How an Architect Can Help with Your Next Renovation

This article is a guest blog post by Anne Del Prince, a Louisville, KY architect specializing in residential projects.

Anne Del Prince, Architect

Architect Focus

  Proportion – Size and shape of a room as it relates to its purpose.

  Views and Daylight – A sense of greater spaciousness.

  Flow – Moving through areas with efficiency.

  Adjacency – Optimal layout of the space.

  Materials – Conscious and purposeful selection.



This coming Sunday, September 7th, seven different owners are offering to open their homes to the public to show they are pleased with the results of their project, in part because they knew enough to hire an architect from the start (more on this event at the end of this article).

The help we architects offer is a trained and objective eye. That means we will listen to what you are looking to accomplish when all is said and done; we will objectively access the spaces you already have, then figure out how to best modify what you already have to get what you want before adding more space. We will talk with you at length about how you live and move through your home, and how many people the spaces need to serve.

Architects Help Identify “Comfortable”

Our training is very abstract, and might be a bit difficult to explain, but the end results are very noticeable and recognizable. As it is, most people know when they feel comfortable in a room, and they know when they are not. Our abstract training is about that very thing. We architects go to school to articulate and realize what those factors are.

Optimal Proportion

The first factor leading to comfort is the size and shape of a room as it relates to its purpose, also called proportion. For example, while preparing a meal in the kitchen, we will get tired if we have to take four or five steps each time we want to get to the refrigerator or oven or sink or the pantry. On the other hand, we’d feel cramped if we could not take two or three steps to get to a dresser in the bedroom.

Importance of Views and Daylight

Click to enlargeAnother example is the importance of views, windows, and natural daylight in a space. When we can look outside – have a long distance view – our eye becomes rested and relaxed. If we can look into the next space (however much or little) we will get a sense for the greater spaciousness of the house, even if the adjoining room is not large. Natural daylight in a room is more pleasant than having to depend on artificial light. We can turn off the lights more often, therefore saving electricity by taking advantage of the natural light coming in.

Efficient Flow Matters

A third example is flow. It certainly matters but may be a bit more difficult to explain. Good flow in a house makes you feel like you are moving through the house with efficiency. While moving through a house, if you realize you have to watch where you are or have to move around something to avoid hitting it, chances are the flow can be improved. I always think of the kitchen where I had to slow down to walk around a peninsula to move into the dining room, and had to keep my hip from hitting the corner of the peninsula. That flow can be improved.

I grew up in a house where I had to close the back entry door then turn in a very tight space to open the door to the kitchen. When the kitchen door was left open, which was frequently, those doors would collide and sometimes the door hardware got stuck together. That flow can be improved. (My parents had that house built, and didn’t use an architect, sadly.)

Proper Adjacency

Then there is the idea of proper adjacency, or what rooms are next to each other. For example, this same house had a long hall to take you to the bedrooms. It was so long we made a game to run down the hall, bounce into the end wall and slide through the kitchen. Or, going into the other direction, I have three sisters and a brother. One Sunday morning, the four girls were sitting on a bed talking and my brother – in all his antagonistic glory – ran down that long hall full speed and dove onto the bed where we were sitting…and broke the bed. The plan of the house could have easily been arranged to avoid such a long hall. There is no architectural excuse for my brother’s behavior. Hopefully, you get my point…proper room adjacency matters in the comfort and use of the home.

Added Light

An architect knows how to work with these very abstract factors. This is only the first layer of design. After the spaces are laid out suiting the needs, then you go back to determine the next factor, lighting. Yes, an architect can design a good lighting layout. There is task lighting, general illumination, accent lighting, safety lighting, and more. Lighting (when the sun goes down) makes a big contribution to the comfort and usability of the space.

Architects Provide Guidance In Selecting Materials


A third pass in design develops the size of trim, the materials used, type of door, quality of hardware…so many things that help increase the comfort and usability of the space. The owner has input in all of this. With the architect offering the pluses and minuses, choices made are conscious and purposeful. The very good thing about the process of using an architect is that all this is decided before the contractor gets the drawings. The process of construction can unfold more efficiently and quickly. The contractor doesn’t have to wait for decisions to be made. He/she can order the long lead items earlier. Using an architect is time savvy and cost savvy. The product is composed, balanced and beautiful.

