8 Benefits of New Windows & Doors.

You’ll have a hard time finding a project that brings as many benefits and stretches your investment dollar farther – than new windows and doors. Here are some of the benefits you’ll start enjoying from day one:

  1. Increased home value.New windows and doors can return homeowners. 71 to 78 percent of the project cost upon resale.
  2. Enhanced safety and security. Windows that don’t open easily or are painted shut are more than just an annoyance – they can be a safety hazard, for example when trying to escape during a fire. Also, doors with multi-point locks are harder to break through than those with only one lock.
  3. Reduced dust and allergens.Blinds and shades tucked between the panes of glass stay protected from dust, helping to reduce allergens in your home.
  4. Improved comfort. Energy-efficient, well-sealed windows and doors can help reduce cold drafts and hot spots in your home.
  5. Improved energy efficiency.New windows or doors can reduce wear on your furnace and air conditioner, helping you save money by improving your home’s energy efficiency.
  6. More peace and quiet. Insulating frames and triple-pane glass help reduce the noise from traffic, lawn mowers and barking dogs.
  7. An enhanced view.New windows or doors can dramatically improve the beauty of your home – inside and out.
  8. Less time spent cleaning. Today’s windows and doors are designed with convenient features that make it easier to clean places that used to be harder to reach

Modern Cabin with Floor-to-Ceiling Windows Floats in the Trees

A compact but impactful cabin with a Pacific Northwest flavor takes full advantage of stunning lake and forest views.

Nestled in the woods of Northeastern Minnesota, Jewel Box Cabin takes full advantage of the spectacular view of Caribou Lake. And while modest in terms of square footage, this modern cabin boasts tall ceilings, exposed beams, floor-to-ceiling windows and doors, and a thoughtful balance between public and private spaces that creates an impression of volume and breadth.

Sara Imhoff, owner and founder of Imprint Architecture and Design, worked closely on this project with homeowners Daniel and Elizabeth and their daughter Emily. Uninterested in a traditional north woods log cabin and with a fondness for the design styles commonly found in the Pacific Northwest, Imhoff’s clients wanted to push boundaries.

After touring Imhoff’s newly designed home on the AIA MN Homes By Architects tour, the homeowners were already familiar with her Seattle architectural roots. Designs for their new cabin were forefront. “The homeowners were looking for a sense of being in a space that faces outward, into the natural forest and setting – that was their goal. Those concepts are often found in the Pacific Northwest design style.” Imhoff added.

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The aesthetic feel was important, but so was utility. Imhoff’s clients wanted a simple and uncomplicated interior that utilized every inch of the 900 square feet. On the main floor, the powder room, mechanical room, storage space and laundry are separated from the great room by one huge sliding plywood door. This replaces the need for multiple doors, which saves space and maintains material sightlines and a sense of openness. The bedrooms are located on the second floor, which provides some privacy from the great room located below. With multi-purpose space in mind, Imhoff added a flex space that serves as an office or sitting area but can also accommodate guests.

The roof structure, built with exposed architectural grade fir wood beams, handles heavy Minnesota snow loads. Plywood runs on the lower ceiling from the front porch into the interior hallway and through to the back porch. “The plywood we used was pine,” Imhoff says. “It has a light feel compared to the traditional half-round log-sided cabin. The homeowners have two dogs, one Samoyed and one Newfoundland. Plywood is a durable material that won’t be damaged when two big, active dogs brush up against it. Plywood also provides a bit of texture and contrast from what would normally be standard drywall.”

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A low maintenance exterior was a priority and was achieved with metal siding. “The only exterior cladding that requires regular maintenance is the cedar siding on the lower portion near the entry,” Imhoff explains. “The tight knot cedar was placed in that area strategically because it’s on the north side and covered from the elements, and it’s lower, so if it does need to be sanded or stained and refinished every six or so years, it’s much easier because it can be reached with a small ladder.”

