Consider These Windows for Your Home
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Published by TOP4 Team
Windows are taken for granted — they’re opened to let fresh air in, closed to keep out the chill. In fact, these are important, necessary, but secondary functions. Primarily, windows control the amount of natural light that enters a space, and natural light, perhaps more than any other design element, shapes the quality of life.
Natural light, with all its attributes, can't solve all life’s problems, but gives a big boost to health and happiness. Entering through thoughtfully planned doors and windows, natural light illuminates rooms in a soft glow that can relax the body, elevate the mood and relieve stress. You only need to provide the proper openings to let the magic in.
Keep in mind, too, that unlike any other design element, windows provide exterior as well as interior detail. Whether you’re thinking about updating your home or putting on a new addition, you should give considerable thought to windows for design interest as well as energy efficiency.
Consider taking a window tour of the neighbourhood. Get into your car and take a drive up and down the streets, looking specifically at how different styles of windows make building facades more interesting and appealing. You’ll find that with so many options available today, choosing windows is no longer an open and shut case.
Here are some of your window options.
Double Hung Windows
As you drive through various neighbourhoods, you’ll see double hung windows on many older homes. These windows consist of two sections, one that moves up from the bottom, and the other that opens down from the top. The top window is typically fitted out with six small individual glass panes (two rows of three), divided and held in place by wood mouldings called muntins or mullions.
This charming feature, called true divided lights, is imitated today by window manufacturers who provide window mouldings in the shape of true divided lights that snap on and off large glass panes. Curiously, true divided lights represent a purely practical holdover from the past, before modern technology provided the formula for great expanses of glass without dividers.
Another commonly seen window style is the casement. Here, the sash is hinged at the side and opens by swinging in or out. Casement windows are naturally plain but can be fitted with custom grilles or topped with half-round, elliptical or rectangular transom windows to achieve grand and elegant effects.
On your tour, you’ll see that the modest homes take on a character with well-suited window detailing, just as large homes can appear naked with colourless windows.
Stained glass church windows, while too imposing for comfort in residential applications, nevertheless teach valuable window lessons. Their size provides focus; interesting window tops — angles and semi-circles — supply dramatic effect, and the stained-glass art form, again overwhelming for home use, introduces a marvellous window retail — in small doses. Builders sometimes get carried away with too many window styles in a single structure. Discipline and taste should prevail.
A stained glass panel inset in a casement window, for instance, becomes an exciting visual feature that, when coordinated with the angle of the sun, encourages kaleidoscope lighting effects within the space. Capitalising on the art form, manufacturers are producing a line of so-called art-glass insets with graceful stained-glass trims and edge patterns that introduce formal design without interfering with the flow of natural light.
You can create cozy niches for reading or nature watching from a window seat, while adding an architectural detail, with the addition of a bay or bowed-out window. Using this technique in a small kitchen, you can bring natural light into cramped quarters and transform the kitchen from business-only to eat-in, all with a modest 24-inch addition.
A small window installation project provided value that the homeowners appreciate every day and that will reimburse them many times over when they decide to sell.
Square or rectangular-shaped windows that push out from the bottom make attractive windows and door toppers. Old-fashioned office corridors with textured doors (found in vintage detective movies) always had transom windows that opened at the top for ventilation, a style that gave rise to the expression about business coming in unexpectedly “over the transom.” Typically opened by someone standing on a stepladder or using a window pole, transom windows now come motorised, operated from a convenient wall switch.
A spinoff idea on the old-fashioned transom window is to add a row of windows under kitchen cabinets, in the space usually reserved for a backsplash. You may also consider a large window that descends all the way to the sink, with no backsplash except for a few inches.
Natural light from above simulates a natural environment. Skylights, usually casement or transom windows mounted on ceilings or roofs, act like the sunroof of a car that affords natural light during the day, moon glow at night and fresh air anytime. A modern phenomenon, skylights tend to infringe on the character of older neighbourhoods. Also, they must be of top-notch construction or they’ll leak.
Skylights, for all their advantages, are unsightly when viewed from the front of the house and should be relegated to rear roofs only; also, they should be flat. Domed skylights tend to resemble tiny tombs and should be avoided.
If you have already decided which window you’ll use for your home, contact one of the top window manufacturers in Australia today.