No doubt like me you've heard of Thomas Sanderson and their conservatory blinds and shutters and think you know their products. I did too, but when I visited their stand at Grand Designs recently, I realised that maybe I didn't after all.
It's been a long time since I've looked at blinds, and I think it's safe to say that I've never really considered conservatory blinds. But with the work we have going on in our conservatory at the moment I was interested to find out if conservatory blinds really could be for us.
I was surprised to learn that Thomas Sanderson have partnered with Laura Ashley to bring two great names into your conservatory. There's twenty two colours in this range and while I didn't see them, I'm pretty sure the colours will be classic, muted, easy to live with and coordinate easily with every kind of conservatory decor.
There were a couple of other things I learnt on my visit too, and it seems that blinds are no longer just blinds. I expect the design to be elegant, and functional of course, but I never expected blinds to be full of innovation and technology.
The Duette energy smart blinds have a honeycomb layer, which is where the innovation comes in. These two layers of pleated fabric offer superior insulation, keeping conservatories warm in winter and cooler in warmer weather - clever hey? Someone's been doing their homework on the typical UK conservatory!
Thomas Sanderson's website says that these blinds can "reduce energy bills by up to 25%" and as well as keeping the glare out they "absorb up to 45% of noise pollution" which is quite something.
The technology I mentioned before is two-fold. Instead of manually raising and lowering your blinds you can opt for a remote control, which was new to me. But even newer, and only to be expected is a new app. I told you it was clever.
Shutters provide a completely different look for a conservatory and are also suitable for kitchens and bathrooms. Thomas Sanderson have developed their LifeTime shutters to keep the heat in, to not fade or turn yellow from exposure or sunlight. Which sounds exactly what you want, and like their blinds don't have to be boring, as the image below from the stand shows.
It was fascinating to learn more about modern day blinds, and both MOH and I walked away from the Thomas Sanderson stand truly inspired and wowed by the possibilities for our own conservatory.
What's put us off even thinking about conservatories so far is thinking that blinds were fuddy-duddy, but these certainly aren't. Another consideration we thought might make blinds a no-go is the width of our window, which is around two metres but we learnt that this shouldn't be an issue either, and the people at Thomas Sanderson's have clever ways around this too, if needed.
Since we've been back from Grand Designs we've given blinds in our conservatory some serious thought. We are tempted but at the moment our priority is getting through this part of the refurbishment and it's something we'll come back to and give further consideration to once that's done. The unknown though is the price, and while I understand that Thomas Sanderson is committed to craftsmanship and personal service, it would be nice to know if they're in our price range before booking a design consultation, which for me, is something I'd do once I was seriously considering taking this forward.
I know from our visit to Grand Designs that it's well worth talking to their people, not only were they well informed and knowledgeable, they were also extremely personable and proud of the company they represented. And how a company's people operate tells you a lot about a company, I think. So thanks to Debbs and her team at Grand Designs for making us feel so welcome, and for sharing their knowledge, it was much appreciated.
* This is a collaborative post but all views are my own.