Windows — a home’s eyes — an entry to the house’s soul. In what used to be a fairly homogenous feature, in 2022, windows have become a black and white proposition. Much of that is due to the proliferation of the modern farmhouse look.
“Right now, the biggest trend is a lot of black,” says Lawrie Keogh, the manager of interior design at Lida Homes. What that can mean is black window frames and trims, black roofs, black fixtures and furniture, like dining room tables. “It gives you dark accents that work well with everything. It’s a very popular look right now.”
Advantages of black trim are that it complements every style and makes an impact in whatever space it’s used. Going from a white window frame to a black model also transforms what’s ordinary into custom. Black frames and/or sashes also eliminate the need for window treatments, are timeless and unerringly provide the ideal frame for an exterior view.
But as Keogh notes, black and white are not the only choices. Grey, almond and beige shades have also been around for a while.
As well, aluminum-clad windows (have solid wood interior) come in a wide variety of colours. They can also be painted or powder-coated, says Keogh, who’s been impressed by a home in the Gonzales area which features a black house with red-framed windows. “It’s a beautiful look,” she says.
That industrial vibe
Often paired with farmhouse style are muntin bars, which are strips of wood or metal that separate and hold panes of glass in a window. Thins bars bestow an industrial look, says Keogh, who earned her diploma in interior design at Kwantlen Polytechnic. Most often white or black, they can also be found in beige, grey, green, redwood or brown as well as in varying widths. “They can give a bit of a traditional feel,” Keogh adds, such as the European loft sensibility.
In regards to European style, tilt and turn windows are turning heads. A very high end product, these windows typically work via a half turn of the handle that results in a window tilted slightly open at the top, while a full turn of the handle allows the window to fully open like a door.
Another pricey option is large windows, in effect windowed doors, that open to the exterior. On Vancouver Island, the outdoor living trend is well established and these folding or bypass/sliding doors/windows fully complement the shift. But it’s not inexpensive, Keogh says. At $1,500 per lineal foot, a 10-foot doordow or windoor costs roughly $15,000.
Go big for light and drama
Related is the fad where large or oversized windows are being installed in a home’s main spaces. It can be to take advantage of the views out the windows or to make a statement. When done strategically, it can be breathtaking and leave the sense that it was an individually-created look.
Somewhat related, is surprise window placement. Unexpected windows in hallways, staircases or bathrooms are popping out. The danger is not to overdo it.
One trend, that won’t suit every home, is arched windows, also known as radius windows. Costing more, due to custom installation, they complement the horizontal and vertical lines of traditional windows. A Roman relative is the Palladian window, which is a three-part window with a large, arched centre, flanked by two narrower, shorter sections with square tops.
When it comes to new window materials, Keogh says there has not been notable advances. The four standard choices continue to be fibreglass, aluminum, wood and vinyl.
A few decades ago, vinyl was the “cheap and cheerful option,” Keogh says. They looked good and worked fine. Today, vinyl products have improved to the point where they are installed in high-end homes. Durability and quality have been finessed. Fifteen years ago, Bear Mountain villas and Oak Bay manors featured wood windows, but today, vinyl is deemed suitable.
One expensive window choice features a PVC (polyvinyl chloride) body that is clad in aluminum, which as noted earlier, can be powder-coated in many hues. “You get a contemporary, metallic look, but still have a good energy rating,” Keogh notes.
Saving with sustainability
When discussing energy ratings, Keogh points to her 1977-built Gordon Head home, which had single-pane aluminum windows, not know for energy efficiency. In 2001, new vinyl windows were installed that lowered their energy bills.
As building practices and regulations evolve, builders are embracing the BC Energy Step Code’s goal to surpass BC Building Code targets. While not mandatory, the Energy Step Code aims to maximize energy efficiency. Not yet a trend, costly triple-pane windows, one example of ramped-up efficiency, are beginning to break through, Keogh says.