Living in a Goldfish Bowl

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Wednesday, May 25th, 2016
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Privacy is perhaps one of the most important issues in today’s society, so how do we preserve ours?

In the past, residents enjoyed an “openness” with their neighbours and were not generally concerned about the possibility of others having a view into the home. Significantly, Dutch architecture, for example, preferred large front windows framed with lace that allowed passers-by to look right into the home and check out how wealthy the occupiers were according to their contents.

In recent years however, this trend has changed considerably. Lack of trust and a feeling of wanting a safe environment has prompted new demands for window coverings that address privacy issues. When push comes to shove, we all enjoy and demand our personal space, away from the hassles of everyday life. We don’t really like someone getting too close and it’s the same with where we live.

As land increases in cost and becomes less readily available, homes are being placed closer together, and as this century rolls along, people are becoming less engaging with their neighbours. Incentives such as Neighbourhood Watch have albeit disappeared as people don’t wish to get involved in the lives of others and certainly don’t want anyone else to know what they are up to. Our homes are our sanctuaries and woe betide anyone who enters uninvited!

So if you can almost lean from your window and touch your neighbour’s house, there must be a way to prevent reciprocal peeking? What about homes that seem to be made entirely of glass, or homes built at different levels, so that neighbours can literally stand at the fence and see right in? Twenty-first century problems can easily be resolved with traditional, and often simple, solutions.

Quite often we don’t want to compromise the beautiful lighting in our home in exchange for shutting out our neighbours. Sheer blinds and curtains are fabulous at providing daytime privacy without compromising a view or light. They have the added benefit of reducing glare and direct penetrating sunlight. However, their polarity reverses at night, when the world outside is darker than a lit home, so one needs to consider a second treatment in tandem, such as a blockout blind or heavier drapes.

Of course the ideal situation is a dual window treatment that not only addresses daytime and nighttime privacy, but issues such as light control, thermal activity and acoustics. A popular and cost effective window treatment is a blockout blind for night time, teamed with a flowing sheer curtain for daytime use.

Keep in mind also that clear glass bathroom windows might be acceptable to you if you are uninhibited, but you may have neighbours who don’t particularly want to see you parading around in your birthday suit. Wet areas such as bathrooms benefit greatly from treatments such as washable rollers or aluminium plantation shutters. The latter is great for adjusting light without baring all to the world.

However, for those of you that simply have to know everything that is going on in your neighbourhood, well-designed window coverings offer the perfect solution, as you can peek from behind without anyone knowing you are there.

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