See Architectural Design In Action

To see examples of architectural design in action, you are invited to participate in the AIA House Tour, Sunday September 7th from 11am to 7pm. Tickets are $15, and can be purchased at each house. Proceeds will be donated to Habitat for Humanity. Step inside each house and be more aware of how you feel in the spaces and how you move through the spaces.

House 1: Cohen Residence; 2127 Edgehill Rd, 40205; Architect: Gary Watrous, AIA

House 2: Cox Residence; 518 Magnolia, 40208; Architect: Charles Cash, AIA

House 3: Leist Residence; 641 Park Ave, 40208; Architect: Gary Leist, AIA

House 4: Swope’s Gavin Memorial Garden; 813 E Main St, 40206; Architect: Jeff Rawlins, AIA

House 5: Tatman Residence; 743 Greenridge Lane, 40206; Architect: Jennifer Charles, LEED BDC

House 6: Martin-Voyles Residence; 5750 Captains Quarters Road, 40059
Architect: Anne Del Prince, AIA

House 7: Webb Residence; 3301 Springstead Circle, 40241; Architect: Mary Herd Jackson, AIA

Integrity’s Ultrex Fiberglass Windows Are 8X Stronger Than Vinyl Windows!

Integrity Marvin windows are made with Ultrex pultruded fiberglass, a material patented nearly 20 years ago when Integrity pioneered the fiberglass windows category. Integrity windows  and doors outperform roll-form aluminum, vinyl and vinyl/wood composites in virtually every measurable category.

Don’t Settle For Vinyl Windows!

These are the facts: Ultrex is eight times stronger than vinyl and three times stronger than wood/vinyl composites. That’s as tough as steel. While other windows might bend, break or crack over time, Integrity windows hold strong and perform under great stress without showing age or wear. So when a house settles and time marches on, Integrity windows stay true and resist sagging—proving that they’re truly built to last. Want more proof? Watch these fun short videos…

Could Vinyl Windows Survive A UPS Jet Engine?

No Way Vinyl Withstands This Punishment!

What Would A Vinyl Window Look Like After A Wakeboard Shredding?

It’s Not Thunder Over Louisville, But It Is Impressive!

Adding A Personal Touch To New Window Installation

One of the real thrills of our business is to hear the stories of the relationships between homeowners and their homes. Often, people look at their home as simply an inanimate object. But others look at their homes as though they are a close, longtime friend. MaryGrace F. and Kathy K. are the latter. Their delightful Clifton Heights home is steeped in history and they have spent quite a bit of time uncovering its past while returning it to its original splendor.

House Was Moved From Original Location

Originally built in the late 1800s in the Clifton Heights area overlooking the Ohio River, the home and surrounding property was purchased by Warren Clay Callahan, a developer who used the home as his residence and business office. In 1910, Mr. Callahan subdivided the property around the home and created the Indianola neighborhood. Mr. Callahan named one of the subdivision streets after himself (Warren Road) but that road was situated behind his house. It is speculated that to correct this situation, Mr. Callahan moved his home about 500 yards to its current location fronting Warren Road and facing the Ohio River.

Unexpected Discoveries

MaryGrace and Kathy approach the renovation of their home in stages and each stage seems to bring an unexpected thrill, like finding out that their house was moved. Other unexpected discoveries include finding an old linoleum area rug in good shape under a layer of shag carpeting in their attic bathroom and uncovering a recessed area in the dining room behind lathe, plaster and wallpaper to reveal late 1800s era wallpaper. The couple converted the recessed portion to a curio cabinet and it is now on display in the room.

Window Showcases Personal Artwork

The latest renovation involved replacement of a vinyl front facade window. MaryGrace worked with the Door Store and Windows to create a place to show off a stained glass panel made by Kathy several years ago. The window happened to be the same width as the stained glass art, so we were able to design a two-wide Marvin Ultimate Casement window with a transom to display and protect the piece of art which was mounted on the inside transom frame. The stained glass artwork brought a personal touch to the window replacement project and will provide lasting memories for the homeowners.

