Originally the word window was an abbreviation of “wind hole” and was basically an empty space left in the walls to allow ventilation. Over time however, they developed their own identity and importance to become much more than just holes in the brickwork of our buildings. Windows changed along with architectural styles and the variety that can be found today speaks clearly of that evolution.
Probably the most common style of window, a feature of casement is their attachment to the frame by one or more hinges. These type of windows were used in buildings dating back to the 16th century and were the most common house window before the sash window was introduced. They were a staple in farmhouses and cottages and many originally contained leaded glass in a distinctive trellis effect. One of the features of casement windows is the crank or friction hinge, which is used to hold the window open and prevent it from banging shut with the wind.
Very similar to casemens, the basic difference between the two is that awning windows are hinged at the top, opening outwards so that they resemble the awning that gives them their name.
One of the most popular types of window in the UK, is the sash have a distinctive half and half look and are very common in older or historic buildings. Most listed buildings will feature sash windows. They can be a real design feature and serve to complement a property beautifully. Traditional sash windows are a key part of period buildings and it is almost always advisable to restore and retain them. Additionally, in many cases sash windows will add value to a property.
Bull or Ox’s eye windows
These circular openings add great character to a home’s design and bring extra light in, while offering an unexpected view of the interior. They also offer opportunities for utilising stained glass or frames that can complete the interior décor. An advantage of these types of windows is that they can be placed in alcoves, massively increasing light and making a strong architectural statement.
Arch windows have a distinctive style and bring to mind medieval manors and great houses. Mostly commonly, the rectangular shape is finished off with an arch across the top and they are often located in hallways by the staircase. By allowing plenty of light into the interior space they illuminate a room and can present a beautiful view of the night sky.
Are where the structure below is also curved. Perfect for curved interior spaces, bay windows stream light into a room, brightening even the darkest interiors. They can also utilise space extremely well, especially when a seating area cushions are used the window and anchors a circular table in a living room. By positioning a couple of extra chairs on the other side of a table it will ensure the space becomes a central point in the room.
Bows are fitted on a straight section of wall and it is just the window its self that is curved in a smooth arc. It gives the feel of added space to a room. Bow windows will require a small roof structure and waterproofing.
For all round usability it is hard to beat tilt and turn. They offer great versatility with the capability to swing windows open in a wide arc like a door or tilt at the top of the sash for more moderate ventilation. They are also easily controlled with a sturdy handle. The tilt and turn style has been popular in continental Europe for many years and tend to be valued for features like emergency exit access, no hassle cleaning and an unmistakable sense of style.
In some rooms an inwardly swinging casements will prove a frustrating experience as it threatens to knock against the furnishings and decorations. One solution to this is the glider window, which as the name suggests, opens by sliding along the track in a side-wards motion. Glider windows have the advantage of both subtlety and simplicity.