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Window panes on chains hang out at a new home

Claudia Schmutzler once used them to enclose her porch. Now they frame a neighbor's deck.

August 29, 2009

Back in 2000, an L.A. Times story explained how Claudia Schmutzler turned her deck into a California version of a classic New England enclosed porch thanks to wicker chairs, a rustic sideboard and windows hung on chains at one end, finishing off the homey vibe.

Schmutzler eventually decided to move, taking the windows down and stowing them in the garage of her new home in Corona del Mar. But now the windows have reemerged from storage, and with some fresh white paint, they have been recycled for the new deck of friend and neighbor Dinny Shryock.

Schmutzler anchored the tops of each frame to the pergola above; the bottoms are secured to the deck handrail below. The extra anchoring means the panes can be kept up year-round, even in bad weather. Schmutzler says the design has endured heavy wind storms with no problems.

"What's fun about them is that they create a sense of privacy, but you don't feel enclosed or claustrophobic," says the designer, whose business is windsordecksandgardens. She says gardeners could experiment with variations on the look, planting vines that curl around the chains and panes.

Originally, the windows were leftovers from a construction project. Schmutzler suggests going to supply warehouses and looking at the "boneyard" -- the section for seconds, customer returns, discontinued lines and other orphan merchandise. And though Shryrock's look is neat and tidy, someone seeking a more bohemian design could used mismatched windows or vintage pieces to create a completely different feel.

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