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kitykat44

Offshoot of POYO... privacy and the small home

kitykat
11 years ago

Worked in the garden for hours yesterday... today is gray and rain will come. So, as I sit and read the posts, cup of tea in hand, I think about the issue of 'privacy'. Moccasin recently talked about the privacy that shutters provided while in her study/office. How important is privacy to others who are reading this?

Those of us living in an urban/suburban setting have neighbors close by. While I require light and views to the garden during the day, by night I close up tight. The windows have 2" blinds or pleated shades, some top down/bottom up, that control views, both inside and out.

But what about when outdoors, working or sitting on the patio? I have ranch houses, like mine, on both sides, but behind are a two story and two splits. I don't like the feeling that neighbors are able to watch me, looking down, as I work or relax. The 6' fence helps on the sides, but trees, small and large, make ALL the difference during the growing season.

I think about huge new houses, all 2-story, with walk-out lower levels... and their large respective tree top decks. How many are really used? Who wants to relax outdoors with your 6-8 closest neighbors privy to your every move?

Do others agree, and what are your feelings about privacy???

Comments (31)

  • TxMarti
    11 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I want my privacy too. I can't stand picture windows because of that. I feel like I am in a fishbowl when I'm in a house with a picture window with curtains completely open. I have blinds on all windows so I can have light and a little privacy. I prefer sheers over front-facing windows because I think it's the ultimate in light and privacy, but dh hates them. I keep the blinds pulled up in windows facing the backyard though. I close up tight at night too.

    My backyard is completely open to neighbors with just a chain-link fence. I've been planting shrubs along the line so that one day I might be able to walk outside without all the neighbors seeing and their dogs barking at me.

  • Shades_of_idaho
    11 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    We have close neighbors and are right on the street. I have sheers in the living room and lace in the kitchen. I also have the shade cloth across the front porch. So that gives up all the privacy we need even with sheers and blinds open. Summer time I have lace in master bath and bedroom. I usually will pull the blind down if in there at night. The way our house sits up high it is almost impossible for some one to see inside unless they come right up to the door or climb up to the window. The dogs would pitch a fit if any one even started across the yard.

    When I was on the porch with out shade cloth and people walked or drove by they would wave. I think that is a good thing.In the yard I am mostly exposed to public view. I am working on growing vines on fences. Not that it bothers me people can see me. I just like the cozy feel of a closed in yard.

    Some day there might be houses on the hill above us,. Hopefully by then the pine trees I have planted will be tall enough to create privacy in our yard.

    Guess I do not worry too much about privacy. Even with out the shade cloth I just had the lace on the glass front door. But then we are in a tiny town compared to most of you. Still waiting on the census report for final figure. Last census was 176 or some thing like that. And many have passed away or just flat out left.

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  • young-gardener
    11 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I always look at the privacy factor when we tour new homes. In fact, we found a fabulous courtyard style house that I ruled out because the neighbors were on top of it.

    Where we are now, I can stand in the bedroom and wave to my neighbor who's in her kitchen doing the dishes. I don't like that. On the other side, our kitchen window is very close to our neighbor's carriage house, which her daughter occupies only part of the year.

    One of the things I think about while planning renovations to the house and yard is building private spaces. I have a great need for that. I think it comes from working in a classroom full of kids all day. At night, I need some space of my own....quiet space.

  • User
    11 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Ok, a little humor here. When we put up the 7 foot tall wooden privacy fence on the north side of our house (did it in installments) the neighbor on that side, both strange but him even moreso, started getting on his hip roof to blow leaves off...even when there were NO leaves, and he would stay on the side by our house for over an hour. He is our problem neighbor. The other day, while DH was cutting tile with the saw set up in the back yard, and I was in the closet on a ladder hanging the wire shelving, he was there again. At dinner, DH and I laugh and wonder just what it is he is so curious about. I like the clerestory (high on the wall) windows because they let in light and maintain privacy in both the bath and the closet of our master suite. I like shade cloth, because from the outside it is pretty but really opaque even when a light is turned on in the room at night. Big expanses of glass look like gaping caverns at night and it makes me feel exposed and "on stage." I'm uneasy with that, even though the privacy fence totally surrounds our property now. Our neighborhood has had several breakins this winter, but not our house. It was the subject of a neighborhood meeting the city held about a month ago. I think that keeping what goes on at your house out of view helps deter crime, because a burglar does not know what to expect behind that fence. I also do not let anyone know when we are coming and going, sometimes I park the car behind the fence so it looks gone, and then I come out in the yard to be seen. I also vary the direction I take coming and going down the street. I am not a creature of regular habits anyway, so someone who wants to hit my house will be hard put to know what I'll be doing and when. Plus, I have very erratic hours of sleeping. Sometimes I stay up all night, which was my old schedule working on the boats, and I slept from 7-11 or 12 noon. Then I took a brief nap in the afternoon. I did that for most of 20 years, and revert to it on occasion. There is something so private and pleasant about walking around the garden in the moonlight when everyone else is asleep. Or to be awake in the wee hours of the morning and see lights come on as people rise to get ready for the day. Pleasant.

