Making the wrong choice on windows..... by Damon Millar

I had a customer about 5 years ago who was re-building her home after a fire in Santa Barbara. It was a custom home with a Spanish/ Mediterranean design on the back side of the ridge above the Riviera.

Along with some large French doors on 2 levels, there were many windows, most which took in the mountain and valley views. It was a great design for the property.

Casement windows were specified by the architect, but to save a little bit of money (maybe $1800 at the time), the homeowner chose sliding windows against the spec and my very strong objections; I told her to stick with the casements and for many reasons I will provide later. But she held her ground.*

So the home was built, and the homeowner moved in, and she lived there a while.  And eventually I ran into her again and she took the time to thank me for all we did, and to tell me that I was right. Casement windows would have been the right choice. And she left it that.  So I will explain why I was not happy with her decision in the first place.

So let's agree that sliding windows are the lowest cost of all the types available. This is probably why the low cost production builders use them consistently; in apartments, condos and tract homes. And they do the job just fine of keeping the weather out, and letting some air in.  Unfortunately they have to be facing the breeze to get any of it into the house, and the screen is on the outside, and this is not very appealing . (and note that they are called "half vent windows" in the industry because they really only open halfway- and not even that- not to mention the stiles of the open sash are now involved with the fixed half and it all becomes a very busy window with a bit too much going on while you have to look through all of this at whatever view was there).

In my opinion, casement windows are superior in every way.  Not only can they fully control the cross ventilation and indoor air quality by "catching" the breeze and allowing it out on the other side of the home, they have the ability to open completely and not obstruct the views; they allow the outside in.  But most importantly, they have screens on the inside, and a balanced and clean look (all glass) on the outside.  While sliding windows scream out to  me, "Cheap!).

*Lets also note that the homeowner was likely forced to make tough decisions like this because of her insurance allowance for replacing her home.  For many fire survivors the insurance money available is not enough to sufficiently replace what they have.

Dwell on design in LA by Damon Millar

I'm new to the industry and I picked up a copy of Dwell magazine around 4 months ago.  I thought it looked trendy and current and I got a taste.  Then I learned the Dwell on Design trade show was coming to LA so I could see it up close.  My only tradeshow experience with this industry was a visit to the IBS (International Builders Show) in Vegas in February.  IBS was amazing and I only scratched the surface.  Dwell was no IBS, but I don't think it was meant to be.  I liked seeing the innovative ideas and products, but I was disappointed that I didn't get the full meal.  The theme at Dwell was definitely living small and portable, and it has us thinking.  I'm sure we've got some custom door and window products that make more sense and can enhance the function and design. 


Great new source:  Architectural Numbers

Cool concept:  Cube Depot

Best show giveaways:  mnmMod

Must have:  $10,000 Top Brewer latte maker