I have recently had new sash windows fitted in my bathroom and decided the best solution to the privacy issue was etched glass. It looks good but there’s no doubt that living with a constantly milky light is already beginning to be a bit annoying. Getting the balance right between light and privacy in our London homes has always been an issue. The Victorians decided to go for privacy but the Edwardians wanted to create a much more light-filled life-style – but how to achieve it?
Basically they still juggled with the Victorian three element treatment of window dressing: curtains, lace and blinds, but with greater economy. The picture shows what looks like a contemporary treatment but the simple pole and ring rail with full curtains and matching blinds would have been a common Edwardian solution. What I find interesting is that in both eras blinds were very popular and indeed, even in the Georgian period strip wood roller blinds were common. The Edwardians liked blinds in roller or Venetian style in cloth or indeed wood and French Pinoleum became a household name. Used mainly for conservatories today, Pinoleum is made from thin strips of wood sewn together, which makes it flexible and very rollable – the best factories were in France, hence the name.
I’m not sure anyone has solved the problems of privacy versus light yet – I certainly haven’t – a handy hedge is pretty good on the ground floor but for an upstairs bedroom? – any ideas?