Before and After: Bay Window Redo

Need to update your bay window? Here’s an idea!  This St. Matthews bungalow needed new, energy efficient windows. Rather than settle with a look seen throughout the area, the homeowners – with Ann’s help – redesigned the look and the function.

The original bay had a center picture window with a “4-over-4” light pattern, and was flanked by two double hung windows (raise/lower).  Sometime during the life of this window, siding was added below the windows.  Note that the roof on the bay is a typical shingle roof.

Ann and the homeowners made significant changes to the windows.  First they decided on a “cottage style” window pattern with a single row of lites along the top of all three windows.  (Tip: Always make sure you line up the light patterns among windows in close proximity.)

Secondly, the homeowners changed the old double hung windows to casements. Casement windows are windows hinged on the side. In this situation, the homeowners chose push-out casements instead of the typical crank style.  To open, they simply turn the window handle and push out the sash – an easy and old fashioned way to enjoy pleasant temperatures and breezes.  To top it off, the homeowners added the high transparency retractable screens.  These screens retract out of sight when not in use.

The homeowners continued the update by removing the siding under the windows and returning the look to flat panel trim, then added a seamed metal roof.  As you can see, the total look is stunning!  We think this is a very successful exterior transformation!

These windows are made by Marvin Windows and Doors and installed by the Door Store and Windows.  To see more about push-out casements, click here.  Click here for more info on high transparency retractable screens.

Increase Curb Appeal with Exterior Shutters

We like this idea book on exterior shutters. The author is writing about using shutters to increase curb appeal.  Some good pics too.

The Door Store and Windows sells and installs exterior shutters.  More ideas in our idea showroom.  Visit us at 4625 Shelbyville Road, Louisville.  And if you are a fan, please follow our boards there.

Exterior Panel Shutters Cover All the Bases

Kitchen ideasbathroom ideas, and more ideas for your living spaceslighting and landscapedesign.

How To Improve Security – Windows

This is part of a series of posts on door and window security. See more on our Door and Window Security Tips page.

Windows are often left unlocked and sometimes even left open either intentionally or unintentionally. An open window visible to a burglar may be the sole reason your home is selected as a target. Simple security is to regularly check ALL of your windows and doors to ensure they are locked and secure.

Here are some warning signs that indicate your windows might be susceptible to forced entry:

  • Wood windows or window frames that are cracked, rotting or warped
  • Windows with loose or missing glazing
  • Loose sliding or double hung windows (can be lifted out of tracks or frame)
  • Undersized or damaged locks that might be easy to manipulate open
  • Single glaze or single pane windows (one layer of glass is easier to break through than multiple layers)
  • Lack of, or unused window stops or limiters (allows window to open only enough for adequate ventilation)

If you do decide to replace any windows, here are some key security features to look for:

  • Select windows with rigid frames and sashes that will be installed with proper shims and fasteners for maximum strength.
  • Choose high grade lock hardware.
  • Consider windows with opening control devices that limit the window opening to 4″ to prevent entry or accidental falls out of windows.
  • Double or triple glaze glass offers additional levels of protection from break-ins.
  • Upgrade window glass to tempered or laminated glass. Tempered glass is 4 to 5 times stronger than regular glass and laminated can be 10X or more stronger.
  • Even higher levels of security can be attained with optional add-on products.

You can also take other measures to improve the security around your windows:

  • Illuminate your property at night and regularly check lights and replace burnt out bulbs.
  • Keep landscaping trimmed and at least three feet away from window openings or utilize thorny plants to eliminate hiding places.
  • Adequately secure upper floor windows that open onto a porch or garage roof or roofs of adjoining buildings.
  • Ask your neighbors to watch for strangers outside your home.  And return the favor!

If your windows exhibit some of the characteristics of an easy mark for forced entry, stop by and let us help you improve your home security with new windows. Ask for one of our window specialists.




One Customer Shows Us Her Decorating idea. Send Us Yours!

We see many great decorating and design examples as we are allowed into the homes of our customers and prospective customers. While this metro area probably leans more toward traditional styles with a Southern bent, Louisville is a city with an enormous variety of design styles. From Modern Contemporary to Victorian and the Eclectic styles that borrow from many styles, you don’t have to go far to find an interesting decorating or design example in Louisville.

