Dark & Moody, the New Light & Airy?

According to Sherwin Williams’ Director of Color Marketing, black is the new white, and it’s more complex than you might think.

Flip through a design magazine or browse Pinterest and it quickly becomes clear that after years of white walls, saturated, deep hues are back, making their mark on everything from fixtures to furniture. Leading the pack is bold, statement-making black.

Why now? The rise of black and other dark, moody colors could be a reaction to the neutrals and whites of the Scandinavian minimalism that dominated the first half of the 2010s.

It’s a pendulum swing. We were all so in love with stripping back and getting to the essence of things. Now rich color is absolutely everywhere. People are hungry for it.”

Sue Wadden, director of color marketing at Sherwin-Williams

Not just the absence of color.

It might seem like a simple color, but black actually encompasses a broad spectrum of undertones. Wadden points to an iconic color in the Southeast called Charleston black, a historic black with green undertones often seen on lampposts and doors. Yet blacks that contain purple undertones can look glossy like an oil slick. And if you add yellow to a rich warm black, the resulting effect is bronze-hued.

Designer Tip: Consider whether your home includes warmer or cooler hues so you can choose a black shade that complements the colors you’re already using.

Not as scary as it seems.

Though the black and darker color trend might be intimidating to those who love neutrals or lighter colors, Wadden assures it can work for everyone.

Designer Tip: Start small by painting the inside of bookshelves or a curio cabinet. Or try a bathroom, library, accent wall, or what Wadden calls a “peekaboo room”—a room that is visible from another room where you spend more time. Consider how much light the room gets. “It’s important to make sure there’s at least one window in the space or plenty of lamps and other lighting to offset the need for daylight,” said Wadden. “Make sure there’s enough lighting to create brightness in a space because you don’t want to get eye fatigue.”

A crisp look on interior windows.

If painting a room sounds like too big of a commitment, black windows or doors offer subtler hints of dark color without overwhelming a space. Instead of blending into the walls, black windows become almost like a picture frame, framing the view outdoors.

Designer Tip: Don’t feel limited by your design style, because many home styles can incorporate black interior windows. A lake house with driftwood colors, neutrals, and pops of black on windows and doors conveys a coastal vibe. A casual California modern style could include black windows, black trim, light walls, and light furnishings. A downtown masculine loft with an industrial look might use reclaimed wood, exposed brick, and black windows. Using Marvin’s dark interior finishes, including Designer Black for Wood-Ultrex, with any of these styles can create a crisp, streamlined look in the home.

Black exteriors for a boost in curb appeal.

Choosing black instead of white or wood gives a home’s exterior a punch.

I love painted brick and black windows,” said Wadden. “People that are tired of Tudor-style brick homes are taking a risk and painting white or really light body colors and then putting in black windows, and it looks awesome. It’s almost like a French chateau or plantation-style home from the South. And the key to that look is a dark window.”

Designer Tip: Out-of-the-box black interiors don’t have to be relegated to windows alone. Wadden points to a resurgence in popularity for the 18th-century Japanese technique of shou sugi ban, which involves firing wood to oxidize it and achieve a deep matte black finish that’s being increasingly used as a visually interesting exterior treatment.

With doors and hardware, smaller doses make a statement.

Black doors are another way to try the trend, and black hardware, like Marvin and Integrity’s matte black hardware options, can be a powerful way to make a statement in any room. “Paired with a diverse array of hues, against a flat backdrop or bold texture, these fixtures always look sharp, fresh, and new,” said Christa Pirl in Domino. “This finish works with styles as diverse as soft modernism and farmhouse industrial, and everything in between.”

Designer Tip: Start with small black accents, whether it be door or window hardware, faucets or accent pieces like pottery or vases. Work your way up to larger statements like painted black interiors on doors. Whether you choose to try black in smaller doses or throughout an entire room, black is back and it doesn’t seem like it’s going anywhere. “I think this is going to be defining for 2020 and the next decade,” said Wadden. “This is going to be a trend that’s here to stay.”

