duette alexa hunter douglas


By Kirstin Sundgaard

“I want those blinds that go up and down and look like an accordion.”

Being a window covering expert I hear this request all the time.  In my world of window coverings in the Cochrane and Calgary area, this phrase is referring to a cellular or honeycomb shade.  Hunter Douglas has coined the word “Honeycomb” and it is not to be used for other manufacturers of the same product – aka the “Cellular”, which is the generic term.  Let’s delve into the details, benefits and differences between manufacturers.

Hunter Douglas Honeycomb Shades

Hunter Douglas introduced the honeycomb shade, the Duette®, in 1985 due to the energy crisis in 1970.  Providing the ultimate in insulation against heat loss, and heat gain, they remain one of the top products in high demand in the window covering line up.   As other manufacturers came into existence, they quickly came on board to showcase their own similar product – the Cellular Shade, although the Duette® Honeycomb is propriety to Hunter Douglas.

Due to its honeycomb shaped construction (as seen in a cross section) this air pocket provides insulation against the cold winter nights trapping the cold at the window.  Similarly, in the heat of the summer it helps to prevent the solar heat gain from entering your home.

With the introduction of the Hunter Douglas Duette Architella®, a honeycomb-within-a-honeycomb, we can offer you, the consumer, the best product in the market for saving energy costs.

Graber Cellular Shades

Another manufacturer that I provide my clients with is Graber for their cellular construction.  Their “CrystalPleat” Cellular Shades offers some thicker fabric options and a double cell to provide slightly better sound and heat insulation.  Their Single cell construction, in some of their higher valued fabrics, provides excellent heat control. This is a great offering next to the Duette Architella®.

How to Choose Cellular Shade Sizes

The Cellular line up also has a few pleat sizes from which to choose.  This allows you to showcase your personal style and taste.  With sizes from ½” double cell; ¾” and 1 ½” in the Graber Crystalpleat; to ¾” and 1 ¼” in the Hunter Douglas Duette® collection you are sure to find a pleat size to complement your style and taste.

Perhaps you want a more dramatic look with the 1 ¼” Duette® in a gorgeous organic texture. Or, maybe you are looking for an understated shade to disappear and allow your view to the outside and your furniture to be the focal point.  Choosing a shade that is close in color to your window trim will help the shade hide in the background.

Cellular Shade Operating Systems

What about operating systems – how will you raise and lower your shade?

duette elan black onyx ultraglide

With the elimination of cords in the Canadian market, cordless is the standard operation.  If your windows are high and you cannot reach the top to lower, you can consider the UltraGlide wand in the Hunter Douglas collection.

Graber Motorized Wand smart wand in place

Graber offers a similar solution with its Motorized Wand.  This smart wand still requires you to go to the shade to operate it, but it has a motor that is triggered when you press a button.  This system helps ease the higher cost of full motorization if this is not in your budget.

Window Covering Automation with Bluetooth® Compatibility

Of course, anything can be fully motorized with today’s technology.  Hunter Douglas has their propriety PowerView® technology, which is now Bluetooth® compatible.  Graber has the Z-Wave and Somfy offering for their motorization. But these are not yet able to run off your Bluetooth®.  You can operate all these systems through your home automation if you wish – Google, Alexa, Amazon to name a few can be connected to the Graber and Hunter Douglas motorization.

“Top Down, Bottom Up” is Out – Health Canada, May 2022

With the new Health Canada regulation that was legislated in May 2022, the option of “top down, bottom up” is no longer compliant in today’s window coverings. This upgrade used to allow us to lower the bottom and raise the top for privacy on the bottom and clear opening on the upper portion.  With the elimination of this feature, manufacturers have inserted a sheer into this upper portion.

Hunter Douglas has introduced the ClearView® Sheer with the back sheer being black and the front sheer the color you choose.  This sheer looks more like a tinted window than a sheer honeycomb fabric and is a brilliant option for those wanting a clearer view to the top of their shade. Of course, the normal sheer is still available in all collections and manufactures. However, it is great to have the option of the ClearView® Sheer, especially if you have a spectacular view that you want to see (Hint – like the Rocky Mountains just west of Cochrane and Calgary).

 Are Cellular Shades Best for Room Darkening?

Yes, the cellular is also the best product for room darkening.  With the insert of a mylar fabric on the inside of the cell construction, we can eliminate all light from coming through the fabric.  Yes, there are still light gaps that creep from the sides and bottom edges. However, with the minimal factory deduction taken on inside mount measurements, this product also fits the tightest in your window.

graber cellular blackout shades best for light control

If you are looking for the ultimate in light control, you can consider the light blocking track that can be installed along the jambs of your window. The shade raises and lowers within this track.  Light can sometimes still penetrate this track, however it is still the best option for minimizing light from entering your room.

The “Honeycomb” Cellular Shades, the Verdict: Versatile & Stylish

The honeycomb, aka the cellular, or that “accordion looking blind” is a very versatile and aesthetically pleasing shade to consider for todays homes. Both Hunter Douglas and Graber offer competitive, high-quality options, with their own style and functionality. It complements every style and can showcase your personality by adding texture, color or even subtle drama to your interior.

I hope you have found this comparison of cellular blinds helpful! As always, having a professional widow covering specialist to help you with the best options, products and installation will help you save time, money and energy (yours and your homes!).

Contact Kirstin today to discuss your next window covering project in the Cochrane and Calgary area.