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The wall-to-wall, floor-to-ceiling windows maximize the lake and tree views and create a strong connection to the outdoor space and nature. Ample daylighting reduces the cabin’s electrical needs, and the large South-facing windows provide for passive solar heating in the winter.

When Imhoff designs a living space, she prefers to place windows on at least three sides to capture the best qualities of the light while considering sustainable lighting design. A combination of direct glaze and casement windows with a dark finish (Ebony to the exterior and Designer Black to the interior) helped bring the modern cabin aesthetic to life. “We chose to install Marvin Signature Ultimate windows because they are a streamlined product. The frame and mullion have a clean modern look to them with a thin profile allowing for maximum sightlines. Marvin products provide options for larger expanses of glass, which cost less than if we would have bought more mulled units.”

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The clients were delighted with their new forest retreat, saying when they’re sitting at their table and look up, they just see trees, almost like living in their own cozy treehouse. They initially thought that they might visit once a month during the summer, but now find themselves there all the time. Imhoff was also pleased with the results. “I think that architecturally, the cabin was the client’s way to express their creativity outside of their normal everyday routine. They said that I had checked off everything on their wish list, which was really gratifying.”

Like most successful projects, Imhoff agrees that the Jewel Box Cabin was a collaborative effort. “Zane Kanyer with Swensen Say Faget Structural Engineering, did a great job. Max Construction expertly executed the drawings and design and the support with the window design and layout that Marvin’s architectural project team provided was indispensable.”

Photography by James Kruger, Landmark Photography. Courtesy of Sara Imhoff, Imprint Architecture and Design.

Windows with Built in Blinds—Worth It or Not?

For all their convenience, window blinds can be kind of a pain sometimes. Who hasn’t pulled too hard on one side of the cord, ending up with a lopsided effect? Or maybe you’ve wondered how to clean dusty blinds without taking it slat by slat? Or worse, worried that an adventurous child or pet might get themselves tangled in the cord?

Thankfully, windows manufacturers have finally gotten wise to all these problems and designed windows with built-in blinds. In these windows, the blinds sit positioned between two panes of glass, rather than as a separate treatment over the frame. You operate the blinds using a remote control, or via a magnetic slider that runs along the side.

Still, having the blinds inside the glass changes the look and behavior of your window treatments and, potentially, the energy efficiency of your whole window. While some people find them much more convenient, they’re not for everyone. Here are some of the pros and cons so you can decide for yourself if integral blind window replacement is right for your home.

Benefits of Windows with Blinds Inside

The pros of windows with blinds built inside the glass are usually cleaner, safer for your home, and less frustrating than regular blinds. Here are some of the top reasons people have integral blind windows installed in their home.

  • Reduced maintenance: Manufacturers claim that having the blinds inside the glass virtually eliminates the need to dust or clean them (although in reality, some homeowners report that they have to clean them every couple of years). Well-sealed windows don’t accumulate dust and other allergens the way traditional window treatments do. That makes them a huge plus for many homeowners, since cleaning blinds thoroughly can be a tedious job.
  • Less risk of breakage: Having the blinds behind the glass protects them from damage and routine wear and tear. Blinds frequently become brittle and break over time, particularly if you have less expensive vinyl treatments installed on your windows. But even higher quality products aren’t safe from pets or young children who may bend or break the slats. Because of this, most homeowners find themselves replacing the blinds frequently, probably once every four years or so. No so with integral blinds. Although internal blinds certainly aren’t invulnerable to damage, they may potentially last as long as the windows themselves. Many even come with a ten or twenty-year warranty.
  • Safer for families with young children: The benefits of integral blinds extend beyond mere aesthetics, particularly if you have toddler-aged kids in the house. The cords on traditional blinds pose a risk of strangulation to young children—the watch group Parents for Window Blind Safety reports almost 600 cases of cord-related incidents in the past 30 years. Since they’re absolutely cordless, integral blinds skirt this risk altogether, offering parents huge peace of mind.
  • Convenience: Blinds can be difficult to operate. But the magnetized slider simplifies the whole process. Or, if you go with a motorized version, you can avoid the hassle of manual operation altogether. And integral blinds make a great choice for large glass doors, since they won’t swing and get in the way of the door’s movement.

