We have several residential projects in the Stamford and Oakham area, and so we were delighted when Houseproud Stamford & Rutland magazine asked Alan to write a piece for their Architecture Explained series.
Are you making the most of natural light?
As a houseproud society, we invest a lot of time and money on our homes. We alter and upgrade our furnishings, fittings and finishes to reflect our changing tastes and personalities. But one aspect that often gets overlooked are the picturesque views from a property, and how to make the most of natural light.
As architects we find that making the most of any vistas, both internally or externally, is key to achieving a unique and uplifting home. Whether a client lives in a small cottage or a grand country estate, our approach is the same; we focus on creating a design that ensures all the space flows together to create a home. Maximising light is a crucial element of this to enhance the aesthetic, add drama and comfort.
This starts the moment you walk through the front door. What do you want to be welcomed home to each day? It might be a view through your house to a beautiful garden, or the sight of a roaring fire. It could be a painting or family portrait rather than a blank wall. Whatever you choose it should lift your mood and create a welcoming environment.
Fitting a timber surround internally to any key windows can help to give a view a more cinematic quality. We love using oak boards for this but for a more cost-effective option go for painted MDF.
Frame your views as if they were paintings
Another consideration are the external views from the property that you want to highlight. Large areas of glazing are a fantastic way to connect with your garden. But it’s important to strike a balance between vast windows letting in plenty of light, and framing the smaller views that provide unexpected moments for you to enjoy every day. This could be as simple as framing a particular feature in your garden or adding a cleverly angled window to draw your eye up towards the sky.
Invest in your windows
It’s also worth paying homage to your natural surroundings by investing in your windows. Here at Paul Testa Architecture we tend to favour sliding doors rather than bi-folds as you can spend more time enjoying your view and less time looking at window frames! Elsewhere, investing in windows or doors with minimal frames or glazing bars will help to maximise your views. You also can’t beat a good window seat for celebrating a view and encouraging you to take a moment to enjoy it.
Sliding doors lead out onto a balcony at the Hen House
Don’t forget internal views & openings
If you’re focusing on interior views, rearranging furniture is a simple way to update a space and redirect the eye. In terms of the overall space, there’s definitely a reason why an open plan layout has become so popular over the years. Not only does it create a spacious atmosphere that is great for entertaining, but it also encourages more natural light to travel through the room. If this isn’t an option, there are some creative ways to connect the rooms together:
- Replacing solid internal doors with glazed versions will do this,
- As will open shelving and screens.
These have the added benefit of bringing you together as a family even if you enjoy separate activities.
New openings can also help to improve the flow of your home and means you’re more likely to make the most of every square metre of your home. A creative architect will always help you spot any opportunities to improve the connections and views within your property. You’d be surprised what a big difference you can make to the look and feel of your home by the careful placement of a window.
Bespoke windows at Sycamore Hall make the most of the Peak District views
If you invest in new windows make sure you choose a reputable company to install them.
Even the most expensive, high-performance windows won’t deliver the look, functionality or comfort you expect if they’re installed incorrectly. Look for companies that include a 6-month return visit in their quote so they can make final adjustments once your new windows have settled.
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Have you been inspired to add more natural light to your home? We’d love to have a chat to discuss how we can help.