    I like to choose plants which will create a screen without becoming a high maintenance problem. Like a hedge. If your neighbors are up high and can peer into your little fish bowl, if the climate is right, you can plant things like clumping bamboo. It can get 20 feet tall, and keeps its leaves year round. Cold climate? Look for the kind that is cold tolerant. Clumping bamboo does not run and create a problem for you. Also, to gain privacy in some areas of your yard, a gazebo with curtains or lattice will work. Up close to lattice, you can see through it quite easily, and the air flows nicely too. But from a distance, the lattice pattern obscures what is going on behind it. Think about framing a boundary of lattice around one side of a patio.
    And if you have 2nd story neighbors, a big umbrella tilted can help screen you also. Also the top of a gazebo, and you can do the latest thing with outdoor curtain panels. I'd use canvas painter dropcloths which is a lot cheaper than Sunbrella, and you could paint it with your own design. When they look ratty, you can use the old curtain panels for rags, or to cover your tender plants or wash the car.

    My most favorite window covering is the plantation shutter. It becomes part of the house, an asset that stays long term, and looks good too. Curtain styles change, and sun wreaks havoc with the fabric even when lined. But put a shutter on your windows where folks live close beside your house, and keep them tilted a little in the daytime, you get the light, but they cannot see in. (Unless YOU happen to live in the 2 story house).

    I'm also careful about putting out shipping boxes when something is delivered to our house. Got a brand new HDTV?
    Wow, expect some company while you are gone, and don't expect the TV to still be there. And lock the car. And keep the front door locked even in the daytime. When you are old like we are, thieves think they can run right over you in your own home. Even be aware when you park at the big WalMart. LOOK at the people around you.

    Hmmm, that was one corollary of keeping private. In an urban and suburban setting, it is not as easy as in a rural setting, or small town setting. I'd say, know your surroundings and protect the information about your private life. As in WWII, the saying is "Loose lips sink ships," and some well meaning friend or neighbor could let drop, "Oh, they are out of town for two weeks."

    And the other evening at dark, we had a "solicitor" come to the door. Jacket on said ADT, the security system, and he had a clipboard. He wanted to know if we had a system. DUHHHH, no ID at all. I said yes, but not ADT, and he said why did you drop them, I said it was in the house when we moved in, but we changed to another company that had their system in our previous house. I was curt, and that was it. Next morning a friend who'd moved out of town stopped over, and was talking about how our neighborhood had changed, and I mentioned this solicitor. He said they'd turned the man in to the police because he was canvassing the entire part of town, and had no license or permit. So....was he canvassing for thievery? Possibly.

    I think these days playing your cards close to your chest is a very good idea.

  • oldgardener_2009
    11 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Privacy is the reason that we built our house where we did.

    We can see no houses from any windows of our house, and we can see no houses from anywhere in the yard.

    We don't even have our windows covered because the trees outside are our "drapes."

    This was after having lived in a fishbowl for 10 years...will never do that again.

  • flgargoyle
    11 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    We've lived in dense suburbs for the last 30 years. The houses are 12' apart, and back yards are tiny. The result is that everyone has huge privacy fences, and neighbors aren't very, well, neighborly. My wife grew up in NYC, so she keeps the blinds closed at all times. Despite being a safe neighborhood, everyone keeps everything locked up tight, except one neighbor who leaves his garage door open 24/7 (???)

