Designing Replacement Windows for Traditional Home Styles

Traditional windows, New Jersey, New York

Last week in our introduction to this Renewal by Andersen of New Jersey & New York Metro five-part series Choosing Replacement Windows & Patio Doors to Complement Your Home’s Architecture we promised to give you some helpful information about diverse replacement window styles and accessories that either complement your home’s architect, and how to design new windows and doors for performance and beauty.

So, as promised, let’s look at the Colonial, Ranch and other tradition home styles and how to avoid some common design mistakes.

Colonial Style History in New Jersey

Colonials home styles are one of the earliest architectural styles brought to America, arriving between the 1600s and 1800s in various forms. Throughout our region you’ll find houses with German-, Dutch-, Spanish- and French-influenced features and characteristics. One of the most popular “Colonials” in our area is the Colonial Ranch.

The typical ranch home has one floor, originally designed for easy expansion as families grew. Most have a full basement running the length of the house, and today many homeowners have finished this storage area, effectively adding another full floor of living quarters. You’ll also see 1 ½ and 2 story ranch homes scattered throughout the neighborhoods from Clifton and Montclair to parts of West Orange.

Perfect Balance: Matching Replacement Window Styles to Ranch Architecture

The Ranch home features clean, crisp lines, and an overall aesthetic that provides balance and symmetry. Older colonial ranch American homes, those built before World War II, featured traditional double-hung windows that were tall, and narrow. Some designers insist you can replace double-hung windows with the same style in a home built during the interwar era, but you should avoid replacing more modern styles with a traditional double-hung window.

Single-story, “low-slung” ranch-style homes built circa 1950-1969, more commonly featured horizontal sliders, manufactured with aluminum frames, and often wider than they were tall. When decided which replacement window to buy, try to mimic the frame and grille patterns popular when the home was built. Sliding windows have narrower frames, compared to casement and double-hung windows, which more closely mimic the delicate aluminum used before composites like Fibrex were introduced.

Striking the perfect balance includes a uniform window style throughout, although you can add a front-facing bow window with sidelights that feature matching grille patterns on other windows without fighting against the natural symmetry of the ranch’s characteristics.

Resist the Urge to Step Too Far Out of the Box

While creative expression is usually encouraged as a natural part of making a house feel like a home, when it comes to choosing replacement window styles and embellishments, there is a point where you can go too far and create visual chaos. You’ll get the best overall aesthetic by sticking with one primary style, especially on the front-facing side, and one distinct grille pattern.

Avoid, the mix-and-match method that partners sliders, double-hung and awning windows with different grille layouts. For example, choosing quintessential Craftsman style divided lites with crisscrossed corners to add interest would look as fake on a traditional ranch home as a Victorian entrance door with period floral embellishments.

Keep things simple, well-balanced and similar to the original features, and you’ll be happier with the final results.

Explore Renewal by Andersen of NJ & NY Metro Replacement Window Solutions for Your Renovation Project

Ready to get started designing your replacement windows? Renewal by Andersen of New Jersey & New York Metro’s dedicated professionals can help you design a perfectly balanced replacement window and patio door plan for your home. Contact a representative by filling in the short form on this page or dial 1-888-826-2451 to schedule a private, in-home consultation today.


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