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The design and placement of windows in a home reflects many different considerations.

Windows are aesthetically pleasing as well as functional when designed to complement the style of a house. - One design issue architects face when designing homes is the placement of windows: how to balance the exterior look while taking into account the interior layout and views. Another issue is the proper proportion and detailing to reflect the style of the home for which the windows are designed. - "Traditional" houses - those typically built in the earlier part of the 1900s - most often featured "double-hung" windows. In these windows, both the upper and lower sashes move. The movement of the upper sash is a strong benefit. It allows part of the window to remain open for ventilation even when it rains (the roof overhang usually keeps the water out). Colonial, craftsmen, Victorian and bungalow homes typically have these windows.

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Other elements often found in traditional windows:

- They usually are taller than they are wide. The ratio of width to height is usually about 3 inches of width for every 5 inches of height, though proportions may vary.

- The window is typically recessed into the exterior wall by a couple of inches. This provides shadows between the wall and the window, which reduces the apparent flatness of the facade and offers some protection from rain.

- Each sash of the window may be divided into sections by small bars of wood called muntins. Often only the upper sash is divided; the lower sash is one large piece of glass. The division of the window by the muntins almost always results in the individual panes being taller that they are wide in the same proportion as the overall window.

When nontraditional windows are installed in traditional houses, they distract from the overall design. The accompanying drawing and photos illustrate appropriate windows for traditional homes.

Tim Rhode is a local architect who has specialized in Pinellas homes for 25 years. He can be reached at (727) 823-1566 or through his website,

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Upcoming articles

This series outlines the architectural features found on traditional homes commonly built in the early 1900s.

TODAY: Windows

JULY 17: Brackets, overhangs

JULY 24: Gables

Find the previous installment on columns and entries online at