from "Bright Star" by Jane Campion
There is something sublime about a good window. It's a meeting of the civilized protected world, and the wilder one on the other side of the glass. Many things make a window become poetry...the slight distortions of old glass, the proportions of both the whole opening and the mullions dividing the glass, a deep sill creating a three dimensional place, the height of the sill, a window seat below, the way the view is framed, and of course the view itself. Here are some windows that offer intangible delight.

Above: Photo by Uta Barth...you can see more here.

Above: Roy McMakin uses windows in a very artistic way. Here he's taken a shape he works with frequently, with the bisected pane, and colors the glass. The colored view looks like an old sepia photograph.

Above: This simple room is a favorite space of mine. It's part of a studio in the Berkshire Mountains designed by architect Deborah Berke.

Above: Fairfield Porter "City Window"...To see more of Fairfield Porter's work visit the Parrish Art Museum site.

Above: In another house designed by Roy McMakin, the window at the far end is used as a piece of art, almost a painting hung on the wall. It is very different from the floor to ceiling glass windows at the left, and intended to be something singular, a focal point. It's configuration is the same as in the Fairfield Porter painting above.

Above: This window has the same bisected shape as in the Roy McMakin window in the previous photo. It's from a brownstone in East Harlem renovated by the firm Delson or Sherman. The light looks so pretty reflecting off the glossy painted floor.

Above: From Farrow and Ball's new book, "Living With Colour". The vertical shape of this window accentuates the height of the room. The depth allows space for a small window seat.

Above: David Hockney "Home", 1969  from his illustrated Grimm's Fairy Tales.

Above: From Farrow and Ball's new book, "Living With Colour". The proportion of the windows, and the aging imperfection of the panes makes a wonderful contrast with the modern seating.

Above: Vilhelm Hammershoi (1864-1916) "Dust Motes Dancing on the Sunbeams", 1900. Hammershoi, a Danish painter, was rediscovered in a show at the Royal Academy of Arts in London in 2008. I came across his work at the D'Orsay in Paris this summer. He creates mysterious quiet spaces full of doors and windows and women looking away from the viewer. There is almost no color in his work beyond variations on blacks, whites, greys, and browns. He is a minimalist, painting almost empty rooms. The light coming through the windows seems to me to have a spiritually healing quality.

Above: The delicate scale of the mullions and the expanse of old glass panes make these huge windows so appealing.  Via Door 16

Above: Henri Matisse "Window" 1916

Above: Colored pencil drawing by David Hockney

Above: A residence designed by Pulltab Design in the Flowerbox Building by Derek Sanders in the East Village, NYC...Fantastic windows!

Above: The scene through the windows is paramount due to the complete whiteness of the room. via Light Locations

Above: The intersection of this desk and the window is a kind of sculpture. It's in a cabin designed by Catherine Burd and Buddy Haward. It really makes me think of the Hopper painting below.

Above: Edward Hopper "Office in a Small City" 1953  It gives me context to think that this was painted the year our house was built.

Above: The high slanted windows in Brancusi's studio are just what you think of when you hear the words artist's studio. His studio has been recreated as a permanent installation, L'Atelier Brancusi, in it's own building across from the Pompidou Museum in Paris.

The windows in the Kitchens below transform them from utilitarian spaces to something unique, breathtaking.

Above: Nilus de Matran designed this Kitchen in San Francisco.

Above: This Kitchen designed by Antwerp based architect Vincent Van Duysen would be a claustrophobic space without the clear connection to the garden outside. via Remodelista

Above: The drama of this window transforms this Kitchen designed by Found Associates in London. It would be so beautiful in the rain.

A breakfast table in front of a window is a classic subject...

Above: Winifred Nicholson "Jake and Kate on the Isle of Wight" 1931-32.

Above: Fairfield Porter "Breakfast Still Life" 1975

Above: Raul Dufy "Window" 1940

Above: Pierre Bonnard "Dining room on the Garden" 1934-35

Above: From Living Etc. October 2010. Architect Philippe Harden has made the most of a tiny apartment in Paris. The window makes this miniature room become something like a balcony.

Below: Bathrooms enhanced by excellent windows...

Above: Natural light streams in on either side of the mirror in this hotel in the Cotswolds.

Above: A fantastic view from the bathroom sink in Florence at the Floroom Hotel, in the Oltrarno neighborhood.

Above: This room carries a sense of adventure with the floor level window opening and the shower seeming to rain with no boundaries. It's from a collaborative project in Hampstead Heath, by architects Stiff + Trevillion and designer Retrovious.

Above: Seeing the previous picture made me think of this one of a cenote in the Yucatan.

Above: And that one led to this one of the Pantheon with the center open to the elements, a window to the heavens.

Above: James Turrell frames the sky in the Live Oak Friend's Meeting House.

Where there is a long bank of windows a deep sill becomes a tempting place to put things down, or perch on.

Above: Taken at Dosa, in Los Angeles

Above: The Living Room in a condominium designed by Roman and Williams at 211 Elizabeth Street. The glossy black paint draws attention to the  beautiful woodwork, and the expanse of windows keeps the black from becoming oppressive.

Above: Glenn O'Brien's house in The Selby. The sill here has expanded to become a place to display objects with a bookcase below.

Above: Edward Hopper "Chop Suey" 1929

And really any sill is a natural places to put flowers and other things too.

Above: Fairfield Porter "East 11th Street" 1960

Above: Winifred Nicholson "Loch Hourn" 1952

Above: Winifred Nicholson (1893-1981) "View from Gavin Maxwell's" 1958. The two pieces by Nicholson were painted in Sandaig, Scotland. Flowers on a sill with the wild ocean or rocks in the background was a favorite theme. She was both the wife of a well known artist...Ben Nicholson, and the daughter-in -law as well, of William Nicholson. In the late 1940s and throughout the 1950s she traveled to remote places in Scotland, such as the Isle of Skye, the Isle of Wight, South Ouist, Canna, Sandaig, and Eigg, to paint. She found the landscape, the quality of light, and the constantly changing weather conditions there to be the right environment.

