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Bathroom Window Solution

 
 
sozobe
 
Reply Mon 4 Apr, 2011 09:04 am
This is a silly problem but it's been stumping me, I think I've gotten about as far as possible with it but I'm still not totally happy with my solution so I thought I'd put it to you smart folks.

My daughter has a bathtub with a shower in her bathroom, but there is a problem.

The door is at the east side of the room, and there is a single window on the west side of the room. The window provides a lot of light not only to the bathroom but to the hallway when the bathroom door is open.

The bathtub is right below the window. The window is about 2 feet wide by about 4 feet high, and starts only about 2 feet above the floor of the bathtub. There is privacy if you're IN the bathtub, but not if you're standing to take a shower.

The window is a regular wooden window with no specific protection against the shower, and if the shower is used, the window gets a lot of water on it. This would be really not-good for the window on a daily basis. I asked the former homeowners (who created this bathroom) how they handled that problem. They said "Our kids just take baths."

Oh.

We've had a regular cloth curtain hanging over the window for privacy (white, it lets a lot of light in).

Sozlet uses our bathroom to shower but as the girly potions mount and she has to schlep them (and towels, and brushes, and) back and forth I have come back to trying to figure out how to handle it so she can use her perfectly good shower.

My current (planned) solution:

The walls of the shower go up around the window, leaving a "frame" of waterproof material, about two inches deep. I plan to use a tension rod to fill the inside of that frame, and then do basically a reverse shower curtain -- a fairly dark print fabric on the outside and a waterproof layer on the inside. It will be flush to the top of the window and the side, and then hang down over the bottom.

I also might use waterproofed fabric or a print shower curtain, but it has to be pretty dark because our neighbor's windows are about 20 feet away, same level, and there are two kids she knows who live there and who she does NOT want to be able to see her showering, even in silhouette.

That's the biggest problem I'm having, is how to keep things private without plunging things into darkness.

I think a tension rod would mean that we could push the curtain to the side when she's not actually taking a shower.

I also thought of two tension rods, one at the top and one at the bottom, holding the curtain in place, but I think the adjustments when she's not showering would be more complicated, and I worry about water pooling at the bottom and causing problems.

The regular shower curtain can be closed to provide privacy for the rest of the bathroom, and that can be very light (right now it's a white voile), so pushing the window curtain aside is acceptable.

(Yikes long sorry.)

Maybe that'll work. I'm still not totally happy with it though, so any better ideas are welcomed.
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Type: Question • Score: 17 • Views: 26,131 • Replies: 71
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Irishk
 
  1  
Reply Mon 4 Apr, 2011 09:20 am
@sozobe,
We have basically the exact setup in a guest bathroom of a beach house. It's on the second floor, but faces the street (eek). I tried the tension rod solution, but unless you can find some that are all plastic, they tend to rust.

I finally put a mini blind up, installed inside the frame. It provides privacy, but doesn't totally exclude some light coming in.
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Mon 4 Apr, 2011 09:24 am
@Irishk,
Interesting. Do you think it'd keep water out too though? I guess I could still do some sort of plastic sheet over the miniblind, if it's installed far enough inside the window...
dadpad
 
  1  
Reply Mon 4 Apr, 2011 09:30 am
Opaque and frosted glass in an aluminium frame?
ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Mon 4 Apr, 2011 09:38 am
@sozobe,
The silhouette problem comes from the lighting inside the bathroom - a very heavy shower curtain on the outside of the shower/tub helps with that. A comparatively light weight but opaque option can be used on the window itself.

Would you able to hang an opaque shower-curtain liner in the tub/shower, along the entire wall where the window is?