    As most of you know, we are getting close to building a home out in rural SC. We won't be able to see other houses, and they won't be able to see us. If anything, I hope it isn't TOO private! I don't know if my wife will ever get used to opening the blinds, but we'll try. The house I grew up in in CT was rural, and most of the windows didn't have drapes, so I'm used to it.

    Sadly, crime is everywhere these days, and there is a lot of theft in rural areas. We will have to lock down securely at night or when we are out. Sigh...

  • lavender_lass
    11 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    My mom has a small yard in a small town, with some wonderful neighbors...and one that's not so wonderful, but is getting better. Arborvitaes make a nice living fence and arches, with honeysuckle and clematis, break up the open areas...where the fence is shorter. If you have the room, lilacs make a great shrub border, too.

    Jay- As for living in the country, get to know your neighbors and as mentioned earlier, don't tell anyone, if you're going out of town. Move the cars around, like ML does and change the order in which you park them. FYI- Everyone has extra cars in the country (I guess there's space to park them) so you'll probably end up with a few 'works in progress'. That makes it hard to know how many people live in the house.

    Another thing to think about in the country...the police are not going to get to your house very quickly. You will be 'on your own' in many respects, so plan accordingly. I don't know how you feel about self-protection, but get some big dogs, baseball bat, or whatever else will even the odds, against people trying to break into your home.

    That being said, I love the open space and that most of the time, our biggest problem with 'the neighbors' are the porcupines, racoons, and occasional skunk. Our human neighbors are pretty good. The ones closest to us, are the rural neighbors everyone wishes they had. The husband and his father in law, have actually been down in our well, with my husband, at 1 am, trying to figure out how to fix it. They also showed up (this time husband and 16 year-old son) the Christmas morning a few years ago, when our hay barn collapsed, under the snow.

    So, be safe, confuse the passers-by, get to know your neighbors (and hope you have good ones) and protect yourselves and your property. Big dogs that bark a lot are a good start. We have horses, who will chase unknown visitors, if they walk through our pasture (great for keeping out hunters)....but it's the same idea :)

  • User
    11 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    In reference to the law getting to your house in time, I'll add the remark made by the neighbor who moved away and came by to visit the other day. He moved to Texas. (One of his sons lives in his house here.) He said, living in Texas, that when a trespasser came on the property, you could just shoot 'em and not have to worry about dragging them across the threshhold as far as the law was concerned. Not in the more cosmopolitan Dallas, but a little north of Houston close to Lake Conroe.

    He has acreage, not a "lot." And he has motion detection security camera on the entry gate area. Plus, signs of private property, etc. And he can access his camera on his I-Phone......which he loves, by the way....he whipped it out to use while we were chatting, finding a website right then. Now that is an interestin thing to me, because to look at him, you'd never know he knew what modern electronics were. But maybe his 4 sons educated him. Nice man but a little off the beaten path for the suburbs.
    :)

  • graycern
    11 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I liked my privacy. Our first home was a new-build. I hated our tiny backyard because there was a whole line of 2 storey homes behind us that looked down on our yard. Being a new house there were no mature trees to give privacy and the fence did not stop people from looking into our yard from the second floor. Whenever I was in the yard I felt very exposed. We put in a patio, while our neighbours put an elevated deck up. Honestly, we could see everything as their deck was above the level of the 6 ft. fence. It was like they were on a stage. We never really spent much time in that yard because I just didn't feel comfortable.
    When we were looking for our current house the privacy of the yard was very important. We do live in the city on a subdivision lot but we found a lot that has a ravine across the back. Only our neighbours on either side could possibly see into our yard (neither has an elevated deck so the fence provides good privacy). We invested in having a nursery plant larger size, more mature trees which have added to our privacy. Because we have more privacy we tend to spend more time outside now.

  • User
    11 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Bravo, Grayce. Well said. It tells what effect lack of privacy can have on the way you can live in your space.

    Those larger trees are costly, but if they shelter you from view, give you a sense of enclosure, then that pays for itself.

  • camlan
    11 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I live in a 1920s two family home in an city. The houses are 10' to 15' apart. Just glancing out my bedroom windows, I can see into the living room of the lady next door and see her TV on the far wall and read the words on the screen. Obviously, I don't do this deliberately, but it's hard to avoid looking at an entire wall of the room every second I'm in it.

