Saturday, September 11, 2010

Not Exactly a Farmhouse

I've been meaning to write the second half to my previous post:    
New Windows: Part I.   Well, here it is!  I'm sure you're excited, so let's have at it...

I have a project that is just finishing up (and for sale) and it dawned on me that it's a good case study on how to get the most of your new windows.  Last time I talked about different manufactures and window types...  this time I want to look at how to 'use' those windows.  This particular house has beautiful views of the countryside in upstate New York, so the windows were an important part of the design.  

From the front porch and a long bank of windows, you can see the vista beyond...  

Many rooms in this house have big areas of glass to enjoy the surroundings, but from the road we wanted the house to present itself as an iconic image of a farmhouse.  A gabled end with punched windows...  meaning that they are situated independently and appear as 'punched holes' in the wall. 

Because the floor to ceiling heights are much greater than in a historic farmhouse, the windows had to be oversized to provide the proper proportion of window to wall.  The composition of this front elevation and the simple organization of the window and door arrangement were critical to create an understated but rich farmhouse image. 

Once you approach the house from the drive, you see the house starts to open up with larger areas of glass. When you gang the windows together it becomes a window wall rather than individual windows as seen on the front facade.   Here on the south elevation we used an awing to cut down on the southern exposure during the summer months.

In some areas we played with the scale of the windows.  The bigger square window on the right is a focal point at the end of the porch and the small window to the left balances the composition.  Its slighter scale also enhances the wall's textural quality.

A generous window is centered in a second story bay.  Cladding this element in a monolithic material (vertical boards with tight joints) gives importance to its form and simple but prominent windows. 

At the interior, a grouping of windows at the first and second floor accentuates the height created at the staircase.  

The double height space over the dining area is flooded with southern light thanks to the window wall at the stairs.  The soft indirect light highlights the stonework of the fireplace chimney.

The first floor windows at the stair bring light down into the lower level.  No need for your basement to feel like a basement! 

Because we are in the country it allowed us the opportunity for generous windows in the bathrooms, which are filled with light.  If you happen to have neighbors, that's what window treatments are for! A sheer shade or drape can still offer lots of light and give you the privacy you may need.  I am particularly fond of shower windows... just make sure you have a good tile job on the surround and I suggest an exterior grade paint on the sash. 

Here's another bathroom with an entire wall of windows that creates an open backdrop to the Duravit soaking tub...

Having windows at the end of a hallway expands the interior of the house to the outside and helps with orientation... its one of those things that makes you feel more comfortable without even knowing it?!   Also, if you can have windows along a hallway it makes moving through your house that much more pleasant.  A connection to outdoors shouldn't be just for vacations!

Okay, so these aren't windows... they're screens on a double height porch space.   But they beautifully frame the views to the outside just like the rest of our windows.  We kept the proportion of the openings the same as the windows inside the house so they relate to one another.

In this house we used only one window type, the double hung.   But by using it in different ways we can provide unique experiences while maintaining an overall consistency throughout the house.   

 I hope to post more photos once the finishing touches are complete!