CLEAR VISION

by STACEY MARCUS photography by HOLGER OBENAUS

Steve Stolow and his son, Jesse, share a lot more than their last name. Neither father nor son at the helm of Total Window attended college with the goal of running a window treatment company, but both ended up in the business, and both love what they do. Steve majored in philosophy but found more enlightenment thinking about window treatments than pondering the meaning of life.

He learned the business and opened a showroom at the Palm Beach Design Center in 1985. After a couple of relocations, Total Window expanded its operations and today stands in a state-of-the-art 2,000-square-foot facility in the Stirling Design Center in the Dania Beach Design District.

Jesse, on the other hand, had a more circuitous path. “Growing up I really did not have a plan. I studied business and loved entrepreneurship. I really wanted to go into advertising, but Madison Avenue never called back,” he jokes. After a brief foray in the beverage business, Jesse moved back to South Florida and accepted his father’s invitation to join the family business a dozen years ago.

Unlike his dad, whose passion is in the product, Jesse loves the behind-the-scenes aspects of the business, like making sure the team has the tools, materials and message to elevate the customer experience. “Today’s market is much different than it was when I joined. The homeowner is now the decision maker,” says Jesse, whose business model satisfies the growing trend to provide exceptional service and education along with high-quality products.

The Total Window team is dedicated to creating a great customer experience and working with local sources. “We help customers craft solutions in functional and beautiful ways. Along with carrying lines from manufacturers in the United States, we use local workrooms to create solutions,” Jesse says.

Total Window offers a complete range of manual and motorized custom window furnishings, including roller shades, Roman shades, shutters, woven Roman shades, drapery, panels, cordless blinds and shades, and custom and specialty products. The Total Window team has a sophisticated understanding of the product offerings and technology and delivers an elevated level of service. They rely on an in-house team to perform installations, making the process seamless from concept to completion.

“We are not the cheapest, but we are the most comprehensive and handle all problems and solutions in-house,” says Jesse.

He cites automation as the biggest trend in the industry, with home systems being linked together by a “smart brain.” For example, if you want to set a scene for a romantic dinner, you can lower the shades, dim the lights and pipe in romantic music using a smartphone or a virtual assistant, like Alexa. “The cost of automating has gone down significantly, allowing more customers to explore motorized options,” Jesse says. “As technology increases, you can expect amazing things.”

Jesse is delighted he accepted his father’s invitation to join the family business. “I love working with my dad,” he says. “We are always talking about how to make the business better. I feel so lucky because we get to see each other every day.”

Stacey Marcus is a Boston-based freelance lifestyle, luxury and travel writer. Her works have appeared in Art New England, Boston magazine, Boston Common Magazine, Modern Luxury Chicago, Ocean Home Magazine, Playboy.com, RD.com and many others. A lover of big words and little white dogs, Stacey’s biggest joys are found in life’s simple moments.