Redefining a Classic: The Arch

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Arched windows and doors complete the Old World home look

Where did the arch originate? It may seem like a simple shape or structure for anyone in the 21st century. Arched windows and doors are a prevalent site in architecture and have been for decades. But everything has an origin story. Arches date back to the second millennium BC in Mesopotamia. They became prevalent as an architectural feature in ancient Rome. Arches are a flexible shape with expanded arches having a large area between both sides and a greater opening. Whereas, compact arches are tight and have smaller openings.

Some of the world’s most recognized arches include the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, the Gateway Arch in St. Louis, Missouri, the Rialto Bridge over the Grand Canal in Venice and the Sydney Harbour Bridge in Sydney.

Arches have been and continue to be a central design element in architecture. They are part of some of the most iconic sites in the world. Without the use of an arch in these designs, they just wouldn’t look the same.

With their origin and influence so heavily European, it makes sense that they would be such a prominent characteristic of Old World style. What’s even more interesting is how the configuration of an arched window or door is an interpretation of soft and hard or masculine and feminine. The 90 degree corners at the bottom meet the curve of the top.

Door arches

An arched door is the perfect entrance for an Old World home. These stately, often large doors are impressive yet they aren’t intimidating due to the roundness at the top. Depending on the size, you can use a single or double arched top door.

Accentuate the arch top with metal clavos. Raised panels in equal widths are often an additional feature for arched top doors. Add custom grilles over glass insets with intricate designs for even more depth.

Window arches

To carry on the theme of arches from the interior of a home, arched windows are an ideal choice. There are multiple ideas for creating arched windows. For small windows, use a half-round window. These can be fixed (don’t open) or operational. A radius top rail window is not a full curved arch. It has two straight side rails and an arched head. With this type of window, you can use a dark color on the window sashes and sill. Then frame it with white trim.

For a room with high ceilings and a large wall, a series of casement windows can provide a full wall arch with each pane, customized to fit the complete 180 degrees of the half circle.

Arches offer a unique way to customize the windows and doors in your home. They blend seamlessly into homes with Old World architectural elements. Yet, they aren’t overpowering. It’s a mix of subtle sophistication and grandness, exactly what Old World homes are meant to be.

Explore more by browsing the arched windows and doors possibilities.