Remodeling a rental unit with windows but no view
December 29, 2016 10:49 PM   Subscribe

My Dad has a one bedroom vacation rental which is in a nice location, but has windows that charmingly face a fence 8" away. He resolved this by installing frosted glass in the 70s, which now looks very tired. He'd like to update it and I'm suggesting a "view" of a green wall or more modern privacy glass. Any suggestions?

The fence is literally 8" away and access isn't easy. I was suggesting plant pockets with succulents planted inside, but we'd have to set up some sort of drip watering system so that they can be watered remotely.

Alternately, we could just get more wavy glass - it just makes me feel depressed seeing it.

What would you like in your vacation rental? And any suggestions on how to make it happen?
posted by stewiethegreat to Home & Garden (21 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
What's the climate like? If it were me, I'd just plant some hardy vines.
posted by showbiz_liz at 11:17 PM on December 29, 2016 [1 favorite]

Look into planting bamboo. Or train ivy up a trellis. I've also seen pots attached up and down the fence and filled with flowers. Or consider painting the fence with a mural. I'd rather stay at a place with any of these than with frosted glass, which makes me feel claustrophobic. Good luck!
posted by Jandoe at 11:18 PM on December 29, 2016 [7 favorites]

Frosted glass would freak me out (what's being hidden?). No help on gardening suggestions, but I vote for somehow making the "view" tolerable with a real window.
posted by serelliya at 11:56 PM on December 29, 2016 [2 favorites]

Real windows and weather-proof art to hang on the fence. Totally low maintenance and something I would think was very ok in a holiday rental with that type of outlook.
posted by Thella at 12:06 AM on December 30, 2016 [2 favorites]

Ask a local nursery for low-maintenance plant suggestions that will quickly grow to cover the fence. Install a clear glass window and then install a double curtain with sheers and heavier curtains so that the room gets privacy and pleasantly diffused light through the sheers while giving a filtered view of your plants and fence.

I've rented lots of vacation homes with not-gorgeous bedroom views. I've never cared. I just sleep there. Seeing some green plants through sheers would be much nicer than a lot of things I've seen in rentals.
posted by quince at 12:10 AM on December 30, 2016 [5 favorites]

Clear windows, absolutely, making sure the fence is kept very well maintained. I've seen a similar space entirely planted with large-leaved plants, with a slate grey wall behind and the earth covered in white pebbles, if that look would suit your climate and space. You could also add window boxes with tall plants to break up the view of the fence and have them renewed seasonally by a nursery that offers such services. However, as quince notes, bedroom views may not be all that important to holiday rentals so just a view of a tidy, freshly painted fence might well suffice.
posted by tavegyl at 12:31 AM on December 30, 2016

Plants for sure (no idea what, green stuff. Maybe green stuff that flowers occasionally, i.e. when I'm likely to be there, something with orange-red blooms). And if it's in the budget (well, since you're asking!) - a skylight (multiple skylights! The kind with cranks so you can open them. Although that might be a liability for you... but you asked what we'd like :) ).
posted by cotton dress sock at 1:00 AM on December 30, 2016

Agree you want clear glass and make sure the fence is as sightly as possible (well-maintained, clean). I like the idea of hanging buckets with flowers or plants at intervals.

When I had a window with an ugly view, I hung a large stained glass window panel in front of it instead of a curtain. I attached it only at the top of the window frame with eye hooks, so if anyone wanted to see the 'view' they could tilt it up.
posted by Mchelly at 4:46 AM on December 30, 2016 [8 favorites]

I like Thella's suggestion of weather-proof art. If you put an object to focus on, the backdrop becomes less important. (I'm presuming this is a wood/solid fence rather than chain link.... Though I think you could get away with it on chain link as well, just trickier.) Grandin Road has outdoor wall art, to give you some ideas.

I would strongly discourage bamboo because it's notoriously invasive. Your future self and your future neighbors will curse you for it.

Since it doesn't sound like an appropriate place to do heavy-duty gardening, I do think it would be good to make sure that your side of the fence is clean and the ground between the fence and the house is well-kept and tidy.
posted by Sublimity at 4:46 AM on December 30, 2016 [3 favorites]

What kind of fence? Solid wood, chain link, etc.?
posted by pecanpies at 4:57 AM on December 30, 2016 [1 favorite]

Hire someone to paint a trompe l'oeil mural on the fence, perhaps of local scenery like beach, mountain, woods, desert.
posted by mareli at 5:25 AM on December 30, 2016

Wait, do you mean 8 inches away? Or 8 feet?
posted by mareli at 5:28 AM on December 30, 2016 [3 favorites]

One place I like to stay, the owner took chunks of driftwood and painted them in bright colors to resemble fanciful fish. It's a little arty, a little beach-kitschy, but always makes me smile. Just an idea. I agree that a clear window with something fun to look at outside is much better than frosting.

1x "shelves" with locally collected shells might also be nice (if this is at the beach. I just realized maybe it's not. Adjust for location).
posted by Miko at 6:01 AM on December 30, 2016 [1 favorite]

Look into planting bamboo.

Please be extremely cautious with this. Bamboo is invasive and can crack foundations.

I would be inclined to put in rows of slim profile Vertical Garden Planters with succulents and hardy beach grass. They are easy to affix, and the dirt needed is not enough to be heavy; if you have any reach out your window at all, you can get them into place even with just plain nails.
posted by DarlingBri at 6:33 AM on December 30, 2016 [4 favorites]

If it's really 8 inches, not feet, you could do something like this with either clear or colored glass pieces. I'm planning on using clear pieces on my bathroom window.
posted by mareli at 6:50 AM on December 30, 2016 [1 favorite]

I might put stained glass panels in myself (but then I do stained glass myself and love the look of it -- I know not everyone does.) Stained glass has a high-end, timeless look that would be a nice change from the dated frosted panels, and you can choose a style/image that suits your decor and the apartment.
posted by orange swan at 7:17 AM on December 30, 2016

Not all bamboo is invasive. Check it out.
If he owns the land between window and fence, could it become a compact courtyard, access from front or back, with paving stones and potted plants?
Apologies if I missed something by skimming the above.
posted by Skipjack at 7:28 AM on December 30, 2016

I would totally do fence art, something like metal (or this dragon!) or some kind of interesting air plant habitat (no watering), or even just mount one or more steel garden trellises.

Anything you put out there would need to be screwed down securely and no great loss if someone steals it.
posted by Lyn Never at 8:41 AM on December 30, 2016

Clear glass with slider.
Sheer curtains with colorful garden decorations on fence for interest..
Slider window makes it possible to water succulents or hardy plants,
if you so desire.
More light with clear glass and sheers, fresh air available, visual interest with curtains open, it's all win.
posted by BlueHorse at 9:52 AM on December 30, 2016

Clear glass for sure. Waterproof art and/or mirrors and plants or something fun to look at on or near the fence if it's wooden. If it's not, vines for sure.
posted by Bella Donna at 11:08 AM on December 30, 2016

You could also do something like this japanese lattice on the exterior to make the window less about the view and more about just letting light/air in.
posted by ctmf at 12:34 PM on December 30, 2016 [1 favorite]

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