When considering a second storey addition, extension or renovation to your existing home, one of the most crucial design features that many people overlook is the hugely important part that your windows play in the renovation.
A second storey addition can really open up your floor plan, give you more useable living space and accommodate growing family needs however, some spaces can still feel constricted due to poorly placed or lack of windows.
This is a mistake that many people regret once they are living in their new space because it doesn’t “feel” the way they would have liked it to.
Windows and doors will not only affect the look of your home, inside and out, but where they are placed, and the style will drastically effect the final renovation result of your second storey.
A second storey addition or renovation has the potential to add huge value or render the project to a huge waste of time and money. So, if you’re in the early planning stages or considering adding a second storey to your home, here are five key design aspects to consider in your window planning to help make your space feel even bigger, brighter and make living more comfortable.
Choosing windows that complement inside and outside appearance
If you’re planning your new second storey addition with an architect or contractor, consider the space the window will be placed in. Rooms with tall ceilings could feel bigger with clerestory windows or a tall, narrow contemporary window could frame up the perfect view for your stairwell whilst increasing internal light.
If you are extending or adding a second storey, imagine that extra room without windows. Then consider what windows can bring to the table for your overall home design if used correctly and thoughtfully. Work with your designer to choose a style that takes into account your room’s best features whilst also reflecting your home’s exterior architectural character.
Get the most out of your renovation budget by focusing on windows in your most public spaces where functionality and appeal are most important.
This will help you decide if it warrants a large picture framing window, a creative shape, small, narrow or a different material depending on the internal function and the direct viewing angle externally. Windows generally aren’t obstructed on an upper level, so it’s important that you invest where it will deliver the best value for function and design.
Planning your design… big windows, small windows, or a combination of both?
In your design planning, if your second storey addition houses additional living spaces and bedrooms, consider using large glassed areas that can benefit from a good orientation, increased daylight, view or heat gain.
On the opposite side of the coin, small windows can serve very functional purposes as well. For example, a bedroom that is west facing looking down on neighbouring properties may utilise small, high windows that transmit lots of light whilst maintaining privacy and minimising glass exposure so that heat gain is minimised.
Windows that brighten up your spaces
Many older homes have been built without allowing adequate light into the home. This often means you can have your lights on inside in the middle of the day even though it’s a beautiful sunny day outside. Windows that sit up the treetops can fill your second storey addition with light, drawing you in to want to spend time in that space without it being drab and unappealing.
- There are lots of factors that affect the amount of daylight within a room, so when you’re designing your custom second storey addition make sure that your floorplan and window placement maximises orientation. Consider the following tips when drafting plans with your architect or building contractor:
- Place your main windows facing North. Northern exposure provides the best light, the greatest amount of solar heat gain in the Winter and heat protection in the Summer.
- Use the right window shape that will give the best light distribution in each room. For example, tall, narrow windows give a thin distribution of light whilst horizontal windows can provide a wider spread of light.
- Place your windows higher up the wall to lengthen the depth of light into the room. Window places closed to the celling produce more sky visibility that in turn transmits more light. Floor to ceiling windows can also make for an amazing aesthetic design feature that can make a room feel a lot bigger.
- Where possible, place windows on more than just one wall for better distribution of light.
- If you’ve got a great design plan for your windows, consider the internal finishes that take advantage of light distribution such as wall and ceiling colour finishes, window treatments, and window frames.
Creating natural ventilation and comfort
Certain types of windows can be used to create a specific look and be functional at the same time. Louvres are a popular choice to encourage cross ventilation and promote a natural air flow throughout your entire house. Who doesn’t want a light filled space with a soft Summer breeze drifting through your home?
This is often overlooked during the design planning stages; however, window size and location has the potential to create a comfortable living space or turn your home into a live-in sauna during Summer.
If possible, define the orientation and shape of your second storey addition to take full advantage of prevailing breezes and consider the use of louvres throughout the entire upper level so that air flow isn’t restricted.
Finally, make sure the placements of your windows promote the best airflow across the room. Windows placed high up will cause the air to flow along the ceiling which can make the room uncomfortable during Summer.
Are you trying to enhance your view or create more privacy?
If your second storey addition is going up to take in a picturesque view, then this will be just as important as bringing in more light and solar control. If you’re designing a second storey addition that commands a view, you’ll want to consider window size and placement according to the nature of the room and how to best avoid the use of window treatments that can obstruct your view.
Depending on how your second storey is designed, the proportions of your windows can be scaled according to the view and how you want to frame it. For example, if you’re adding a second living area that has a northern aspect consider utilising a horizontal window for an amazing panoramic view. North facing windows also have the added bonus of creating a more comfortable living environment inside your home.
