The personality of a home can shine from its windows. This is particularly true when you’re a Sydneysider surrounded by our quirky mix of modern, beach shack, brick bungalow or Federation pile architectural styles.
The distinctive and differing period details of each style bring charm and add character. So how can you showcase your gorgeous period windows?
Let’s look at the features
Throughout the ages, each period has showcased a particular feature when it comes to windows and when decorating your period home, understanding how best to highlight them can work wonders for your overall design.
Victorian era homes
Built between 1840 and 1890 during Queen Victoria’s reign, Victorian homes are considered timeless and elegant. When it comes to the windows, they tend to feature arched and double hung timber frames.
While often the homes were quite ornamental, windows are, at times, quite simple, letting the ornate features of the house shine. Of course, this changed as the period progressed, with designs used to sash frame the window panes, adding more decoration.
Boom era homes
Boom style era homes were generally built during the economic boom of the gold rush. With intricate brickwork and lavish style, buildings built over this period tend to include excess columns, balustrades and highly exaggerated entrances. While these houses are a tad more common in Victoria, you do see some of them lining Sydney’s streets. Again, they include arched, double hung windows however these tend to include elaborate decorations.
These homes are also known as Queen Anne style and tend to be reminiscent of Old English Tudor style homes. First appearing between 1890 and about 1915, they usually feature red brick and a steep pitched roof, with elaborate verandahs and high ceilings.
Regarding the windows, Federation homes include timber frames with intricate leadlight. This is also when stained-glass windows started to increase in popularity. Today, the Federation style remains in demand, even with new-build homes.
These homes flowed into Edwardian era houses, named as such as they were built during the reign of King Edward. While they are slightly more toned down than federation homes, facades tend to be decorated to emphasise the roof. Again, the windows feature leadlight glass.
Art Deco homes
From the 1920s through to the 1950s, Art Deco architecture came to the fore. Very modern at the time, Art Deco continues to remain a popular decorating and building style, as the trend enjoys fresh time in the spotlight.
Very symmetrical in style and emphasising rounded edges, the durability of steel window frames meant larger glass windows were installed, becoming more of a feature than ever before. Bay windows also became common as did curvature glass.
The 2020 architectural home
Today’s homes are anyone’s guess, really. With many Federation homes, Californian bungalows and Art Deco inspired houses dotted around Sydney, there are of course, also uber contemporary-style homes.
When it comes to the windows of these ones, anything goes, but larger windows are a common feature. As glass is now mass produced and subsequently, much easier to access, many homes are creating floor-to-ceiling walls of windows either to take in sweeping views or for dramatic effect.
Showcase your windows
When it comes to letting our windows speak for themselves, the most important thing to remember is that they are a feature. The last thing we want to do is change the glass or cover them up with external shutters. Let those babies shine.
One thing to take into consideration is the condition of the window glass and frame. Remember though, these period windows are special, so if they’re looking a little worse for wear, it’s a nice idea to restore or repair them rather than replace them all together.
Dressing your period windows can be tricky, especially when you have environmental impacts to consider as well. There is such a thing as too much sunlight, which can create overheating in summer, glare and lack of sleep.
Without anything covering your windows, there’s a lack of privacy, warm air can escape during the colder months and depending on the area of the house, the room can look unfinished.
So what are your options? Well, if you have a beautiful bay window, it doesn’t mean you can’t dress it. Consider some gorgeous curtains that run against the shape of the bay window. Go bold with a bit of colour to spruce things up. Alternatively, shutters can be a lovely option.
For windows that have a stained glass or framing detail, definitely discount outdoor options. These are gorgeous period features of your home and add curb appeal. You want them to stand out.
Instead, consider some roller blinds inside that you can keep up during the day to showcase the windows or even some indoor shutters to help control the light. Alternatively, a nice idea is to use sheer curtains. That way, you’ll be able to see the detail even with the curtains closed.
Fact of the matter is, windows are a very important addition to our home – aesthetically and practically. While they obviously let in light and air, they also create a sense of grandeur or a nod to a specific period, depending on how the home is designed. Windows are special – let yours stand out.