Today’s homeowners are redefining the concept of “home life.” Where there used to be a clear definition of spaces that were dedicated to work (the office), play (the gym) and home (your house), our connected worlds have grown closer and closer to the point that any defining lines have blurred. Homes today are created with an intention to encompass work, play, and nurturing family connections. Contemporary home design principles have evolved over the past century to reflect this – rather than taking its cues from historic procedures or precedent, contemporary home design is rooted in the belief that a home should be a “machine for the living.”
No opportunity for functionality is overlooked with a contemporary design, and that includes windows. Every aspect of the building materials is considered for how its raw form contributes to a design that can shift to support how homeowners want to live in their home and the lifestyle they desire.
How Windows Affect Your Design
Windows are a key factor in supporting contemporary home design, because of how they are visible from both inside and out. The size, placement and function of each window defines a home for its inhabitants, guests and the community. Windows also contribute to the evolving functionality of spaces within a structure. Some guidelines for any new build or remodel that bring contemporary sensibility to a 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 support 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.
There’s a refreshing honesty with contemporary design. With each home’s own flexibility, there’s no cookie-cutter lifestyle to mold your life to fit. The simple elegance of contemporary design principles are based on the brilliance of the premise: Rather than dictating how you live, a contemporary home’s open spaces and clean lines are really a blank canvas ready to bloom with the colors of the life you live.
The kinds of investment homeowners make in purchasing and even remodeling their homes more than justifies the mindful approach encouraged by contemporary design.
With a whole-living approach that considers work life connections, expanding for family members young and old, and even simplifying life in later years, homeowners will always have the home they need to help them live the lives they want. This evolving definition is what helps keep contemporary design contemporary, and relevant for any lifestyle.
With more than 30 years of experience in product design and design research, Jay Libby is the Creative Services Manager at Andersen Windows.