It used to be that windows and doors were just, well, windows and doors—you know, a way to get in and out of your home.

But not anymore. Today’s windows and doors are statement pieces, blending beauty and design with function.

“It’s a fascinating subject,” says Touchstone owner, Ben Srigley. “We’re seeing modern windows and doors taking home renovations to a whole new level.”

Shared Space Movement

No, it’s not some new political action committee. We leave politics for the folks on Capitol Hill.

The shared space movement is an urban design concept that has become the latest trend in residential design. Simply put, shared space design unifies a home’s indoor and outdoor spaces.

As we’ll see in the coming examples, open floor plans and expansive glass can literally open up homes to the outdoors.

Figure 1: This Centor brand patio door opens WIDE to join the den and backyard.

Similarly, today’s windows and doors have a “slim profile,” meaning large panes of glass with small, thin frames. They stream in light and views without obstruction.

A slim profile window may have 12% more glass
than a standard window of the same size. –Sheerwaterglass

Window Walls

One example of the shared space trend is the growing popularity of window walls. Window walls are exactly what they sound like: a wall built of floor to ceiling windows, often of varying size.

Window walls offer:

  • Abundant natural light
  • Stunning views
  • Illusion of larger space

Figure 2: A window wall perfectly sets off the poolside view.

They integrate the indoors and outdoors, as in the above picture, with an unobstructed view of the pool.

Not Your Parent’s Patio Doors

Nick Neidig, General Manager of Quality Window and Door, notes the same trend in today’s patio doors. “There are lots of choices today, and we are seeing more investment in this arena to create the WOW factor for the home.”

Why the WOW? Because these new doors produce beautiful focal points and entertaining spaces where the lines blur between indoor and out.

Forget about the old-fashioned sliding door in your mom’s kitchen. Here’s what homeowners are installing in 2020:

  • Bi-folding doors – These doors fold up accordion-style, opening the entryway wide.

Figure 3: Centor bi-folding doors integrate this sunroom with the patio.

  • Multi-slides – With a three or four track system, you can stack the open doors, giving you a broad opening.
  • Pocket doors – Multi-slide or traditional patio doors slide into “pockets” on the side walls for a large, clear entry.
  • Lift & slide – The king of sliding doors! Their lift and slide mechanism reduces friction to make moving even the largest doors easy. It also forms a perfect seal for top-rated thermal performance.

While homeowners want privacy, too, traditional blinds and curtains would ruin the open look. To give privacy without losing the expansive feel, Nick recommends Centor brand integrated systems. They seamlessly “integrate screens and shades into a door system that fits in standard construction wall depths,” he explains.

Figure 4: A pull-down shade on a wide patio door in a Touchstone remodel.

Front Doors, Too!

Front doors are also slimmer and lighter, with an emphasis on glass panes.

Sidelites, the tall narrow windows that border doorways, are staging a comeback. Why?

  • Sidelites increase curb appeal and impress the neighbors.
  • They invite in more natural light.
  • They provide all the benefits of glass but are narrow enough to maintain privacy in the home.

Figure 5: Sidelights add flair both inside and outside the house in this Touchstone remodel.

Modern Bay Windows

Bay windows are nothing new. They’re a system of three or more connecting windows that project out from a building.

But take note of TODAY’s bay windows. They’re large and airy with wide panels of glass and an updated box shape.

Figure 6: Modern bay window

Why install a bay window?

  • Extra light
  • More ventilation
  • Added square footage

Homeowners find creative uses for the bay window space by using it as a reading nook, built-in storage space, or eating area.

Getting Started

With all the options out there, the most difficult part about remodeling your windows or doors may be making a choice! How do you pick the right windows and doors for your home renovation?

Nick suggests these considerations:

  • Sustainability and durability – Choose high-quality products that will last.
  • Aesthetics – Pick windows and doors that improve the architectural character of the home.
  • Design & color – Take advantage of today’s larger windows and doors if your home allows it.
  • Service – Whom you buy from is as important as what you buy. “Your contractor will connect you with companies that know their products and stand behind them,” adds Ben.
  • Installation – If a product is installed incorrectly, it will not perform as intended or last as long. The new larger windows and doors may require specialized training for installation. Your contractor will make sure the job is done right the first time.

Figure 7: Large, integrated patio doors (such as in this Touchstone remodel) require custom installation.

Fringe Benefits

And one more point.

Besides adding beauty to your home, renovating your windows and doors will also make your house more energy-efficient.

Between the heat and the humidity, D.C. summers are brutal. Your HVAC works hard to cool your house—but a quarter of the cold air it produces can get lost through old doors and windows. And the same happens to your heat in the winter.

25-30% of heating and cooling escapes through inefficient windows and doors.

New windows and doors are made to keep the indoor air in and outdoor air out. That translates to big savings on your energy bill.

Even better, the government offers tax credits for newly installed energy-efficient windows and doors that meet ENERGY STAR® Windows Program version 6.0 performance requirements. Your contractor or window/door supplier can give you more information on how to qualify.

Want to hear more? Contact us, and let’s get started planning beautiful new windows and doors for your home.