EYE ON DESIGN: View Finders


Idea Collecting: Windows

You can learn a lot about design by simply looking more closely at houses in your neighborhood, town, or on your travels. Take an architectural detail like windows, for example.

Stens Hus 2938406383_3c97cd04e8

This image of an imaginative modern house in Denmark shows how a window can morph into a door (see the sliding barn door tracks over the big front glass), a wall, and a window bay (toward the rear). It’s the Sten Hus (photo by seier+seier+seier through Creative Commons).

Bruno Taut detail 2600935213_80056260d5_m

Or here’s one window divided into four individual windows, for variety, by Bruno Taut, at Onkel Toms Hutte, Berlin (photo also by seier+seier+seier through Creative Commons).

Aelse #5 54643892_f64aa8cc64_m

Or in a hot or cold climate, why not have functioning shutters that also show colorful character (photo by joseph.stuefer through Creative Commons.)

Gaamble house window 21574833_3f4f398ad9

Finally, see how a simple, horizontally expressive frame — in contrast to surrounding shingles — can turn a small window into something special (photo by ercwttmn through Creative Commons), as happens at the Gamble House in Pasadena by Greene & Greene.

Building a new home suddenly makes you see everything in a new way or as if for the first time. You start wondering about the windows on your new house and that makes you look at the windows on other houses. This “looking around” phenomenon reminds me of a statement by the late great landscape San Francisco landscape architect Thomas Church, who said “Look to your trees; they may have unrevealed beauty in their branches.” In other words, with a little pruning you can bring out a tree’s structure and perhaps its beauty. We are creating a new Houseplans.com feature — called Looking Around, naturally to do just that: help you look more closely at architectural details — including streetscapes, facades, front doors, windows, porches, roof lines, outdoor lighting, and more — as you search for design ideas. It debuts next week.

Until then, here’s a design to explore — (Plan 64-136).


See how double-hung windows shape the house’s character — it’s an updated bungalow.

Browsing manufacturers online is another way to gather window ideas; semi-custom units are common. You or your contractor review the window styles that suit your new home design and then special order or purchase pre-made units. View the product galleries at major window manufacturers, including Andersen, Marvin, and Pella.

One response to “EYE ON DESIGN: View Finders

  1. Dan,
    love the looking around feature.
    great idea….and Sten Hus as well.
    Blog On,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s