    Privacy is an issue here and it is interesting to see how everyone deals with it. Being on the second floor is a big help. My bedroom is the most private--I have very full sheers on the windows, which gives both me and the lady next door daytime privacy. I have roller shades which get pulled down every evening when I turn the lights on.

    The living and dining rooms have 2" wood blinds. During the day I open the slats and at night I close them. Sometimes on cloudy days I will pull the blinds up to get more sunlight in the rooms. I'm lucky that the house that faces my house on that side has almost no windows that can see into my living and dining rooms and that the occupants tend to keep their blinds closed 24/7.

    The bathroom has both window film and a curtain that stays closed. The kitchen has short tiers and longer side panels. At first, I just had the side panels, because I figured, what the heck am I going to be doing in the kitchen that needs to be hidden from sight? But my kitchen windows look directly into my neighbor's kitchen windows and I have surprised him more than once by bopping into my kitchen after dark and seeing him there in his boxer shorts. The short tiers stay closed all the time and solve that problem. (Although the last time I saw him in his kitchen, he was wearing a new bathrobe. Maybe that is his solution to the problem of me.)

    My study has those honeycomb shades for light and heat control. They are open until the lights come on at night.

    In my neighborhood, there's clearly several different approaches to privacy. The houses are close enough to the street and sidewalk that if you are walking down the street after dark, you can see easily into the houses if the lights are turned on.

    There's one group of people who don't care. There's little to nothing on their windows and you can see the entire interior of their house.

    There's a group of people who care a lot. They install shades and blinds when they move in, close them and leave them closed.

    And then there's people like me. During the day, with the lights off and with screens on the windows, people can see maybe a foot or two into your house. So we open the blinds and shades and let the daylight in. But at night with the lights on, your house becomes a fishbowl. So we all have shades or blinds or shutters or drapes and we close them at night.

    The lady in the house to my right has roller shades on all her windows. They are precisely pulled to exactly half-way down the window and they stay in that position all the time. Except her bedroom window, where she pulls the shade up and down depending on what she's doing in there.

    I have a lovely back porch, which is overlooked by at least 12 houses. I have those Coolero shades on one half of it, which gives me enough privacy so I don't feel on display and also blocks the UV rays so I don't burn. Win/win.

  • User
    11 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Camlan, you've obviously given a lot of thought to the privacy issues.

    In our front bedroom, there is a pair of fairly long windows facing the street, and a pair on the north wall facing our nosy neighbor. I love light, and have the materials to add to the ceiling/floor wall-to-wall curtains on those two walls the top-down roman shades. I will make them myself according to the instructions from terrelldesigns.com

    The top-down roman shade can be super private. Like in your upstairs bedroom, you could lower them just enough to let the sunlight in and reflect off the ceiling. You would not have to lower it enough to even see your neighbor's windows, but maybe see over her house to a patch of blue sky.

    They also make roman shades that are top-down and bottom-up, if you have a window sash you want to crack open for some fresh air.

    I'd seen the ads for the Kooleroo, but what I bought instead was a 100' roll of 90% shade cloth. I also have a pair of grommet style 96 inch long Waverly Sunbrella outdoor drapes. I'm thinking of mounting a wrought iron rod along the north side of our deck, outdoor weight hardware you know, to pull closed when we are sitting out there and the nosy neighbor on that side shows up on his roof. It would also make the outdoor shower a bit easier to use as well. Giving my pets a shower is easier outdoors, but I end up needing one as well.

  • Nancy in Mich
    11 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    We bought this house because of the privacy of the backyard hedge. It is on a corner lot in a suburb, so there is a long run of 4 ft chain-link fencing that borders a sidewalk. Bad for dogs, and we have dogs - three. One is a Beagle mix, who likes to bark. One is a hound/setter mix, and he likes to chase. When we moved here we still had Meggie, and she could be a fence fighter in the right mood. This house was attractive because there was a hedge inside that fence. We did not know it until we moved in, but there was already a wire farm-fence on the inside edge of the hedge, keeping the dogs away from the sidewalk totally.

    We had looked at maybe a dozen houses. Ones with internal lots (neighbors on both sides, plus the back) seemed like a huge temptation for dogs. If the neighbors did not have dogs or kids to bark at, the one on the other side might. Or the next person to live in the house might. The back side of the house we live in now faces the side of the garage of the neighbor on the side street. That means they use this side very little. They keep their garbage cans there, but they are neat. There is a "hedge" of thin trees that completely blocks our view of that house when there are leaves on them. We can just barely see someone at the side of their garage even in winter.