Cons of Built in Window Blinds

The cons of having built in window blinds would be that they are costly to install, are not always the most stylish options for replacement windows, and can decrease your window’s energy efficiency rating. Here are a few more downfalls of built in window blinds.

  • Increased price: Purchasing a new window with built-in blinds obviously costs more than a set of blinds. And manufacturers typically classify windows with integral blinds as specialty products, meaning you’ll have to spend more than traditional models..
  • Limited design options: Speaking of selection, that’s another limitation you may face if you choose to go with internal blinds. While traditional blinds come in almost any material you can think of, from bamboo to aluminum to pine, your choices may become much more limited if you decide to purchase internal blinds. Also, due to the slider, you won’t find them in a variety of styles, either, such as Venetian or roller blinds.
  • Decreased energy efficiency: Manufacturers will usually insulate windows with argon, which they seal between double pane windows to slow drafts. However, they may forego this insulation in models that include integral blinds in order to maintain the integrity of the window treatments. And that can lower the window’s U-factor, the measure of its insulation. To avoid this issue, look for triple pane window models, ensuring that the window has a separate layer of insulated glass.

Overall, if you need new windows anyway and struggle with traditional window treatments, new window replacements might be a great solution. Integral blinds definitely make opening and closing the windows easier. And who couldn’t use a little less hassle in their life.

 

We make your replacement project easier

Replacing windows and doors can seem stressful—but it doesn’t have to be. Whether you’re unsure if you need to replace or wondering what to do next, we’re here to help you understand each step and make your replacement project a success.

Evaluate

Is it really time for a replacement?  Some signs, such as condensation or cosmetic damage, might not need replacement at all and are actually perfectly normal.  Others, like water stains and wood rot, need immediate replacement. Knowing the signs that require prompt attention versus those that can be easily fixed can help you evaluate whether and how soon a replacement is needed.

Need help deciding?

Select

We can help you navigate the process of selecting your replacement windows and doors. We’ll get started with a high-level look at basic choices like window/door styles and materials (wood, extruded aluminum or Ultrex fiberglass), and then we’ll guide you through design options – like wood stains, colors, hardware finishes, shades and screens.

Our Replacement Workbook details Marvin replacement products and options. Use the Workbook paired with our Replacement Guide to make the best choices for your replacement project. Download your copies below.

Order

You don’t have to go through the replacement process alone. Marvin has a variety of replacement specialists available to create your perfect replacement process, each of them are there to provide guidance, answer questions, prepare your quote, measure for your new windows and doors, and place your order. They will also help you get the installation process underway.

Local independent Marvin dealers

You can view replacement windows and doors in person at a local independent Marvin dealer. Your dealer may be a Marvin Authorized Installing Retailer (they handle all aspects of the replacement process), while others work with contractors for measuring, order, and installation. Our experts are always happy to partner with your contractor or to recommend a contractor if you don’t already have one.

Install

Depending on the size of your replacement project, there could be a lot to do before and on installation day. Ensuring that all decorative treatments are removed, turning off alarms, and confirming the date and time of the installation are just a few ways you can avoid extra hassle and ensure your replacement runs as smoothly as possible.

Enjoy

With your installation complete, it’s time to step back and enjoy the benefits of your replacement project. New windows and doors can save you as much as 15% on your energy bills while reducing wear and tear on heating and cooling systems.* New windows and doors could also lead to new possibilities—the remodel you’ve been waiting for, or more light in your favorite room. And our trusted warranty helps ensure you can enjoy your new windows and doors for years to come.

