A fresh look | March 23, 2012 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

Real Estate - March 23, 2012

A fresh look

Enhancing the view from your windows

by Kit Davey

The view from your windows has a strong effect on a room's appeal and how you feel in the space. By concealing an ugly view or enhancing an appealing one you can create internal peace and extend your interior decor to include the out-of-doors.

See how your views affect you. Walk through your home and look out each window. Note which views are already peaceful and calming, which could use further enhancement, and which should be shielded.

Create a vignette. If you have a window that faces a blank wall or fence, you don't need to keep the blinds drawn. Treat the space like a blank canvas and create a vignette:

* Install a trellis and plant a vine in front of it. Hang a few small birdhouses from the vine.

* Paint the fence or wall in a cheerful color, or create a trompe l'oeil painting.

* Hang several plants, wind chimes or bird feeders from the eaves.

* Install a shelf on the wall or fence and treat it like a mantelpiece: Hang a piece of art or mirror over it (mosaics and oil paintings can last for many years out-of-doors), place several potted plants to either side, and a stone sculpture piece to the other.

* If there is no soil below to plant anything, use the wall space above to display a collection of straw hats, birdhouses, old rusted tools or drift wood.

Block the view. If the view is so ugly that you can't bear it, divert the eye or block the view:

* Install several glass shelves across the window and display a collection of colored glass, or arrange a few pots of ivy on it.

* Install cafe curtains, sheers, shutters or mini-blinds and keep them partially closed.

* Hang a stained-glass window in front of the window opening.

* Place unique artwork on the wall to either side of the window to distract the eye.

* Cover the glass with rice paper.

* Suspend a roll-up bamboo shade from the eaves and hang it outside in front of the window.

* Hammer 10 to 20 nails into the top of the window frame and dangle crystals, sea shells, leaves or little kid's toys from ribbons or string.

* Plant a tree or bamboo in front of the window.

Enhance the view. If the view from your window is already pleasing, make it even better. Let the window become a picture frame and use the view beyond to create a three-dimensional, multi-sensory "painting":

* Use an ornament, such as a birdbath, archway, sculpture piece or topiary as a focal point and arrange plants of varying heights around it.

* Repeat colors from the yard inside the room, or vice versa.

* Include a water element: Fill a low dish with water and add a few stones, place an Oriental fish bowl with water plants in it by a grouping of pots, or get cuttings started in a large, clear glass bottle.

* Don't forget the sense of smell. Plant fragrant plants near windows where you like to hang out.

* Include sound: Place a water fountain, wind chimes or bird feeders for song birds near where you can enjoy them.

* Include unusual objects in your vignettes. Hang wooden clogs from a fence. Recycle an old picture frame: Remove the glass and the mat and hang the frame around a flower pot , old silverware or miniature wooden chair. Furniture, dishware and sculpture pieces that no longer work inside your house can find a new home out in your yard.

Kit Davey, Allied Member, ASID, specializes in re-design, staging, design consulting and professional organizing. Email her at KitDavey@aol.com, call her at 650-367-7370, or visit her website at www.AFreshLook.net.


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