    Our only real shared side of our lot is the side we share with the second house on our block. Only one person there speaks English. They keep blinds drawn, and their windows are situated so that they do not line up with our kitchen window, our only window on that side. They have grand kids and other family who sometimes visit and use the back yard, but I only ever notice them a couple days a summer. Our patio has a couple of panels of privacy fence that keeps us from viewing each other unless we go onto our grass. For a suburban lot, we have a lot of privacy. I think that is why we don't know any neighbors. In our older small house, with its 1950s picture window, you saw everything that happened outdoors in front of the houses across the street, and they saw you. We neighbors were quite close and visited often and had two events each year when we all got together to celebrate. In our current house, we don't even use the library/music room much, and it is the only room with windows facing the front. Overall, this house has a shortage of windows - one per room, for a total of seven windows.

  • kitykat
    Original Author
    11 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Moccasin... thanks for my laugh of the morning!!! I can just picture you 'drawing your curtain' as the neighbor mounts his roof, blower in hand. A couple rounds and he should get the message...

  • TxMarti
    11 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Chris, I don't mind being seen when I'm on my front porch either. I miss people sitting out and visiting on the front porch in the evenings.

    ML, your neighbor sounds like the typical sitcom nosy neighbor. I can just picture him up there on the roof pretending to blow leaves off.

    Once, when we lived in a triplex, our living room window looked out into the backyard of the other two units. When their kids were out playing, they would come to our windows and just stand there looking in. I began keeping the blinds closed all day. They were strange neighbors in so many ways. I don't remember what country they were from, but they moved in with no furniture. None. They never shut their blinds and their sleeping bags were in full view. And their bathroom window was next to our front door, and the man often sat on the toilet, fully dressed, while he read the paper. I didn't look on purpose, but when it's right there, it's hard not to see.

    At least they weren't wearing boxer shorts, camlam. lol I think your short tier curtain idea is great, and the plantation shutters that ML mentioned. I would really like to open the top half of my blinds and leave the bottom closed, but since they are blinds, I can only adjust the tilt, which works too. Thanks for the link to the top down roman shades ML. I might try those some time too.

    I think there are different types of people too, and add in the introverts and extroverts. I grew up in a house with a huge picture window in a small living room and my mother has always kept it wide open. I think that's why I have such a aversion to open drapes and picture windows. But mom loves to be seen and loves that people drive by slowly to look inside the house. Creeps me out so much at Christmas that I sit in the dining room while everyone else is in the living room opening their gifts. Ruining her Rockwell Christmas I guess. And the weird thing is that when I was a little girl, she pulled me outside one night to show me that everyone could see me inside my room and that is why I need to keep my drapes closed at night.

    grayce, the tall trees do make a big difference. Several years ago we had an above ground pool with a deck at a level close to the top of pool. We had no large trees near it, a chain link fence around the backyard, and no door to the backyard, just to the side. My youngest dd hated swimming and going in & out with no privacy anywhere, and I did too. And you are right, everyone was on stage on that deck. Since then, we've removed the pool, added arbors around the deck, planted trees and shrubs along the fence line, and moved the door to the back of the house. It's still open a lot more than I'm comfortable with, but it's getting better. The saving grace of our yard is that there is no one directly behind us. I keep forgetting to appreciate that.

  • pam1892
    11 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I was googling 'refrigerators that aren't deep' and stumbled upon this website. I am a small home owner, 1-1/2 story house built in 1892 about 960 sq. feet. A small kitchen, small everything, almost no closets, no attic, only storage is in a small, crumbling basement. I do love my original red pine floors though. And I do have a deep yard but the neighbor behind us likes to sit out there for hours facing our way. Installed some pine trees back there 5 years ago and this winter the middle one died and will have to be replaced in spring. As far as the neighbors on either side who are closer I'm fortunate to have a 13 foot tall privet hedge on one side that we lovingly maintain. It's about 75 feet long. One day the neighbor suggested removing it. What??? No way buddy! As far as windows, I like lots of light so keep all the curtains, blinds, shades open all day. I can't see in through the neighbors windows during sunlight so I figure they can't see into mine either. But at night, I close them all. Wish I could live on an acre or more but can't afford that right now.

