During the 2016 International Builders' Show in Las Vegas this week, Kolbe Windows & Doors highlighted its breadth of customizable options to create one-of-a-kind entrances. 

"No other feature on a home makes such a powerful statement and lasting impression as the front entry," says Cindy Bremer, vice president of marketing for the Wausau, Wisconsin millwork company. "Each entry is built-to-order so it can be individualized with wide and tall sizes, unusual shapes, rare wood species, bright and bold finishes, finely crafted glass, and many other selections."

Helping inspire new ideas, Kolbe's IBS display includes several custom entries, such as a custom mahogany wood, pivot door with locking pull handle energy-efficient, tempered reeded glass. Kolbe built the door more than 6 feet wide by 9 feet tall, to show how the specialized pivoting hardware allows easy operation in spite of its large size.

Kolbe also documented some recent architectural remodels, that show the application of its windows to high profile projects. 

Kolbe Windows in Hawk’s Nest; Falling Waters, West Virginia

Perched on a cliff that overlooks the Potomac River, Hawk’s Nest is a one-of-a-kind residence. Referred to by neighbors in Falling Waters, West Virginia, as “the glass house” due to its expansive span of Kolbe windows, the rectangular structure was conceived and designed by Greg Wiedemann, AIA, and Barbara Sweeney, AIA, of Wiedemann Architects, and owned by sculptor Lorie Strait.

“Our goal was to create a simple form that was simultaneously separate from and intertwined with nature,” states Wiedemann. “When we have the opportunity to build on a site like this, the natural beauty of the place should inform the design.”

Two simple, cast concrete volumes rise seamlessly from the boulders, creating a framed view of the landscape beyond and a perch for the steel and glass structure above. The addition of Ipe wood as an auxiliary material provides an organic contrast to the steel, and connects the home to the forest surrounding it. “I think it was very important to keep the site as natural as possible,” adds Sweeney.

Wiedemann and Sweeney chose Kolbe’s VistaLuxe Collection windows and doors for this project because of their narrow sightlines and large expanses of glass. Mulled units were as large as 8-feet-wide by almost 9-feet-tall. “We’ve worked with Kolbe on many traditional projects,” states Wiedemann. “When the VistaLuxe Collection became known to us, it was an absolute perfect fit.”

The project uses multiple window types as well as sliding doors, and Wiedemann was impressed with the consistency across the entire product line. “One thing that’s nice about the VistaLuxe Collection is that the profiles of the fixed and the awning windows are very seamless together. There’s a sense of continuity from ceiling to floor. These glass walls allow you to be connected to this site in a way that another solution would not.”

The home features VistaLuxe direct sets and awnings with a Flush style exterior in Coal Black, which is one of Kolbe’s 32 standard exterior color choices.

 “Windows are, by their nature, the threshold between inside and outside,” states Wiedemann. “The relationship of interior space to exterior space is largely orchestrated by the decision about windows. The VistaLuxe Collection allows us, as architects, to make that connection between inside and outside so that it disappears.”

Wiedemann agrees: “This house is a composition of materials that not only speak to the site, but they speak to the art that Lorie makes here.” He continues, “The play of light in a home, and how it changes over time, is really celebrated here.”

Kolbe Windows used in contemporary California farmhouse

Set on 20 acres in the Russian River Valley of Sonoma County in California’s wine country, the remodel of this contemporary farmhouse focused on embracing the sweeping views of the surrounding pinot noir vineyard and pastoral landscape. Working closely with architect Amy A. Alper, AIA, Kolbe crafted the home’s windows and patio doors to precise specifications including expansive, specially framed and custom mull configurations to capture real-life landscapes that rival fine art.

“One of the most important parts of the remodel was to vastly improve the quality of the windows and doors; the previous windows and doors minimized the views and were distracting, dated and not energy efficient. Amy and I wanted windows that were warm -- but not commercial or industrial, yet with clean lines, built to last and Kolbe delivered,” said homeowner Steven S.

“We examined a variety of design options, but found a second story addition to be the best solution for design impact – both inside and out,” Alper said. “Reusing the existing foundation and walls produced significant savings.”

She describes the architectural vision as “twin forms separated by use – one for the voluminous living area and one for private areas; each clearly expressed with their own parallel rooflines. The ‘between’ spaces are for entry and kitchen with a casual loft above. The interiors have been designed to blur the lines between indoor and out, and to keep the rural palette of materials and textures reminiscent of the traditional, but with a modern sensibility. The scale of the windows is edgier and bolder than what you’d expect from a typical farmhouse.”

Blending traditional and modern, openness and privacy challenged Alper throughout the project as she sought to “capture and frame the 360 degree views around the house.”