Fifty Shades of… Well, Shades

Window treatments make reality-show magic

We’ve all seen him in the movies: the handsome, wealthy bachelor who clicks a button to control the blinds in his modern penthouse. Admit it. You’ve wondered how you could be that cool with motorized shades in your pad—like something fresh out of Fifty Shades.
The man behind the shades is Montreal-born Stephan Elbaz of Interior Motif, which has been at 629 Washington St. for 18 years.
The company has put down roots in the community, helping the Elysian Charter School, walking locally to fight breast cancer, donating blinds to superstorm Sandy victims, and helping Stevens Institute with an efficient beach-home project.
Prior to hanging out his shingle in Hoboken, Stephan was involved in a similar family business in Canada.
The business, which serves New Jersey and New York, is capitalizing on the demand for high-octane window treatments. Interior Motif was first featured on DIY’s Kitchen Cousins and HGTV’s Rev Run’s Renovation, which gave Stephan the inspiration to shoot a completely off-the-cuff reality show, “Behind the Shades,” in November 2014. The first season features 14 unscripted five-to-10-minute webisodes. The spots walk through the consumer experience from vision to finish.
With a roster that includes New York Giants’ Jeremy Shockey, New York Yankee Mariano Rivera and actress Jennie Garth, Interior Motif has some cool-kid customers.
But, Stephan emphasizes, “Just because we’ve been fortunate to work with celebrities, we want to show everyday people. We are really a retailer to the average homeowner.”

Case in Point

Who knew that a guy who loves shades would be such a natural in front of the camera? The spots operate in typical reality-show format. Stephan knocks on the door of a “contest winner,” who really needs help with her window treatments. We arrive at a classic 1950s, renovated ranch. On seeing white curtains from the outside, Stephan remarks that they don’t look all that great. He goes in and is greeted by an attractive woman who explains that they didn’t have good contractors. Stephan commiserates. The contest winner’s problem is compounded by the fact that before they could even finish the renovation, a tree fell on the house during Hurricane Sandy.
Stephan moves to the sofa with his new client to look at various options that are in a large notebook, filled with window-treatment designs. She wants something “beautiful and simple.” When we next catch up with her, Stephan’s guys are installing the shades—and the rest is history.

Back on Washington

The work is done by in-house staff. Someone will come to measure the space and show what it’ll look like in a 3D version. A team of guys—you’ve probably seen those black-and-red Interior Motif vans around town—will then come to the home and install everything.
Custom closets are another Interior Motif specialty. Now, if there is one thing Hobokenites know, it’s the need for more closet space or better use of the space you’ve got. “Most people are actually only utilizing a third of their closet space,” Stephan says.
The showroom, which was expanded in the fall, features everything from those cool motorized blinds to custom closet solutions, shades, and shutters. We’re talking shades that work off of a remote or iPad, home-theater buttons, preprogrammed window coverings for optimal reading or energy efficiency.
Despite some high-end products and glitzy clients, Stephan says, “We provide everyday clientele with a million-dollar look without spending a million dollars.”—07030


© 2000, Newspaper Media Group