Rear Window

Behind our house is a bunch of other houses. This is not a surprise! We’re in one of the “new build” areas in Port Stanley. We’re not here for a big lot and we don’t care much about the immediate view; the beach is a 10 minute walk away. Being a short distance from it is better when one no longer parties heartily. And we were spared the terrible flooding the village experienced last week.

Directly behind us they’re building a row of one-story condos. Those folks are getting a pool but they also have condo fees, unlike us freeholders. Note to self: Make friends with someone in a condo and purchase a new bathing suit.

It’s in fashion to build a one-floor condo with a stupidly tall roof for looks alone. There’s no real usable space up there. But it looks a little more grand for the owners and fits in with the other structures. However, where we once had beautiful blue sky outside our high transom window, we now have a roofline.

There are many ways to cover a patio door with a transom above it. I didn’t want curtains all the way down. It’s just not my preferred look. (Subject to change!) So we hung blackout curtains on the door/window part and left the transom open as a question mark.

Blackout curtains close the patio door to incoming light. The open transom above shows the roof line of the condos being built.
That white thing above the transom is Derek’s beloved projector TV screen!

After the roof went up, We decided to keep our eyes open for a piece of stained glass for the transom. We scoured our favourite antique shops, Facebook marketplace and anywhere else we could think of with no luck. Everything we found was either too small, cracked, or shaped wrong for the rectangular window.

We considered a custom stained glass piece but that’s a lot of work by an experienced artisan. I’m not quibbling with their price – they deserve it. But it was well over our budget.

So where does one go when one has such a challenge? To Google of course. A search for “alternatives to stained glass” brought up a host of ideas. We settled on transferable window films that mimic the look without the price. We thought about covering the entire transom with it but then decided to make it more of an artistic statement than a total covering.

But how?


Our first idea arrived while walking through one of our favourite places, The Ultimate Garage Sale in Lambeth. We picked up two vintage three-panel storm windows for a song. The plan was to apply the “stained glass” and hang the windows in the transom. But we changed our minds when we got them home. There’s too much wood and too little window. It wouldn’t look sleek enough.


In another antique store, I found a rifle cabinet. Hey, you know me and my well-documented love for guns! But seriously, the framed glass doors to the cabinet caught my eye. I measured them and measured again for good measure. They were smaller than the transom but the proportion was right. I showed Derek. We measured again. The cabinet was half price and soon it was ours.

Derek removed the doors and painted them white. I applied the faux stained glass, filled some holes with caulking, and Derek hung the finished product, centred, on chains. We love it. It doesn’t completely block the window because it’s more like a piece of art something nice to look at other than a roof. I knew we’d met our goal when our brother-in-law reached up to touch it. He’s very tall. But he couldn’t believe it wasn’t real until he felt it for himself.

The application process is trickier than it sounds. My first attempt was a disaster. The width was a bit over – my bad – and when I trimmed it against the window I cut in too far and made a mess of it. It’s a good thing I know this about myself and had purchased an extra roll!

The finished "door" hangs in the transom looking to the untrained eye like a piece of stained glass.

I plan to make another one from the other cabinet door. Something that looks completely different. We’ll alternate them.

The rest of the cabinet is becoming a shelving unit for Derek’s workshop. Not much goes to waste around here! Now, all that’s left is to bake cookies for our new neighbours. You know, the ones with the pool!

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