When it comes to living on the coast, there are certain things that can’t be compromised. You want to see every sunrise and sunset, every sweeping vista, and that wide expanse of distant horizon where the sea meets the sky.
But the same sun, wind, and ocean spray that make waterfront homes so beguiling can also make them vulnerable, especially in regions such as Florida, the Gulf Coast and New England, where hurricanes and nor’easters are a part of life.
Luckily, an array of high-end custom window and door manufacturers are meeting the demands for uncompromised views, beautiful aesthetics, and maximum performance with products designed to bring the outside in, while standing up to the toughest weather. Here are Ocean Home’s picks of the best in the business.
It’s hard to comprehend that an 18-foot-wide glass wall could resist hurricane-force winds and rain, but Matt Thomas, marketing manager for NanaWall Systems, says clients actually watched Hurricane Sandy’s fury from their NanaWall – they simply felt secure behind the product.
And for good reason: NanaWall Systems pioneered operable glass walls and has been perfecting them since the company was founded in 1986.
With NanaWall, beautiful views and a luxurious aesthetic go hand-in-hand with safety, strength, and durability. “They’re stronger in many cases than even a wall or a standard door,” says Thomas.
Based in Corte Madera, Calif., the company achieves exceptionally high performance ratings for hurricane zones, making it an ideal choice for an ocean home in challenging climates.
But the product’s design speaks for itself when the NanaWall can be opened with the touch of a finger, just as smoothly as it did on the day it was installed, largely because it’s built to last for decades.
“It should perform the way it did when you first bought it 10 years down the line,” Thomas says. nanawall.com
So, it’s no surprise LaCantina has launched what it calls “a new class” of multi-slide doors that combine the strength, symmetry, and balance of a lift-and-slide product with the functionality and value of a more typical multi-slide product. Innovation has been part of the business culture at LaCantina Doors since the company, based in Oceanside, Calif., was founded in 1993.
“It combines the best of both worlds,” says marketing director Benjamin Woo, adding the company has also debuted a full range of swing doors that perfectly complement their folding and multi-slide systems.
That attention to detail also extends to the company’s new class of multi-slide doors. The panels appear balanced and symmetrical, and when fully opened, stack flush to look like a single panel, ensuring clean, aesthetic and impeccable sightlines.
“What we’re creating is a seamless transition,” Woo says. “We’re blurring the lines between the inside and outside of the home.” lacantinadoors.com
FLEETWOOD WINDOWS & DOORS
The team at Fleetwood Windows & Doors in Corona, Calif., admit they’re “fanatical” about every last element and detail of the company’s custom-made products, from Swiss-made precision bearings to the company’s own stainless steel hardware, much of which is designed and assembled stateside.
Fleetwood’s hardware is part of what makes it stand out from the crowd. Since its founding in 1961, Fleetwood has been “known as the Cadillac of sliding doors,” says Mark McCoy, vice president of sales. “Keeping that reputation has always been key,” he adds, especially since the company’s roots are in ultra- luxury markets such as Beverly Hills.
When more cheaply made hardware from overseas threatened that hard-earned reputation, Fleetwood took matters into its own hands and began designing its own hardware, ensuring that its doors and windows not only look great, but function beautifully, too.
“It’s like the difference between closing a 1965 Chevy truck door and a BMW door,” McCoy says. “We brag about the little things because we believe the aggregate of the little things creates a better product.” fleetwoodusa.net
WEILAND SLIDING DOORS
Like all good custom window manufacturers, Weiland Sliding Doors likes to think big to maximize a home’s views. Offering seamless transitions, the company’s Liftslide door comes in very large sizes, several configurations, and with weather-rated flush tracks.
Founded in 1984 and based in Oceanside, Calif, the firm builds sliding doors for openings up to 16 feet tall and 60 feet wide, with configurations including pocketing, corner, curved, folding and pivoting doors.
Each door is tested for air, water and structural performance, and features panels that slide on a flush track extending only 3/16 of an inch above the finished floor.
“Our new pivot door design extends Weiland’s performance-rated flush thresholds into the swing and pivot door markets,” says product manager John Flynn.
“In the past, these doors have been viewed as non- performing specialty products, but when the market becomes aware of Weilands’ water-rated flush thresholds for pivot doors, we expect the niche to grow quite a bit.” weilandslidingdoors.com
MARVIN WINDOWS AND DOORS
When a client wanted his home’s colors to match the precise shade of brown of his prized Mercedes, he turned to the custom color program at Marvin Windows and Doors. That high standard has been a hallmark of the firm, based in Warroad, Minn., since it was founded in 1912. Today, Marvin’s products can match any aesthetic, for any region.
For instance, its Coastal Complete line offers options that are as durable as they are beautiful and easy to use, thanks to advanced elements like stainless steel and physical vapor deposition hardware.
Its high-performance, exterior cladding color options, like Bright Silver and Copper, provide a contemporary, clean aesthetic to coastal homes without fading.
“We produce stunning, high-design, beautifully constructed, hand-crafted products that have substance to them,” says Christine Marvin, director of marketing.
“For people living on the coast, the thing that’s most important is preserving the architectural style of your home, and maximizing your views.” marvin.com
PANDA WINDOWS & DOORS
Luxury, strength, and easy operations combine with energy efficiency and environmentally friendliness in Panda Windows & Doors.
“We’re extremely proud of the energy ratings we receive,” says Barry Nishman, Panda’s general operations manager. “We can go where no window company has gone before.” Since 1990, the Las Vegas-based company has been fine-tuning its products, and the recently launched All- Aluminum IMPACT is one of its latest offerings.
The new lift-and-slide product is designed to endure everything from Florida’s category 5 hurricanes to the everyday salt, sun, and wind of any coastal environment.
Yet, with strength comes beauty. The All-Aluminum IMPACT has panels that can be up to five feet wide, allowing for broad sightlines and hugely expansive openings, whether your view is of tropical shores or rugged oceanfront cliffs.
“That gives us the ability to open up the marketplace for those clients who are looking for the biggest views they can achieve,” Nishman says. panda-windows.com
KOLBE WINDOWS & DOORS
If someone can dream it – from large expanses of glass accentuated with custom shapes, to pairing divided- lite patterns with historically accurate designs – Kolbe Windows & Doors can do it with its customizable and built-to-order products. “It seems like a cliche,” says president Jeff De Lonay, “but that’s about the size of it.”
Founded in 1946 and located in Wausau, Wis., the company’s offerings include contemporary and traditional designs, from Cape Cod classic to West Coast modern.
Windows are available as casements, awnings, double and single hung, sliders, direct sets, folding units, tilt- turn, radius, and geometrics. The firm also manufactures folding, swinging, sliding, lift-and-slide, multi-slide and entrance doors.
Incorporating large expanses of glass that are customized to fit each space ensures that ocean views and daylight are always maximized, yet Kolbe’s product performance never wavers.
“You try to build the technology into them,” De Lonay says, “but the customer will see only the aesthetics.” kolbewindows.com
There’s nothing quite like gazing across the exhilarating Manhattan skyline from the top of a soaring high-rise – whether you’re in the iconic Empire State Building or Walker Tower’s new luxury condos in Chelsea – and New York City-based Skyline Windows helps makes those views even better.
Founded in 1921, Skyline has worked with the New York City Landmarks Commission since the commission’s inception, helping to restore icons like the Hearst Tower and the Waldorf Astoria New York with its high-performance, custom-made windows.
Skyline’s European-inspired design elements and state-of-the-art functionality are also ideal for residential use, especially its new ADA-compliant, crank-operated, tilt-and-turn window.
“You can open and close the window with less than five pounds of force,” says CEO Steven Kraus, who is the third generation of the Kraus family to helm the business.
“We’re not talking about a small window,” he adds.
“The tilt-and-turn enables us to build larger operating windows which maximize views and ensures an ease-of- use that will fit in with any high-end luxury apartment.” skylinewindows.com
Image Credits: Photo by Lawrence Anderson.