French Windows

When building a French house, I think one of the most important elements is choosing the correct window!  Then, of course, there are the shutters. But that’s for another day.

Before we get started on window talk, let’s get our window terms down.  Inswing casement windows swing into the building.  Outswing casement windows swing out of the building.

In swing vs outswing windows!

From my study of French houses, it seems the only window they use is the inswing casement window!  

I have seen the outswing casement window in other places in Europe – in fact, the house I lived in in Germany had outswing casement windows.

I believe they only use the inswing casement window because they almost always have shutters and how can you close a shutter when the window swings out? You can’t! (Unless you have a little pulley system, which is actually what the house in Germany that I lived in had, but that’s a bit different because it was the ugly metal shutter than the cute wood one).

These are all inswing casement windows. You cannot have the swing outwards with a metal bar in the way!

Recognize this place? Yes, it’s Chateau de Versailles. I spy… inswing casement windows!

A study below… inswing French windows up top, the smaller windows I think are inswing too. The bottom level has French doors.

Inswing inswing inswing!  In America, we would totally make these dormer windows double hung. 

Inswing windows have different shapes… some eyebrow shaped, some square, some rectangular.

 They are small, they are big. I feel like I’m writing for Dr. Seuss.

Below, an apartment in Paris.  This is how I envision my second story windows (there are only a few!)… an inswing window with a flower box on the second story. Oooh la la.

 Well, here’s the deal with inswing French casement windows… they are not cheap!

There are only several national makers of them: Marvin Windows, Kolbe Windows, and Pella.  We are not going with Pella because they were terrible for our previous house.  TERRIBLE. Don’t buy them. 

To save some cash, we are going to actually do a mixture: Inswing casement windows in a few key locations, outswing casement windows on others, and double hung on the rest.  Inswing is most expensive, followed by outswing, then double hung.  You can get the look of inswing casement with the outswing casement and even double hung… if you get the right style.  

As for the window color, we are going with white windows. It seems a majority of windows in France are white and then the pop of color comes from the shutters.  I’ll be doing another post on shutters alone in the future.

What do you all think of all of these windows?

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  1. June 5, 2016 / 5:09 pm

    We used Marvin windows in our home remodel. Great company! Love the look of these windows, and good quality windows are important to me. It bothers me to see a beautiful home being built when the builder puts in cheap windows. The casement windows are going to look terrific and authentic.

    • June 6, 2016 / 10:33 pm

      Oh, good to hear you like Marvin windows! We are working on quotes. It bothers me too about cheap windows!

  2. June 7, 2016 / 5:32 am

    It is a tough decision. Early houses in the northeast use double hung. The in swing windows have a harder time with wind resistance and rain, according to the sales people. the outswing has a really nice retractable screen. But nothing beats an inswing for the authentic French look!

  3. June 7, 2016 / 12:51 pm

    Inswing windows also mean it is easy to wash them – no ladder! It's too bad that they are more expensive. Either way, yours will be beautiful.

  4. June 10, 2016 / 2:55 am

    I love, love, LOVE all these images. So glad that you are going to include some of the casement window in your home. Thank you for so faithfully joining us at Thoughts of Home on Thursday. You are a treasured blogging friend.

  5. June 16, 2016 / 1:37 pm

    I love your post about the French windows. I'm new to the blogging world and just found your blog site through a link party. I love french country and European decor, and loved seeing your beautiful pictures.

  6. Anonymous
    June 16, 2016 / 3:32 pm

    In Oklahoma, out-swing is nice, screen inside, to take advantage of the spring and summer south breezes without the mosquitos and other flying critters. We chose out-swing to create more reading chair space by the windows. When the wind really "comes sweeping down the plains", nobody has windows open 🙂

  7. June 17, 2016 / 3:53 am

    I designed a french style home with an exterior similar to the ones you've shown in your pictures. Windows are a design element that can't be messed up in my opinion. I wanted the real deal so I decided to meet with window manufacturers from France. Check out Portalais in California. They work with the French companies and can get you anything from windows, roof and floor tiles, limestone fireplaces and fountains.

  8. June 19, 2016 / 4:42 am

    What a fantastic resource! Yikes! I wish they had been there when I built my French house in Montecito!! They are nearby in Santa Rosa……and they have amazing things…..and a great website….I relied on companies who were very new……and I love all my mantels and antique pavers…..but this is a streamlined operation…..I would definitely go with their windows. NONE of those companies…..NONE make quality windows….and none of them get the proportions right! Kolbe and Kolbe had to replace so many windows…..hundreds. Had it been one house…..they would never have replaced even one.

    My suggestion….go there….go for the best windows….it will serve you in the long run. And these antique pavers and antique roof tiles……Yowzers!

    Good luck! We adore every single day we live in our Provencal farmhouse! We had 6 rescued ducklings (now full-sized) delivered to our pond! They love the duckhouses…..I don't think they are leaving…although they can fly!!!

  9. June 19, 2016 / 4:45 am

    Do you not want my comments? We built a French Farmhouse 20 years ago in Montecito! I have made a few comments……none published…I will go away if you want me to! ??????

    • June 19, 2016 / 2:52 pm

      Penelope- I really appreciate your comments! When you post them they will not appear right away as I moderate them as I get a lot spam! I have been on the road so haven't been able to monitor them!

    • August 7, 2016 / 7:34 pm

      Okay! Do you have a spam protector? I do. It helped a lot!
      PS our French farmhouse has operable shutters, and outswing windows! It works together. Also, like Patina Farm we have retractable screens on the windows; and pocket screens on the french doors.! Great!

    • August 8, 2016 / 12:03 am

      I don't have a spam protector… Could not figure out how to add one so instead I am the spam protector! Ok that is very good to know, still haven't bought our windows yet, starting to get quotes this week I think!