  • TxMarti
    11 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Welcome Pam. Your house sounds great. I'd love to see pictures sometime.

  • User
    11 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Hey Pam1892, you have a really great house which probably has a lot of character. That neighbor behind you who sits there looking into your back yard is probably appreciating the restfulness of such a big and deep space. Or anyway, let's hope that is what his motivation is. BTW, did you find any "refrigerators that aren't deep" around here? :)

    If you had more closets, they'd probably be small ones too, like the rest of your house? With the work we've done on our house recently, we are about 40 sq ft larger than you, and about 50 years younger....the house, that is. What zone do you live in for gardening? If you really want something that can get big, do what my DH did years ago, and that is plant the Canadian hemlocks. And as an idea, you might want to plant another row in front of the 5 you have, put four in that row, to sort of stagger them, and each will tend to contribute to a "forest" look. When we have pines down here in Alabama, we wind up with lots of great pine straw (needles to folks in other parts of the country), and that makes first class mulch for azaleas and camellias.

    If you are not too too cold, the ligustrum plant can be a great hedge. I have several huge old plants that I limbed up to create nice shade beneath them. Some folks don't like that they will bloom in the spring and attract lots of bees, but I like that they are evergreen, make small trees, and add some more privacy above the 7 foot privacy fence.
    We have shutters on that side of the house, but I seldom close them (unless the contractor is working here) day or night because the ligustrum does such a good job.

    One other thing about the habits of neighbors. The lady who lives across the street keeps her blinds closed ALL the time. But if she is going out, she turns on the porch light. If she goes in someone else's car, she leaves on a light in the living room and the front bedroom, but turns the porch light on as well. I know the clues, you see. If she is waiting for someone to come pick her up, she will open her front door, locking the full glass storm door as she waits. All I need do, is check her lights and know what is going on. Personally, I have no discernable habits, even as to where I park my car. But I always keep the front door locked (guess that IS a habit). My dear little dachshund girl is the best alarm system we could have. I do not fuss at her for announcing the presence of people, I simply do not encourage any aggressive behavior beyond that.

  • kitykat
    Original Author
    11 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Another welcome for you, Pam1892! What Moccasin said about a second row of screening is great advice. Even a third row of lower 4-5' flowering shrubs would be nice.

    I do not easily tolerate nosy neighbors. 25 years ago, I had a neighbor (the houses were 16' apart) whose kitchen/dinette/morning room had view of my bedroom/office area. I had been painting the rooms and assembling new bookcases, readying all for new window coverings. She came out while I was in the garden and asked what all the changes were... said she couldn't figure out what I was 'building'. STOP THE PRESSES!

    I changed my plans on window coverings and got double cellular shades for the bedroom, with semi-opaque on top and blackout for night on the bottom. In the office I got those window shadings that are like fabric blinds with sheer layers on both sides. They can tilt or close up tight. That woman would never be privy to my projects again!!!

    I feel the front yard of my home is public space, but from the building line back...that is private.

  • TxMarti
    11 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Sometimes I think I'm the Mrs. Cravitz of the neighborhood, but I never look in anyone's windows or try to look in their backyard. I'm just trying to be aware of what is going on in the neighborhood so I know when something or someone is out of place. I guess there's a fine line there, but I agree with you, the backyard is private. I think that's what bugs me so much when my neighbor comes to the back door instead of the front.

    kitykat, your neighbor was just nosy! lol What kind of blinds are fabric with sheer layers on the sides? The bad thing about blinds is that someone standing close can see between the slits even when they are closed.

  • User
    11 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Marti, if someone showed up at my BACK door these days, I would be rattled and alarmed and probably angry. But when I was a child and we'd first moved to Mobile, it was a custom that was accepted, and in fact expected that all "service" people should know. The maid always came to the back door to go to work. The milkman left the bottles on the front steps, but the yard man (if lucky enough to have one) came to the back door, hat in hand. I think this habit survived longer in the south than elsewhere in the country. To me, it seems like a remnant of the 1920s and goes with the old homes of that era.

    Being aware of what goes on in your neighborhood is a good self-defensive measure. But making comments to that neighbor about what they see INSIDE YOUR HOUSE is just not polite. I believe I'd have reacted the same way you did to a neighbor's inquiries, Kitykat.

