Ver-Tex Helps Brighten Historic Harvard Dormitories

We’ve said it before: all of Harvard’s facilities adhere to a high standard of excellence that matches the prestige and acclaim of their institution. Previously, Ver-Tex Construction worked with Harvard University and Lee Kennedy on a project at the university’s business school campus.

At the Ruth Mulan Chu Chao Center, Ver-Tex installed approximately 40 Mecho manual clutch operated shades and 115 Mecho WhisperShade IQ2 intelligent motorized shades using Mecho’s proprietary EcoVeil PVC-free fabrics.

Once completed, our focus shifted from the business school to its main campus, where Ver-Tex worked on two separate large dorm renovations at Harvard’s Winthrop House. The first was Gore Hall. With Consigli Construction serving as the general contractor, this was a massive undertaking that included a renovation spanning over 100,000 square feet. We installed approximately 460 manual shades and 30 motorized shades on this project.

Gore Hall was just one piece of Harvard’s House Renewal Program, which seeks to create revitalized student living spaces, and social and academic areas. The second project, occurring nearly simultaneously on campus, was Standish Hall. Much like Gore Hall, this was a complete renovation of the 81,000 square foot. space. Lee Kennedy served as the general contractor. We installed approximately 265 manual shades on this project. In addition to shade installation, Ver-Tex Construction also supplied a number of miscellaneous specialties including wall protection, signage, lockers, FECs, toilet accessories, appliances, and bike racks.

Both Gore Hall and Standish Hall were built over a hundred years ago to house freshmen and will continue to be fine homes to Harvard’s student population for decades to come.

Ver-Tex Brightens Engineering Research Opportunities at Brown University

Did you know that Brown University has one of the oldest Ivy League engineering programs? Originally established in 1794 and located in Providence, RI, it is the seventh-oldest academic institution for higher education in the country. While Brown University has a strong legacy built on history and tradition, Brown University also looks towards the future, particularly in creating new educational opportunities for its students so they may learn, grow, and find solutions to some of the world’s most challenging issues.

The Brown University School of Engineering’s Engineering Research Center is one such opportunity, and Ver-Tex is very proud to have been part of this exciting project! Ground was originally broken back in Fall 2015 and the building was completed in Fall 2017.

The three-story, 80,000 sq. ft. space was built entirely from the ground up, featuring dedicated workstations for graduate students, cutting edge research labs, classrooms, conference rooms, and more. Shawmut Design & Construction served as General Contractor on the project and was designed by Philadelphia-based KieranTimberlake.

Ver-Tex installed approximately (50) Hunter Douglas manual shades and (60) Lutron Sivoia QS motorized shades on this project. The motorized shades included the Hyperion automation system from Lutron. This solar-adapting shade software can adjust shades throughout the day with the changing position of the sun, allowing for energy savings and reducing both glare and heat. Hyperion includes automated raising and lowering of the shades, based on location and building orientation.

The entire project adhered to the school’s Facility Design and Construction Standards and is built to fit LEED® Gold Certification. This certification means the building’s energy and performance goal is 25% better than the minimum criteria established in the Rhode Island-adopted International Energy Conservation Code.  

Upon completion, Brown University President Christina Paxson was quoted, “This building is a statement about the importance of engineering at Brown and also in the world at large.” It truly is an extraordinary space and we’re proud of the Ver-Tex team for doing such a fantastic job!

Ver-Tex Helps Illuminate Ruth Mulan Chu Chao Center at Harvard Business School

Harvard University is one of the most prestigious and acclaimed academic institutions in the world. Thousands of individuals pass through its doors on their journeys towards developing groundbreaking businesses, life-saving medicines, and much more. All of Harvard’s facilities must match this high standard of excellence. The Ruth Mulan Chu Chao Center is one of these establishments, and Ver-Tex Construction is very proud to have been a part of this project.

Built on Harvard Business School’s (HBS) campus, the building is dedicated to the late Ruth Mulan Chu Chao and her tireless commitment to improving higher education. Four of Ruth’s daughters attended HBS; Ruth taught them to strive for greatness through academic achievement. This has been the driving force behind the Chao Family Foundation, which primarily seeks to help young people access higher education and thus become better leaders in a rapidly changing global community.