That ended up being our solution in an apartment with the same kind of problem. Heavy heavy shower curtain between the shower and room light, then opaque shower curtain liner (or maybe it was an actual waterproof shower curtain?) between the shower and the window. It was a bit odd at first, being completely surrounded by shower curtains, but it did allow us to deal with the window/water problem as well as allow light into the corridor when the shower wasn't in use - just had to shove the heavy curtain aside.
ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Mon 4 Apr, 2011 09:43 am
@ehBeth,
you can test out the silhouette solutions fairly easily

drape a duvet cover or something similar over the shower rod - turn on the light - go out and peer at the window around 10 p.m.

that's how we discovered our silhouette problem - I was coming home from a movie one evening - looked up - saw the silhouette of my roommate lathering up in the shower on the third floor - our nice curtains didn't do much except provide a screen for the silhouette to be shown on
0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Mon 4 Apr, 2011 09:44 am
@dadpad,
I agree with dp re the glass, but I'd put it in the old frame. I used a patterned frosted glass in some windows at my last craftsman house - wonderful. I got them at the glass place in town, which was actually an autoglass place, wonderful in itself. The place had a thick wooden floor that you could drive onto through the 'great' door...

In my case, the main window I remember was in a door between the laundryroom/shower and hallway to the back door and I could simply remove the existing glass and replace it. I think for another one, I took out the window casing and just took it to the glass store.

I suppose every auto glass place doesn't have a lot of glass variety, but some may.
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Mon 4 Apr, 2011 09:48 am
How about using a circular shower curtain rod like they make for freestanding tubs? You just push it out of the way when you want the windows exposed.

We had the same problem in our old bathroom but the window area was plaster. We attached a rod that ran over the top and past the sides of the windows (you want to keep the framing of the windows dry too). I cut about a foot off the bottom of a shower curtain and just used it like a regular curtain. That worked pretty well.
0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Mon 4 Apr, 2011 09:51 am
@ossobuco,
Just rereading -
in my case the silhouette problem wasn't a big deal, as I had 35 feet to the next house and the elderly woman wasn't nosy, just nice. The reason for the glass was that every once in a while I had help with the large yard, always in the daytime, and wanted to feel secure re some vision of me for the garden guy.
But, I see ehBeth's point re the silhouette in certain light.
0 Replies
 
chai2
 
  2  
Reply Mon 4 Apr, 2011 10:06 am
gack, that is an awkward place for a window. 2 feet above the tub?

Going with the opaque glass theme, how about replacing the current window with an acrylic "glass" block window?

We put one in our dining room and it lets in all the light, but provides great privacy.
It took some getting used to. I would walk out in my chonies in the morning and quickly stop, thinking a plain glass window was wide open. I had Wally go right up to the window, like a couple of inches away, and told him to wave his arms, walk around in front of it, while I went outside.
Even when I stood right up against the window, I couldn't make him out, there was no definate outline at all. There were just some random blobs of color and not many of them at that, which wouldn't suggest a girl in the shower at all. Whoever saw it wouldn't know if she was in the shower, or standing a couple of feet away at the sink, if at all.

http://newsfromtheblock.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/10/Colored_and_Frosted_Texas_Pics_P3260211_4.jpeg

http://www.bestglassblock.com/files/photos/tmp/frontendfull_res4.JPG

0 Replies
 
Mame
 
  1  
Reply Mon 4 Apr, 2011 10:08 am
Or you could install a dark blind inside the window for when she's showering, and leave it up when she's not, and do the curtain routine over it.
0 Replies
 
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Mon 4 Apr, 2011 10:33 am
Dadpad, would an aluminum frame be impervious to water? I also worry about the water leaching down in between things and causing problems.

At any rate, that's bigger than I want to go at this point.

The opaque/ frosted glass definitely wouldn't be enough -- that's what the nearby neighbors have on their bathroom window, and I can definitely see them moving around and stuff, but it's a small window and the placement doesn't allow us to see much (no toilet or shower), just the moving around on the way to one thing or another. (They have a row of windows that have a clear view of her bathroom window, including their playroom window, where the kids spend a lot of time.)

Beth, good point about the lighting. I did think briefly about just having her shower with the lights off and saving some trouble, but that's unpleasant, and I'm not sure a heavy shower curtain would be that much different. If there is enough light for her to not be in the gloom, her window would then also need something pretty substantial because of those sight lines. It's interesting though, I'm going to think about that more.

