The return in popularity of the ‘French window’:
Double-glazed sliding patio doors became hugely popular in the UK in the 1970s, along with double-glazing replacement windows and doors. At the time they were mostly in battleship-grey silver anodised aluminium, fitted in hardwood subframes. The popularity continued unabated through the 1980s and little wonder: the patio door made a visually dramatic difference, it gave an instant ‘modernised’ appearance, the brick cut-down and installation were relatively easily done with little disruption and per square foot the door was good value for money.
The double-glazed sliding patio door revolution brought with it the paved patio area, along with the obligatory BBQ and white plastic table and chairs set and brightly coloured parasol, and didn’t we all feel so suave, chic and fashionable! In the early 1990s a gradual drift away from ‘modernisation’ began, to be replaced by a preference for the quaint and cottage-y, a fashion that has continued to grow to the present day. I have noted with interest over the years that not everybody likes double-glazed sliding doors, which have a certain bland starkness and can give a feeling of ‘living in a goldfish bowl’, particularly if the property is even slightly overlooked. As I write I can say that there is now greater demand for ‘French’ double doors, sometimes with sidelights if wide enough, than there is for new sliding patio door sets. Customers who want to replace their old patio doors often have new ones again, whereas when people move into a property they often choose to change the character and have double ‘French’ doors instead as part of the remodeling and ‘prettying up’ of their new home.