French it up!

French it up!

French windows can be the most stunning feature of a home. French windows are large sweeping windows which are normally found in formal areas of the house. The light and air that they let in changes the very character of the house. Many french windows open out into sprawling lawns or scented riotous gardens, which add to the beauty of the formal area.

A French window, actually, is a large door-sized window which covers the whole wall. It is called porte-fenêtre in French and portafinestra in Italian, and, there, they often overlook a terrace. Today, architects and home owners enjoy natural air flowing into their designer homes rather than use unnatural light, and hence, these windows are popular in modern homes.

If one is to look at the definition of a window, it is an opening in a wall or door that allows light into the building with a thin glass barrier. 

Sometimes, these windows in the West are sealed against the outside air and sound. The windows are usually fitted with glazed glass which is either transparent or translucent, depending on the privacy requirements. These windows are held in place by frames and may be opened, to allow ventilation, or closed, to exclude inclement weather.

We would like to think that we made modern and fashionable windows, but if one visits old places of worship, our opinion would certainly change. In the Santa Maria la Major Church in Morella, Spain, the huge windows can stop you in your tracks, make you take out your camera and not stop clicking. The ‘mullion’ divided decorative windows in the church are stunning. One can note the obvious curvature of the fabulous stained glass windows — these were not flat, soulless panes.

Windows found in the earliest of times were just holes in a wall. Later, these holes were covered with animal hide, cloth, or wood. Then to make them more practical, shutters were born which could be opened and closed. Over time, windows were built that both protected the inhabitants from the elements and transmitted light.

To give the building a different look, a variety of windows were designed, each different from the other. In fact, some were fitted and sealed windows which were just there with the purpose of letting in light.

The Romans were the first known to use glass for windows, a technology likely first produced in Roman Egypt way back in Alexandria in 100 AD. The glass used was thick and blown manually so they were not clear and one could not see through them. The glass was flattened out into sheets with circular striation patterns throughout them. It was the passing of over a millennium before a window glass became transparent enough to see through clearly, as we know now.

It is obvious then that modern-style floor-to-ceiling windows became possible only after the industrial plate-glass making processes improved tremendously. This is because French windows are usually paneled with glass, although some today, especially the curved French windows, use a transparent plastic.

French windows today help to cut back on energy used to cool down homes and help turn a home more ‘green’ than others. This is because with proper open ventilation, the French window helps to circulate the air with natural breezes from the outside. Bangalore has wonderful weather and a French window helps us enjoy that.

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