Osso, in addition to the frosted glass problem, the current frame is wood and needs to be protected from the water from the shower.

Circular shower rod is interesting, boomer! It's again probably bigger than I'd like to go right now but it has definite potential. I like the simplicity of it.

The framing of the windows is currently protected by the waterproof shower stall material. It surrounds the window. (It's a weirdly half-assed system -- why go to that trouble and then have a wood window that can't withstand the water from the shower? Ah well.)

I could definitely attach a rod above the window though, which would have the added benefit of most likely keeping the rod above the stream of water from the shower. Hmmm. It'd be so steamy though I'm not sure that would make a huge difference. And in my current working plan the rod is protected by the waterproof curtain anyway.

Chai, yes, very awkward! The blocks are also bigger than I want to go, now, but that's a good light + privacy solution.

Mame, yeah, I'm thinking that might work well. Blinds inside the window, clear waterproof curtain over it.

If I did that, what material would you recommend for the blinds? Bamboo? Plastic? (Metal seems like a bad idea.)
Irishk
 
  1  
Reply Mon 4 Apr, 2011 10:36 am
@sozobe,
sozobe wrote:
Interesting. Do you think it'd keep water out too though? I guess I could still do some sort of plastic sheet over the miniblind, if it's installed far enough inside the window...

The window is recessed a bit so some water collects on the 'ledge'. Tile wraps around it, going from the tub to the ceiling. I always thought it was a dumb place to put a window, but Mr.Irish likes it for the light it provides, plus there are bedrooms on either side with windows, so it would probably look weird (from the outside) to not have one in that bathroom. I just wanted a really low-maintenance and inexpensive solution and it's working well so far. Doesn't get daily use, though, so that's something to consider.
0 Replies
 
ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Mon 4 Apr, 2011 10:46 am
@sozobe,
sozobe wrote:
If there is enough light for her to not be in the gloom, her window would then also need something pretty substantial because of those sight lines.


It depends on the respective locations of the light/shower/window. EG could probably do the calculations easily - but throwing a duvet cover over the shower rod and going out to look at the results in the evening might be quicker.
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Mon 4 Apr, 2011 10:47 am
@ehBeth,
Right, it's worth a try.

And thanks all!
0 Replies
 
boomerang
 
  2  
Reply Mon 4 Apr, 2011 10:47 am
There are companies that make stick on window films that imitate stained glass:

http://www.wallpaperforwindows.com/pc/catalog/eabiscaynepriv-zoom-detail.jpg

While they still let light through I think the pattern would help to break up motion and silhouettes. It's pretty inexpensive and might be worth a look.
boomerang
 
  2  
Reply Mon 4 Apr, 2011 10:54 am
What about a louvered shutter? When she needed privacy she could just adjust the louver. They make them out of vinyl so you don't have to worry about rot. Depending on the size of your window you could do it for $30 or so.

http://www.everythingsimple.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/Vinyl-Shutters.jpg
0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Mon 4 Apr, 2011 11:14 am
True, Soz. In most of my bathroom window situations, the window wasn't in a position where water was a direct problem. But that reminds me, on the Venice remod, I took one of the windows from the "tack on" room that we demo'd and put it in as a clearstory window in the rearranged bathroom, high above the tub. Opened it when showering much of the year just to keep moisture/mold at bay, or used the new ceiling fan. Anyway, that window glass was something like 16" x 42". Moving a window can be an effort so that's probably out of the question, but we did it since we had a good window to use for it and were remodelling anyway. The good effect was that we had nice natural light in the bathroom..
0 Replies
 
DrewDad
 
  1  
Reply Mon 4 Apr, 2011 11:27 am
@boomerang,
You can get plain white frosted, too.

As for waterproofing... I'll have to think.
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Mon 4 Apr, 2011 11:53 am
@DrewDad,
Apropo of nothing, since moving the window isn't a reasonable option for Soz, I still wanted to find a photo of it, and tada, here:

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v722/ossobuco/Rascalinthepot243.jpg?t=1301939398
 

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