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These custom shades keep your patio cooler in the summer and also offer privacy while retaining your views to the outdoors.

Featured Article

A Shade Above

Exploring Smart Solutions for Your Home's Outdoor Living Space

Article by Sue Baldani

Photography by Natalie Stephenson

Originally published in Bend Lifestyle

Chris Healam spent almost 10 years working for Tucson Rolling Shutters & Screens in Tucson, Arizona, an opportunity that allowed him to explore the products they offer, getting to know them inside and out. “A stereotypical start with sweeping floors which evolved into manufacturing to shipping, receiving, installations, troubleshooting, research and development, and speaking with dealers across the states,” he says.

Last year, Chris founded Custom Shade Solutions, LLC, in his hometown of Redmond, inorder to offer these innovative products to people living in the area. “I returned to Oregon, where I grew up, and pursued my Journeyman Electrical License, and now I'm applying for my Supervisor's Electrical License, which will complement the product install perfectly. I'm at a very good point where everything is coming together, and I'll be able to offer these products as a complete package.”

The products, which include full tension retractable solar screens, known as Solution Screens, rolling shutters and motorized SkyShades, are quite unique in the market. Each product is custom made to meet the requirements of each window, door or patio opening and the needs of each client with a wide range of color options, fabric options, methods of operation (from manual to motorized to automated) and size.

“With the solar screens rolled down over a window, the privacy gained is incredible. You retain your view to the beautiful outdoors, but there is virtually no visibility from the outside into your home,” Healam notes. “And, then there are the energy savings as the heat that your home collects throughout the day is drastically diminished.”

Another great benefit is the UV protection for both people and their home interiors. “The fabric that the manufacturer uses blocks up to 99% of UV rays, and helps protect floors, furniture, and other items such as artwork. It's a multifaceted product for sure.”

Rolling shutters are another product offered by Custom Shade Solutions. These shutters are insulated metal slats that roll down over windows, a concept quite popular in Europe. Explains Healam, “They are kind of like a mini rollup door, but these shutters are geared more towards total light blackout, inclement weather protection, privacy, and security. It was recently brought to my attention that this product might also bolster your defensible space during wildfire season.”

Customers might also use these screens and shutters to enclose patios. “Using these products provides a great opportunity to create your four-season patio,” says Healam. “During the warmer months, the screens and shutters will create a barrier against the intense sunlight and heat and can also double as a great wind block. As we head into the cooler months, these same products can help retain heat from a patio heater and prevent the outside elements from entering, essentially creating a comfortable space to enjoy year-round!”

SkyShades are also amazing. “These have been a long time coming,” states Healam. “While you have your retractable screens that are well known for operating in a vertical plane—up and down—the SkyShade is made to be deployed on a horizontal plane.” They’re great for covering patios, pergolas, and any open-air ceilings.

“A lot of people build these patio structures, but they're torn between a permanent roof or not having a roof at all. The SkyShades alleviate that polarizing choice. Deploy the shade when you want to lessen the sunlight and retract them at the push of a button to have an open-air pergola. It's simple and convenient,” says Healam.

Consumers can also be confident that if anything goes wrong with either the products or installation, it will be taken care of right away. “You’re getting a lifetime warranty on your motor, and a five-year warranty on all the parts,” Healam states. “Mermet®, the manufacturer of the fabrics, offers a limited 10-year fade resistant warranty on select fabrics.”

Custom Shade Solutions now provides a five-year warranty on all labor and stands behind every product offered. Healam installs everything himself because, he explains, “You can have the greatest product in the world, but if you don’t install it properly, it’s not worth anything. I put my name on it. I stand behind it 100%. You're not just another number on the books to me, you're a person, you're a client. I have that personal relationship with all my clients, so if you ever have a question, you know you can get ahold of me.”  

“I just want to make sure that the customer has a product that they want and the experience they want, whether it's with me or another company,” adds Healam. “I believe I offer the highest quality products and I'll give them the highest quality install. At the end of the day, a happy client is the best client.”

“Using these products provides a great opportunity to create your four-season patio,” 

—Chris Healam, owner, Custom Shade Solutions, LLC

“With the solar screens rolled down over a window, the privacy gained is incredible. You retain your view to the beautiful outdoors, but there is virtually no visibility from the outside into your home.”
 —Chris Healam, owner, Custom Shade Solutions, LLC

  • Solution Screens are available in sizes up to 32 feet wide with a 20-foot drop making them a great option for your outdoor living spaces.
  • These custom shades keep your patio cooler in the summer and also offer privacy while retaining your views to the outdoors.
  • Custom retractable screens offer protection from harsh winds and help retain heat from patio heaters creating an outdoor living space.
  • Redmond native Chris Healam established Custom Shade Solutions, LLC to offer high quality shades, screens and shutters for local residents.
  • Insulated rolling shutters help fend off wintry weather and come in sizes up to 16 feet wide and 14 feet tall. Photo courtesy of Tucson Rolling Shutters

Businesses featured in this article