Vern Yips golden rules for remodeling & replacement

After completing a renovation on his personal beach home, architect, designer and TLC’s “Trading Spaces” star Vern Yip shares what you shouldn’t overlook on your next remodel or window replacement project.

Designer Vern Yip has transformed hundreds of homes, with design challenges as unique as their looks. More recently, he’s taken on the challenge of acting as homeowner and designer as he tackled an ambitious remodel of his family’s beach house in Rosemary Beach, Florida. From its coastal location to stringent architectural requirements to a view worth framing from every angle, Vern and his family had to balance the needs of their home and their community while prioritizing design aspects that were important to them.

Vern knows all too well that there are many decisions to be made in a remodel, and that it can be hard to know where to focus your attention. Here he offers sage advice gleaned from many years of design work, and cemented by his experience with one of his most particular clients – himself.

Consider form and function in equal measure “There are always two things that have to come together: function and aesthetics. That is pretty much my universal view, from a design standpoint, when thinking about solutions for a home; whether you’re looking at bedding, furniture, or windows and doors,” says Vern.

Just as you might with carpet or countertops, this might mean taking a second look at the type of windows and doors previously in a space. If you have double hung windows, you can evaluate whether this style will be the best in your remodeling or window replacement scenario.

There is a chance that you may want something else, such as a casement or an awning style window. It really revolves around thinking about how you’re going to use your windows and also how they’re going to look from both the outside and inside. That is going to be different for everybody,” he adds.

Know the demands of your region’s climate

For Vern’s Rosemary Beach retreat, proximity to the Gulf of Mexico was one of the top considerations when choosing products and materials for the remodel. Before making an investment in new materials or upgrades in your home, it’s important to ensure they’ll stand up to your environment over the long haul.

When you are working on a major project, it’s important to grasp the specific considerations of your region. Do you live in a place that’s potentially going to experience hurricanes (like Rosemary Beach) or do you live in a place that’s prone to tornados, earthquakes or other weather-related situations? It’s really important to know what it is you have to build for since there are codes in place that dictate what the standards are,” he says.

Prioritize long-term investments over short-term wish lists

The unfortunate reality of home renovations is that budget often reigns supreme. There are many choices to be made, and lots of ways to spend a dollar. Helping clients prioritize budget is one of Vern’s specialties, and he suggests being mindful of uncalculated long-term costs when deciding where to splurge and where to save.

I understand that it’s often not possible to do everything on the wish list immediately, but you should have a plan to spend wisely and an understanding of what should be tackled now versus later. Oftentimes, it’s less expensive to put the quality in upfront with the bigger items, whereas smaller items or decorative items can be delayed with relative ease. I encourage clients to tackle bigger ticket items like windows and doors up front and as part of their initial efforts if they’re going to do things over a period of time, since it’s often more economical to address them while you’re in the heart of major construction,” suggests Vern.

Never give up on your dreams for a space

Oftentimes, moving into a home means accepting compromises. If the opportunity arises, remodeling or replacing certain aspects can offer a re-do that more closely reflects your design goals. In Vern’s beach home, replacing the windows and doors was an opportunity to do justice to a spectacular view with expansive Marvin scenic doors and larger scale windows.

If you’re in an older home, the windows might be a little smaller than you’d like them to be. Sometimes you’re in a home where the window and door openings are perfectly designed, but the style doesn’t feel appropriate or updated. I always challenge people to rethink a home and to dream of what their perfect version of it would be so that when you walk through that front door, you think: ‘I would rather be here than any other place.’ Having the right windows and doors can help you achieve that because designing to the light and the view is so transformative and important,” says Vern.

Home Design Trends: What We’ll Do and Ditch in 2019 -Marvin Windows & Doors

We review the home design trends that are tired, tried-and-true or making their debut in the new year.
Last year, we took a look back at the trends that inspired us and looked forward to those that had us excited to greet 2018 with open arms. It seems our crystal ball was as polished as our windows are, as we saw many of those trends play out in a big way in 2018.

