Design: Rose Cottage – Choosing the opaque glass for bathroom windows

How do you make a decision on how the replacement window's glass will look when the current bathroom is making you vomit?!

There are a tonne of decisions to be made on any house renovation, and if you aren’t that experienced then these decisions should be made (a) before the job starts and then (b) stuck to, thus ensuring few increases in costs and a smooth running contract. One advantage of having a project manager / interior designer is that they are used to making all these decisions and should  be able to make them quickly and competently, because mostly, they’ve seen it all before. I’ve had clients who chop n change their minds and won’t make decision until it’s way too late, and it’s just a nightmare, costs rocket, and tempers fray.

Today’s decision (well, one of them!) at Rose Cottage is all about windows and the type of glass to choose. All the damaged and faulty upvc windows are being replaced with custom made timber frames, with the smaller ones – the bathroom, the top of the stairs, and the two in the living area having four panes of glass as below. The bathroom window will have an opener, one vertical the full height, and the other three (top & bottom of stairs & under the stairs) are fixed.

This window is where the dining area will be, tucked under the stairs

The two smaller windows on the ground floor face out onto the road / areas where people can walk, so we need to bear in mind privacy otherwise nosey parkers will be watching Hannah scoffing her muesli every morning, security so passers-by aren’t checking out what’s in the house, and also light as we don’t want blinds to be permanently closed due to the first two factors.

Tommy, who is now busy making the windows (we couldn’t order the windows until we had listed building approval and then of course as soon as we got it, it was all systems go Go GO!), has asked for a decision to be made immediately on the pattern for this opaque glass, and for the windows to be guaranteed the glass has to be from the Pilkington range. We checked firstly with the Listed Building team to check there was no recommendation from them, and the answer was no, which really surprised me. I found it strange that they were concerned with the appearance of , for example, a 4″x12″ ventilation duct which was going in the external wall, but weren’t fussed if we chose the most hideously patterned glass, and believe me, there were some which just did not float our Georgian cottage boat…….

Arctic, Digital, Mayflower, Taffeta and Everglade - No,no,no,no,no

So back to the drawing board, or back on the web and I checked out the Oriel collection from Pilkington, but these were far too busy, and the client called them grannyish:

Brocade, Laurel, Ravenna, Canterbury

So what to do? A few years ago I renovated a house where the large North facing sash windows faced onto the street and the students in the house opposite could gaze into the room, which was going to be my bedroom, not good. So I had a company make cut some window film to the size of the window, with an oval cut pattern. ‘Scuse the dire temporary curtains below, I haven’t many images of this house, pre the digital age! The film was fantastic, we didn’t have to close the curtains during the day, yet the room was still light and private.

North-facing sash windows with Brume window film for privacy

For Rose Cottage, the client was concerned that this film would look too modern, but this image showed her that it really would work with the Georgian style cross timber windows:

Image from

So we’ve decided on physical sand-blasting to the downstairs smaller windows to emulate this look above, and this will be done to the Pilkington toughened glass before the windows are fitted, as they come complete. I think with the right dressing inside they will look lovely.

For the bathroom, we’ve asked Tommy to leave all the panes clear, not because the client is a naughty exhibitionist, but because I’d like to use window film on just the bottom two panes, as no-one except Spiderman would be able to see in the top two. It might be nice to have a delicate pattern on these lower panes to fit with the shabby chic feel for the interior: But what on earth were they thinking with the whole over-turned bin view??! Pattern a bit too grannyish again? - Let's go dotty? by Emma Jeffs - funky but still shabby chic!

Decisions ticked for today then, just got the problem of the front elevation collapsing now……

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