Editor's note: This is the first of a two-part series.
Flickr image courtesy of SportSuburban.
I recently came across a nice 1960s-era California Rancher that had been "upgraded" with new windows and doors. The trouble was, every single replacement evoked a different architectural style, none of which was, alas, appropriate for a Rancher.
The original aluminum window in the living room had been gracefully divided into three parts, but its replacement was a single huge, doughy-looking vinyl picture window. An adjacent sliding door, on the other hand, had been swapped for a vinyl one with fake Colonial-style divided lites.
Another nearby window had the now-inescapable Craftsman style divided lites with crisscrossed corners. To top it off, the original clean-lined Rancher front doors had been replaced by a pair of faux-Victorian leaded glass models with an ornate floral motif.
This kind of jumble is the building equivalent of striped pants, a Hawaiian shirt, and a houndstooth jacket. They just don't work together.
Different styles of windows unavoidably evoke different architectural eras, both traditional and modern, so it's important to choose windows that complement rather than contradict the style of your house. Here's a quick rundown of which windows go with which style:
If replacing your existing windows makes sense -- and as we'll find out next time, it often doesn't -- you'll get the best aesthetic results by replacing like for like. In other words, replace casements with casements, sliders with sliders, and so on.
Just as important, don't arbitrarily add decorative divided lites or other features if the originals didn't have them. That way, you can be sure the style of your windows won't fight the style of your house.
Next time: OK, we've settled on the style -- now which material?
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Mirrors don't have to be kitschy
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