As the snow falls (here in Minnesota at least) and the year comes to a close, we put on our design binoculars to gaze into the year to come, reviewing the trends that might be feeling a little tired, the tried-and-true trends that are here to stay and new design movements underfoot that will bring a unique flavor to the new year.

Encore, Please: Bold Black is Here to Stay
Embodied in the mixed finishes and dark interior window frames we saw gaining momentum last year, bold black accents took on a whole new life in 2018. With matte black on everything from kitchen appliances to cars to bathroom fixtures, the time was right for the extension of black interior finish options beyond our Marvin line, including our Integrity All Ultrex and Wood-Ultrex lines. It’s only a matter of time before black shows up on walls, tiles and floors too, so in 2019 we’ll be on the lookout for monochromatic black palettes that take the dark side to a new level.

“People want spaces that are filled with light.”- Christine Marvin – Director, Corporate Strategy + Design

The Marvin Companies Clean Lines and Big Glass Will Endure
In 2018, we also predicted that the new year would bring narrower frames, bigger glass, contrasting colors and simple hardware that transform traditional-looking windows into architectural statements. We wholeheartedly believe this trend is here for the long haul, and we’re doubling down on our commitment to modern design with the recently introduced Marvin Modern product line. “Today’s lifestyles are about removing encumbrances and opting for simplicity. People want spaces that are filled with light, take the eye beyond the boundaries of home and into the outdoors,” says Christine Marvin, our director of corporate strategy + design.

Move over Hygge, New Nordic is Here
Though we don’t think hygge is making its final curtain call, in 2019, lovers of the cozy Scandinavian trend are gravitating towards bolder choices and earthy materials that evoke warmth and charm in a whole new way. Neutrals are making way for louder, unexpected prints while simple accessories will morph into more eye-catching, sculptural decor. Think less worn wood and sheepskin throws, and more bulky stone accents and abstract geometric shapes.

“Wouldn’t it be nice to have a personal sanctuary in which to switch off?”- Niki Brantmark, for Elle Decor

A Return to Tech-Free Zones
On the heels of the personalization trend taking hold in home design, house and apartment dwellers alike are increasingly requesting or creating areas in the home designed to be a respite and sanctuary from tech overload. “In a time when we’re feeling constantly connected through technology and social media, wouldn’t it be nice to have a personal sanctuary in which to switch off?” says Niki Brantmark, founder of My Scandinavian Home. “Creating a highly-personalized space that is warm and welcoming, without the distractions of phones, televisions, or computers is important in counteracting busy day-to-day life and focusing on the heart of design.”

Cozy Nooks that Connect to the Outdoors
A designer might use the technical term “biophilia” to talk about our innate desire to connect with and look at natural forms and elements while indoors, in 2019, we might see a lot of this trend without knowing exactly what to call it. With more than 90 percent of our time spent indoors, areas designed as an escape to nature, a place to connect with light and views to rest and recharge will become more commonplace in the new year as we seek to better support our physical, social and emotional wellbeing in our homes. In 2018, we noted the increasing importance of the art and science of light in the way a space feels, and we’ll only see the focus on light and health amplify over time.

Design with an Eye Towards Longevity
In past years, several trends have included sustainable elements or reclaimed and heirloom items as a cornerstone of popular design. In 2019, as styles become more eclectic (mid-century modern meets Italian mid-century, and Scandinavian minimalism meets art deco maximalism), a renewed focus on quality and timelessness will prevail. Homeowners might be more willing to invest in a piece that will be in their family for years to come, and craftsmanship will be as important as ever as people carefully curate pieces that have personal meaning to them. As Domino Magazine puts it, “The idea of investing in key, standout pieces that will last the test of time, be it decoratively or simply for quality, is an approach we can definitely get behind.”

Primary Color Palettes and a Nod to Bold Yellow
We’ve written about Gen-Z Yellow, the bright hue that’s displacing Millennial Pink on Instagram and in real life, and it’s been predicted that yellow, orange and red may be the color darlings of the new year. In bold contrast to the muted tones and white walls prevalent in years past, 2019 could bring a return to a bright and basic primary color palette. (Seems our delivery trucks will be right at home with the trendsetting elements the year will bring.)

