Fenestration, from the Latin fenestra: window.

Lots of things go into a new home. Windows and doors are a big line item. They cost a lot, they keep out the weather and let in light, they affect the look. We spend inordinate amounts of time designing and choosing windows, and then we spend inordinate amounts of time ordering them, checking the order, the confirmations, the window swings, types of glass and the balance of specs, then we spend just as much time installing them. yeow.

And i don't do vinyl. Surprise. I was recently told that we were one of the only builders this particular window salesman could think of who has never done vinyl windows. i can't stand the look of plastic in the home, the pvc is one of the most insidious molecules we've invented, and they simply won't last as long or perform as well as solid wood. Gosh, I'm sorry for stepping on a bunch a toes all at once. or not.

I've discovered, though, I don't have to buy the most expensive wood windows. In normal commercially available brand names this would mean, in descending order of expense and only an approx. study: pella architectural; loewen; marvin architectural; andersen; kolbe; hurd; eagle; jeldwen; peachtree; pella pro-line; marvin integrity and so on. like i said, not a perfect or complete list, but generally about right from my 25 years of doing it. The more expensive have a better fit and finish and sometimes more options. Most are reasonably energy effifcent right now.

I choose aluminum exterior cladding over vinyl, casements and awnings over double hungs, fir if i can afford it and think hard about throwing more glass at every view, if instead i can frame it well using a bit less.

We're going with Kolbe for the main house and Jeld-Wen for the studio,(we believe,) and here's why in a SMALL bit of explaining:

When Loewen's prices jumped and service dropped 3 years ago, we went looking for something our clients could live with. Kolbe was solid, and middle priced (remember the whole wood group is pricey, relative to the plastics which I see, even yesterday on a 7 figure home!), and had good options. Their new pushout casements and awnings are killer, offering more throw for more air and a cleaner interior hardware look. They'll do some of the modest customs we need, no sweat. The service in New York, which is EVERYTHING in windows, has been good.

But their doublehungs, and for this project, sliding windows (!), look like hell, so we went traipsing to Loewen (don't make sliding windows); Marvin, (don't make our size needs,) and then Jeld Wen, which was intriguing because they are made here in Oregon. But they seem like they have a low end reputation, so I had written them off... just to find out that their "custom" line is fine, reasonably priced, and they can make sliders that are 2' high by 6' wide. Strange geometry, but the studio is wanting a horizontal rythym that had at first been awnings until we realized we'd be clipping passers-byers in the nose when in the open position.

i have almost never drawn sliders. interesting solution, typically seen in the the cheap-and-dirty builder playbook, but here used to streamline the walkways and maximize the ventilation. One exterior cladding option looks like galvalume. Hmmm....