartered in Upper Saddle River N.J., the company's products include Silhouette® window shadings, Nantucket window shadings, Vignette® Modern Roman Shades, Duette® and Applause® honeycomb shades, Luminette® Privacy Sheers, Alouette® LightLouvers, The Alustra® Collection, Country Woods® Exposé? and Country Woods® wood blinds, Heritance® hardwood shutters, Palm Beach polysatin shutters, NewStyle® hybrid shutters, Bridgeway Specialty Shapes, The EverWood® Collection of alternative wood blinds, Modern Precious Metals® aluminum blinds, Somner®, Cadence® and Crosswinds® custom vertical blinds, Brilliance® pleated shades, Provenance® woven wood shades, Remembrance® window shades, Jubilance® Roman shades and Designer Screen Shades. For more information, contact Hunter Douglas at 1-800-274-2985 or visit