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DECOR SCORE- The Eyes Don't Have It PDF Print E-mail
Written by Rose Bennett Gilbert, Creative Syndicate   
Thursday, 19 April 2012 02:34


Creating a bathing beauty — no blushing necessary — decorative glass window allows light, foils voyeurs.

Q: The tub in the master bath in our new house is in the corner between two windows. We don't know what the builder was thinking, but my husband thinks he should be punched in the nose. We have to keep the blinds down because our neighbor's deck is just across the drive. What else could we do?

A: Those problem windows also may be the solution to your privacy problem.

There are a number of ways to ease the, ahem, pane of your builder's unfortunate furniture arrangement. For openers, who says all glass has to be see-through? Not the inspired scientist who invented electrochromic glass aka switchable glass or smart glass. Flip a switch and a mini-electric charge changes the glass from clear to opaque just in time to spare one's modesty.

Designers love using electrochromic glass in hip new hotel rooms and as stall walls in cool restaurant restrooms, where it never fails to titillate the occupants. Never fails to start conversations, either.

Artist Diane Fairburn has a more elegant answer to unwanted exposure. In fact, she recently changed her studio's name to Decorative Glass Solutions to better explain the practical magic she can work with glass.

Hate having passers-by peering in through your entry's glass sidelight (in Diane's book, that's a "naked entry")? Need more light in a small back room? Want to close off the WC from the rest of the bath without leaving the toilet in the dark?

Diane's answer — use glass — is perfectly clear. But not the medium itself. The glass she works with may be beveled, leaded, stained or patterned; there are some 40 different textures in the studio's vocabulary, from polka dots to allover leaves.

And when it comes to original stained glass, Diane says, "I can design and draw anything." (She fell in love with glass as a 16-year-old and studied at Virginia Commonwealth University before setting set up her studio in 1979.)

In the masterful bath we show here, Diane conjures "Ocean Wave," an original design in leaded glass that affords privacy "and still lets in the beautiful light," she says.

The last word is the best: No construction is involved. All Diane's glass creations are designed to be installed over existing windows. "No sawdust and mess," she promises. To see more, visit

Q: Afraid of color?

A: It's a common malady, robbing the timid of visual stimulation and a great deal of emotional joy. We mean, who gets a heartthrob looking at beige?

Certainly not the three winners of the 2012 HUE Awards, awarded earlier this month by — no surprise — Benjamin Moore, the mega paint company. These designers truly live Technicolor lives.

French-born interiors artiste Muriel Brandolini now lives in New York, endlessly experimenting with layered colors and patterns. Partners Carl D'Aquino and Francine Monaco — he's the interior designer, and she's the architect in the New York firm D'Aquino Monaco — are renowned for their unexpected color and pattern contrasts. Partners in life, too, Peter Exley and Sharon Exley head up the Chicago company with a name that should instantly banish all fear of color, Architecture Is Fun.

Also honored were three "emerging designers" picked by House Beautiful magazine as "The Next Wave": Timothy Brown and Jon Call of New York and Jill Goldberg of Boston.

Rose Bennett Gilbert is the co-author of "Manhattan Style" and six other books on interior design.