October 2020

Clearly the Best Dressed: Carolina Window Designs upgrades any view

Author: Cheryl Alexander | Photographer: M.KAT Photography

The Carolina Window Designs Team: (from left to right): Ana, Darren, Teresa, Sheri, Jennifer, Bob, Luisa

Draperies or shades can transform any room, adding warmth and style to a once drab space and enhancing views out any window. The right window dressing will even create an illusion of more space in a room by exaggerating the appearance of ceiling height.

But how do you know which treatment is right? Is there room for draperies on either side of the French doors in your condo? How do you showcase the lovely Lowcountry view in your home, or gracefully cover a bay window? What is the best way to accessorize a room, dress a bed, or finish a nursery? Ask the experts at Carolina Window Designs. Collectively, they have 90+ years’ experience in the design industry and look forward to making your visions come to life with their expertise.

Jennifer Kirkland, ASID, and Robert Stella are the owners of Carolina Window Designs on Hilton Head Island. Kirkland has a degree in interior design from Parsons School of Design in New York City, and Stella, a finish carpenter, attended Phoenix School of Design for graphic design. The 15-year Bluffton residents purchased Carolina Window Designs 11 years ago, which keeps them involved in a creative industry that interests them both. Carolina Windows was initially a trade-only business, working exclusively with designers and builders, but has recently entered the retail market, responding to high demand for their expert services and products.

Part of what makes Carolina Window Designs different is their employees. Each member is dedicated to producing the absolute best for every client. “Reputation Counts” is the company tagline, and their mission to offer a high level of customer service and quality products backs up that motto.

“We are a small business in a community that we love,” Kirkland said. “We feel that our size works to our advantage and that our employees are truly what makes us stand out.”

Kirkland believes that the employees are Carolina Window Designs’ biggest asset. Sheri Wammock is the business manager and helps with every aspect of the business, and Teresa Knoll oversees retail sales and is typically the first point of contact for the retail clients. Knoll relocated to Hilton Head a year ago from Chicago, where she had her own drapery workroom for 25 years. Now her focus is primarily fabric selection and design. She will meet clients in the showroom or at the client’s home. The business also includes a shop manager, expert installers and seamstresses with a plethora of experience, who are instrumental in expanding the focus on retail business, helping Lowcountry clients directly.

“Each person who works here enjoys their work, and they offer their very best because they want the business to succeed. Plus, we are like a family. We enjoy close relationships with each other,” Kirkland said.

When clients visit the showroom at Carolina Window Designs, they will find a variety of fabrics for any taste and style in a range of prices to fit any budget. “We can custom design anything from valances and Roman shades to bedding, pillows, furniture cushions (including outdoor), upholstered headboards and bed surrounds for our clients.”

While the bedding and cushions can be as fabulous and stylish as the client desires, when it comes to window dressings, the trend here is simplicity. “The current Lowcountry look is clean, uncomplicated treatments,” Kirkland said. “We do a tremendous amount of simple, yet elegant work, as most people here want to pare down and streamline. Décor often plays second fiddle to nature, so many of our clients would rather look at their view than an ornate drapery.”

Drapery hardware is available from at least a dozen companies. These, too, range from simple and budget-friendly to elaborate, motorized (some are smart home ready), and with special finishes. One hot trend is soft golds, such as satin brass or gold leaf, and depending on the client’s price point, options can be very utilitarian and budget-friendly or tremendously elaborate.

Hard window treatments (blinds, shades and shutters ) from Hunter Douglas and Alta are on display for viewing in the showroom. The difference in the two is the price. Alta offers fewer fabrics and control options, but a great price point. The manufacturing is high quality for all products. “We are seeing an upward trend for motorized and smart home treatments, offered by both vendors,” Kirkland said.

For outdoor shades and screened porches, clients can shop Insolroll products, a company which is known for quality. “Insolroll products are extremely well constructed,” Kirkland said. “They are very heavy duty; we use these exclusively for exteriors because we have never had issues with them.”

Carolina Window Designs also offers two lines of plantation shutters: an all-wood product made locally with many options including custom paint to match your window trim and multiple wood species that can be stained, and a polyresin product that provides style and affordability.

The showroom and workroom are at the same location, where all the work is custom and made-to-order. Two professional seamstresses and an apprentice, whose primary concerns are production quality and attention to detail are on premise. “By making all the product in-house, we are able to enforce high standards of quality control,” Kirkland said. “Our clients won’t find mismatched patterns, shoddy workmanship or cheap materials.”

And it is not just the face fabric (what is on the outside). At Carolina Window Designs, the high quality includes the lining, the thread, even hand-stitching where required. All these details go into the finished product. No corners are cut.

Lastly, there is a carpentry shop in-house, where the valances, cornices, headboards, and bed surrounds are custom built, and the installers are known for detail-oriented, meticulous, conscientious work.
You can feel confident with Carolina Window Designs’ quality of craftsmanship. From design through installation, they make sure your job is completed to your satisfaction. They have all the little details covered, even details of which you may not be aware.

“Reputation Counts!”

Carolina Window Designs is located at 9B Hunter Rd., on Hilton Head Island. For more information, visit carolinawindowdesigns.com or call (843) 342-6050.

  1. Teresa Knoll was my window treatment designer and installer for many years while she was in the Chicago area. I always loved her ideas and quality of product!, She’ll be hard to replace.

    — Terri Keckler    Oct 4, 07:52 pm   

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