Falling Mortgage Rates Spur Renewed Interest In Home Improvements

- Consumers Spending Additional Money to Enhance Homes -

Nov 15, 2001, 00:00 ET from Hunter Douglas Inc.

    UPPER SADDLE RIVER, N.J., Nov. 15 /PRNewswire/ -- With mortgage rates
 dropping by the day, Americans are taking full advantage and refinancing their
 homes in record numbers. As reported by David Leonhardt in the business
 section of the November 2nd edition of The New York Times, " ... approximately
 one million people have applied to refinance their homes since
 September 11th, roughly six times as many as the comparable period last year."
     "After refinancing, many homeowners find themselves saving anywhere from
 $150 - $200 per month, leaving them with extra money for home improvements and
 other purchases," said Laura Armstrong, spokesperson for the Mortgage Bankers
     "Recently, we had customers who just refinanced their home because they
 were able to lower their percentage rate from nine to six percent," said Paul
 Doelling, President & CEO, Doelling Paint & Wallpaper in Valparaiso, Indiana,
 who carries Hunter Douglas window coverings. "The customer indicated that they
 had wanted to update their home for a long time, and now they finally have the
 money to make those improvements."
     One the most effective ways to update the home is to refresh a certain
 room or element of an interior which has the potential to increase the value
 of the home, and make the homeowner feel better about where they live. "With
 Norman Rockwell images appearing in full-page ads for The New York Times,
 there has been an obvious shift in consumer attitudes," said Jim Mathews, Vice
 President, Marketing for leading window covering manufacturer Hunter Douglas
 Window Fashions. "People are traveling less and spending more time at home,
 turning inward with an eye on updating home interiors without investing a lot
 of time or substantial amounts of money."
     Updating Home Window Fashions Offers
     Maximum Return from Refinancing Windfall
     "Changing the window coverings in a home will not only give any room a
 fresh look, but can also protect furnishings from damaging ultraviolet light
 from the sun, provide superior privacy options and, ultimately, make the home
 more energy efficient," said Hunter Douglas retailer Mark Munjone, Vice
 President of Operations for Abbey Carpet in Clearwater, Florida. According to
 Munjone, many of his customers are now looking for immediate home improvements
 and reallocating vacation funds to renovation and decorating projects.
     Adding a window fashion in a new color, different texture or one that
 allows more of a play with natural light is an easy way to produce a superior
 design that will surely add not only to the beauty, but also to the livability
 of the home, as well as it's value and functionality.
     Duette(R) honeycomb shades are available in hundreds of colors and
 textures to coordinate with or accent any decor, from traditional to
 contemporary.  This revolutionary soft fabric window fashion is pleated into
 individual hexagonal cells, which offer superior energy efficiency because the
 cells "trap" the air.  Duette triple honeycomb shades are the most energy
 efficient fashionable window covering on the market today.
     Duette honeycomb shades also come with enhanced safety and convenience
 options, like the LiteRise(R) Touch System, where cords are eliminated so that
 children or pets cannot become entangled in them.  Or the UltraGlide(TM)
 operating system that moves the shade up and down with a single retractable
 cord, that stays at one consistent out-of-the-way length.
     Sheltering interiors from the outside world and the sun's harsh
 ultraviolet rays, which can do untold damage to fabrics, furniture and
 artwork, is easy with Silhouette(R) window shadings.  This innovative product
 offers soft fabric vanes floating between two sheer fabric panels. The vanes
 rotate for varying degrees of light control and privacy when closed.
 Silhouette shadings can protect against as much as 99 percent of UV ray
 transmission.  In today's "less is more" environment, Silhouette offers the
 softness of a drapery with the light control of a blind and the ease of a
     Also from Hunter Douglas, Luminette Privacy Sheers(R), the first window
 covering to offer a sheer face fabric with fabric vanes bonded to the rear for
 light control and privacy options.  When the vanes are open, Luminette Privacy
 Sheers appears as an elegant, tailored sheer curtain and, when closed, the
 product is reminiscent of luxurious draperies.  It coordinates perfectly with
 Silhouette window shadings in the same room and also protects against 99
 percent of those harmful UV rays.  The Luminette sheer fabric facing is
 available in five fabric styles -- from a smooth, traditional sheer to a
 fine-spun muslin -- and a palette of gently saturated hues.  A room-darkening
 option -- Luminette Evening Star(TM) -- is available as well, for superior
 privacy and light control.
     Hunter Douglas Inc. is the leading manufacturer and marketer of custom
 window coverings in North America. For more information call 1-800-STYLE
 (1-800-937-7895) or visit http://www.hunterdouglas.com.
     Product photography available upon request. Interviews available upon
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SOURCE Hunter Douglas Inc.