Window Styles and Architecture

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Window Styles and Architecture

The wrong style of window for a specific architectural style can make your home look odd. At GEM we have multiple lines and style of windows and doors, with styles and options to complement any home style. In this article we will take a look at some of the more common styles of homes and consider options that work.

Ranch Style:

To be a ranch home, the house has single-story construction. Where other styles utilize second or third floors for bed and bath to achieve privacy, generally a ranch home has a back or side wing with halls for access to these less public spaces. Ranch homes are quite desirable for seniors who wish to avoid the constant need to go up and down stairs. Ranch homes are quite common in many suburban areas.

Typically, ranch houses built in the last 30 years have large horizontally sliding windows around the sides and backs. Fixed and Casements are common for the front, where the main room is located. Often, a bay or bow window is featured in the original design for the front of the home. You may be surprised to hear that in many cases, these projecting windows are being replaced with straight across window combinations of casements and fixed windows. Why? After all, even only a decade ago homeowners were replacing picture over horizontal slider with projecting windows! There are multiple reasons. Projecting windows can become what we’ll call a cold trap if you use a heavy curtain for privacy. They fail to have adequate warm air circulation and run the risk that condensation will build up and run down onto the sills, causing water damage on the seat. The roofs and undersides of bays and bows require a higher level of maintenance than many homeowners realize, particularly because they are most often projecting out over a garden area.

As noted in another article, openings designed for horizontal sliders are most easily filled with a new, better performing horizontal slider, but there are options. A first choice for many homeowners is a double casement or, for a lower cost window, a casement and a fixed in each opening. The drawback is that there will be a significant vertical bar down the center of the opening from where the two window frames join. This can be avoided if the total opening is small enough to use a single awning window. Awnings, when closed, are like a picture window. When opened, they provide excellent ventilation and, because the glass is never far from the wall, are more resistant to driven rain and the elements in general. This is a benefit and a limitation as, with an awning, you’re always looking through glass.

Victorian style:

Generally, Victorian homes are larger, with asymmetrical designs including towers, large porches and decorative and ornate features such as scalloped shingles.

Often, these houses were designed with single or double hung windows because Victorian homes tend to be taller, making vertical windows ideal as a complement to the overall design. For replacement, casements become the ideal window of choice.

If the hung window design is an intrinsic and important part of the home’s appeal, this can easily be achieved with casement windows. Simply have a 2” horizontal SDL (simulated divided lite) through the middle of the casement to break up the upper half from the lower half, like a hung window. The effect is to make a casement, with all its thermal benefits, look like a vertical window.

To make the effect even more impressive, add internal grills to the portion of the window behind and above the horizontal SDL, inside the glass.


In modern higher end sub-divisions, the concepts of Victorian design have been adapted to newer materials and features less decorative details, but the asymmetrical architecture and multiple roof lines remain a fixture of the design.

As a more modern design, like ranch homes, in many cases the backs and sides have been designed for sliding windows. What was written above for options for these slider openings also applies for contemporary.

2018-09-03T09:55:55+00:00 August 16th, 2018|