Walking around at night in Amsterdam you appreciate the enormous windows on the front of every building. You can see inside most of them, and see Dutch people eating their dinner, or reading a book on the sofa. Someone told me that the reason they have no curtains on their windows is religious and/or cultural: they are not doing anything that they are ashamed to have the whole world see. I wonder too, if this Dutch tendency is why the prostitutes in the red light district also stand in windows. Caterina Fake
This trend is also true for Denmark and to a large extent, France. I grew up where curtains were either non-existent or used merely for decor but never to keep people from seeing in.
There is a certain sense of community that grows when you can see lights, activity and people inside homes/buildings. I love walking the streets of Paris and seeing people eat supper or walking in a little town in Denmark and see someone playing piano. I also confess to loving the ability to see how people decorate!
When I lived in Vancouver, British Columbia I noticed that the people in the West End tended to not use curtain either and I cannot tell you how many decorating and paint ideas I got from walking home from work through my densely populated neighbourhood.
However, living in American cities such as Seattle, Nasvhille, Santa Monica, Austin and having been to many homes throughout the country, it has been my experience to note that most often curtains are hung and drawn leaving the outside world, the views and the people – blocked out. For me, it really affects how I feel about a neighbourhood when I can never see anyone or anything.
I adore curtains but for aesthetic reasons. I love fabrics and having the pool around the windows onto the floor. But I very seldom ever have them closed – even when I lived ground level beside a main walkway and side walk. Weather is probably the only thing that’ll make me close them – to keep the heat/cold out.
In Carmel by the Sea the multi-million dollar homes very seldom have curtains and if they do, like mine they’re never closed. People want to soak in the view and the sun here and it’s been great to peak around the streets and see all the amazing interiors. I only have curtains in the office/bedroom and kitchen here but the living room is wide open. And I like it that way.