Windows into My Shop/Laboratory?



That photo you see above is from the Polite Pig down at Disney Springs.  It is basically a window'd box that has inside a butcher's counter, supplies, and at least one big smoker where they smoke many of their fine meats.  And....let me tell you...they have very fine meats. I had the brisket sandwich that was served with pimento cheese spread and crispy onions.  

Anyway, the windows.  Yeah...they've put this window setup right in the queue where patrons line up to order their food.  It is kind of a show kitchen of sorts.  At the time we were there, there wasn't anyone working in there, but I can imagine a cast member/chef cutting up brisket or pulling pork or what-have-you in there.  

For a long time, I've been fascinated with these windows into workspaces.  You see them a lot in restaurants, but you also see them on cooking shows or science shows.  Where they have a 'lab' next to/adjacent to the stage that sort of serves as a visual cue that important 'stuff' is happening in there.  

And in planning my shop down in the basement, I've tooled around with the idea of incorporating windows into the setup.  My shop is going to be right to one side as you come down the bottom of the stairs.  So, step off the stairs and turn right and you head towards our rumpus room.  Go straight and you open the door for our mechanical room.  Turn left and you'll enter my shop.  In order to separate the shop from the rest of the basement, we need to put up a wall and a door to the shop.  That wall is about 13 feet long.  The shop itself is going to be about 25' long, but one of the current walls of the mechanical room make up that other 12' difference.  If we put a 36" door in with casing, that leaves the better part of eight feet of wallspace left.  

What about putting in windows?  As a way to kind of 'look in' to the shop?  The ones you see above - and see in various kitchens - are fixed windows.  But, there are all sorts of options and because they don't really have to match anything, I could go to the 'returns' section of Menards and see if any custom windows have been returned.  They usually mark those down by like 70%, so I could get a nice window for just a few hundred bucks.  Now...it might be a double hung.  Might be a casement.  Might be a slider.  Who knows what they'll have.  

What would be awesome is if I went with safety glass.  You know...the kind of glass that you see in commercial applications that has the wire mesh sandwiched in between the glass?  Like this?  

The shop has no natural windows, so I wouldn't be getting light in there any other way.  A few windows would provide access to *just a little bit* of natural light that the rest of the basement enjoys.

Or, what about a vintage window?  Could be a leaded glass window like these on Craigslist?  (pasted screenshot of that listing below in case it disappears and they're sold by the time you read this or the listing expires.)

Those would be sweet, right?  I mean...there are definitely downsides.  One is the wallspace that they would eat up.  If I was thinking of mounting anything on the wall there, I'd be limited based on the windows being there.  Also, I am not somebody that has a 'showroom' shop right now.  (But...once the wall goes up, I'm going to work on it!)  So, having these windows there would allow people to 'see' into my shop.  That's part of the design, right?  But it also is potentially a drawback.  If the shop is a mess...and we're having people over?  Maybe blinds are the answer? 

The other issue is cost, of course.  The windows above are $100 a piece, but if you look at them, there are broken panes and the glass is wavy.  Would I be getting 'too cute' and end up with a mess of a situation?  I could always just rip out the windows, install some framing and then just drywall over the opening if I hate it?

The clock is ticking...as the wall is set to go up in the coming weeks.  Time to decide on a window strategy.

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