* “What You Need to Know About Energy-Efficient Windows: A Buyer’s Guide” HouseLogic.com

How to Clean Glass

  • Avoid cleaning glass while it is in direct sunlight, especially tinted and coated surfaces, to prevent streaking.
  • Start cleaning windows at the top of the building and continue to lower levels.
  • Soak the glass surface with clean water to loosen dirt and debris. Make sure no abrasive particles remain on the glass, then apply an approved cleaning solution with a non-abrasive cloth or other applicator.
  • Quickly remove the cleaning solution with a squeegee, taking care not to allow metal parts of cleaning equipment to touch the glass surface.
  • Avoid any cleaning product that has a strong chemical base or a high alcohol content, as chemical reactions could damage components.
  • Wipe any remaining traces of cleaning solution from glass and other parts of the window and frame. Windows, including their parts and frames, are susceptible to deterioration if left damp.
  • Some windows have an energy panel, often confused with a storm window. An energy panel is a removable, exterior glass panel and can be cleaned in the same way as other parts of the window.
  • Don’t use abrasive cleaning solutions or materials, don’t allow metal parts of cleaning equipment to touch the glass, and don’t use scrapers of any kind.
    Note: Glass scratched by a scraper is not covered under the Marvin warranty.

Annual Window and Door Maintenance Checklist

Regular maintenance will help keep your Marvin windows and doors operating smoothly. Use this checklist as an annual maintenance reminder.

  • Make sure the weatherstrip is still effective. If not, call your local Marvin dealer.
  • Examine the window’s interior and exterior finishes. Occasional repair to a damaged finish may be necessary.
  • Don’t let paints, stains and varnishes come in contact with the weatherstrip. Solvents can damage the weatherstrip’s performance.
  • Trim any old, loose caulking and seal any gaps with an appropriate, high quality caulk.
  • Occasionally, an excess of silicone sealant, called “squeeze-out,” appears around the edge of the glass. You can safely scrape off “squeeze-out” with a plastic putty knife without damaging the weather-tightness of your window or door.
  • Make sure all exposed hardware screws are tightened securely. Apply a dry lubricant to the windows’ gears to keep them operating smoothly.
  • Clean sand, dirt or dust from door and window hinges, sills and tracks.
  • Check energy panels and storm and screen combinations to make sure screws and turn buttons are securely fastened.
  • Check doors for smooth operation.
    Note: Wood doors require a stabilization period after installation, sometimes taking up to a year to adjust to humidity levels and other environmental factors.
  • Location plays an important role in how often you should clean and maintain the exterior of aluminum clad windows and doors. A coastal home exposed to harsh elements may need cleaning four or five times a year, while in a drier climate, once or twice a year may be sufficient.

Marvin Becomes a One-Word Brand

In a move that company officials say is designed to simplify the product discovery and exploration process for consumers, Marvin Windows and Doors announced today that it will undergo rebranding. The more than 100 year old company previously known as Marvin Windows and Doors, along with its Integrity Windows and Doors brand, will be known simply as Marvin going forward.

Both brands’ previous logos will be retired and replaced by a new Marvin logo, including a version of the company’s yellow rose emblem that officials suggest is “modern yet still recognizable” by those familiar with the existing brand. The symbol was first introduced in 1968, as a representation for products “built for Northern winters and Southern hospitality,” officials say, supporting the notion that “a rose can’t flourish indoors without the ideal environment that windows and doors provide,” a company press release suggests.

(The old logo and branding for Marvin Windows and Doors)

Changes will not affect manufacturing, distribution or any other matters of business, company officials tell DWM, but there will be a consolidation and reorganization of product portfolios. Going forward, the company’s products will be sorted into three collections: Signature (including products previously known as Marvin Contemporary Studio, as well as the existing Marvin Ultimate and Marvin Modern lines), Elevate (products previously known as Integrity Wood-Ultrex) and Essential (products previously known as Integrity All-Ultrex). Regarding the company’s replacement line of products, know as Infinity by Marvin, “With a different channel and a little bit of a different business approach, we will spend time evaluating what the right move for that is in the future,” says Brett Boyum, the company’s vice president of brand and user experience. For now, however, the brand will remain as is.

