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Bow Windows | Replacement Bow Windows | Bow Window Pictures Print Bookmark and Share

Bow windows are curved windows, close cousins to bay windows. They first appeared in eighteenth century Britain, crossed the ocean to the United States during the Federal period, and enjoyed renewed popularity in both countries in the 1970s and 1980s. Bow windows provide enormous possibilities for expanding a living area with an elegant, gentle arch that makes your home feel larger and brighter. One of the many advantages these windows have is that they provide added ventilation and light to any room.

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Components of Bow Window

Bow windows aren't installed in line with the wall in which they are contained but consist of window combinations that project out from the wall to provide a more of a panoramic view of the outdoors. Bow windows are designed to create space by projecting beyond the exterior wall of a building and provide a wider view of the yard, garden, or street outside. In the process, the graceful curved design becomes the focal point of your living room or family room.

A bow window typically combines four or more casement windowsarranged in a half-circle configuration, which joins together to form an arch and gradually protrude from the wall of a building, creating a gentler curve than a bay window. Bow windows consist of multiple equal lites, which give it an arch-like shape. The lites may be any combination of fixed lites and casement windows. The bow window may have a roof system, head, and seat boards, and/or edge banding. They are often formed of the window glass itself and do not have any structure beneath them. Center windows are generally fixed and the side sashes are typically casement windows. Typically, only the end casements are operable.

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Bow Window Patterns

A bow window is made of a minimum of four windows but five is a common pattern: the greater the number of windows, the more curved the appearance, and the more striking the effect. Some models use sophisticated designs to support the bow window because it is cantilevered from the wall. Since a bow or bay window protrudes from the wall, it is ideal for natural ventilation. If you select a casement window for each end, they will catch the breeze. However, for a price, any or all of these individual units can be operable windows but none of them need be and all can be installed as a fixed frame unit instead. One caveat: remember that the protrusion of the window increases exposure to the elements. Look for a window that has insulation in the seat board to save energy, improve comfort near the window, and protect your plants.

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Special Effects

Since a bow window is such a focal point from both the exterior and the interior, you should pay special attention to the treatment you use to achieve the effect you desire. Basically, there are two main ways to treat your bow windows. The simplest is to provide individual drop down shades for each window. The colors should be complimentary and consistent to avoid clutter and also match the motif of the room. The location of your bow windows may also heavily influence your window treatment choices. If it is a show window on the ground floor, pick window shades that provide privacy. At the same time, you should consider how these window treatments look from the outside as well. One possibility is to select a customized cloth roller shade with two separate, differently colored fabrics with one harmonizing with the outside while the other complements the inside.

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