What can I do to make this window look nice?
April 28, 2017 7:28 AM   Subscribe

I have plywood covering a window that was removed from my house. I think it makes my house look like crap from the outside, but I can't think of anything to do about it. Help?

The window in question.

Long story short I recently remodeled my kitchen and turned my pantry into a laundry room. The pantry had a small window that my contractor insulated and drywalled over. I'm VERY happy with the result inside. Putting a piece of plywood over the outside was the best solution my contractor came up with. Unfortunately, my house has cement asbestos siding so finding siding that matches to cover up the outside of the window is t going to be easy. Not to mention we don't have paint to match.

So hive mind, what options do I have to make this plywood rectangle look decent instead of like my house is abandoned??
posted by shesdeadimalive to Home & Garden (23 answers total)
Easy... put in a nice pair of white window shutters like this.... keep them closed obviously.
posted by fingersandtoes at 7:32 AM on April 28, 2017 [18 favorites]

I'm appalled the contractor didn't even slap a coat of paint on that. Bare plywood does not weather well. That job is not finished.

My first inclination is to put art on it so it looks like there's something interesting happening on the other side of the "window" and then cover that over with glass or plexiglass.
posted by adamrice at 7:36 AM on April 28, 2017 [10 favorites]

Paint it white and shutters on top like fingersandtoes suggested. Nice, clean, simple.

Or you could install an HD screen and run ads out of your house for some extra income but the choice is entirely yours.
posted by Tevin at 7:50 AM on April 28, 2017 [3 favorites]

I like the idea of the shutters, but that does not really fit with the style of your house. What if you painted the plywood white or maybe with some kind of reflective paint, then put a stained glass window there? It would be kind of dark, but would look arty.

It's too bad your contractor is done. I personally would have liked to paint the plywood white, then hang a white eyelet curtain there, behind glass in the window that you can open from the outside (for cleaning). But for that to look right you would need to have more space between the plywood and the windowframe than it looks like you have.
posted by OrangeDisk at 7:52 AM on April 28, 2017 [1 favorite]

Paint it, then screw in a bike hook. Solves the bike-in-the-weeds problem at the same time :D
posted by aniola at 7:57 AM on April 28, 2017 [3 favorites]

Mosaic? It could be totally abstract if you don't have the skill or patience for a particular design.

My first thought was actually stained glass, but I wasn't sure how to approach it but I think OrangeDisk has the right idea.
posted by Room 641-A at 7:59 AM on April 28, 2017 [3 favorites]

If you want to paint it the same green color as the siding, you could take a piece of the siding down (even temporarily) and bring the siding sample to a paint store, or big-box hardward store. Ask for "color matching service." The paint department usually has a computer which will analyze the color of the existing paint, and will formulate a color mix that will closely match the green on the siding.

When painting, prime the plywood first before applying color.
posted by Ardea alba at 8:00 AM on April 28, 2017 [1 favorite]

posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 8:12 AM on April 28, 2017

Paint it white, then put up a metal art panel intended for outdoors (example). I imagine many artists would make something custom-sized if requested.
posted by veery at 8:19 AM on April 28, 2017 [7 favorites]

Replace the siding on that wall with wood siding , and repaint to match the rest of the house. Any thing else will look weird.
posted by monotreme at 8:35 AM on April 28, 2017 [4 favorites]

Maybe a vertical garden? Like pic 17 in this article:
Vertical Garden

Maybe with a landscaping feature below it to visually connect to the ground.
posted by bluesky78987 at 8:36 AM on April 28, 2017 [8 favorites]

First, before you do anything, get that plywood covered with something. It is going to rot. Secondly, the three suggestions below are longer-range solutions that are going to take a year to start to be effective. Just ignore if you can't wait that long. But please do something about that plywood! Unprofessional of your contractor to leave it that way, to be honest. Hard to believe that was his solution.

Good: plant a bunch of ivy right underneath. Once the ivy covers the window or that whole butt-out wall area, keep it trimmed so it doesn't cover everything. It IS very fast growing, but easy to control.

Better: plant a couple of large privet shrubs there under the window. I freaking love privet. I just planted about 40 plants yesterday. It grows super super fast and is easy to trim. It creates a thick, lush screen in a couple of years. It does however, lose its leaves in winter in certain zones. If you painted that whole wall, including the window, the same color as the rest of your house, it would look fine even with leafless privet in front if it.