 

(The new logo, representing all product lines going forward under a unified brand)

Regarding the timing for the company’s decision to rebrand, there was an epiphany of sorts, Boyum says, as company officials came to realize, “We should be really listening to what the market’s telling us, what our business strategy is telling us, what the homeowner [and] trade customers are telling us,” he says. “They want it to be easy. And so, for us, it was having two or three different brands, yet trying to locate them on the same website, and tell a different brand story, yet also still trying to tie them to Marvin. It could get confusing and complicated for a homeowner who is maybe just initiating the process of trying to educate themselves around windows and doors.”

In the past, the company’s website was a “one-stop” for its brands, Boyum says, “but they would come there and they would see multiple brands, and they’d have to try to figure out, ‘Do I look at this brand first, or that brand first?’” Going forward, visitors to Marvin’s website and product displays will now be greeted by a single brand with various product lines, each with its own value proposition, he says.

The company will work with its dealers in order to update showrooms to reflect the new brand—the majority of whichalready have access to the full lineup of existing products. For this reason, the transition among dealers and their showrooms will mostly entail redesigning signage to include the company’s new logo and other brand elements, Boyum says.When asked if the company plans to provide financial assistance for implementing those changes, “We have existing programs that we’ll leverage,” he says. “In years past, if that program was used for some other marketing effort, we’ve really tried to channel those dollars or those efforts into supporting this transition, so it’s a shared opportunity.”

The company is developing modifications that can be used to update existing displays, he says, to prevent the need for replacement.

The rebranding process is expected to be “75% complete” by the end of 2019, Boyum says, and “90 to 95%” complete by the end of 2020.

What You Need to Know About Air Infiltration

You chose the right glass package, but did you choose the right window?

In climates where temperatures dip in the winter, air infiltration can be a major cause of heat loss and a contributor to high energy bills. Complaints of drafty windows can diminish your customer’s overall satisfaction with their new home or remodel project. As a professional, you may be familiar with glass options to increase energy efficiency, but do you know that the type of window and the way it’s made might be an even bigger contributor? Different types of windows, even windows made by the same manufacturer, offer differing results when it comes to preventing air infiltration.

It’s not just about the glass

Glass coatings on modern windows do a tremendous job at managing heat loss and heat gain. Jeff Siverhus, Product Manager at Marvin, states, “Depending on the type of window, the center of the pane of glass can be the most energy efficient area on the entire window assembly.” While U-Factor and Solar Heat Gain Coefficient ratings are important, neither have any impact on how well a window will prevent air movement. When it comes to air infiltration, the real difference between one window and another isn’t the glass, but rather the window components and how well the window is assembled.

Which types of windows perform best?

Fixed windows have no moving parts and are the tightest, most energy efficient windows available. When an operable window is needed for ventilation, you might be wondering how three of the most popular operable windows perform when it comes to energy efficiency.

Casement Windows

Casement windows are better at stopping air infiltration than any other type of operating window because of the tight seal that can be achieved around the entire sash. Jeff Siverhus, Product Manager at Marvin, explains, “The locking mechanism on Marvin casement windows are designed to pull the sash in tight, which creates a consistent compression of the weather stripping around the entire perimeter of the sash.”

What if your customer demands the energy efficiency of a casement window but wants the look of a double hung? Add a simulated check rail (a thick single horizontal grille or divided lite) to a casement window, which will give it the appearance of a double hung from the street.

Double Hung Windows

A popular choice for traditional or modern farmhouse-style homes, the double hung is a close second in term of air infiltration. “Though they can still be very energy efficient, double hung windows are less airtight because they do not have the same locking mechanism that sucks the entire sash in tight like a casement window does.” says Siverhus. “Also, compared to casements, there are simply more seams and linear feet of weather-stripping that are susceptible to air infiltration.”