As we bid adieu to 2018, we are invigorated by the possibilities that lie ahead. Even if it might mean saying goodbye to some trends that were near and dear, or embracing a new version of a beloved classic, we’re ready to see where a new design year takes us.

Modern Architecture: More Than a Style

Modern is about more than just clean lines and cubic shapes – it’s about an approach that puts purpose above pretty.

The concept of modern architecture isn’t as new as the name implies. Modern architecture emerged in the late 19th century and surged in popularity in America during the mid-20th century. Pioneers of the movement included architects Philip Johnson, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Eero Saarinen, Walter Gropius, Frank Lloyd Wright, and Le Corbusier.

Mies van der Rohe’s famous aphorism “Less is more” spoke to his efforts to distill buildings to their core elements and move away from ornamentation for its own sake — a key principle of modernism. Those practicing a modern approach forged a deeper connection with nature, the surrounding environment, and each other; using local and natural materials whenever possible.

In recent years, modern architecture has continued to have a profound effect on the way buildings are designed and how their inhabitants expect to experience them.

Defining modern architecture

Most people have an idea of what modern architecture looks like, even if they can’t quite define it: Large windows. High ceilings. Linear elements. Lots of natural light. Stripped down interiors. Structural elements, such as concrete or beams, often left exposed.

The words “modern” and “contemporary” are often used interchangeably, but they’re actually very different. “Contemporary” refers to the current time period, not a style. That means that even a building with the grand arches or domes that we associate with ancient monuments was considered contemporary when it was first built. On the other hand, “modern” refers to a particular philosophy, not a time period. It often manifests in a certain look, but more importantly, modern design always follows certain underlying design principles. To have a modern building, its elements must exist for a purposeful reason, not purely for aesthetics

“Modern is a more honest look at what a building is—load-bearing columns, beams that transfer the weight, and not putting things in for decoration. It’s still beautiful, but there’s kind of a level of honesty and simplicity in the design.”- Rebecca Comeaux, AIA, LEED AP, Associate at Lake | Flato Architects.

We think we know a modern building when we see it, but do we? Chicago-based architect Scott Rappe, AIA, LEED AP at Kuklinski + Rappe Architects says we may be conflating two very different concepts. “Be careful of thinking of modernism as a style,” he says. “It’s really a philosophy—a design approach. Every building that looks modern is not necessarily modern if it’s just stylistic.”

A building can have distinctive features of modern design, like large windows and high ceilings or a flat roof and cubic shapes, without embracing the principles of modernism in the design approach. Modernism is a design language that focuses on rethinking the way humans live in and use the designed environment around them. It’s about experimentation, technical innovation and the thoughtful use of materials.

How ancient buildings can epitomize modern principles

The design process and thoughtful approach that characterizes modern philosophy can be tracked back thousands of years. For example, 1,000-year-old European cathedrals with high ceilings, vast expanses of space, and great height. Builders of those cathedrals stripped away the expectations of what a church should look like to take advantage of technologies that were new at the time.

“The hallmark of modernism is that ability to look forward, to take advantage of what technologies you have and to sort of put up with the potential social ramifications of moving away from what people consider appropriate or traditional,” said Rappe.

The origins of a new product line

In this sense, Marvin’s new Modern product line embodies modern principles by incorporating innovations in technology that look ahead. When we decided to create a new product line, we applied the same rigorous research, attention to detail, and focus on innovation that made our previous product offerings so successful, but we didn’t rely on how we’ve always done things.

“The Modern line encompasses the intricacies of modern design principles, from the minimalist profiles to the symmetry of the product line and how it flows together as a system of windows and doors,” said Brenda Brunk, senior product manager at Marvin Windows and Doors.

High-Density Fiberglass: A revolutionary material

The Marvin Modern product line features a High-Density Fiberglass exterior, a revolutionary material that echoes the sleek and simple look of other modern materials but provides improved thermal efficiency. Thanks to this new material and a proprietary frame design, Marvin has a higher thermal performing product than most competitors.