Goody Clancy served as the architect on this massive 90,000 square foot space, and Lee Kennedy was the general contractor. The building is a mixture of classrooms, offices, a coffee shop, and other multi-purpose spaces.

Since the Chao Center will serve as a meeting hub for more than 10,000 executives who attend classes each year, making sure the building’s interior received the proper amount of light was crucial. Ver-Tex installed approximately 40 Mecho manual clutch operated shades and 115 Mecho WhisperShade IQ2 intelligent motorized shades using Mecho’s proprietary EcoVeil PVC-free fabrics on this project. The centerpiece of the project was two segmented radius glass windows in the front of the building. Ver-Tex installed mitered shade pockets and installed multi-banded shades using angled couplers to follow the profile of the glass. The finished product was a tailored custom fit that proved the skills of the Ver-Tex craftsmen.

Ver-Tex Helps Shine Light on Shire Pharmaceuticals’ Growth

Shire Pharmaceuticals, one of the leading global biopharmaceutical companies, expanded its footprint in Massachusetts last spring with the acquisition of two properties in Lexington. This sale allowed Shire to expand its total occupied space in Lexington to over one million square feet.

Ver-Tex is proud to have worked to shine new light on both of these properties. The first property is located on 45-55 Hayden Avenue in Lexington; Consigli Construction served as the general contractor on the project. We installed roughly 250 Lutron Sivoia QS motorized shades in the large office space.

The second property is located at 95 Hayden Avenue. Columbia Construction was the general contractor on this project, which involved the installation of approximately 300 Lutron Sivoia QS motorized shades. This five-level space is extremely large at 200,000 square feet and was designed to accommodate more company growth. Shire opened its new offices early in the summer last year, and they currently host over 800 employees.

Shire’s new space in Lexington will serve as the company’s U.S. headquarters, and will have its largest concentration of employees. In addition to Lexington, Shire also has property in Cambridge, Waltham, North Reading, Belmont and Burlington. The Ver-Tex team also completed another project at their lab on Binney Street in Cambridge, where we installed stainless steel corner guards and a Life Science Products stainless steel crash rail.

We look forward to watching Shire continue to grow and bring groundbreaking products to the medical field.

No matter what size the commercial space, our design experts can work with you to find the perfect shades to take your building to the next level.

Keep Your Space Cool This Summer with Automated Shades

Without question, New England summers can be as brutal as New England winters (and we won’t even get into the summer months in Florida). Finding a solution to keep you cool that is more cost effective than simply cranking up the air conditioning is easier than you think: look no further than upgrading to automated shades.

As a vital piece of a climate control system, automated shades can be a great way to help cool down your space–residential or commercial–while also providing a stylish upgrade.

In a residential space, cellular or honeycomb shades are ideal to help keep your room cool. They are constructed from two pieces of fabric to create cell-like shapes (hence the “honeycomb” name). This structure traps air in the pockets, creating insulation in the room that works for both hot and cold climates. Some manufacturers have even created “honeycomb-within-honeycomb” shades for maximum energy efficiency!

Cellular/honeycomb shades come in a variety of fabrics and opacities, they can be installed with top-down/bottom-up functionality for a more versatile look. Not only are honeycomb shades energy efficient and stylish, but they can offer an added layer of privacy and dimension to your space. One of the design trends we’re watching for this season is texture, and the texture of these shades falls right into that category.  

If you’re looking to minimize energy consumption in a commercial space, automated shades offer an excellent solution that will help your bottom line. One of the other design trends we’re watching is creative office spaces, and we think utilizing the power of automated shades to ensure a productive atmosphere, free of sun glare and hot temperatures, is a great idea.

Automated shades can help provide what is often called daylight harvesting. Daylight harvesting is an energy management technique that uses natural daylight to offset the need for electric lighting to properly light a space. With some control systems, automated shades can be programmed to work with both lighting systems and HVAC controls to affect the temperature of your space and overall energy output. Imagine giving your AC a break with the touch of a button by lowering a translucent solar shade during peak daylight hours to naturally reduce heat gain and protect your valuables from UV rays!

Modern, stylish, secure–and most importantly, cool. Make the upgrade to automated or honeycomb shades this summer.

