When B and I first set foot in this house one of the things that I fell in love with was how much natural light was brought in. There are five large windows that face the west and five windows that face the east so really at any given time there is an abundance of light being brought in to help liven things up. However, when the sun goes down, there isn't light being brought in but rather wandering eyes from passerbys.
So before we even moved in we stopped by the house and measured all of the windows that faced the west (aka the front of the house facing the street) so we could find some shades that could give us some privacy. We weren't worried about the five windows facing the east because those windows face our backyard and well, I guess we don't mind if anyone from that angle can see in. So off to my favorite home improvement stores I went and surprisingly I came up with nothing. Apparently the measurements of our windows aren't that common so there wasn't a lot of options for us in the store unless we wanted to do paper shades (B was totally okay with this, for the record) or do custom shades (our wallets were totally not okay with this). We don't really like the look of blinds and we wanted something hung inside our windows so we could keep the nice white trim visible.
So, at Home Depot, I was finally able to track down the only budget reasonable shade which I had to order online. We went with a Bamboo Roman shade in Dark Cocoa. So $250 and about a week later our blinds came in and we were able to hang them (with the help of B's parents) the day after we moved in. They were beautiful hung up, they fit nice and snug inside the frame and we really loved the color, and we liked how they still brought in a lot of light (something I didn't want to lose).
Unfortunately, once nighttime hits, every passerby can see right on through our living room. Here is a shot with the far right shade pulled up and the center shade all the way down. If we had our TV on you could probably tell what we were watching. It was a little disturbing but also a little bit of a downer. I wanted the best of both worlds - lotta light, lotta privacy.
So we brainstormed for a bit and left the shades as they were for a couple of days. We thought about returning them and finding something better, but that would mean a lot more money on our part or settling for standard white blinds (ick). I thought about getting fabric and somehow adhering it on to the back of the shade, but I wasn't confident this would go as planned and didn't want to risk ruining a shade. So then I thought, how about hanging a tension rod behind the shade (underneath the bracket) and hang sheers from behind? Sheers, when bunched together, are surprisingly private and pretty inexpensive. I stopped by Walmart and picked up a handful of sheers in Clay Beige for about $8 each. We didn't know how many we would need because we didn't know how bunched up they would need to be to get the privacy we were after. I also got a tension rod for each window ranging from $2-$5 each.
The sheers (not surprisingly) didn't come in the length we needed them. So thankfully Nana offered to stop by and hem them up for us. Here we are with the sheer laid out ready to be cut - (notice the subtle striping in the sheer, we liked).
Then it was only trusty Nana hands that handled the sheers after they were cut. I have never sewed in my life and I wasn't about to begin learning with fabric that liked to slide all over the place. In order to get to this point we measured from where we were hanging the tension rod (51 inches) then while leaving room to have a hem we cut the sheers off at 55 inches. Then Nana pinned and sewed the hem up to three inches. We decided we would use the Nana hem at the top and the factory hem at the bottom where we can see it. She took no offense to this decision, it actually helped her be less stressed about making it super perfect.
yes, this photo is instagramed.
Then it was my job to hang and bunch up the sheer fabric. Oh, I forgot, we ended up needing a total of 13 sheers, so we added about $100 more dollars to our initial shade budget. Which still falls a lot lower then custom shades, but definitely higher then we would have liked to spend. But shades aren't something we will be redoing frequently so I feel in the long run we made the right decision. Anyways, here is a shot with a shade up with the sheer behind.
Here is a shot with a sheer behind both shades with both shades down. It's kind of hard to tell but see that orb of light in the left sheer? It's the light coming from our yard lamp (still not sure if that's the technical term, but whatevs). See how it's less bright in the bottom picture? The sheers are working!
Here is a shot from outside with the sheers up and the shades halfway up. Even with the shades up it gives really good coverage. Also nighttime pictures are super icky looking, sorries.
Here's a shot with the sheers on the three left windows and the large shade down without a sheer and the far right shade all the way up. Just to show you the before, the during and the after.
Overall, we're happy with the results. Eddie can walk around without his sweater on and the neighbor dogs won't even know. Success.