The Blind Alley, Custom Drapery and Window Covering Specialists serving Bellevue, Washington and the Greater Seattle area since 1984.


   The Duette honeycomb shades story began in 1985 when Hunter Douglas acquired the rights to the honeycomb product by purchasing a tiny Broomfield, Colorado company.

The Duette honeycomb shades story began in 1985 when Hunter Douglas acquired the rights to the honeycomb product by purchasing a tiny Broomfield, Colorado company led by a dynamic entrepreneur, Richard Steele.

   Wendell Colson, senior vice president of research and development for Hunter Douglas, is cited as the inventor and "re-inventor" of Duette.

In response to the energy crisis of the 1970s, and concerns about heat loss through the windows of homes and other buildings, Steele and a brilliant inventor, Wendell Colson, formed a partnership called Thermocell Ltd. The partnership funded the development of a pleated window shade in the shape of a honeycomb. Called "Thermocell," the product was made of a Mylar-type polyester film that provided superior energy efficiency and prevented heat loss.

      Early business cards included a sample of the original Mylar-type Duette fabric.

Unfortunately, Thermocell came in only a few colors and did not have broad market appeal. Recognizing the limited potential of the Thermocell product, the team searched for soft and durable fabrics to produce a fashionable honeycomb shade. Hunter Douglas acquired the sales rights in 1985 and refined the honeycomb prototype to create the most successful new product in the window coverings industry in decades.

The Hunter Douglas Window Fashions Division was established in Broomfield to manufacture and market the new Duette honeycomb shades. Under the visionary leadership of Jerry Fuchs, then President of Hunter Douglas-North America, and Marv Hopkins, then head of the Window Fashions Division, and now President and CEO of Hunter Douglas-North America, the window covering achieved unprecedented success.

   Marv Hopkins, president and CEO of Hunter Douglas North America, understood that Duette had created a totally new window fashion category and had to be marketed direct to the public.

Duette honeycomb shades, offered in one pleat size and 10 colors, provided superior energy efficiency because air was trapped in the honeycomb pleats, thus insulating against heat, cold and even sound.

   The first national consumer ad by Hunter Douglas featuring Duette appeared in leading magazines in 1987.

Prior to 1985, aluminum horizontal blinds, which Hunter Douglas had invented in the 1940s, and vertical blinds were dominant in the industry. By 1989, DuetteŽ shades had captured approximately 60 percent of the pleated shade market, and Hunter Douglas became the leading company in the window coverings industry.

"Hunter Douglas took a functional and highly energy-efficient product and made it into a fashion statement," said Marv Hopkins. "This was a revolutionary step for our industry, which had previously viewed its products as primarily functional."

The Window Fashions Division also launched the first in a series of successful national consumer ad campaigns in 1987 The elegant four-color ads, featured in Architectural Digest, Town & Country and many other upscale publications, showed the product in beautifully appointed room settings and ushered in a new era for the industry.

A steady stream of innovative applications and specialty hardware introductions, beginning in 1987, has ensured that Duette shades retain their leadership position. Today, millions of Duette honeycomb shades have been fabricated and can be seen everywhere from private homes to commercial buildings and institutions all across America.

Twenty-Five Years of Design Awards

Over the past 25 years, Duette honeycomb shades have continuously received top industry accolades and awards for superior product, design, innovation and fabric.

The exclusive Roscoe Award for Design Excellence was presented to Duette shades in 1988, 1989 and 1992.

The Window Covering Manufacturers Association (WCMA) has honored Duette shades with numerous awards for most innovative design, best new style concept, best new technical innovation, most innovative merchandising, and overall product of the year.

Beyond these many illustrious industry awards, Duette shades have also received several Outstanding Merchandising Achievement (OMA) awards, an Industrial Design Excellence Award (IDEA) and was listed among the "Top 50 Editor's Picks" by Popular Home Automation magazine.

Duette Honeycomb Shades Today

Duette honeycomb shades offer 20,000 different configurations and the competitive advantages found only in a premium product.

Today, Duette honeycomb shades offer 20,000 different configurations and the competitive advantages found only in a premium product including:

Four honeycomb constructions - Architella, single, double and triple (triple is proprietary!)

The widest shade widths - up to 174"

The broadest variety of pleat choices

The most fashion-forward collection of fabrics in the industry

The most comprehensive and innovative lifting systems (many are proprietary!)

The full spectrum of opacities - the only sheer fabric in the industry

A vastly longer cord life and superior glue strength

Superior energy efficiency and winter insulation (R-value)

After twenty-five years, Duette honeycomb shades are as young as ever and selected by consumers across the country for beauty, functionality and energy efficiency.

Fashionable Innovation at the window continues with Hunter Douglas Duette Architella shades.

In 2007, Hunter Douglas launched Duette Architella shades nationally, the most energy-efficient window covering in the industry.

This revolutionary product features a honeycomb-within-a-honeycomb construction that traps more airflow at the window, resulting in significantly increased insulation and energy savings.

The proprietary design of Duette Architella shades also preserves color and texture in bright sunlight on semi-opaque shades and provides truer colors on opaque shades. And the patented Hunter Douglas TruePleat construction keeps every shade crisp and consistent from front to back and top to bottom.

Duette Archltella shades make energy efficiency beautiful! In addition to the innovative advantages of Archltella shades are the economic ones.

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