By Jay Libby
One of the well-known underpinnings of contemporary design philosophy is that a home should be a machine for the living. Indeed, there’s a trend shifting from reserving the home for a single set of functions to expanding its utility to encompass work, play, and nurturing family connections.
This concept applies to every aspect of a contemporary home’s design. It’s liberating in how it allows a flexibility in the design that can follow and adapt to the homeowner’s own changing lifestyle. This certainly includes windows.
Visible from both inside & out, the size, placement and function of each window is a critical factor in defining a home for its inhabitants, guests and the community. Some guidelines for any new build or remodel that bring contemporary sensibility to your home’s overall style include:
1. Deliver light as far into the space as possible: when utilized correctly, the constantly changing light that flows through windows can transform an interior. Balancing the placement of windows to deliver natural light as far into a built structure accomplishes one of the primary principles of contemporary design: serve a utilitarian purpose, not a decorative one.
2. Promote indoor air quality: Proper ventilation for a home goes beyond opening a window or two. Stacked ventilation, for example, utilizes roof windows in combination with wall windows, creating updrafts that funnel warm air outdoors and away from living areas. Interior window openings can help channel fresh air to a home’s more remote locations.
3. Minimize ornamentation to maximize impact: With the right positioning, spectacular scenery can become the focus of a room, even the focus of a home. Whether as a huge picture window or a perfectly aligned group of smaller windows, this reinforces a home’s connection to its surroundings and is commonly referred to as managing the view.
4. Erase the divide between interior and exterior: Walls of windows or patio doors can help connect the interior of a home with the immediate surroundings. Thresholds are minimized, rooflines blend into tree lines, and outdoor spaces become your expanded living space.
5. Knowing which windows match a contemporary style is key to achieving that contemporary look. To that end, this free site connects home styles and the proper windows based on architectural need: https://www.andersenwindows.com/home-styles/#industrial-modern
With a contemporary home design, your home isn’t your castle: it’s your blank canvas, ready to bloom with the colors of the life you live. The best design is one that grows and adapts with you as your own life expands or changes.
With more than 30 years of experience in product design and design research, Jay Libby is the Creative Services Manager at Andersen Windows.