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The very best windows and doors are all but invisible

How often do you think about your windows? When you’re building or renovating, of course, you give them plenty of thought. But what about afterward? Are you still thinking about them six months after you move in? Two years? Ten years?

If you choose the right windows and doors, you may hardly ever think about them again. And that’s just fine with Ken Kussen and his sons, Jeff and Brad.

They spend a great deal of time thinking about windows and doors. They have decades of experience in the industry and co-own Great North Windows and Doors. And they fully understand that their business revolves around a paradox.

“Windows and doors are one of the very few parts of your home that work their best when you can ignore them,” Jeff explains. “People choose flooring or paint or cabinetry because they love the way it looks. But great windows have a more subtle appeal.”

The best modern windows are designed to enhance the space. They feature clean lines and slim profiles, providing a picture frame to the outdoors and inviting you to become part of your natural surroundings.

They may be designed to match or complement the cabinetry – even featuring specific species of wood such as mahogany or white oak. But rarely is the window frame itself the focus of the room.

That’s one of the reasons the team at Great North Windows and Doors works extensively with Marvin – because the company makes some of the very best windows and doors on the planet.

All about the view
A great window, Brad explains, showcases what’s beyond it, and enhances the interior of the home at the same time.

“Great home design almost always starts with considering the light and the views,” he says. “And that’s particularly true in Muskoka, where the view is a big part of the reason we’re here.”

Every well-designed room has a focal point, something that draws the attention and focuses the eye. At a cottage, that focal point is almost always outside. “On the lakes you see more and more homes with entire walls of windows looking out over the water,” says Brad. “Those cottages have an ever-changing vista, and as soon as you walk into them, you are drawn toward the view.”

The right windows will enhance that experience. Marvin takes pride in building windows with some of the thinnest frames in the industry, to minimize the amount of solid material blocking the view and maximize the amount of glass. They also can span enormous openings, so that a wall of windows can be an actual wall of windows, not a forest of columns.

“More and more designers are looking for frames with clean profiles rather than having any contours to them,” Jeff says. “Marvin has responded and now all of their lines of windows and doors offer those same clean lines, which enhances the view even more.”

Let the light in
Not every side of the cottage has a stunning view, of course, but it’s important to have the right windows on those sides as well.

“When you’re outside, there’s daylight all around you. It’s what we evolved with. So, if you go inside and the windows are only on one side of the house, it feels a bit off, a bit less natural,” Ken explains. “Having light come in from two or more sides feels better – it makes us more relaxed, more at ease. And that’s what being at the cottage is all about.”

That doesn’t mean you need to have the same windows on all sides of the house, though. “Marvin has five different lines of windows at varying price points,” says Brad, “but all of them feature exact colour match and common profiles.” This means you can have the very best windows in the most prominent locations and save money in other areas without sacrificing the aesthetic of the cottage.

“We also have clients who install the best windows at the cottage – Marvin’s Ultimate line, for example – and less expensive windows in the boathouse. But unless you look closely, you’d never notice the change,” he adds. “It creates a calming, pleasant visual symmetry to the entire property.”

Great doors
That symmetry needs to extend to the doors as well, which is why Marvin offers both swinging and sliding doors with the same profile as the windows. “The quality of construction lets us install doors up to 12 feet high that you can operate with your fingertips,” says Jeff.

“There are also flush-mounted sliding patio doors which allow you to step seamlessly from the cottage into a screen porch, for example, without having to step over a sill.”

All of which adds up to windows and doors which do exactly what they are supposed to: enhance your experience at the cottage without you thinking about them at all.



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