Windows as Picture Frames

By Todd Fratzel on Energy Conservation, Windows

Creating Great Views

SimontonWindows_PowellHouse_92PARKERSBURG, W. VA. – Residential home designer Marla Bruemmer has a unique viewpoint on the placement of windows in the houses she creates. “I use windows as picture frames in very specific locations within the home to produce great views,” says Bruemmer, owner of Design Evolutions.

For more than 20 years Bruemmer has designed homes in Michigan and throughout the country. Many of her projects have been done for Powell Construction Services, LLC, a company dedicated to green construction. “My efforts are focused on developing designs that are friendly to builders and consumers,” says Bruemmer, a member of AIBD and NAHB.

One of her largest project challenges came recently when Greg Powell, the owner of Powell Construction, asked her to design his personal home on the St. Joe River in Michigan. “The neighborhood design was already established and the homes are very close together, so we had to adjust his dreams to the reality of the community,” says Powell. “By specifying an abundant use of Simonton ProFinish® Brickmould 600 windows and sliding patio doors, I was able to make it possible for him to have waterfront views no matter which direction he looks out.”

Style and Savings

Bruemmer wasn’t concerned about specifying 57 windows in Powell’s 2,600-square foot home. “The energy efficiency of these windows is commendable,” says Bruemmer. “Each window is ENERGY STAR® qualified, so even when the temperatures stay below freezing for weeks on end, the home still has an annual energy bill of less than $950.”

According to the award-winning designer, placement of windows in a home is her most important consideration when creating personal sanctuaries for her clients. When done correctly, she believes you can build in the middle of a crowded neighborhood and never realize it.

“Windows create the spirit of the room,” says Bruemmer. “Light makes people feel good. Nature makes people feel good. Together, when combined through careful and abundant window placement, an entire home can feel ‘right’ for a homeowner.

“Neither designers nor homeowners should be afraid to have too many windows in a home. With the incredible energy efficient capabilities of today’s vinyl windows, much like the Simonton units installed in the Powell residence, walls of windows should be the standard in a home and not the exception!”

Green and Sunny

To support her theory, Bruemmer points to the fact that the Powell home was constructed to meet the NAHB Model Green Home Building Guidelines and is certified Green Built™. With a HERS rating of 53, Powell’s 5+ ENERGY STAR® rated home is also certified NAHB green guidelines Gold Level.

“Sunlight streaming through these windows energizes us,” says Greg Powell. “We leave the windows unadorned so we have continual views up and down the river. The home is designed with many high windows for views of the sky that allow us to connect with the natural setting.”

Powell selected the Simonton ProFinish Brickmould 600 products for his own home because of his preference for the window’s durability and style. Designed for new construction applications, the versatile windows include an applied flat exterior casing to replicate the look of traditional wood windows, but with all the low-maintenance features of vinyl windows.

Simonton Windows produces ENERGY STAR® qualified replacement and new construction windows and doors, including a line of impact-resistant products. For the second year in a row, Simonton ranked “Highest in Builder and Remodeler Satisfaction among Residential Window and Patio Door Manufacturers” in the J.D. Power and Associates 2009 Builder and Remodeler Residential Window and Patio Door Satisfaction StudySM. Simonton was also ranked #1 in quality in the 2009, 2007, 2002 and 1998 Brand Use Studies sponsored by Builder magazine and has won three Best-In-Class Awards from Market Research Associates.

Founded in 1946, Simonton’s hallmark has been to deliver its made-to-order products in five days or less. Part of the home and hardware business of Fortune Brands, Inc. (NYSE: FO), Simonton delivers award-winning products nationwide to key markets throughout the 48 continental United States.

For information, call (800) SIMONTON (1-800-746-6686) or visit

About the author

Todd Fratzel

I'm full time builder for a large construction company in New Hampshire. I run their design-build division that specializes in custom homes, commercial design-build projects and sub-divisions. I'm also a licensed civil and structural engineer with extensive experience in civil and structural design and home construction. My hope is that I can share my experience in the home construction, home improvement and home renovation profession with other builders and home owners. I'm also the Editor-in-Chief and Founder of Tool Box Buzz. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions, suggestions or you'd like to inquire about advertising on this site.

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