I’ve moved to a neighborhood built at the turn of the 20th Century — houses built from about 1880 – 1920′s and protected by an Historic Preservation District. Many of these homes, including mine, have windows that look into a neighbor’s house. The house I moved from (3 blocks away) and the one I moved into both have windows that are 7′ to 15′ from the neighbor’s windows. Plus the windows are aligned so we would be part of each other’s daily lives if we didn’t block the views. The quickest and cheapest solution is often drapery and curtains which help ensure privacy but also often block light and a sense of space. Below are some strategies I’ve used to block a view. I would love to hear about ways you’ve successfully blocked a view while retaining daylight and airiness.
I’m a glass artist so I’ve very successfully used art glass windows to block the view of too close neighbors. [See above and below]. In both cases, though, skylights, windows or doors just around the corner on an adjacent plane banish any feelings of claustrophobia that come from not being able to see out.
In southern California, where I lived for several years, the dense semi-tropical vegetation could successfully block a close neighbor and still allow light and privacy — houses were also often 1 story which made it easier. But in much of the country, it’s harder to block views with vegetation without also blocking light and a sense of space. In the dining room, we used a mix of deciduous and evergreen shrubs to block the view of the alley 7 feet away.
In the home, below, we created a patio bounded by a pergola with foliage inside and outside the pergola to create privacy from a busy street. In one particular place we also hung stained glass panels. This strategy, of course, only works if you have a lot of space to work with. But when you do, it’s a great way to keep eyes focused away from your windows and to create a greater sense of space and separation from the world.
So tell me about your ideas. I would love to include your ideas and images in a future article. You can’t yet upload images but I’ll definitely get in touch with you if you tell me you have images and tell you how to get them to me.
All images courtesy of Braitman Design/Build