Shining New Light on Johnson Building at Boston Public Library

The Boston Public Library, located near the heart of downtown, is one of the most impressive landmarks in the city. Made up of several sections and additions, the Boston Public Library is a colossus that welcomes thousands of residents and tourists alike every day. One section of particularly reputable note is the Johnson Building.

Dating its origins all the way back to the early seventies and taking its name from noted architect Philip Johnson, the building occupies ten levels, including public services, behind-the-scenes library processing and administration, book stacks, and more.

The Johnson Building began a massive 130,000-square-foot renovation project, headed by General Contractor Consigli Construction, back in 2013. William Rawn Associates served as architects on the project. Renovations covered the entire first floor and mezzanine, as well as select areas of the second through sixth floors. The focus of the renovations was two-part: recognizing Mr. Johnson’s original vision while also redefining the library patron experience to match this updated space.

Ver-Tex is proud to have provided support on this project alongside Consigli. We provided approximately 25 multi-banded synchronized motorized shades, including wirelessly controlled shades in the Lobby and Reception areas. A pair of Monumental shades from MechoSystems are also included in the Rabb Hall. The Monumental shades are an adaptive shading system, using Mecho’s powerful ElectroShade motors. These shades are a perfect fit for shading large windows, such as what can be found in the Johnson Building. Ver-Tex also provided toilet partitions and restroom accessories among other specialty products.

The two-phase renovations were completed in summer 2016 with a grand ribbon cutting ceremony. Today, the Johnson Building boasts a colorful new Children’s Library; new workspaces and reading areas; revamped community learning center, and more. Be sure to stop by the Johnson Building sometime this summer to check it out!

From hotels to hospitals, libraries to other academic institutions, our design experts can help match shades to perfectly fit your commercial space.

Spring/Summer 2018 Design Trends to Watch For

As New England (finally!) emerges from what felt like an eternal winter, it’s the perfect time to revisit your decorating. Now that the sun’s out, maybe it’s time to redecorate that kitchen like you’d always planned? Or redo that office that has been a storage closet for the last couple months? If you know what you want to do, but you’re not sure where to start, check out a few of these interior design trends using window treatments that we’re watching for Spring/Summer 2018!

Bold Pops of Color

Even a few pops of color can go a long way to completely transform a room and can reflect a strong sense of personal style. Shades are a great feature of a room where you can play with color. Many of the manufacturers we carry have shade fabrics in hundreds of different colors–so if you want a dramatic flair of bright orange, you can get exactly what you’re looking for. Even if “bold” colors aren’t your thing, we can show you different window shades in (almost!) every color.

Creative Office Spaces

Who wants to sit in a boring, monochrome office anymore? Office spaces should be about positivity, empowerment, and motivation! There are many ways to liven up an office to create a space that boosts your mindset. Making sure your space has the proper amount of natural light is a great place to start. Automated shades are a great fit for an office! By pairing convenience with style, you can stay on the work grind and your shades will lower automatically to adjust to the sunlight without disrupting your workflow.


Textured items, like fringe, rattan, or wicker, are definitely in the interior design spotlight at the moment. Like bold colors, texture can demonstrate a strong style choice and can add another layer of interest and unity in your space. Certain types of shades we offer, such as Honeycomb/Cellular Shades or Roman Shades, can be an excellent textured complement to your space.


Tropical prints were on the rise last year and have since become an even bigger trend. If you’re looking to get out of the winter gloom, these tropical prints are a great way to transition into the warm season! Natural light is critical to creating an atmosphere of tranquility, and customizing your shades is a great way to complement these tropical overtones.

Many of these design trends can be paired together–a bold, creative workspace, a tropical and colorful living room–to create exciting new spaces in your home, perfectly in tune with the nice weather. Shades contribute more to a space than many think–let our design experts show you!

Ver-Tex Helps Bring Noteworthy Music Recital Space to Light

Bruce T. Martin Photography

One of the oldest secondary schools in the United States, Phillips Exeter Academy is heavily built upon tradition; but has built an even stronger reputation upon innovation, not only in its educational practices.

In Fall 2016, the Class of 1959 Music Center Addition installed a massive expansion to the academy’s Forrestal-Bowld Music Center. This expansion included the Bowld Recital Studio. Ver-Tex is proud to have helped bring this innovative space to light.

Ver-Tex worked closely with Consigli Construction, who served as general contractor on the project and ensured the space was acoustically sound. William Rawn Associates was the architect on the 4,000 square foot space. Intended as an instrumental recital room, it can hold up to 300 audience members.

