“Don’t stare at the closed door too long, you’ll miss the window opening.” – Anon.
Windows are fenestrations whereby our shell spaces integrate with the outdoors. These cut-outs, whether big or small, full length or sitting on a cill, adorning a living space or ventilating an attic, offer a multitude of treatments defining their function.
Where trendy becomes the defining theme along with functionality, the markets flood with endless treatments which do not only adorn the window in a home but also render it fruitful for the enhanced purpose of its light and ventilation intake, acoustics control, visibility or views, security etc. This article shall discuss features and trending materials for windows which through innovation or sometimes going back to traditional adornments assist in amplifying the window with that extra edge of purpose or function.
Windows may be treated within, around, over or on…hardly any inch left out, and it can be trendy and funky. Here are a few aspects :
Window treatments within : The size and placement of windows define the views it offers with control over the amount of natural light and ventilation filtered. It is important to mention here that if the aspect of window sizing and setting is cared for during the design and execution phase, it is budget friendly and allows for cost saving on window installations.
Window specifications like shutters, glazing properties, material, transparency index, etc., can be customised to provide picture perfect views, security, temperature control and accessibility. Fusion welding, double and triple glazing with weather stripping options add to energy efficiency in window designs.
Sea front beach house windows to valley view windows to high-rise apartment’s skyline view windows…the list is endless. Oft the sensitivity of a client to enjoying the amount of sunlight filtering through windows becomes prime. An elderly client had specifically asked our firm to design the property in a way to catch the winter sun. Summer cooling air conditioners were installed but the focus was to trap the low southern sun in winters and enjoy a sun bath in the privacy of a home. Alternately while
designing art galleries and indirectly lit spaces, the focus remains on provision of windows towards the north side so as to avoid all sun glare.
Full glass, fixed shutter, picture windows are relevant where lighting is the key not ventilation. Ventilation permitting windows may be designed as sliding shutters, slat jalousie styling or simple casement windows. The commonly used materials for such windows are wood, aluminium or poly resin.
Infill glass block windows are accents added to sections of the home to add naturally lit daytime light patches. They are most commonly frosted or with designs built into the glass to provide light while also offering privacy. These are trendy takes on translucent lighting spaces. Glass blocks can be substituted with frosted glass, enamelled glass or glass with film.
Window treatments around : Window framing aspects include the pelmet or cornice, the cill or ledge and the border or moulding. Pelmets and valances are frameworks placed above a window, used to conceal curtain fixtures. Contemporary pelmets run as channels embedded into the false ceilings with the aim to have entire wall spaces juxtaposed into viewing windows. Valances offer the evergreen choice for the traditionalist. It is a form of window treatment that covers the uppermost part of the window and can be hung alone or paired with window blinds, or curtains. In recent years there is a shift from valances to exposed drapery rods and now to embedded channels. From plush to minimal… the shift is suggestive of an urban society needing low maintenance ideas.
A bay window with a cill expanded into a seating ledge still holds virtue for the avid reader or dreamer. Alternatively cills may be designed as ledges with stone copings or wooden bands to accommodate a single potted green or one of your favourite curios.
Wooden mouldings around windows work like frames of a painting. Thick moulded wooden borders are effective for a rustic, mountain cabin feel. The trend of cornice is making a comeback. Cornices highlight the window with an inbuilt framing and may be designed with intricate carving or straight lined patterns as per choice. The latest fad is to run concealed lighting through the cornice to have a halo glow around the window and create the impact of a focal point.
Window treatments over or on : Window Dressing
Window blinds, shades, curtains and drapery being the key words here, what comes to mind are the words of a designer who says,” Windows to rooms are like eyes to the face. A little mascara and eye shadow will make a face glow, just as dressing a window will make a room softer, brighter or dramatic.”
While blinds, as the name suggests, essentially blind the observers view, shades on the other hand are fabrics which roll, stack or fold, opening to a view when the shade is rolled up or allow a view through with a range of material options.
Metal blinds have seen a comeback in recent years due to the love for stainless appliances and matched décor. The trend towards more eco-friendly materials has given impetus to woven wood shades made from sustainable materials including: grasses, sisal, reeds or bamboo.
There is a growing trend towards multi layering in window treatments. Various layers are added for depth and dimension to the rooms. Energy efficiency and privacy is catered to through blinds, roller shades, bamboo blinds or shutters in windows. Then a layer of fabric covered cornice board is added in say a floral styling pattern and the look is complemented with drapes in striped patterns or bold solid colours like yellow or olive. An eclectic choice undoubtedly but with the ability to showcase the window as a thematic imprint. Decorative hardware like bold black steel rods with designed finials can be juxtaposed here for further highlighting.
Also when in contrast, the move in society is towards minimal and simplistic, window dressing trends reflect upon this ideology to remove the extras and focus on the basics. Sheers, both functional and decorative are back. No hard texturing with polyester sheers, it is now the age of unexpected materials in dramatic colours, shimmering tones and embossed copper or gold patterns. Earthy hues of stone and coffee colour in block out shades combine well with linen sheers in natural white and silver colour or brighter toned linens in lime or coral. Such combination window dressings are in vogue and allow the user to control light amounts into the room. Currently trending is also the use of unconventional materials like burlap and chamois in draping the windowed wall.
Summing up this feature, it is undeniably important to give due weightage to window treatment design as it has the ability to make or break a space!