Windows of Opportunity
They say that the eyes are the windows to the soul. When it comes to designing your new home, your windows are your eyes to the world! They allow you to see, feel and hear the world outside. So, what do you need to consider when it comes to window design?
Firstly, there are the compliance issues that will form part of your building approval. There are regulations surrounding where windows can be placed, how far they can open and the size of the windows when it comes to assessing energy efficiency. Nobody likes a nosy neighbour, so windows that overlook a neighbours property are not allowed. If you need windows to allow for natural light and ventilation into a room that is close to a neighbours boundary, there are options such as highlight windows or frosted glass. If you have windows to the upper floor where there is a fall outside of the window of over 2 metres, the window cannot open more than 12.5cm. This is to protect children from falling through open windows. Also, for safety reasons, windows onto a pool area (depending on the height of the bottom sill of the window) need to be fixed glass, have a fixed security screen installed or have a permanently fixed opening of no more than 10cm.
Practically, windows are designed to let light and ventilation into your home. Every habitable room (bedrooms, living areas etc) is required to have a source of natural light and ventilation. North facing windows to your living areas allow for more radiant heat to enter your home during the winter months but without the glare in summer. This helps with the energy efficiency of your home. Placing windows to take advantage of the cross ventilation of afternoon breezes also helps to cool your home on those hot summer evenings. Then there are the different opening options to consider. Sliding windows work well in most homes, allowing the homeowner to adjust the size of the opening according to need. Awning windows are also great for those still, humid, rainy summer days as they allow for ventilation without the rain coming in. If you live in a high-density area with a lot of traffic noise, you may also need to consider special window glazing that will help to minimize the amount of noise coming into your home.
Aesthetically, your windows are your outlook onto the world and should be designed to take full advantage of any views. Large format, fixed picture windows work well for framing a particularly breathtaking vista. Highlight windows can be used where the view perhaps isn’t so inspiring; such as looking onto the boundary fence. We have even used lowlight windows to look out onto garden areas. Even while you are looking out onto the world, there is the chance that someone can be looking in. Privacy concerns are often remedied by your choice of window coverings. Blockout blinds or curtains give you the most privacy. There are also sunscreen options that allow light in without people being able to see in. But be careful, at night when there are lights on inside your home and it’s dark outside as they work the opposite way! The amount of brickwork, if any, above your windows will also factor into how your window coverings can be installed. If your windows go all the way to the ceiling, then your covering may need to be installed inside the window ‘reveal’. If you have brickwork above your windows, brackets can be installed to hold curtain rods.
Take this window of opportunity to talk to us about designing your new home.