No matter how gorgeous the interior of your cottage is, the best view is always outside the window.
That’s why so many modern cottages are being built with row upon row of windows on the lake side. Stretching for 20 feet or more, they add up to an enormous wall of glass along the lakeside, interrupted only by the necessary frames around each window.
The effect can be stunning if it’s done right. However, if the window frames and surrounding structure are too wide, that wall of glass can be visually transformed into a series of vertical posts, each of them interrupting the view they should be framing.
“We’ve seen installations where the frames and structural supports take up 10 or 12 inches each,” says Ken Kussen, who co-owns Great North Windows & Doors with his sons Brad and Jeff. “Your ‘wall of windows’ ends up being interrupted by these wide sightlines. That’s just not necessary.”
The solution is the Modern Collection of windows from Marvin. “These are truly top-of-the-line in so many ways, including in offering open sightlines.”
Windows and doors in the Modern Collection have incredibly narrow three-inch sightlines, and a single unit can be up to nominal eight-feet wide and twelve feet high. “We can create a 24-foot wall of windows with just three windows. Add a 12-foot multi-slide door, or a four-by 12-foot single hinge door, and the effect can be stunning,” says Jeff.
Not only are the frames narrow, they’re also visually very clean, with simple, spare lines that are true to the modern aesthetic.
Aluminum windows are a popular option in modern designs. However, in winter they are cold to the touch. The cold causes very undesirable condensation and frosting on the frame and glass.
Marvin’s window frames are made of high-density fibreglass for strength and enhanced thermal efficiency. Interior covers are low gloss aluminum which can be perfectly matched to the colour of the fibreglass.
“Having fibreglass on the exterior – coupled with amazing engineering, of course – makes these Marvin windows incredibly energy efficient and still gives you that gorgeous aluminum interior,” says Ken.
That same efficiency applies to Marvin’s doors. “Patio doors are usually a weak spot in thermal efficiency,” says Ken. “These aren’t, as they feature the same construction as the windows – including the same sightlines.”
The same goes for swinging doors. “Their thermal performance is extremely efficient,” says Ken. “I’m a numbers guy – I look closely at every detail of the rating, and the ratings on Marvin doors are excellent.”
That means your wall of windows can include a door – or several – with no visual interruption or excessive heat loss.
Family and quality
Because they are from Marvin, Ken notes, the Modern windows and doors are built incredibly well. “I’ve been in the window and door business for a long time. So have Brad and Jeff. And when we decided to go into business together and launch our company, we knew we wanted to work with Marvin. At all price points, their quality is second to none. And their way of doing business is just first class.”
Ken’s industry background includes managing a premium door company, as well as additional design and manufacturing experience. Brad’s background includes business management and accounting, while Jeff has post-secondary training in construction engineering technology. With those combined backgrounds, they knew that Marvin was a company whose products they could stand behind.
Although Marvin is an enormous manufacturer, it is still family-run and deeply connected to the small town where it is based.
“We met with the Marvin team, explained who we were and our approach to doing business, and we all agreed that it was a very good fit,” says Ken.
Marvin offers four different collections of windows: Modern, Ultimate (which together comprise the Signature collection), Elevate, and Essential. “They offer an array of profiles, materials and price points,” says Brad.
They also offer a range of interior and exterior door lines, including gorgeous custom doors and entryway systems in wood or fibreglass.
While Modern design is popular, it isn’t a good fit for every cottage. “Some properties really look best with a more traditional looking window, or with wooden frames rather than metal or fibreglass,” says Jeff. “Marvin has excellent windows in all architectural styles.”
All of the collections are colour-matched, giving builders and homeowners a great deal of flexibility. “You may want to have Modern windows and doors on the main floor, but perhaps it’s overkill to have top-of-the-line windows in the upstairs bathroom or in the boathouse,” says Brad. “So, we can put Essential windows in those places, using exactly the same colours. It’s cost-effective, and unless you look extremely closely at the frame profiles, you’d never know there’s a difference.”
“It allows you to have a consistent aesthetic throughout the property, without having to blow the budget.”
And in the end, it lets your windows do what you want them to do: frame the view that you came up here to enjoy.
TEXT A. WAGNER-CHAZALON | PHOTOS ANDREW FEARMAN