Ver-Tex installed approximately 15 manual shades and 17 motorized shades from MechoShade Systems. Specifically, the motorized shades located in the new Recital Studio are Mecho’s Monumental specialty shades. Standing roughly 45 feet tall, this adaptive shading system is ideal for effective shading in areas with large windows, making it the perfect fit for the Bowld.

The expansion project also included a music and media technology center, practice rooms, and facilities, totaling roughly 12,000 square feet in all. In addition to shade installation, Ver-Tex also supplied several miscellaneous specialties for this large expansion, including visual display, toilet partitions & accessories, wall protection, lockers, and acoustical drapes.

After partnering with Ver-Tex, Phillips Exeter Academy now has a beautiful, acoustically sound space in which to bring more opportunities to Exeter’s growing music program and the surrounding community.

Automated Shades Provide Security and Privacy to Your Home

It’s that time of year again in New England–while the calendar indicates we’ve already passed the first day of Spring, the weather still seems perpetually gray, dreary, and wet. What better time to take a week-long vacation to somewhere sunny and warm?

The only major downside to vacationing is what you leave behind. From pets to paintings to purses, we all have valuable possessions that we want to protect from unwanted eyes, especially when we’re not home.

As we mentioned in a previous blog, one of the top five benefits of automated shades is privacy and security, for numerous reasons. While leaving your shades down for 24 hours a day can keep unwanted eyes away from the interior of your home, it may leave your home looking vulnerable. To an outsider, nothing makes it seem more like someone is home than seeing shades raise and lower.

When you automate your motorized shades, you can program them to raise and lower at different times of the day, allowing some sunshine into your home (and perhaps on your plants!) during the day, while keeping it closed off at night. Depending on the manufacturer, there are various programming options available, some that can even be operated from your smartphone! Most systems allow for completely random schedules, maximizing your home’s “lived in” look. You can choose when the motorized shades raise and lower, how far they lower or raise, and more. With increased smart home automation integration, there are even more options to explore–ask us how your automated shades can help boost your home’s efficiency!

Even when you’re not traveling, motorized shades conveniently enhance privacy by raising or lowering with just the touch of a button. Did we mention they give you peace of mind around your children and pets because all motorized shades are cordless?

There are many benefits to converting your manual shades to motorized, and we’d love to discuss them with you in more detail. To learn more about our residential shading options, please contact us. There are also motorized shade options available for commercial spaces!

Ver-Tex Helps Bring Community Center to Light at Moses Brown School

At 36,000 square feet, the Woodman Community and Performance Center is one of the largest buildings in Moses Brown School’s 232-year history. The center stands at the heart of Moses Brown’s 33-acre campus in Providence, Rhode Island, and Ver-Tex is proud to have played a role in the completion of this new and innovative space.

Ver-Tex worked closely with Shawmut Design & Construction, who served as General Contractor on the project. Durkee, Brown, Viveiros & Werenfels Architects designed the multi-use facility, which boasts telescopic seating and hydraulic flooring. These features provide for the ultimate flexibility in event hosting, since they can quickly transition the space from theater to exhibition hall. The Goldner Stage, the main stage inside the Center, is also fitted with top-of-the-line sound and lighting systems that allow the space to be “tuned.”

The hallways of the Center serve as a gallery, which gives a permanent exhibit space for its students. There is a cafe as well as meeting spaces available to students and faculty alike. The new space also has numerous green-friendly features that pair perfectly with the daylight harvesting system and shades Ver-Tex installed.

Ver-Tex installed approximately 30 manual and 15 motorized MechoShade Systems shades in the space. This included a custom MagnaShade and SolarTrac automation system from MechoShade Systems. The MagnaShade shade is a super-wide roller shade that keeps a low profile and eliminates the unsightly light gaps of multiple shades. This type of shade is a great fit for large spaces like the Center.

With the SolarTrac automation system, the Woodman Community and Performance Center can maximize natural daylight while increasing energy efficiency and keeping occupants in a comfortable environment by controlling brightness, glare, and solar heat gain.

By partnering with Ver-Tex, the Moses Brown School has a beautiful space in which to bring more music and arts opportunities to its students and the surrounding community.