Archive for Wednesday, April 18, 2001

Let the sun shine in

Whether remodeling or building, consider dramatic window design

April 18, 2001

Of all the details to consider when remodeling a home, few have more lasting significance than the windows and doors.

Windows and doors are the only products that affect the appearance of both the inside and outside of a home. Their imaginative use opens the home to the light and beauty of the outdoors, adding dimension to interior spaces and style to the exterior.

Building or remodeling a home is the perfect time to explore window trends and possibilities, considering all available options before making a selection. The right window decision can be a lasting source of pride and pleasure.

To help guide the window selection process, here are some tips and trends from the custom home building experts.

Let the light shine in

According to custom homebuilder David Simonini, president of David Simonini Custom Homes, today's homeowners are clamoring to add more light to their homes.

"People today are very light sensitive. They want a lot of light in their homes, especially with the trend toward 10-foot and higher ceilings," said Simonini, who specializes in building high-end custom homes in Charlotte, N.C.

Award-winning, Evanston, Ill.-based architect Stuart Cohen agrees that today's homeowners want windows, and lots of them, to take advantage of the positive psychological effects of natural light and the way windows can add to the quality of a home's design.

"Windows should be used in a way which relates to the space in a room and its views," said Cohen, of Stuart Cohen & Julie Hacker Architects. "Used properly, the visual quality of a space changes throughout the day, and windows capture the ongoing metamorphosis."

Cohen says today's higher ceilings allow architects and builders greater freedom to use windows of various shapes and configurations to complement the extra height.

In addition, he uses windows to create cross ventilation, and in traditional home designs, he uses windows to 'top light' a space, as a dormer.

Getting started

One of the first window selection decisions homeowners need to make is what kind of material to choose. For lasting satisfaction, the experts recommend wood. Wood's natural beauty and warmth, even when painted, offers a quality and appeal no aluminum or vinyl material can duplicate. And, wood is a superior insulator 1,500 times better than aluminum or steel making wood as practical as it is attractive.

Next, take a look at the various styles, shapes and sizes available. A wide selection of sizes, shapes and styles is important because of the flexibility they add to your design options.

Beyond materials and sizes, Cohen recommends consumers should understand how a window performs.

"Window performance, the life of the window, the longevity of the cladding or exterior, as well as methods of thermal spacing and glazing on glass are critical elements to consider when choosing a window manufacturer," he says.

With today's technology, there's virtually no limit to the environment that can be created in a new home with windows. Nothing can add such beauty to a home inside and out as carefully placed windows and doors.

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