Windows and doors play a critical role in your home’s design; that’s the crux of this short-and-sweet blog post. For those of us in the Chicagoland area, this is particularly important because the style of homes found in our city and suburban communities vary drastically and we have a lot of choices – good! It keeps things interesting.

Occasionally, home builders will tell you that there is not necessarily a “right” or “wrong” choice when it comes to windows and doors. That may be a correct assumption in certain cases that are part of a development, but generally speaking, it’s not so. Contractors who just want to get the job done in the quickest and cheapest way possible so they can line their pockets more will tell you what type of windows you’re getting instead of giving you a choice. To make sure you don’t end up with a contractor like that go to Compare My Windows and you can find a reliable and reputable contractor within minutes.

You simply have to pay close attention to your window and door choices because these two components play a major role in the style of your home. Firstly, the exterior helps set the tone for the interior. Your home’s design in totality should be reflective of a style you want to achieve (ex: French Country, Modern, etc.).  Secondly, you USE windows and doors daily, don’t you? We can “dress them up” in several ways and (hopefully) keep them clean and functional because we understand the huge impact they have on our daily living. You can ask yourself the question: How do you feel when you enter your home or welcome guests?  That answer is directly related to the look of your space, both inside and out.

Below are two completely different home styles as you can see. Anyone looking at these pictures can immediately appreciate the magnitude of selecting the right windows and doors for your home.

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A traditional French Country home designed by architect A. Hays Town. Note how the window grills change to create interest. The casement windows utilize a horizontal grill pattern while the doors and dormer windows use a vertical-and-horizontal pattern. I think the designers also did a great job with color. The color pattern should start with the roof and flow downward affecting the main and accent colors.

Learn more about vital color choices by downloading “Sensational Color: Fresh Color Schemes for your Home Exterior”, an eBook by Kate Smith that highlights top color selections from DaVinci Roofscapes and more.  

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Modern design can also require expansive window wall designs. Here’s a modern renovation by Beebe Skidmore Architects. The unadorned windows are spectacular. We have seen a surge for contemporary designs in the Chicago area over the last few years. Our design/build firm is experienced in renovating homes in this architectural genre – experience and skill are key because the construction techniques and products vary greatly form the traditional home!


Below are two great examples of custom exterior doors from Exclusive Windows, Inc. in Willowbrook, IL, which offers custom-designed windows, doors and millwork. Your front door is the first thing people see! It is critical in terms of expressing the style and character of the home.

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The same principle applies to your home’s interior as well: these selections weigh heavily on your home’s finished look, so don’t rush through them. Below are examples of traditional and contemporary interior doors.

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Pictured above: A custom interior solid wood door in the showroom of Exclusive Windows, Inc. In this traditional setting, the case molding / door surround creates a nice architectural focal point.


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Pictured above: Two variations of the Mia Interior Door Wenge from, which features an exotic African wenge look. In keeping with minimalistic contemporary architecture, the door style steals the show and the casing and base are just simple and clean-looking.


The January 2014 issue of Remodeling magazine published its annual “Cost vs. Value Report.” I eagerly anticipate reading that report each year because my clients sometimes ask me about the returns on specific types of projects. Good news. According to the 2014 “Cost vs. Value Report”, window and door replacements are two of the biggest gainers in cost-value ratios. Translation: you won’t lose money on these items when you sell your home. The magazine says “leading the list of high-ROI projects is entry-door replacement, which topped 100 percent in 38 cities.” Window replacement also has a solid cost-value ratio at 79 percent.

When purchasing new windows and doors, we believe there are huge benefits in products made locally. Exclusive Windows, Inc. manufactures their doors in the Midwest by local craftsmen. Some companies, even though they’re based in a ZIP code near your home, sell entire product lines that are made in China where manufacturing techniques and the chemicals used can put something in your home that you may not ultimately want. Ask questions before agreeing to do business with anyone!


This is a loaded question.  I plan to write a series of blogs on the topic of window design, manufacturing and replacement because I have a lot to say about it and I want to save you time, money and stress-headaches. You won’t want to miss them. The gravitas of this matter cannot be emphasized enough. Of course I am going to pound in the message at this time that your design/build team needs to really guide you in these selections.

I touched on the big influence doors and windows have on the style of your home. I haven’t even mentioned the functional aspect yet: such as how well (or not-so-well) they insulate your home and the result that has on your energy bill. Worst yet: the wrong windows and doors can lead to serious structural damage and mold, which compromises the safety and security of your home.

That’s coming soon … come back to read these in-depth blog posts from my perspective as a remodeling contractor for more than 25 years. We’ll break down everything required to choose a great window and avoid the junk. One of the “big three” major window manufacturers is not going to like what our review exposes about their product!  Sign up here to receive our blogs.

Let me know if you have specific questions you need addressed.