    That being said, my 85 yr old neighbor across the street came over yesterday to see what we'd been doing here. I had to make sure she did not trip over the drop cloths and power cords all over the place. I was a wreck with my hair in an untidy ponytail to keep from painting it too. But she was curious, and wanted to see what we were doing THIS TIME.
    As often as she sees me unload lumber and paint from the car, she knows something is going on. So I stopped to give her a tour of the master suite and show her the progress on the Teahouse/Garage. It took long enough to do this that I only had time to cut in the color coat on the walls of the master/back bedroom. Today is a sunny day,, so it should go faster for painting today.

    One reason I had clerestory windows installed in the north wall of the master closet and bath was that nosy next door neighbor who gets on his roof to see us over the fence. Plus, I wanted to have good true northern light where I could locate my African violets and other plants which love a constant indirect light and humidity. Once I paint the bedroom, we'll see how the ambient light survives. I wish I had known about Shades' way of cutting the intensity of paint before I bought the wall paint for this bedroom. It is Behr CLASSIC TAUPE, gorgeous in the can, but now it is going on much darker than I'm happy with. DH liked it, which is why I agreed to try it. I'd wanted the gray/lavender color of Behr SMOKED OYSTER, but surrendered on that color. I'll finish the first coat, give it a couple of days to dry and mature on the walls, then see how my chocolate dupioni silk lined drapes and the normal bed linens look in the room against the wall color.

    Now, back to work.

  • kitykat
    Original Author
    11 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Marti- The blinds in my former house were Hunter-Douglas 'Silhouette'. They were $$$$$, but that was a former life, a former time, former everything. Couldn't afford them in 'this life', but I am totally happy and have all I could want.

  • Shades_of_idaho
    11 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    EEEKKK on the back door neighbor. Since we have four doors on our house, one on each side, I am not totally sure which is the back door. I am going to count the master bath door to the dogs yard as the true back door. The house sits wonky to the street and what is supposed to be a side door is the front door and the front door is the courtyard door. So what is supposed to be the real back door is the side door ad it is accessible easily to the street. I do not care for people to come to that door because it opens into the laundry room and looks right into the guest bath. I could be caught with my pants down.

    Soooooooooooooo I doubt any one will try the dog yard door and that is good because it is a direct entrance to our bedroom.

    I think part of my not being concerned with open windows is the three houses on our one property line are vacant right now. When the one owner does come up and spend the night we can look into each others kitchen windows. I can see her easily so assume the same for her to us. BUT we are much higher up. When the snow is gone I will test it like Marti's Mom made her do. LOL

    When we lived on the main street once I had lace curtains I left drawn all the time. In the day they provided privacy and at night I just let down the dreaded mini blinds and called it good.

  • ae2ga
    11 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    It's very interessting to read how other people deal with privacy. Once upon a time, for many years, we lived in a duplex that was less than a block away from the beach. And while the idea of living at the beach seems great, in real life, it was horrible because there were always people (read strangers) coming and going. The front of the house sat right at the sidewalk, with large windows on either side of the front door. People walking by would look straight into the front rooms.

    I bought window film - the decorative kind - that had flowers on it. I covered the lower half of the windows. The window film looked kind of like stained glass, and was quite pretty with the sun coming in the windows. Still lots of light, but, finally, privacy which was great.

    I have a friend from Holland who once told me that there, houses are very close, but, as a child, she was trained to never look into someone's home because it is rude. The difference, she told me, is that here (in the US) many people don't have the same sort of privacy etiquette. An interesting idea.

  • TxMarti
    11 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I was taught not to look in other people's houses, not to walk on their yards, or touch anything belonging to others. Somehow, through the years, people quit teaching their children how to behave. I always thought my kids were ill-mannered until I saw how other kids behaved and then I thought mine were pretty darn good. Still, I don't think I harped on things like that with my kids. When I'm driving down the street, I like to look at houses to see what I can do to make mine look better, and if the curtains are open and I'm looking at the house, I see inside.

  • pam1892
    11 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Thanks for the welcome! I'm happy to report that someone on one of the other threads was able to steer me to a possible refrigerator solution. Marti8A I'd post a photo or two if you could give me some quick instruction on how to do that. Kitykat & Moccasin, that's a great idea about multiple layers of screening - thanks!

