Win­dows • Tran­soms • French doors

Old House Journal - - Design - | By Mary Ellen Pol­son

Glaz­ing— the glass con­fig­u­ra­tion cho­sen for win­dows and doors—can trans­form in­te­rior en­vi­ron­ments by bring­ing in light and by open­ing or con­ceal­ing views; glass al­lows con­nec­tion be­tween in­te­rior spa­ces and to the out­doors. Mod­ern glaz­ing sys­tems, deftly used to­gether with de­sign that con­sid­ers proper pro­por­tion and com­pat­i­ble style, make it pos­si­ble to reach for the sky while re­main­ing firmly shel­tered in­doors.

Win­dows may be the eyes of the house, but that doesn’t mean that they are al­ways in the right place or that we like every­thing they show us. That’s why a good de­signer or ar­chi­tect con­sid­ers sight lines not only when build­ing new but also when ren­o­vat­ing his­toric houses.

“If the view is the paint­ing and the win­dow is the frame,” says David Heide, a Minneapolis ar­chi­tec­tural de­signer who works ex­ten­sively in his­toric restora­tion, “think about what’s be­yond the open­ing that still aligns with the rules of the house but also makes sense ex­pe­ri­en­tially when you’re in­side look­ing out.”

Just as it makes sense to add glaz­ing (if it had been lim­ited) when the view is of a lake or a moun­tain, it also makes sense to re­move or oth­er­wise con­ceal a win­dow that gives a prospect of, say, a build­ing topped with con­certina wire. Trans­par­ent or translu­cent glaz­ing in doors and win­dows will bring light into a dark in­te­rior; opaque glass or pan­els min­i­mize too-bright sun­light in a hot cli­mate. [ text cont. on page 30]

A large oeil-de-boeuf win­dow brings light into a mud­room and is a dra­matic fo­cal point on the ex­te­rior. The glazed door is from the 1920s.

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