Best: same thing, except yew instead of privet. Super fast growing, lush, and green all year long. For either the privet or the yew, buy big plants, not 12 inchers in a tiny tub. I would get three privets or two yews.
posted by the webmistress at 8:55 AM on April 28, 2017 [1 favorite]

There are salvage firms in most bigger towns and you might find a window to stick in there. Or take a picture of one of the windows that is the same size. Get a good measurement of the interior, make sure you have photographed the part you would see outside. Then go to a good printer and have a print made. Mount the picture of the window in the window, and cover it with plexiglass. If there is not going to be a window there then you can paint the plywood warm, dark, gray, hang a lace curtain, and put plexiglass over that or get a poster frame of the same size. Go to a frame shop and have a split frame made that looks like one of the other windows. Put a curtain behind it, so it doesn't look stark.
posted by Oyéah at 9:26 AM on April 28, 2017

I found a rainbow flag I wanted online and it turned out to be EXACTLY the dimensions of my bedroom window that needed a shade...bonus points for it being the window facing my racist, awful neighbor. Flags on Amazon come in many sizes and types, hanging one might cover this window?
posted by agregoli at 10:41 AM on April 28, 2017

If it were my window, I would find a salvage window that fits the opening and paint the panes of the window black (on the inside of the panes) before installing it in the opening.
posted by sarajane at 3:18 PM on April 28, 2017 [1 favorite]

If it were mine, I would commission a trompe l'oeil painting of what might be visible through the window, like a flowerpot and cat on a windowsill, tied back curtains; something like this.
posted by glitter at 9:55 PM on April 28, 2017

That isn't watertight and is not good for your wall. Seconding that the contractor did not finish the job.
posted by fshgrl at 10:31 PM on April 28, 2017

Is that window cover even caulked? I'd worry about rain and moisture entering the walls on this "temporary" solution. Also, termites and other insect invasions can occur, depending on the type of plywood. Did you give the contractor the final okay on this? Just... no.

So if that avenue has closed, I'd get a better, more weather-proof and insect-proof cover. Then I would see about caulking it and making sure that any additional project does not allow moisture into the space. If artwork or shrubbery create a damp area, that's bad news.

I would replace the plywood with a non-wood surface that can be weather-proofed, and take into account the effects of sunlight and moisture, both inside and outside of the wall.
posted by TrishaU at 10:41 PM on April 28, 2017 [1 favorite]

I looked again at the picture...
It looks like you have sunlight hitting the window at least part of the time (east or west exposure). A dark metal surface will get very hot. We use concrete siding from Lowe's or Home Depot, so some type of cement board could work without transferring heat to the laundry room wall. Ask the staff about the surface needed for a good connection.
Be careful about putting anything in the window frame that can trap ice or snow.

The eaves of your porch would make tall shrubs a problem. Maybe try a trellis in this area, set 12-15 inches from the wall and anchored at the top to keep it from swaying. A nice design will not even need a vine on it to look pulled together.
posted by TrishaU at 10:57 PM on April 28, 2017

For as long as the hole has exterior molding, the only thing I'd want there is a window. So I'd go with a stained glass one and paint whatever's behind it white.
posted by Libelula y colibri at 11:34 PM on April 28, 2017

Remove the window trim, cover the area with new siding, then find a paint color that is reasonably close to your house color, and paint the whole wall. No one will notice the slight color difference, and it will look like there was never a window there.
posted by blue_beetle at 5:41 AM on April 29, 2017 [2 favorites]

First, seal it properly.

Second, paint it roughly the same colour as the siding. Either match the shade quite closely, or deliberately make it several shades off.

Third, decorate: Head over to your garden center and see what they have. Sometimes they have lettering so you could spell out your family name "The WereCats-in-a-Box" or just put up some demi-relief decoration like a couple of stars and a sailboat, or a golfer or a flamingo. For best results these items and the lettering should be plain white to match the house trim.

Whatever you pick to decorate with can be made out of any weather resistant material that can easily be spray painted white, and can either come down if you feel like changing it with the season or stay up year round. It can be neutral, like stars, or seasonal, or political, or highly idiosyncratic. You might be able to find things laser cut out of wood, like lattice, at the dollar store or discount home decoration place, or interesting rosettes out of polystyrene. Also try thrift shops for strange but interesting flat things that can be spray painted white with exterior spray paint.
posted by Jane the Brown at 11:15 AM on April 29, 2017

The only really good suggestion here is deadend shutters.
posted by DarlingBri at 3:41 PM on April 29, 2017

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