SoulMate and I live together, play together, and work from home together in a two bedroom apartment in Atlanta. We see each other twenty-five hours a day and, even though she’s the love of my life, sometimes I like to go sit on the porch by myself and enjoy the solitude.
There is no solitude.
Our apartment building is set up like a large square. The units with the fancy people on the outside of the square get sweeping views of the city and/or ghetto, while us dregs on the inside of the square all face each other. That means my porch looks directly in to about twenty other apartments, and all of their windows look out onto my porch. It’s a little like being on stage, and it is certainly not relaxing.
I am going to convert this porch into a man-cave by somehow closing it in. This is where I need Doper assistance, as the only idea I had to do this is on the verge of striking out.
Let me describe this porch as best I’m able:
I am saying porch to make myself feel better; what we really have here is a recessed balcony. Imagine a rectangular chunk cut out of the side of our building and you’ve pretty much got it.
The porch’s floor is shaped like a rectangle, 54" deep and 86" across. There is a metal railing, flush with the side of the building, that keeps you from tumbling out. From the ceiling to this railing is 72" while ceiling to floor is 113".
When you open the door onto the porch, you are on one of the short edges of the rectangle and all eighty-six glorious inches are laid out before you like a tiny little gray carpet going into the world’s most mediocre awards show. To the left is the inside of the apartment square and the railing; straight ahead and to the right are the walls and windows of our own apartment.
Yes, it’s tiny, but it’s mine!
So, as you can “see,” my porch has one very open side that faces way too many people. I want to be able to selectively close this side off while I’m out there. Ideally, the covering would totally obscure the entire open side, but any open space between the railing and the floor can be overlooked if necessary.
Privacy and the ability to move the covering aside are the primary concerns, and in that order of importance. I do not want people to see me when I am sitting on my porch. Frankly, some of the people in my apartment complex are batshit crazy and have taken to screaming at me while I’m out there. Not in a mean or threatening way, don’t get me wrong, but it’s still really weird and does not help one relax at all. One girl just stares at me. Just sits and stares. I have never seen her blink, and believe me, I’ve been watching for it. Another one narrates everything I do, while calling me “cracker.” For example: “Hey, cracker’s reading a book! Cracker’s having a beer! Cracker got a new chair!” It’s awkward.
One notable neighbor simply stands naked in front of her window and watches TV for hours on end. My wife has assured me that I don’t like this, either.
I want to be able to move the covering aside or otherwise out of the way when I’m not out there so that SoulMate doesn’t go nuts.
Anyway, I had the idea to simply put some roller shades up there. Problem is, there is no such thing as an 86" roller shade that I can find - there’s a gap between 72" and 96" with nothing in between and no option to cut them down (the rolly bits are too close to the edges on every model I’ve found). I have several calls out to custom window treatment shops trying to get an 86" set made, but I think they’re going to come back pretty expensive.
I am not sure if getting wooden 96" blinds and cutting them down would work or not. The mechanics of it are fine; I’m positive I can lop 5" off of each end with a fine-toothed hacksaw, I’m just worried about the slats warping afterwards with the exposed ends there to soak up moisture. I guess I could dunk 'em in sealant afterwards.
I could easily be overlooking a more obvious and elegant solution. Do you guys have any better ideas for how to create a (re?)moveable privacy screen over the open side of the porch?