  • TxMarti
    11 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Sure. Open a photo hosting account at photobucket.com or flicker.com (or any other you find) if you don't already have an account. It's free & easy. I prefer photobucket so I'll describe how to do it there, but flicker is very similar.

    You'll click the Upload now button, a window will open and click Select Photos and videos, and then browse the pictures on your computer to find the one you want to load and double click it. Once the upload is complete, Save and Continue to my album, go to the photo you just loaded in photobucket. If there isn't a list of html codes under the picture, hover your mouse over it, and the list will appear. Click on the one that says "html code" and it will copy it. Come here, open a post, or reply to a post, and paste the code in the message box.

    It sounds a bit complicated, but once you've done it, you'll see it's really easy.

    Load your pictures to your photo hosting account, and

  • TxMarti
    11 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I thought I erased that last line. Just ignore it.

  • desertsteph
    11 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    "He said they'd turned the man in to the police because he was canvassing the entire part of town, and had no license or permit. So....was he canvassing for thievery? Possibly."

    very possibly. I used to do the licensing in a nearby town. those going door to door were considered 'peddlers' and needed licensed also. for them that involved a police background check - fingerprinting and they had to carry a photo ID badge. That I made for them. Surprise - one day when I went home for lunch - to find one at my neighbors painting house numbers on the curb. Imagine his surprise that I didn't believe he had a license... lol! If he did I'd recognize him - and he would have recognized me. I called the city PD to come check him out/run him off. our city was serious about keeping strangers/unknowns out of the neighborhoods-they encouraged people to report anyone suspicious in the area, including anyone going door to door who could not produce the photo ID card.

    privacy:
    at this point, my bedroom window faces my tv/computer room window... my front door faces my back door - lol!

    living in the country on over 2 acres, I don't worry a lot about who can see in. I usually sleep with a section of my bedroom curtains pulled back.
    I'd move into the new place with no window coverings except the bedroom - those windows I'd want covered while sleeping.
    my boy used to be cabled out front close to my window so no one could get near it w/o me knowing. temporarily he is penned in the back while work is being done.
    I'm sure i'll end up with something on every window but it's not a priority right off. It will be by June - to block the sun/heat tho.

    outside - I don't think too much about being seen when I'm on the land - there aren't that many people around me yet - and about half of those in close view are gone during the day. but I will be having new people to the west of me - I'll be planting numerous trees on that side very soon. probably 4 fast growing evergreens! it's more that I just don't want to see them than concern that they see me.
    The number of homes close to me (w/in 5-15 acres) has tripled in the past 12 yrs!

    on the back and west side I'll have to put up some sun blocking coverings for summer time. In the summer I'm closed up pretty much (from the sun/heat). Late Oct thru late May I like things pretty open- except on the very windy days when dirt is blowing everywhere.

  • pjtexgirl
    11 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    My DH is bad about "displaying" our TV in the living room. We are going to get a new one soon and I gave him another sweet reminder that the dogs are a last resort. He's gotta close that drape at night!
    I lived in a very rough part of LA for 4 yrs. There were 4 attempted break ins WHILE WE WERE HOME. Home invasions are very real. Good thing folks don't like getting attacked by a small pack of protection trained dogs.(The training is to get them to stop/hold back on command. Dogs are naturally territorial.) A couple thugs left "souvenirs" such as a crack pipe and pieces of clothing. I never found any bodies or parts so I'm guessing they just got a good chomp to the ***.
    Calling 911 was a waste of time for us and the thugs didn't call animal control to admit they were attacked while breaking into someone's home. We had a sort of a Mexican standoff going the entire time. It's also important to note we were church going, law abiding citizens. No drugs,drug money or guns. The thugs might have tried harder for more than low end electronics and jewelery.

    I've since moved to Burleson, TX and have lovely neighbors. There were a couple daytime break ins of folk's homes while at work. There were no home invasions or serious crimes here. My neighbors are so nice I almost feel guilty about talking about it. I use cardboard to cut down on mud in the kennel when the dogs need to go out, so no worries about the HDTV box in the recycle. Not everyone wants 50lb+ dogs in the house, but if you have a dogs anyway, wash them up and let em in the house, they might just save you some money and maybe your life.

  • TxMarti
    11 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    We're in a great neighborhood, but still had an attempted break-in - while we were home.