The frame requires no additional material to aid in its thermal performance—a departure from thermally broken competitors and indicative of the modernist philosophy that resists doing things as they have always been done. It also features an integrated mull channel that enables mull reinforcement while maintaining sightlines and preserving thermal efficiency. These enhancements reimagine how windows and doors can perform.

Modularity: an essential element

In early conversations that shaped the development of the product line, architects and builders expressed the need for a modular system. Modularity means architects don’t have to custom design every piece, saving time and resources. With this in mind, Marvin Modern employs a modular system where every product works together, helping architects and builders design and configure with ease.

Narrow sightlines and profiles open rooms up

Marvin Modern doesn’t just embrace modern philosophy in its approach, it embodies the physical attributes that modern architects and builders strive for. Narrow sightlines of less than 3” are consistent across all products, meaning that even when individual panes are mulled together to create a large window wall, the minimal visual disturbance is upheld, offering a more open view to the outdoors.

Modern architects design to connect with nature, and consistent sightlines help to seamlessly connect interior and exterior spaces, while providing minimal interruption of a view.

A strong foundation of modern principles allows for new innovations
Ultimately, the introduction of Marvin Modern creates an exciting new opportunity for architects and builders that focus on modern design. “This project has allowed our team to consider what’s possible and truly exercise design thinking to arrive at solutions based on the needs and desires of our current and future customers,” said Brunk. “These products are a result of high engagement and customer centricity at the core.”

The twentieth century marked a time of profound design changes, during which architectural pioneers defined a new movement. Now that these leaders have established the principles, today’s architects have room to explore modern architecture with their own interpretations and look to the future of modern design.

10 Things You Should Ask Before Choosing a Window Dealer or Contractor

10 Things You Should Ask Before Choosing a Window Dealer or Contractor

Protect your investment and your home by making an educated choice on a window dealer and contractor for your replacement project.

When you think it’s time to replace your windows or doors, choosing a reputable and knowledgeable dealer or contractor to work with you on ordering and installation can be unfamiliar territory. There are plenty of choices when it comes to finding a professional to do the job. Bigger companies advertise and appear in your Google searches, but you might wonder if they are affordable and above board with their terms and rates. You’ll also come across small companies or independent contractors, but without reviews to rely on, you might wonder if they are experienced enough to carry out the job.

The bottom line is this—the selection and installation of your replacement windows can be just as important as the quality of the windows themselves, and choosing the right window dealer or contractor is critical to protecting the investment you’re making in replacing the windows and doors in your home. Settling for the first advertisement you get in the mail or the cheapest price you’re quoted might leave you wishing you’d done more research.

Here are the 10 most critical questions you should ask a window dealer or contractor before hiring them to work on your home.

1. How long have you been in business, and how often are you selling/installing windows and doors vs. other types of home renovation products?

Longevity in business is often a good sign, and a company or a professional who has a long track record of successful installation of window and door products means they will know the industry and will be more likely to be up-to-date on best practices. Exterior renovation contractors that regularly do roofing, siding and windows, for example, will understand the importance of weathertight installation. A company that generally does kitchen remodels but also dabbles in window installation is probably not your safest bet. Though choosing windows and doors from a big box store might seem convenient, these stores don’t focus on windows and doors, can lack expertise, and might not be able to provide the specialization or customization options you want.

2. Can you provide testimonials or direct me to a past customer I can talk to?

Any reputable dealer or contractor should have a roster of happy clients. Ask to see pictures of past projects, testimonials from recent customers or even contact information for homeowners that can give a first-hand account of their experience. You may be able to consult the company’s social media pages before you contact them to get some of this information up front, and neighborhood apps like NextDoor or review sites like Yelp may also help in your initial vetting.

