In the past, a home's design was often based solely on its form - what it should look like, what people should do within each room of the allotted space. Today, function is more a part of a design process than the form itself, which expands the utility of a home in such a way that better reflects how modern individuals live their lives. Contemporary home design principles deliver this mindset because of the idea that a home should be a "machine for the living."
This is not just a rule for the drafting table, but something applied across every building product specified. The most attractive factor is how those elements of a building can shift to support how you want to live in your home and the lifestyle you desire.
Windows are critical contributors to the evolving functionality of spaces within a structure. 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: www.andersenwindows.com/home-styles
Because contemporary design is ever-changing, it also brings an added sense of relevance. A contemporary home is one you want to grow old with, as your life changes along the way.
With more than 30 years of experience in product design and design research, Jay Libby is the Creative Services Manager at Andersen Windows.