Window-Dressing – A Modern Home Window Primer

Modern House Window Detail Arteriors Architects-1

This little corner of a modern house is a veritable laboratory of ways to incorporate windows in a home. It wasn’t my intent when I designed the home. It just worked out that way.

  1. Standard punched window, inset in the stone wall (this is the only type of window found in most homes)
  2. Projected window, at copper wall
  3. Frameless glass, above the stone wall
  4. Floor to ceiling “storefront” window, turns the corner

Modern House Window Detail Arteriors Architects-2

Take the easy route… Naw.

What do you do if your ceiling is high but you want your lights to hang low? Get longer cords, obviously. Unless the word “simple” isn’t in your vocabulary, that is. In which case, you call your friendly local metal fabricator. After a couple of minutes with your phone held away from your ear, answering the question “why do you want to do that?” a couple dozen times, you might get some of these.

Industrial Light Brackets by Arteriors ArchitectsIndustrial Light Brackets by Arteriors Architects Industrial Light Brackets by Arteriors Architects

Some Things Get Better with Age

Copper is one of them. The fishscale copper walls I designed for the exterior of this Missouri home are aging very slowly, but beautifully. This is the interim character we were hoping for while the copper develops its characteristic, coveted green patina.

Since the 1970’s we have seen a significant reduction of acid rain. Now, copper takes forever to patina (darnit!). I won’t be lobbying to bring back the pollution… probably, but, I still hope the green patina develops in my lifetime. Thankfully, copper is beautiful during all stages of its life.

Modern Copper Wall Cladding by Arteriors Residential Architects - Newly Installed
Newly Installed Copper Wall Panels

The installers of these copper panels, with their white, cotton gloves, were akin to surgeons as they delicately installed them. I suspect even atomic bomb technicians don’t handle their charges with such reverence. After all, an explosion is a one-time occurrence, but fingerprints left on copper, that’s forever.

Newly Installed Copper Wall Panels
Newly Installed Copper Wall Panels
Modern Copper Wall Cladding by Arteriors Residential Architects - Aged 5 years
Aging Copper Wall Panels

A Niche is Nice

Contemporary Wall Niches by Arteriors Residential Architects

When I design wall niches, rarely do I know what the homeowners will put in them. I love to visit the home years later (or days later if they’re serving dinner) and see what they contain. It’s almost like opening a present.

The owners of this home, astute product designers with their own successful company, chose simple vases of a light, complimentary color to the orange wood walls. The result has a crisp, bold appeal. I suspect these are changed out frequently, given the breadth of products made by their company (deep down, I’m secretly holding out for something out of Ripley’s, maybe the world’s greatest collection of belly button lint).

That’s the secret of museums around the world, by the way. Not lint, but change. Rotation of art. It’s also what keeps an interior space interesting. Even your favorite piece of art or memento disappears from your view when seen day after day. You may see it, but you don’t SEE it.

Contemporary Wall Niches by Arteriors Residential Architects


You call that a staircase? THIS is a staircase.

Modern Sculptural Winding Stair

Architects LOVE staircases. To us, they’re like candy, except less sticky. Ask us to design a house and we’ll probably suggest you put a staircase in every room, just so we can design a few more. A typical exchange with a client goes something like this:

“Yes, sir, of course you need a staircase in your bathroom.”

“But, but, but… it’s a 1-level house.”

“That is true, sir, but how will you get to the toilet we installed on the roof? And, you get to take the slide back down. Won’t that be fun?”

“The SLIDE????”

Modern Sculptural Winding Stair

See more of my work at Bjella Architecture.

My Favorite Cartoon Duck

Bjella Floor Emblem

Designing anything unique has its pitfalls. Sometimes unexpected things happen, don’t work correctly, or a cartoon duck shows up! The design of this stone tile floor emblem is a great example. Most people never see it (I didn’t until a couple of years after the fact), but if you look carefully (o.k., casually will do), you may see my favorite cartoon duck (no, it’s not Donald). Of course, once you see it, you can never un-see it.

Designed to be elegant, now it’s an elegant conversation piece. Thankfully the homeowners appreciated the humor and wouldn’t change it now if they could.

Bjella Floor Emblem

Daffy Duck

Bjella Floor Emblem

Bjella Floor Emblem

This floor art was painstakingly crafted for us from granite, slate, limestone, marble and stainless steel by the artisans at NVR Surfaces (Formerly Warner Bros. Studios).

See more of my work at Bjella Architecture.

The Dutch Door is Back!

Well, maybe not back exactly. But, we finally designed our first Dutch door for a home in Missouri. You rarely see these anymore, not since Mr. Ed, anyway. Today, homes are designed for energy efficiency and are effectively hermetically sealed. In our zeal to keep the cold or warm in and the bugs out, we have lost one of the most uplifting experiences of living in a home, the open connection between the indoors and outdoors (did you get the pun, there?).

We designed with this in mind, of course, but received an unexpected bonus: a favorite perch for the family cat. Now that feels like home!

Dutch door by Tim Bjella, Arteriors Architects

See more of my work at Arteriors / Bjella Architecture.