Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Frosted Glass

Frosted glass has comforting connotations---a frosty beer mug straight out of the freezer, steamy windows on a snowy night, bits of beach glass; translucent in the waves and opaque when dry.

In New York, it takes on a different meaning...because there are neighbors, passersby, onlookers and peepers--glancing casually, looking a tad too long, or purposely staring. I took down a window treatment to repaint the living room, and no less than 4 people knocked on my door, looking for a rental or asking if I was selling. They were like ants all over a crumb at a picnic.

Jimmy Stewart starred in the Alfred Hitchcock thriller "Rear Window." He played L.B. Jeffries, a photojournalist laid up in his apartment with a broken leg. It was a long, hot summer and he was bored. He pointed his telephoto lens across the courtyard and watched his neighbors--ironing, dancing, fighting, having dinner, etc... Then he zoomed in on Raymond Burr and got himself involved in a murder plot.

There was a real wingnut in my office a few years back who received night vision goggles for his birthday, from a girlfriend, no less.  He was NO Jimmy Stewart and I would bet money that she was no Grace Kelly. He brought his spygoggles into the office and was showing some of the guys how they worked, in a dark supply closet. "How many fingiz am I holding up?" It creeped me out to think that he was looking into people's apartments in Manhattan, at night!!

Anyway, my front door in North Carolina has "sidelights" and from the front porch, one can see straight through to the back of the house. Day or night. You can take the girl out of New York, but you can't take New York out of the girl. I am a nighttime shade puller and though I'm not walking around in the all-together, but I'd rather be the one able to see OUT, through the peephole. It's designed for that. Out, not in.

I imagine there are far fewer wackadoos and weirdos per capita here than in NYC, but I'll err on the side of precaution.

Options included:
Custom plantation shades (too spendy at $250/pr)
Curtains with rods (there's no place for tension rods to grip, and too much fabric for the 6" x 72" windows)

I found 'Privacy Film' with a sand finish at Bed Bath & Beyond for $14.99 and I thought I was done. The photo on the package showed the exact type of windows I have.

I assumed the film would be like "contact paper" and adhere to the glass once I removed the backing. Well, there was no adhesion. I resorted to reading the instructions...which directed me to cut the plastic to size, spray the glass with water, then affix the plastic film and squeegee the water out. A spray bottle? I didn't have a spray bottle handy, so I emptied out a windex bottle, cleaned it, then filled it with water. I used a shower door squeegee and there were still water marks under the plastic, no matter how much I squeeg-ed. Squee-geed? It looked 'alright' from a distance inside, but terribly splotchy from the outside. I was very skeptical that the film would stay attached to the glass once the water dried.

Product review: It's a pain in the neck to apply and looks splotchy on one side. I went back to the store, told them what happened and even though I already cut it, they said they'd send it back to the manufacturer, Brewster Home Fashions. Full refund--glad I asked instead of just tossing it!

I went to "Michael's" craft store and found Krylon Frosted Glass Finish semi-transparent paint for glass. Bingo.

 I picked up 2 small cans for $9.99 each. It's for interior use only. (I later found RustOleum frosted spray paint for half the price, and twice the size at Home Depot!)

I masked off the edges and sprayed 2 coats, letting each one dry for 30 minutes.

The glass is totally opaque, the finish is very smooth--no drips--and sunlight gets through.  I left the transom window clear. If there's a peeper out there on stilts, then I give up.

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