If ventilation from the top sash isn’t needed, consider a single hung window to reduce the opportunity for air to infiltrate the perimeter.

 

 

 

 

Slider/Glider Windows

Sliding windows, often referred to as gliders, are also considered “hung” windows with similar air infiltration properties as double hung windows (in the case of Marvin, careful engineering means glider windows can perform as well as double hung windows).

It’s important to note, however, that because they aren’t equipped with a check rail engagement or sill interlock, they can be more susceptible to air infiltration. Since gliders can be among the least expensive type of window, they will continue to be a popular choice for projects on a tight budget.

 

 

 

 

According to Siverhus, one way to improve the air infiltration performance of a slider or glider window is to choose a configuration with one fixed sash.

What to Know About Air Infiltration Ratings

Air infiltration is rated by the industry standard ASTM E283 air infiltration test, which measures how many cubic feet of air passes through the window per minute in relation to the size of the window. Looking to meet ENERGY STAR minimum requirements? Look for numbers lower than .30 cfm/ft2. The difference in ratings between various operable windows will vary by manufacturer, but to add context, Siverhus notes that for Marvin, all three of the window styles mentioned above are well below minimum requirements for air infiltration, with the Ultimate Casement Window coming in at less than 0.01 cfm/ft2.

If you want to make an apples-to-apples comparison, ask your window dealer for the air infiltration ratings on the windows you’re considering buying for your next project.

Prevent Unnecessary Air Infiltration

Windows are tested using the exact manufacturer’s installation guidelines. If installed incorrectly, even the highest performing window can be doomed to underperform. Follow installation instructions to the letter, and be aware of other factors that could affect the performance of the windows you’ve so carefully installed. Have a conversation with your painting contractor. Let them know that oil-based stains and finishes will cause weather stripping to harden prematurely, which will reduce their capacity to prevent air infiltration.

Keep in Mind – Windows are only part of the solution

Managing customer expectations is key to every successful project. Well-built windows can reduce a home’s energy bills and increase comfort levels, but energy efficient windows are only one component in creating a tight and energy efficient building envelope. A homeowner is bound to be disappointed if they pay for the highest quality windows that end up having very little positive impact on comfort levels because the house has no water resistant barrier, poorly insulated walls, and is riddled with attic air bypasses.

Take what you know about the energy-saving qualities of various windows and glass packages, and ensure they are one component of a host of efforts and improvements to the overall energy efficiency of a home.

Island Surroundings Inspire This Southern Home’s Light-Filled Architecture

Inspired by the region, the 2019 Southern Living Showhouse is a perfect example of traditional Florida architecture that creates an easy flow between the indoors and out.

Perched on an ideal spot along Florida’s intracoastal waterway, this year’s showhouse on Amelia Island has all the classic touches of a Southern Lowcountry home with island influences: high ceilings, expansive porches, and plenty of wide hallways to welcome gentle breezes. The layout encourages indoor/outdoor living and lets natural light fill the home throughout the day.

Large windows and patio door leading to porch.

This light-filled home was exactly what architects Jim Strickland and Clay Rokicki of Historical Concepts had planned. “Many of the old houses in Amelia Island have a very Victorian feel with wooden porches with highly-styled railings,” Rokicki explains. “We wanted to blend that with a simpler and more classic Lowcountry archetype of houses with big porches and big bright rooms.”

With that plan in mind, the architects prioritized doors and windows as they developed the home. Because of the array of sizes and styles available, Marvin products were their first choice. They needed wide doorways that allowed for an easy flow between the interiors and the oversized porches—like the enormous Marvin Signature Ultimate Bi-Fold Door in the living room that opens up to make the back porch feel like an extension of the room.

