Arts & Crafts Home and Cottage Window Design

The main purpose of windows is to let in light and fresh air, but it’s also true that windows can be decorative.

The shape and style of our windows was defined by three things.  First by the arts and crafts style coined by Charles and Henry Greene, brothers and architects from the USA, in the 19th century.  Second, they had to be energy efficient and within the building code.  The third thing was more elusive ~ how did we want to feel in and outside the house?

At the cottage, my former husband wanted huge picture windows.   I liked a more human scale and glimpses of the environment.  For example, the horizontal awning window in the cottage kitchen swung up inside and with a hook and eye was latched out of the way.  It stood directly over the kitchen sink with a dappled forest view.  This became my mantra that windows didn’t have to follow the bigger is better formula.

It’s true that stock windows cost less, but aesthetically they perform less too.  Even if you can switch up one window, do it.

Here are some examples of the windows we selected, beautifully executed by Ridley Windows & Doors of Campbellville, ON.

photo 1

Upper Hall – small, square and set up rather high.

Had we lowered and enlarged this window, this is the view you would have had. photo 2

Instead, this is the view from the inside out.

photo 3

and the outside in


Top Left is the Hall Window and Right is the Laundry Room

The second example are long vertical windows, the idea having come from the Gamble House designed by Greene & Greene and built from 1895-1903.  From the front door I can still see the outside at the end of this long dark hall.  Even if it’s just ambient, access to light here is available without being intrusive.

photo 4

This corridor leads to the pantry room and guest powder room.

and because this is a 360 degree house, this is the view I see while filling the bird feeders at the back of the house.


Left Window is the Guest Powder Room, Right the Hallway

When you are designing your house, even from the ground up think about what kinds of views you want and why from inside and out.   I’m glad we did.