Thursday, March 3, 2011

Basement Window Solution

This is the story of a tiny egress window and an old swivel rocker.  If you have a walk-out basement or daylight windows in your basement, you may as well stop reading now.  (And by the way, I'm slightly envious.  Just slightly.)

Anyone else got one of these tiny windows in their basement?

Yup, that's what we have.  And it's the ONLY WINDOW IN THE BASEMENT.  Thankfully, it's nicely trimmed, but it butts up to the soffit and looks out onto the air conditioning unit and some dormant sedge plants.  It's also on the southwest side of the house which means the furniture takes a direct hit from the sun during late afternoons.

The window is on a long wall and since there is a triple bookcase on one end of the wall, it leaves a large blank space that has been hard to work with because of the soffit and the hovering window.  Which brings us to the swivel rocker.  It belonged to my husband's great-grandmother, and it's moved with us through our various living rooms then to the office and finally to a spare bedroom.  Finally, I start whispering "Craigslist" and he won't hear of it.  So it lands in the basement, floating between the bookcases and the window.  Ugh!

Several years ago, I had stuck some short white curtains on that tiny egress window.  It cut back the sunlight to protect the furniture and gave us privacy, but it just looked dumb to have curtains that stopped above your head.  What I really wanted was full length curtains.

Remembering how Thrifty Decor Chick used contact paper on her pantry door, I thought I'd try the same thing on the window.  Learning from her experience, I cut the contact paper to fit the window first rather trying to trim it with a razor after adhearing it.

Then I soaked the glass with window cleaner and peeled off the backing.  The contact paper will glide on the glass like a gold medal figure skater.  

Using a plastic pot scrapper, I pushed the bubbles from under the film.  I started in the center of the window and worked to the sides, catching the liquid cleaner as it oozed out.

Now we have soft diffused light AND privacy!

Next issue: Adding visual length to the windows.  I made several trips to ReStore looking for shutters.  Originally, I wanted big creamy white plantation shutters, but when I found them, they were either the wrong size, broken or outrageously expensive.  So I broadened my search and found these brand new exterior shutters still in the box for only $15.

Not quite a perfect fit, but close enough because I'll be adding panels to cover the sides.

In order to continue to keep the cost down on this project, I reused the old curtains that used to hang in our hearth room.  They were really too short for that 9 foot tall room, so I replaced them during the recent makeover.  Since I'd be hanging them at the ceiling in the basement, they were still just a little too short.  But they are cheap, unlined curtains, and they have big rod pockets at the top.  To let them out, I just ripped out the top seams, hung them upside down using the bottom hem as the new rod pocket and rehemmed the top (which was now the bottom).

Are you still with me?  Good. 

To complete the wall, I "shopped" my own house for accessories, using an old lamp from the backroom, some of my own photography that I had used to decorate my office at a former job, a wooden storage box from my craft room, and an afghan made by one of my great-grandmothers.  And the end results:

The reveal was a big success with Mr. Tallgrass, who immediately proclaimed he really liked it, which is rare. 

The cat likes it too.  :)

I'm linkin' up...

Transformation Thursday Chic on a Shoestring Decorating > Funky Junk's Saturday Nite Special UndertheTableandDreaming Savvy Southern Style


  1. My basement windows are the exact same! The previous owners had short cafe curtains hung there - and I've never moved them. I'm filing this away for when I finally start working on the basement!

  2. What a super cute idea!! I am very much impressed with the shutter idea. I wouldn't have thought of it, but it makes it look exactly like a full sized window. What a smart solution. Thanks for linking this up!

  3. Hi there! What a clever idea. Thanks for linking Flaunt it Friday! :)

  4. what a great solution-it really looks like a much bigger window! and your cat is adorable-she/he looks just like mine. is it a russian blue?

  5. No, he's just a stray cat who decided to move in with us when he was a sickly kitten. My husband had a Russian Blue as a child, so we get that question a lot!

  6. Great great idea! I love this! You really transformed that corner into a great space and I love your step by step instructions. I will be sharing this with friends who have the same issue and never seem to know what to do with those little windows. Thanks for sharing at Inspiration Friday At The Picket Fence! Hope you'll be back soon with some more great inspiration!

    Heather @At The Picket Fence

  7. I LOVE this! Its FAB!!! Come on 'ova and share this at my Linky Par-Tay!



  8. Hi Heather,

    We just wanted you to know that you will be one of our features this week on Inspiration Friday! Post will go up tonight! We thought you would like to know. Thank you again for submitting this post, we loved it!

    Heather and Vanessa

  9. I love this idea! I found your blog at Between Naps on the Front Porch. You have such great ideas and I'm your newest follower! I'd love it if you'd follow me back:
    Again, you did a fantastic job with this!! :-)

  10. What a fantastic idea! I don't have a basement, but in a house of mine I had an off-center window in the master bedroom. My husband worked nights so we had to be able to darken the room during the day. I bought a pair of blinds and then hung an extra-long curtain rod and then the curtains and voila - looked like a double window which nicely complemented the bed in front of it! I'm a new follower and would love it if you'd follow me back - I'm just getting started so don't have a lot posted yet, but I'm workin' on it!

  11. so cute! the room looks very cozy and warm- I love that you dressed up the window! We used to have a basement with those kinds of windows, but they weren't finished off nearly as nice. You're lucky for that! Thanks for sharing this at Transformations and Treasures!

  12. Thank you for linking up this great post last week! {Im a lil behind, eeekk!}

    Its party time AGAIN!!! xoxokara



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