|The Palladian window, a favorite of Colonial-era architects,|
is a relatively easy-to-achieve "special".
A number of other distinctive (and more manageable) window designs have come down the road since then. The sixteenth-century architect Andrea Palladio lent his name to a handsome triple window with a “lunette” or half-round lite topping the center section. The Palladian window remains a favorite choice when architects want a feeling of understated elegance.
|The "Chicago Window" in its original |
setting—an early Chicago skyscraper.
|A special window in a special setting:|
Think of "specials" as
jewelry for your home.
Today, due to the resurgent interest in traditional architecture, special window shapes are once again widely available. Most lumberyards carry “specials” such as circles and octagons, as well as half-rounds and quarter-rounds that can be combined with standard rectangular units for unusual effects. If that isn’t enough to float your boat, there are legions of custom window shops that can build pretty much anything you care to dream up. Unusual window shapes or combinations are a great way to add interest to a home. Like anything else, however, they have to be used with some finesse. Here are a few suggestions:
|Now that's a special window!|
|A window seller's dream, though possibly|
an architect's nighmare.
• If you plan to “gang” or combine several windows side-by-side, use an odd number of them. Even-numbered combinations are less pleasing to the eye because the window’s visual center is obstructed by a mullion. You want glass at the focal point of the window, not wood.
• Lastly, note that window manufacturers love to come up with huge and outlandish window combinations in their advertisements, not because this represents good design, but rather because they’d love to sell you a whole truckload of expensive special shapes. Over-the-top design is one thing in a sales brochure, but usually, a bit more restraint is advisable in your own home. Quality, not quantity, is the key to memorable results.