Window & Door Style Guide

by | Feb 17, 2017 | Design

Choosing the Right Windows and Doors for Your Glass Space


We previously discussed the similarities and differences between conservatories and orangeries, and in another recent article we compared sunrooms and conservatories. Today we get back to basics: if there’s one thing that each of our custom glass spaces have in common, it’s that they all feature walls with bright, elegant windows and door or two to match.

After the design of the glass roof, windows and doors are the key features that must be selected in order to make a Sunspace Design custom glass space truly special. As the top Massachusetts sunroom, conservatory, orangery, and custom glass space design-build firm, we’d like to share some of the insight we’ve developed after our many years of working with these features.


Pairing New Windows and Doors with Existing New England Architecture


Window and door selection not only plays a key role in the performance of a custom glass space, but is also of chief importance when ensuring that your new room is perfectly paired with your home’s existing architectural style. We bring over thirty-five years of company experience to the task of designing and building custom glass rooms, conservatories, and skylights in over forty communities in eastern Massachusetts alone. We also have an extensive portfolio covering New Hampshire and Maine. This body of work is proof-positive of our commitment to the New England region, and it’s also indicative of our ability to navigate some of the region’s specific requirements.

Massachusetts is unique in that many towns and cities feature architectural styles that emerge from deep historical traditions. The homes in these towns often have well-established, definitive aesthetic styles. Whenever we visit a client in a suburb like Weston, Wayland, Lincoln, Dover, or Sherborn, we carefully consider the design elements of the surrounding homes in the neighborhoods before settling on a design strategy. These stylistic considerations play an important role when finalizing the designs of our customers’ new glass spaces, and nowhere is this more evident than in a client’s window and door selections.


An interior shot of a rustic residential sunroom featuring double hung windows located in Newton, Massachusetts


Double-Hung and Casement Windows Pair Beautifully with Traditional, Colonial, or Victorian Homes


Traditional and colonial-style homes are common in markets like Cambridge or Brookline. In these areas, we often use double hung windows. Double hung windows are characterized by two window sashes, each of which opens independently. Ventilation can thus be accomplished in a number of ways, and cleaning is a cinch. This distinctive New England style works equal wonders with Victorian homes.


A photo of a contemporary conservatory featuring casement windows without grills near Harvard Square in Cambridge, Massachusetts


Casements are Contemporary


Larger contemporary homes in suburban Massachusetts often benefit from a casement-style window. These windows are attached to a frame by hinges which are usually located at the side of the frame, and are held open by a casement stay. The result is a bright, expansive window with a large opening for ventilation. These windows can also be combined to create a “window wall” appearance, permitting not only an abundance of natural light, but fresh air as well.


An interior view of a Victorian conservatory featuring casement windows with gothic grills and clerestory in Kittery Point, Maine


Consider Clerestory or Awning-Style Windows for Additional Light and Utility


Clerestory windows are also common elements of the Sunspace Design mix. A clerestory–also known as a clearstory, clearstorey, or overstorey–is a section above the main windows containing additional, smaller windows located above eye level. These help establish a more traditional appearance. Clerestory windows are usually fixed, and they’re effective at providing additional light while making good use of tall wall space.


An exterior view of a contemporary conservatory with casement and awning windows located in Hamilton, Massachusetts


Awning-style windows are similar to casement-style windows with the key difference being that the hinge is located at the top. This allows the window to open from the bottom, enabling you to ventilate your space in a variety of weather conditions. There’s nothing quite like fresh air on a rainy day! When combined with casement-style windows below or clerestory windows above, awning windows introduce great functionality without sacrificing style or light levels.


Exterior view of an indoor swimming pool enclosure with casement windows and French doors in Carlisle, Massachusetts


We’ll Help Identify the Right Window Configuration for Your Unique Space


All of our windows are offered in a wide selection of sizes and grill patterns. This versatility helps ensure that the window selection for a given glass space pairs perfectly with the homes of any style, including Victorian, traditional, or contemporary.

Regardless of your location, we recognize that each home has a unique look which deserves special attention. The addition of a Sunspace Design glass space should add to and refine a home’s existing appearance, and never leave the impression of being a mere afterthought. This is one area where our professional team’s design expertise makes a difference. Nothing we produce is templated or generic, and each design contains specifications unique to your residence. The beauty, function, and form of a Sunspace Design sunroom or conservatory can have a transformative effect on your property, and proper window, grill, and trim selection are critical to achieving this.


Interior view of an airy orangery with casement windows and grilled French doors in Medfield, Massachusetts
Extrerior view of an elegant colonial orangery with clerestory windows and French doors in Shrewsbury, Massachusetts


Choosing Doors: Style, Grill, Clerestory, Trim, and Sill Selection


Door selection is of equal importance. We tend to use single swing or French doors to complement our window choices, but we offer doors in virtually any style. If you have a unique request, just let us know. As with our windows, door grill patterns and clerestory windows can be combined. The effect of this combination is a balanced, continuous look throughout your new space. Achieving this look is so important when the goal is to ensure that your new addition is both elegant and visually appropriate.

Because they can have a big impact on the appearance of a sunroom, conservatory, or other glass space, trims also deserve some consideration in this article. The type and style of exterior trims paired with our windows and doors will determine a space’s overall visual impression.

Continuous sills below the windows or casings and moldings above a panelized lower wall are two of our preferred approaches, and both mirror the design strategies of the early-English bespoke conservatories and orangeries. Conservatories and orangeries are also characterized by a stately appearance that features wood trim, columns, and architectural moldings.



Interior view of a dining area within a traditional conservatory with casement and clerestory windows in Rye, New Hampshire


On the other hand, sunrooms tend to be more contemporary in appearance, and we often elect to use casement windows without grills. Because contemporary sunroom styles aim to provide an uninterrupted window to the exterior environment, unobstructed glass is preferred.


We Design Unique Spaces for New England’s Families


Any design we prepare for construction will take into account factors such as the home’s architecture, location, and the client’s budget. But regardless of your unique requirements, Sunspace Design commits to using only the very best materials for your sunroom, conservatory, greenhouse, or orangery project. We will fashion your design using America’s top window and door brands (including Marvin, Pella, and Anderson). These manufacturers have offerings that are not only visually stunning but highly energy efficient. They’re the perfect choice for predominantly glass rooms.

Interested in more information about our line of products, including the various window, door, and trim styles available? Get a quick response by contacting us via our contact page, writing us via email at, or by calling 1-800-530-2505. We’re eager to hear about your project today!


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