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Creating a Window Prettier Than Its View

November 28, 1998|JOHN WOODEN | John Wooden works at Harte Brownlee & Associates in Newport Beach. (949) 548-9530

Question: A room in our condominium has several windows. Unfortunately, they overlook a recently developed apartment complex that is rather unsightly. What should I do?

Answer: When decorating a room with lots of windows, it's best to take advantage of the view or mask it by incorporating interesting window treatments.

I recently designed a home that was faced with the same challenge. There, I recommended that the owner stay away from draperies because they were too formal for the house, and shutters would have created a closed-in atmosphere.

The solution came in the form of "fretwork" window panels. These are custom window coverings that resemble latticework. They come in a variety of textures and colors and lend a sophisticated and creative element to a room such as yours.

For my client, the architect made use of a diamond design in the exterior of the home. To achieve a level of consistency, I incorporated that same detail in creating the window treatments. I designed the panels accordingly, and they were constructed of wood and finished in an antique crackle lacquer, which lent a weathered architectural look.

The result was a garden room filled with plants where the sunlight filters through the fretwork panels and the focus is on the interior, not the eyesore next door.

Do you have a question about your decor? Send questions to Home Design, The Times Orange County, 1375 Sunflower Ave., Costa Mesa, CA 92626, or e-mail to

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