Architectural details – such as windows and doors – can make a huge difference to the design of your home. Whether you own a period property or live in a modern house, it’s easy to make them features in their own right with stylish dressings, the latest paint colours and chic accessories.
From traditional sash windows to modern bi-fold doors, the windows and doors we choose give a glimpse into the soul of our homes. If you are replacing your windows, remember to consider practical elements first – such as insulation, the style of your property and what type of glazing you need. Traditional homes, for instance, are enhanced by replacing ‘like for like’ – timber frames, sash windows and period doors – while, with contemporary properties, homeowners can be more forward-thinking by opting for more avant-garde styles.
Schnauber is a Cambridge-based company, specialising in bespoke timber windows and doors for heritage homes, listed buildings and period properties in East England. Michael King, sales and marketing manager, comments: “The Cambridge area is unique in that there’s an abundance of heritage homes in conservation areas. Our speciality lies in working with many of these homeowners to ensure the integrity of their buildings is kept intact. We offer beautiful timber windows and doors which are bespoke to each client, and which give the highest efficiency and security without losing that much-loved traditional look.”
For more modern properties, a trend is to ‘open out’ a home by opting for lots of glass – with bi-fold doors and wide expanses of contemporary glazing – allowing light to flood in. As one of most important elements in a room, windows provide the main focal point and connect the indoors with the outside. David Mottershead, managing director of Little Greene, says: “Frame the view, just as you would a piece of art work, by painting window frames and woodwork in a deep hue in contrast to the wall colour. Alternatively, create drama in the room by painting window frames in the same colour as the walls. Around smaller windows, paint a wide strip of colour on the wall around the frame to increase the impact this window has on the room and create a sense of grandeur.”
Cambridgeshire-based Kloeber’s top three tips
- Bi-folds are good for opening up your house to the garden. Bi-folds open up to 90% of the aperture whereas sliding doors will always have panes of glass that cannot all be opened.
- Always consider the amount of panels as early as you can as this really affects the cost and how you use the space.
- Try and attain a level threshold inside and out to create a cohesive single space, especially when you open up the whole space with a bi-fold door.
When it comes to dressing windows, first consider your space. If you have a grand, opulent room, you can reflect this with dramatic drapes made in heavier fabric. If your room is smaller, or minimalist in design, then choose more functional window coverings which are not too obtrusive.
Window film is the modern equivalent of net curtains, but without the fuss factor. They give privacy for bathrooms or rooms facing a busy road, yet add a touch of style. Micky Calcott, managing director of The Window Film Company UK, comments: “There is a huge range of coloured, cut and printed patterns available, so you can find something for every taste. Film is also easy to apply, making it an increasingly popular solution for both functional and decorative requirements.As well as the aesthetic benefits, frosted film also provides privacy but doesn’t block out the light.”
For a seamless look, opt for roller blinds fitted in the window cavity, such as those from English Blinds. Shutters also give a chic finish – and are available in a range of colours and styles to fit any scheme. Shutterly Fabulous offers a wide collection, from café style to solid panels.
Secret Linen Store, meanwhile, is also a good source for pared-back window coverings. Molly Freshwater, one of the founders, says: “Dressing your windows up and framing them with a tumbling fabric looks very elegant, especially in the bedroom, and black-out fabrics will also keep out the light. Our curtains are plain and designed so that they can coordinate with many of our bed linen ranges. Curtains are a real investment and picking the right set will enhance any room.”
For something more dramatic, Kaleidoscope has a range of bolder options. Lucy McGilvray, homes expert from the brand, gives her view: “We often think of larger pieces of furniture, armchairs and wall art as typical ‘statement’ pieces, but there’s no reason why you can’t dress your window with a stand-out pair of curtains. After all, windows are often a key feature in many rooms.”
Fabric expert Vanessa Arbuthnott on how to choose the right curtain heading
- A softly-gathered cottage-pleat suits a bedroom or cosy sitting room.
- Hand-sewn double or triple pleats suit a more formal sitting, and, because of the depth of the pleat, suit a long curtain better.
- Tie tops are a good solution if you don’t want a heavy weight of curtain at your window and suit a more contemporary space.
- Pencil pleat headings are the most adaptable, because you can adjust the width of the curtain by loosening the tape or pulling it up tighter.
When it comes to front doors, many homeowners are becoming more adventurous with the colours they are choosing for the main entranceway: from timeless, muted Farrow & Ball colours to bolder shades. Evolution Windows’ English Door Company has a collection of options which will give an immediate impact, such as classic cottages doors and townhouse styles.
You can also reveal a touch of personality and a warm welcome with just the right accessories – such as quirky door knockers, lanterns and interesting lighting. After all, first impressions count.
Renowned for its handcrafted hardware, Jim Lawrence gives three trends for doors
- Bold matt black. This hard wearing, durable finish is the perfect choice for door hardware, creating a sophisticated look.
- A door knocker. An essential whether you accompany it with a bell or not. A chunky knocker says “welcome” and invites you in.
- Make a statement: Statement outdoor lanterns are an inviting addition, while down-lighters will illuminate your house, giving a welcome appeal, when the night draws in.
My top ten door and window products
Postbox, £39, pib-home.co.uk
Round doormat, £40, amara.com
Brass Lion Knocker, 22, rockettstgeorge.co.uk
Set of Two Art Deco Brass Swan Door Handles, £40, rockettstgeorge.co.uk
Heart Knocker, £56.60, jim-lawerence.co.uk
Belgrave Outdoor Lantern, £70, gardentrading.co.uk
Meadow Scene Soft Apple Green Fabric, £70 per metre, victoria-rebecca.co.uk
‘Between Certainty and Oblivion’ Fabric, £95 per metre, themonkeypuzzletree.com
Station Lantern in Nickel Plate Stainless Steel, £44.95, cuckooland.com
Mid-century Wooden Hooks, £8, sainsburys.co.uk
*This article is also published in the May 2018 issue of The Cambridge Edition Magazine