Windows and doors play a vital role in the design of any architectural site. In order to ensure a cohesive final result, it’s imperative that these are not only functional elements, but that they integrate with the design from a purely aesthetic view point, too. Dylan Miller from South Africa’s leading timber window and door manufacturer, Swartland, offers his top tips for choosing the perfect window fittings to complement the style of your home. “ When trying to find window fittings for your home, you have to strike the right balance between complementary and stylish as to not distract from the architecture of your home, while still being an element that adds aesthetic appeal,” explains Dylan Miller from South Africa’s leading door and window manufacturer, Swartland. “Once you understand the style of your home finding windows that compliment the architecture is simple,” says Dylan. The first step? Finding the right windows for your home based on the most prominent style of your home. These styles generally fall into the following categories: Contemporary architecture Contemporary architecture is expressed through the use of clean, simple lines, geometric shapes, double volume spaces, and generous use of glass, as these homes are often built to take advantage of their surrounding environments, whether it is urban or natural. When choosing windows for a contemporary home, it is vital to consider maintaining the open simplicity of the spaces, as well as the sharp, defined lines that are typical of this style. “Large full pane windows, horizontal slatted doors, fixed pane combination sand full glass sliding doors are all excellent choices for contemporary homes, as they will compliment the clean lines of the architecture and décor, as well as allowing lots of natural light and outdoor views into the home – enhancing the brightness of the indoor spaces, the clean, geometric design lines, and the free-flow, open-plan living spaces,” adds Dylan.Farmhouse-style architecture Farmhouse homes are designed to respond to local climatic conditions. The strong and simples style often incorporates large rooms, covered wraparound verandas, corrugated iron roofing and bay windows. Farmhouses, although supremely functional and built to last, also embrace a rustic and homely style that exuberate plenty countryside nostalgia. Their practical simplicity needs to be complimented with windows that remain simple but also offer the same robustness as the home itself. “Farmhouse architecture needs to be complimented with windows with a sturdy design, such a sliding sash windows for example. Says Dylan, “By pairing your choice of windows with timber shutters, you can add a quaint touch and liven up classic farmhouse style homes. The windows you choose must be timber and they ought to be durable, functional and traditional – all the qualities inherent in any farm-style home.” Cape Vernacular architecture A traditional staple within South Africa’s culture and history, the Cape Dutch style has evolved from the homes of early settler dwellings, to become the inspiration for many modern upmarket homes and townhouse developments. The style is famed for its whitewashed walls, thatch roofs and elegant decorative gables. Archetypal of the Western Cape Winelands, the Cape Dutch style embraces the early colonial type of architecture, boasting high ceilings, comparatively small windows, and large doors. A simple, yet timelessly elegant style of architecture, it works well with small-pane and sash windows, which allow this classic style to be the star of the show. “Since this is a very traditional kind of architecture, pairing wooden shutters with the windows will add a sense of country nostalgia to the home and really emphasise the Cape Vernacular design,” explains Dylan. Tuscan-style architecture Tuscan style homes are synonymous with rustic, earthy tones, stucco walls, terracotta tiles, and the liberal use of natural stone, such as limestone, marble, granite, and travertine. Well-crafted timber windows best complement this type of architecture. Drawing inspiration from its warm Mediterranean roots, the Tuscan style has been popularly adopted here in South Africa due to the easy manner in which it complements our own warm climate, while simultaneously adding an old world sense of culture and heritage to the equation. Exuding organic charm, this style is complemented with a neutral and earthy colour palette, as well as fairly simple shapes and lines. “The Tuscan style of architecture is characteristically tall – and long, narrow vertical windows will complement all the inherent vertical elements in the design, such as arches and columns. Sash windows also pair well with this style, as do full pane windows for a more contemporary Tuscan touch,” suggests Dylan. Victorian architecture Victorian homes are typified by their lively and richly textured architecture, steep roofs, generous courtyards and meticulous attention to detail, such as brookie lace, stained glass accents and gable finials. Intricate details and antique sophistication fuse together in both classic and formal aspects of this style, and are complemented best with windows that have subtle, yet elegant detailing. “Small pane and sash timber windows, paired with timber shutters, can be used to great effect to enhance the Victorian style with its elaborate gables that hint at old world Britain. You must be sure to use windows that add to the details of the home, without distracting from its antique intricacy,” explains Dylan. These common themes represent just some of the more popular architectural styles seen in the homes of today. The full range of home styles extends even beyond those listed above. Your home may make use of a combination of styles, or it may be something completely different to any genre described here. But whatever look it is that you are trying to achieve, there is one particular window out there that will serve to bolster the overall aesthetic, explains Dylan: “No matter what your style of home, when looking for new windows, remember to accentuate the key aspects of the architecture, while still keeping things simple as not to distract or clash with the overall look you’re trying to achieve.” Visit: www.swartland.co.za
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