Above: This haunting photo was published in the first issue of Verve magazine, from December 1937. It's taken by Brassai, in the studio of Aristide Maillol.

Above: Patrick Caulfield "Oh Helen/Roam My Room", 1973, titled after a poem by Jules Laforgue.

As everyone who knows me is aware, I am obsessed with window seats. Ideally they should be perfect places to daydream and read. The only problem is good ones are rare...they should be deep enough for comfort, with a thick cushion and supporting pillows all around. Too often they are narrow and there's no place to lean back. I can attest to the first one below being truly excellent as I've been able to spend time relaxing on it very happily.

Above: This window seat is at Manka's, Inverness, California. Not only is it comfortable, but it has a good view of Tomales Bay.

Above: Kind of a small seat, but what a view of Stockholm! via From The Right Bank

Above: This is also at Manka's, but is actually a bed...even more comfortable than a good window seat.

Above: From an old issue of Elle Decor, a corner of an apartment I found much inspiration in. This window seat isn't built in, but it would be a lovely place from which to look out the window. It's the home of Sciascia Gambaccini, or at least it was when this came out about 10 years ago.

Above: This seat could use a big pillow to lean on, and it would be an excellent spot. via From The Right Bank

Above: A window seat detail from Farrow and Ball's new book, "Living With Colour". Not a place you'd want to read, but excellent for looking out the window. The wood detail is well crafted.

Above: The cushion's a little thin, but the setting would distract you from dwelling on it. via From The Right Bank.

Above: Vilhelm Hammershoi (1864-1916) "A Woman Reading by a Window"

In a Sun Room the windows take up most of the wall space, on more than one wall.

Above: This space is the studio of Venice artist Lynn Hanson. I was able to see it on one of the Venice Garden tours.

Above: From Living Etc. September 2009, a sitting room off the Kitchen in Jenna Lyons' Brooklyn brownstone.

When a Sun Room is above ground level it can feel as though you're in a tree house.

Above: A corner of a friend's house, designed by Marmol Radziner.

Above: This is from the same house, but left untouched when the house was remodeled. This room has windows on all four sides.

Above: A house by Gustave Carlson in Inverness. In this modern cabin the windows open in an interesting way.

Above: From the book "Handmade Houses", 1973.

A window becomes a frame for what you see beyond it. Sometimes the frame is large and open...

Above: From a house in Sweden by Strata Arkitektur.

Above: A room at the Bowery Hotel, NYC

Above: A studio at the Verana Hotel in Yelapa, near Puerta Vallarta. Yelapa is a place only accessible by boat.

Above: The view from inside the studio I designed behind our house.

Above: From "Marimeko" published by Yale University Press for the Bard Graduate Center, 2003. This is a prefeb sauna designed by Aarno Ruusuvuori in the mid 1960s. He is the architect who designed the original Marimeko stores in Finland. He also planned a visionary design project, "Marikyla", which was to be a village and factory in a rural setting.

Above: A project overlooking the Baltic Sea near Stockholm by Claesson Koivisto Rune.

Above: Designed by Yves Bayard and Kikette Interiors in Saint-Paul de Vence.

Above: From a space by the architect Luis Barragan

Sometimes it's a frame for a more contained view...

Above: I saved this image from an old Italian design magazine, probably from the early 80s...it still works for me. This is an apartment in the center of Rome.

Above: From "Living Etc." November 2009. I like the simplicity of the two lite upper and lower casements, as well as the enveloping quality of the single blue green color for walls and woodwork.

Above: From Elle Decoration UK August 2010, Paola Navone's house on the Greek island of Serifos.

Above: Pablo Picasso "Les Pigeons" December 1957. This was painted when Picasso lived at "La Villa California" in Cannes. He painted a series of this theme, and this one is the most simplified.

Above: A photo taken in 1946 by Helene Adant at villa La Reve, Matisse's home in Vence.

Above: Henri Matisse "La Seance du Matin", 1924. This was painted in Matisse's studio in Nice.

Sometimes it's just the evidence of a window that moves me...the streaming light.

Above: Interior from project in Oxfordshire by Michaelis/Boyd with interior design by London based Sarah Delaney.

Above: Edward Hopper "Sun in an Empty Room", 1963

Above: Johannes Vermeer "Young Woman With a Water Pitcher", 1664-65.

Above: From Bright Star by Jane Campion


  1. Absolutely stunning - I love your posts!!

  2. More beautiful selections to contemplate.
    Truly wonderful Laura. I look forward to the next.

  3. Jane Campion would be proud, I think, to find herself in such beautiful company. Another work of art, Laura. Keep them coming...

  4. So inspiring Laura!! xLiza

  5. Wow, wow, wow, this is an epic post! Thank you for your sweet comment - I'm glad you like my window seat posts. I think you've done one better here!

  6. I was waiting and waiting for the Vermeer and then, finally, there it was!

    He loved windows too!

    Donald Kaufman told my mother to paint the mullions on her windows in NYC black and it looks great. I think I might have to try that myself...

    Lovely post, as always...

  7. So beautiful and inspiring! Shouldn't I revisit the idea of a window seat in the living room....

  8. I'm a fan of Uta Barth, I love the Flowerbox Building windows and I love your studio!

    Also liked the windows on the Greek Is. of Serifos and also Picasso's 'Les Pigeons'

    x Fi

  9. I waited until I had time to really really look at these and it was worth the wait!
    They're wonderful Laura.


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