flexiblefullpage - default
Currently Reading

Expansive Windows Give Suburban Home Indoor/Outdoor Connection

billboard - default

Expansive Windows Give Suburban Home Indoor/Outdoor Connection

This home's indoor-outdoor integration plays a role in an Illinois family’s quality of life

By Katy Tomasulo, Contributing Editor May 12, 2020

The rectilinear forms and broad expanses of glass that define the Courtyard Residence in Downers Grove, Ill., don’t just appeal to the homeowners’ design tastes; they’re part of a functional sensibility essential to the well-being of their family.

Among the family members are two children with limited mobility, for whom the homeowners sought to create a space that would not only accommodate their needs today, but which would be ideal for them to live out their lives.


Tom Harris Architectural Photography

Along with the features one expects in a home accessible to wheelchairs, the layout itself was designed with the girls’ health in mind, ensuring ample connections to the outdoors and abundant natural light. Traditionally, the narrow lot likely would have had a two-story house with a large backyard; instead, the architect spread a single-story footprint across much of the property, with three courtyards pushing in from the sides and integrating with nearly every room via windows and doors. Clerestory windows further those connections while bringing in even more light from above.

“That was a key element—seeing out of the house,” says Scott Rappe , principal of Chicago firm Kuklinski + Rappe Architects. Rappe worked with Barker Evans Landscape Architecture, in Chicago, to choreograph the outdoor areas. “It was important that the spaces were designed to be dynamic and interesting year-round.”


Tom Harris Architectural Photography

As a result, light animates the rooms throughout the day. “It’s really a kaleidoscopic array of experiences that the planning of the house made possible,” Rappe explains.

He says Marvin windows topped his list because they offered an ideal balance between performance and cost, as well as narrow sight lines and high insulation values. The team used awning and casement windows from Marvin’s clad-wood Ultimate line, and sliding and swinging French doors.

Along a 60-foot-long hall, called the “cloister,” nine Marvin direct-set floor-to-ceiling windows connect the interior to the adjacent courtyard. Rappe worked with Rob Jackman, senior product manager at Searls Windows and Doors, to maximize the unit size using custom steel mullion reinforcement concealed by narrow mullion covers and frame expanders.


Tom Harris Architectural Photography

To accommodate the suburban environment, Rappe says the windows’ Cascade Blue cladding color evokes a colonial vibe and a transitional modernism typical of postwar suburbs. “The cladding color, window sight lines, and depth of assemblies all provide a way of interpreting the units as both somewhat traditional and somewhat contemporary,” Rappe says . “It’s a middle ground.”

“The home really stands out in that regard—in that it’s so different from what’s around it,” Jackman says. “For something like this to come out in the suburbs was a cool thing to see.”

 60-foot-long hall, called the “cloister,” with nine Marvin direct-set floor-to-ceiling windows

Tom Harris Architectural Photography

leaderboard2 - default

Related Stories


Motel Conversion: A Motel Becomes a Model for Affordable Housing

A dilapidated Econo Lodge motel becomes the prototype for an adaptive reuse program to provide supportive housing


Niche Design Ideas for Greater Livability—and Coziness

As homes become more compact, builders and designers are getting more creative with space. Niches offer cozy, clever hideaways that can help make a house a home 


Townhome Designs That Suit the Neighborhood (and the Neighbors)

These townhouses play well with the detached homes around them, while offering greater density

boombox1 -
native1 - default
halfpage2 -

More in Category

Get your sales and marketing teams together to create and deliver a consistent brand message from start to finish

Pundits may not agree on the timing nor the severity of the next economic downturn, but one thing’s certain: these 10 essential tactics will boost your business' efficiency, productivity, and profit

A closer look at what’s propelling the adoption of off-site construction methods in home building

native2 - default
halfpage1 -

Create an account

By creating an account, you agree to Pro Builder's terms of service and privacy policy.

Daily Feed Newsletter

Get Pro Builder in your inbox

Each day, Pro Builder's editors assemble the latest breaking industry news, hottest trends, and most relevant research, delivered to your inbox.

Save the stories you care about

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet lorem ipsum dolor sit amet lorem ipsum dolor sit amet.

The bookmark icon allows you to save any story to your account to read it later
Tap it once to save, and tap it again to unsave

It looks like you’re using an ad-blocker!

Pro Builder is an advertisting supported site and we noticed you have ad-blocking enabled in your browser. There are two ways you can keep reading:

Disable your ad-blocker
Disable now
Subscribe to Pro Builder
Already a member? Sign in
Become a Member

Subscribe to Pro Builder for unlimited access

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua.