See the light with iron-framed windows

Susan and Brian Banner bought their house in North Buckhead with plans to tear it down and rebuild on the site. That was 10 years ago and before the couple’s three children arrived.

Over the years, Susan leafed through magazines, gathering ideas for styles, looks and rooms she liked and hoped to incorporate in the house. One feature Susan was keen on was a wall of iron-framed windows.

Last May, the family moved in to their new home. The sleek iron windows and doors, fabricated by Atlanta-based Ironworks International, were in place. They flood the breakfast room with natural light and open up to covered porch and back yard.

“They make a statement,” said Susan. “And they are in a place we can enjoy them every day.”

Iron (also referred to as steel) windows, like the ones the Banners chose, can add architectural wow to any space – and any style of home.

The custom-made windows aren’t new. Hope’s Windows in New York has been manufacturing steel windows for more than 100 years. But they are one of the hottest trends in home remodeling and construction, according to Atlanta-area architects, builders and iron fabricators.

“Since the recession, there has been more interest in these windows,” said Linda MacArthur of Atlanta-based Linda MacArthur Architect, who designed the Banners’ home. “A lot of people want them.”

Rod Gibson, owner of Woodstock-based R.G. Ironworks, agrees. For 12 years, Gibson has specialized in creating iron windows and doors for homes in the Atlanta area and throughout the Southeast.

“With their slender sight lines and minimal profile, the windows can look contemporary or old world depending how they are used,” said Gibson, who fabricates iron windows and doors for specific rooms, such as kitchens and sunrooms, and for entire homes.

If you are considering adding iron windows in your home, consider these tips on from MacArthur, Gibson, Atlanta architect Norman D. Askins and

What to consider

Location. Windows and doors can be highly functional and aesthetic at the same time. Kitchens, dining areas and family rooms are ideal for the windows. So are bedrooms and bathrooms. Put them in a room where you spend the most time and enjoy them. Most often that is on the back, not the front, of the house.

Sun. If you are in the planning stages of a new home, consider how your house will be situated on the property in accordance with the sun. You may not want to put a wall of windows in your bedroom, where the sun will wake you up, unless you are an early riser. But trees, window filters and overhang or awnings can help reduce glare and heat.

One or more. Choose just one window for over the kitchen sink or a wall of windows with a built-in door in your family room or across the back of your house. In a kitchen, an iron-framed window can provide a stunning focal point on a wall of cabinets. If you are renovating, changing out a regular wood window for an iron/steel window can add a fresh, young look or the missing detail design you were after.

Cost: A custom-made iron/steel framed window costs about three times the cost of a conventional window.

- Style and look. To some, the thin, dark floor-to-ceiling windows impart an industrial or warehouse aesthetic. To others, the ultra-low-profile windows are crisp and clean, and a perfect way to give a contemporary touch to a traditional space.

Energy efficiency: Since the iron/steel-framed glass windows first appeared, window technology has improved. That is part of the reason for the resurgence of interest in the windows. The improvements include better materials, designs, finishes, weatherproofing, thermal and glazing systems, plus insulated, Low-E glass.

What they do for a room

- Add more natural light.

- Maximize a view.

- Add a focal point or accent.

- Frame the view, like a piece of artwork.

- Add an architectural element.

- Make the space feel fresh.

- Make a room feel bigger since the windows connect the inside and out.

- Replace a wall. These window and door systems, with their thin lines and minimal amount of framework, are naturally suited to open corners, where sheets of glass are formed to create open corner windows.