Monday, December 28, 2009

Sidelight Solutions: Create privacy without sacrificing style

Since I just started this blog in November, it seems like most of my posts have been related to the holidays and Christmas decorating. As much fun as that was, now it's time to get down to the nitty gritty of everyday living! I've got a lot of things to cover--both past and future projects.

I thought I'd start with a little DIY project that we did shortly after we moved into our house last year. Here's what our front door and entryway looked like back then. (A frustrating space to work with, but more on that some other time...) Ignore the random folding chair--the realtor sat there during open houses.

At first, I loved all of the windows, and how much natural light they let in. But after living here awhile, this facade also left me feeling a I knew we'd end up getting curtains on the picture window at some point, but I still had a privacy issue with the sidelights and the window in the door that allowed any ol' Joe Schmoe to peer into our living room. Luke scoffed at my paranoia, but needless to say, I eventually won that battle. :)

Our options for covering up the windows included changing them out for custom frosted glass (too expensive), or installing small curtain rods and panels (too hard to find something stylish). Then one day while browsing at Home Depot, I discovered Artscape decorative window film. After doing some research online, I figured it was worth a shot.

There were lots of patterns to choose from, but I decided on the Rice Paper, which was the most subtle while still achieving the desired effect.

Sidelight Window Film 12" x 83"

Sidelight Window Film 24" x 36"

I didn't take any pictures of the process at the time (who knew I'd blog about it someday?), but applying the film was really pretty simple. After cleaning the windows, we just had to peel the film off the paper backing, spray the window with a mixture of water and dish soap, and then press the film against the window (on the inside, of course). The most time-consuming part was trimming the film to fit the window once it was in place. We also used a squeegee to make sure there were no air bubbles.

This is a really bad picture I took during the day (before we covered the door window), but you can see how the light still shines in through the film.

Since we were covering the two sidelights and the window in the door, it made sense to cover the transom above the door as well. But I wanted to change it up a bit, so I had the idea (*pats self on back*) to cut our last name out of the film, so that part of the glass would be clear. Since Hubby has the most precision and attention to detail between the both of us, I let him tackle that part. He printed out the letters on separate sheets of paper and cut them out to use as stencils. It took a couple of painstaking hours, but he did a great job. Plus, when the porch light is on at night, it shines through our name into the house and onto the wall in a funky, distorted kind of way. A nice little effect that we didn't plan on!

Night-time view from the outside
The overall cost of this project was about $60 for the three rolls of film we used. For being a quick, economical solution, I'm pretty happy with it so far. The film still lets some natural light in, and when we want more light or to see outside, we just open the curtains on the picture window. And, if we decide someday that we don't like the film anymore, it's supposedly easy to remove!

This film would also be great for a bathroom window or any other room where you want a little privacy without sacrificing style.

(New pic taken after we painted our walls gray. It's been seven years since we applied this window film and it still looks great!)

So what do you think of the faux frosted glass effect? Would these windows have bothered you, or was I crazy to let my paranoia take over and cover them up? (You can tell me the truth.) What would you have done?

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Mrs. Chic said...

This is the perfect solution! I really like the your last name on the widow, it looks really pretty in the pic.

When we bought our home the glass door panel was cracked and we replaced it with frosted glass, I love how much light it lets it while being private!

And I think your door looks so much better with curtains (old school)

dolores @ "Welcome to My Humble Ablog" said...

I would have been a bit paranoid myself, too. The frost film was an excellent choice! I love it!

micah @ the yellow front door said...

I think you made the right decision. Those Peeping Toms are going to have to find a new house to peep in!

design_aholic said...

Yep, good work on the frosted glass!

Kristi W. said...

I can completely understand why you would want more privacy. I can't stand to be in our house in the evening without all the blinds and curtains closed. It just creeps me out. Kudos to you for finding the perfect solution. :)

Kristi W @ Life With the Whitmans said...

Hey Amanda - if you are interested in hearing about a group blog idea I had, will you email me? I didn't see an email listed on your site.

Carrie said...

Hey Amanda! Great idea cutting out your name with the film...I would've never thought of that! We used window film from HD as well in our downstairs bathroom. Unfortunately there were some curse words flying out of Jon's mouth while trimming the looks ok but some of the paint from the window got under the film as he cut the film with the razor blade...we might have to have to guys give us a lesson sometime!!


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