“From the initial conception, we really wanted to blow out that back wall for a spectacular look and make the porch feel like part of the living space,” Rokicki explains. “And since Marvin doors can go up to that 10-foot height unit—you can dream big, and it is very achievable.”

They also sought to maximize the natural light throughout the house. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the main stairwell. “The amount of windows we were able to put in this stairwell was really amazing since Marvin had such a variety of sizes,” Matt Birdwell, Director of Building Operations for Riverside Homes, says. “The nice result was that a utility room—that’s often dark or drab—actually got light from two sides.” The architects installed interior transom windows to flood light into these hard-to-reach spaces.

The design also called for large windows that could frame the views of the waterways, the big oak trees and charming, local Spanish moss.

The large windows really shine in the main dining room where the 9’ Ultimate Double Hung G2 windows from Marvin’s Signature Collection offer unparalleled views of the water and easily open so the homeowners can enjoy all the beauty of island living.

“In Victorian and Lowcountry architecture, you see a lot of these large double hung windows,” he adds. “The balance between having a traditional design and maximizing the view adds a special feeling.”

Article originally appeared in Southern Living. Photos by Laurey W. Glenn.

6 Ways to Design for Multigenerational Households

A veteran architect offers thoughtful tips on how to plan for generational needs.

32 inches.

That’s the clear width of a typical household doorway. What happens if you add 4 inches to that clear width? For starters, you gain more light. More accessibility. More convenience. More of everything that may be important to a multigenerational family.

That’s just one of the residential design ideas of architect Scott Rappe, AIA, principal of Kuklinski + Rappe Architects, in Chicago.

Rappe and his team of three architects have earned an award-winning reputation for creative, practical residential design solutions. Call his aesthetic “inspired constraint.” His team excels at transforming often overlooked space into something warm, fresh, and unexpected.

To better understand his team’s universal design approach, consider a few of his ideas:

1. First-Floor Bedroom. “On almost every project we end up planning for a future master bedroom and bath on the ground floor,” reports Rappe. The architect explains the space may be initially disguised as the family room or some other use near-term. Even if age isn’t currently an issue, knee, hip, and ankle injuries can often make a first-floor bedroom a welcome convenience.

2. Wide Hallways. Rappe says there’s a belief by some that hallways should be short and narrow as possible. He takes a contrarian view. “Hallways are spaces that we live in. We try to size hallways so they’re pleasant—so art can be displayed and children can play in them. The side benefit, of course, is they easily accommodate a wheelchair or walker,” Rappe says.

Downers Grove Hallway

3. Clerestory Windows. One way to enliven a space with light and shadow is with clerestory windows. “What is neat about them versus a skylight is you don’t get the direct vertical sun. It changes all day long,” Rappe says. “We recently installed clerestory windows using a Marvin direct glaze window unit. They were perfect for the application.”

Downers Grove Living Room

4. Bedroom Alternatives. To avoid children “fleeing to the bedroom to escape,” Rappe encourages more family interaction by creating spaces for them, like a hallway with an alcove or built-in desk. This also means you can monitor the children’s computer use, more easily help with homework, or call them for dinner.

5. Basement-Free. Eliminating basements to build homes at-grade creates a huge accessibility advantage, especially for aging residents. “That allows us to specify low profile thresholds. You can roll right in the front or the back. You can even put in an inner courtyard,” suggests Rappe.

6. Big Doors. Rappe likes alternatives to building walls and partitioning the house. He may specify pocket doors, for example, as a space divider or privacy-maker. For dividing adjoining interior spaces, consider a Marvin Wood Bi-Fold Door that spans up to 55 feet. The door sill is level with the floor, so it’s a family-friendly solution for walkers, wheelchairs, and even potential fall hazards for little ones.

Marvin Wood Bi Fold Accordion Door Open

For Rappe and growing ranks of architects, the residential design horizon is decidedly long-term. “The secret is to have enough margin for the family to adapt as needed without overbuilding,” says Rappe.