Chris and Jill Yensen change lives with Long Valley
By Christina Fuoco-Karasinski
Chris and Jill Yensen were working in the golf and software industries, respectively, when they decided to make a life change.
Within a month, the couple married and founded Long Valley Solar Shades in 2005.
“We lived in a mountain resort, 100 miles north of Boise, and it had everything you would want in a recreation area,” Chris says.
“I was working at the golf course in the pro shop, and it was getting to be the first of September. We closed in October because of the weather. We were faced with me being unemployed. I didn’t want to work for anyone, so we went into business for ourselves.”
The move to LA last year was a return home for Jill, who was born and raised in Glendale. Here, Long Valley Solar Shades offers custom consultation, fabrication and installation of quality window treatments for San Gabriel Valley and the greater LA area. They specialize in solar shades but can tackle any window treatment job, from drapes to wood shutters and blinds, motorized installations to roller shades, and residential to commercial.
Jill handles the design, while Chris covers the technical and installation side. It’s a true family business.
“We do so much more than solar shades,” she says. “We do everything — honeycomb shades, wood blinds. If it’s related to window treatment, chances are we’ve done it.”
Solar shades, Jill contends, can change and save lives. Installed on the exterior, they block dangerous UV rays and allow residents to stay comfortable and healthy.
“It protects your children as well as your artwork, textiles, photography and floors,” she says.
“Everyone wants to lower their carbon footprint. This does it all the time — without having to do anything. You can see through them when you leave them down. It allows you to use much less A/C.”
Chris adds that clients have reported to him an 8- to 15-degree temperature drop in the house.
“We do have other insulating shades, but the neat thing about solar shades is you’re killing the heat before they penetrate the glass and windows,” he says.
“We can also motorize just about any shade that we do — interior, exterior or patio shade.”
Many of the products the Yensens sell and install can be controlled on by a cellphone app. They’re safe, too, as the companies have eschewed design that could endanger children.
“Most of the manufacturers are really concerned about child safety issues,” he says.
“They’re steering away from corded shades. It’s become a big legal liability. All of our products are safe for children. They’re breakaway or cordless, for example, which is wonderful. It’s a better look — a nice clean look. We love that.
“The cordless blinds from Hunter Douglas are really fantastic. They took the whole weight out of the shades. You don’t have to lift anything. Those last longer. Our clients really adore them — especially the honeycombs that you can open from the top. Then you can get light coming into the house, bouncing off the ceiling, but you still have the privacy.”
Blinds that open from the top are especially pleasing for LA residents who have close neighbors.
“We sell a lot of those for sure,” he says.
Recently, the Yensens have worked in the commercial field, setting up blinds for a modernized McDonald’s and a media post-production company in DTLA.
The Yensens are pleased they can make their customers’ lives more comfortable, but it’s a win-win. They enjoy meeting new people and learning the stories behind them.
“We get to meet so many neat people and see so many incredible homes,” he says. “We service everybody. We were fortunate enough to have some really nice jobs in Idaho.”
Jill adds, “We love meeting people. People are spending a lot more time at home since the COVID-19 quarantine. People want to make their space comfortable. That’s what we aim to do.”
Long Valley Solar Shades
Custom design consultation, fabrication and installation
Motorized shades and blinds
Uniquely shaped windows