Iowa-based Pella Corp.’s November acquisition of custom window and door manufacturer Duratherm marked the company’s third buy in two years targeted toward growing its Crafted Luxury brands—a step above its premium Architect Series line. We talked with luxury sales development manager Alan Pickett about what sets “luxury” above “premium” and how that difference can affect the design of a home.

Alyssa Schukar

What differentiates “luxury” window and door products from “premium” products?

Often, the types of projects that involve the luxury lines feature door and window openings so oversized and large scale that the production process begins to mirror those of commercial projects. There are custom capabilities when using a premium product such as the Architect Series, but you run up against maximums: You can create a fine window wall by taking smaller chunks of those windows and assembling them. But with a luxury product, you can fill larger openings with a single, composite unit.

These lines are marketed to custom builders and architects. How does getting a client on board with a luxury package affect their process?

In cases where each detail and proportion is paramount, every component in a luxury window or door, from the species of wood to the curvature of the glass, can be customized. The window and door company works with the architect to design a product to meet specific needs, such as the use of furniture-grade wood or work-arounds for installation intricacies.

What kind of intricacies?

Unlike with a premium product, luxury windows are built to the depth of the wall, making it possible to conceal and integrate custom technology, including shading devices and switchable or photosensitive glass. Luxury lines give us a vehicle to experiment with ideas and trends usually reserved for the commercial market and innovate them to eventually penetrate the residential one.

The historic storefront of a Chicago commercial office was converted into a luxury residence by local firm Vinci-Hamp using direct-set windows from Grabill Architectural Windows & Doors.
Eric Hausman The historic storefront of a Chicago commercial office was converted into a luxury residence by local firm Vinci-Hamp using direct-set windows from Grabill Architectural Windows & Doors.