Oval Windows, sometimes called eliptical windows, are a nice addition to any homes facade. There is often a need to treat these shaped windows when they end up in a closet area (concern with fading on clothing) or in a bathroom (often in powder baths) as they frequently do.
Here is a recent inquiry we received about an oval window, and our response with the customer:
Customer Request– Hi there. I have an oval bathroom window for which I’m looking for shutters the hieght is 30″ and the width is 40-1/2″ I’m not sure if I prefer the fan -like, or horizontal louvre orientation, but would like someone to contact me to see what you guys can do.
Our Reply– Thanks for taking the time to contact us. The oval plantation shutters are among the most beautiful we make. There are a couple of things you might bear in mind regarding your preferences.
As a woodworker I look first at function. Because of the shape and the way the louvers interact with the shape, a horizontal louvered panel should allow for more overall direct light (or sightline) to the outside. We sculpt the back edges of the louvers so that they will open to 90 degrees. There would be a slight ‘glue-in’ piece (typically not more than 1/2 of one louver width) to act as a light stop top and bottom. That means that with the louvers fully opened, there would be a slight appearance of “flattening” of the oval shape top and bottom. Most of the ovals we see are oriented taller than wider. The horizontal louvers in your case would add a little to your cost because they exceed our recommendation for maximum width. We could however orient the louvers vertically. They would either close to the left or the right depending on how you installed it and again should open to 90 degrees. I would opt for either of these if your view to the outside (or maximum natural light coming in) is your goal.
Alternately, a fan shape with all louvers radiating out from a center oval hub has a very nice visual appeal from the interior and exterior, but louver operation is more limited. If you look at the window like a clock, the louvers at 12, 3, 6, and 9 would open virtually fully. The louvers at 1:30, 4:30, 7:30, and 10:30 wouldn’t open far at all. All louvers would operate independently of one another within the parameters I mentioned. This is perhaps better if indirect natural light is desired, and/or if your view to the outside world is less than stellar. Again, as a woodworker, I think this option is the most beautiful and reflects the architecture of the window itself in the best way, but isn’t as functional as the horizontal/vertical option. Regardless, I would need a template of the opening to build it.
Customer’s Reply– Reading your response, I realized I had the height and width reversed, so ours is taller than wide, which, as you point out, is the norm. Would a tracing of the window frame work for you as a template?
Kirtz Reponse– You know, the thing I really like about fabricating custom shutters is that even after nearly 19 years with Kirtz, I still haven’t seen it all as a lot of architects/designers/window manufacturers/contractors all like to have their own ‘signature’ designs. While I have seen some ovals wider than tall, most are indeed taller than wide…just thought I’d make mention of it because it had the potential to affect pricing. Otherwise, there’s no difference in your cost between the options.
A tracing of the opening will work just fine. Most of our window treatment pros do that on ‘butcher paper’, roll it up and send it over in a mailing tube. Some will make their tracing, transfer it to cardboard and put the cardboard in the window to verify before sending it (the cardboard) to us. It’s okay if the template is taped together and folded. We’ve seen templates made from the Sunday comics even!
A comment on the fan louvers. Did you notice the size of the hub (center circle)? At Kirtz we keep that in proportion to your opening size so that it complements your window. No short cuts here…… Sure its a bit more work and requires more hand shaping of the louvers, but its worth it in the appearance of the finished product.