3. Why should I replace my windows? What benefits will I see that I don’t have today?

An experienced window dealer or contractor should be able to walk you through examples of how replacement windows will benefit you in the long run. Based on your home’s location, its age, the makeup of your current windows and what issues you’re hoping to address, they should help you compare materials and discuss other benefits like improved energy efficiency, increased curb appeal and home value, ease of cleaning, noise reduction, durability in weather conditions and the latest enhancements in safety and home automation.

4. What would you recommend in terms of window and door styles to best meet the needs of my home?

Replacing your windows and doors doesn’t always mean putting a double hung where a double hung was before. It can be an opportunity to consider a window that functions differently or is easier to operate than the previous product, and to consider changing an opening or putting a door where a window once was to create easier access to the outdoors. Ask the contractor how your replacement windows might look different than the ones you have today, for example, if the replacement windows they install will come with bulky frames that could reduce the amount of glass and daylight coming through your windows and ultimately make you less satisfied with the final outcome.

A trained professional will be able to make suggestions for improvement that you might not think about on your own. They should also clearly identify the products they are recommending by manufacturer name, and should help you understand all options available from one manufacturer to another, including materials, glass options, grids/grilles, safety features and wash mode.

5. What is included in my estimate—are there potential unexpected costs I should be aware of?

No one wants to be surprised with bills for additional services or upgrades after a job is done. Ask about everything that’s included in the estimate a company will provide, and what is additional. For example, some dealers or contractors will haul away and dispose of your existing windows at no charge, others will leave them at your home for you to discard. Some companies may add pressure through limited-time offers. If this is their tactic, consider what they are gaining by encouraging a quick sign-off on your order. Asking for full transparency, including information about the payment schedule, will help you avoid unexpected work or unplanned costs.

6. How will you ensure minimal disruption to my home during the replacement process?

Ask how long the process will take from start to finish, how often you’ll have workers in your home and whether you’ll need to make preparations for them to do their work efficiently. Ask them what measures they take to protect your flooring and furniture, and confirm that there will be daily cleanup of the property—especially if the work will take several days. Ensure you understand lead times that various manufacturers need to fulfill your order once placed. Weather and other factors can sometimes affect the ability to install the windows, but if you’d like your project to be complete by a certain date, ask if you can agree upon a “no later than” date in your contract.

7. What warranty would I receive on the replacement windows I choose, and does your company offer additional warranty coverage on installation or workmanship?

The dealer or contractor you choose should be well-versed in the terms of the warranties offered by any manufacturer they are recommending, and should be able to walk you through the fine print. They should also be able to explain the difference between a manufacturer warranty that covers the glass and any product defects, and a warranty or assurance of installation work, which can lead to significant issues unrelated to the quality or health of the window itself.

Problems related to workmanship or installation are usually evident fairly quickly, so even a short-term warranty on installation can be important. A reputable dealer or contractor should still investigate questions you have related to installation after an initial warranty has lapsed, because they want to stand by their work and protect their reputation.

8. Are your installers licensed, and do you carry insurance?

Though window installers are not required to be licensed, most reputable dealers and contractors will employ installers that have chosen to become licensed to demonstrate their investment in doing things the right way. Ask if the dealer or contractor carries insurance to give you peace of mind in the case of an accident on the job site or damage to your property.

9. Do I need a permit for this work, and will you help me get it?

Securing permits and dealing with city officials can be complicated. The dealer or contractor you choose should be able to guide you in this process, or they might be able to handle this process for you directly as part of their overall project costs. Since permits can have fees, they should also be able to help you prepare and budget for this cost.

10. If I’m not happy with the installation or I have questions after the product has been installed, how will you handle my inquiry?

If you’re working with a reputable dealer or contractor, they’ll likely have a process in place to manage questions or complaints during or after a job. When working with a smaller company, it will be important to know that they will stand behind their work and that they will be easy to reach should issues arise even months after installation. Make sure you understand the types of issues that would be the dealer or contractor’s responsibility to resolve (installation-related), vs. where you might contact the manufacturer about their product warranty. The Better Business Bureau and other local review sites are a good place to check if complaints have been filed or if disputes have gone unresolved.