We especially love showcasing any ideas that involve doors or windows whether they are fun, interesting, or just flat-out eye-candy. Mary Ann R., a Door Store and Windows customer, recently sent us a photo of her gorgeous winter-themed window box (click photo to see full image). She crafted the design herself from purchased and homegrown greenery and we’re very impressed! We installed her window box and windows nearly 3 years ago and Mary Ann continues to make them more beautiful with her personal touch. Thanks for this lovely photo, Mary Ann.

If you have a door or window design idea you want to share, email us photos along with a short description and we’ll publish them in this blog, our Facebook page, and our email newsletter (use the box at right to sign up to get it).

Windows 101: Lesson 3 – Window Replacement Options

Lesson 3:  Replacement Options

When replacing windows, there are three different replacement methods that may influence the type of windows you choose. How do you determine the method necessary for your home?

The three replacement methods include full tear- out, insert, and sash replacement.

Full Tear-Out  is necessary when your windows are damaged beyond repair.  Whether it be rot or storm damage, a full tear-out requires replacement of the window and the frame.

Insert windows are used when the frame is in good condition, so the window is all that needs to be replaced.  Although this method downsizes slightly the day light opening (glass size), generally, the interior trim and paint or wallpaper go untouched – a great application for historic homes.

Sash replacement is simply replacing the sash, or the part of the window that you open. This is rarely recommended because structures move and settle over time. As a result, the sash may be square, but the opening is no longer perfectly square. This makes it  hard to seal, causing poor energy efficiency.

If you want more information, please contact one of our sales consultants at The Door Store and Windows.

Windows 101: Lesson 2 – Window Materials

Lesson 2: Window Materials

Windows and doors are the biggest source of energy loss in your home. Accounting for up to half of your lost heating and cooling, new windows can save you up to 7%-15% on your monthly heating and cooling bills. When replacing your windows, the exterior material you choose will directly effect the energy efficiency of your home.

Several materials are used in windows construction. The most common materials include wood, clad wood, aluminum, fiberglass, and vinyl.

Vinyl windows are much improved from past offerings.  They are usually made of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) which has good insulating values.  Initially energy efficient, depending upon outside temperature extremes, the PVC will separate from the glass due to their different properties of expansion and contraction. They can also fade and crack over time, degrading significantly in as little as five years.

Aluminum windows are more durable, but rank lower on the energy efficiency scale than wood or clad wood. Metal is a poor insulator and conducts heat rapidly.  Cheaper aluminum windows often don’t have a long lasting exterior finishes.

Fiberglass windows have thermal efficiency greater than vinyl or aluminum. They are very durable and available in a wide variety of styles and sizes.  And their finish resists fading, chalking, and cracking.




Wood windows are long-lasting and energy efficient. You can paint or stain them any way you like.  Although beautiful and a natural insulator, the exterior of wood windows require regular, consistent maintenance.

Clad Wood windows offer the energy efficiency of wood with a low maintenance exterior. The frame is natural wood with an aluminum or vinyl cover, or cladding, that is snugly wrapped around the exterior of the wood. If you consider clad wood windows, the thickness of the aluminum cladding is important. Marvin Windows and Doors builds their windows with extruded aluminum that is the thickness of a quarter. Most manufacturers use roll form aluminum that is the thickness of a soda can.

Coming Soon: Lesson 3 – Window Replacement Options

Windows 101: Lesson 1 – Window Styles

Lesson 1: Window Styles

When it comes to buying replacement windows, it can be an overwhelming project to begin, especially if you haven’t been educated on your options. Rest assured, these few lessons will prepare any window rookie to make informed decisions about this important investment.

There are several different styles, features and functions of windows.

Double-Hung Windows have two sashes, one that you can raise and one that you can lower. You can also get double hung windows that tilt in for easy cleaning.






Casement Windows typically have a crank at the bottom of the window to open the sashes outward. Also available are push-out casements with a locking lever handle as pictured here.  Both have features for easy cleaning.






Awning windows are hinged at the top with hardware at the bottom, allowing for air flow even during a light rain.






Round-Top Windows have an arch at the top giving a unique and aesthetically pleasing look to your home.





Coming Soon – Lesson 2: Window Materials