On the flipside, perhaps you’re trying to conceal the view into your property and your neighbours. Privacy is another important consideration. Particularly nowadays with overlooking constraints into other people’s backyards. This is quite often the case with second storey additions.
Once again there are a number of options you could take to ensure that you meet council regulations but also allow adequate natural light in. The use of frosted glass is one obvious solution, but placement of the windows may allow a different and even more appealing outcome such as, short high placed windows in a bedroom or a vertical window that has a confined view.
With any home renovation project, be it a second storey addition or extension, it’s super important to have your builder and glass specialist on the same page throughout the whole process. Whether your addition is a more modern design on an older style house or in keeping with an older heritage look, the windows would need to tie into the new extension to make the addition appear seamless.
As demonstrated, good window design on a home renovation or second storey project can be both a show stopper and enhance functionality so that living in your new space will be an absolute pleasure.
About the Author
Matthew Keogh is the Director of Nexus Homes Group, specialists in custom designed second storey additions, extensions and home renovations in Perth, Western Australia. With over 20 years’ experience Matt has helped families across Perth bring their home renovation dreams to life by providing industry advice and creating an optimum customer experience through good design, thoughtful consideration of client requirements, expectations and budget.
Timber looks amazing! It has a sophisticated, timeless look that adds flair to any home. It’s just a shame that it requires so much maintenance. Timber needs to be regularly varnished, cleaned, and sealed otherwise it starts to look worn and tired. Not only does it require all this work, but the warranties for timber tend to be hard to claim. If the door is not maintained every 6 months (or every 3 months in coastal environments) then the door may not be covered under warranty. Some companies even require proof that maintenance has taken place every six months. This can leave customers in the lurch when something has gone wrong.
Who has the time for all that? There are so many other, better things that people could be doing in their spare time as opposed to maintaining their front door.
Thankfully, now there is a way to get that timber look without having to do all that maintenance or worry about fulfilling the strict requirements of a timber door warranty.
Introducing Jason Windows Timber Look Doors
Jason Windows have introduced a timber look front door providing the natural look of timber with the durability and strength of aluminium, plus minimal maintenance and upkeep required. They won’t warp, nor will they need to be repainted or varnished.
The timber look doors come with several different glass options to suit your safety, insulation or noise reduction requirements. There is everything from clear glass to translucent glass so you decide the level of privacy you need.
Available in three natural timber look colours
Jason Windows Timber Look Doors are available in three natural timber look colours. Choose from:
Jarrah Rose Mahogany
Contrasting with light brick and render you can create a striking sophisticated look. Pairing with dark colour allows the burgundy and deep brown tones to blend, exuding classic luxury.
Western Red Cedar
Add warmth to a contemporary style house. Cedar is the colour most architects use to add contrast and create warmth through it’s mid range tones. This colour is the perfect match to the Cubist and Mid Century revival homes and architecture which are trending at the moment.
A real wow factor that is sophisticated and plays on Shou Sugi Ban (or Yakisugi) an ancient Japanese exterior siding technique that preserves wood by charring. The use of dark wood features is a popular trend showcased on shows such as Grand Designs Australia.
The quality of the timber finish will fool you in believing these modern doors are made from real timber rather than durable powder coat. See the finish yourself! The doors are on display at Jason Windows Welshpool and Bunbury showrooms and also on display at Home Base in Subiaco, or contact Jason Windows to find out more.
The award-winning Summit Homes ‘Industria’ Display Baldivis, features a contemporary update of the typical classic domestic layout. Mark Regan, Sales Manager at Jason Windows, delves into the many challenges of working on this rewarding slice of modern living, seamlessly incorporating an industrial aesthetic within the comforting surrounds of a family home.
Glancing at its silhouette, you might think the ‘Industria’ looks quite like a traditional brick family home. Look a little closer, however, and you’ll immediately see the pivotal role of glazing in visually opening up what could have been a conventional interior out on to the elements quite spectacularly. The strikingly ambitious Jason Windows system commands the front view of the house, drawing attention to an interior with a uniquely light touch.
While the house has notable features throughout, the Jason Windows system lifts the front and rear elevations into something quite special. Their work on the project including raking fixed lites directly above awning in the Master Bedroom at the front of the house, coupled with Benchmark fixed rakes above a stacking sliding door in the living room. The remainder of the house features residential sliding and awning windows, as well as sliding doors – all expertly manufactured and installed by Jason Windows.
The selection of glazing and window systems fill the home’s interior with daylight via the large spans of glass and minimal framing sections.
While the house is structurally innovative in many ways, the window sections harmonise closely with the residents’ needs for peace, calm—and above all, natural ventilation. In one notable example, the massive windows throw an impressive amount of light onto the capacious master bedroom’s exposed brick walls and raked ceiling.
‘Our brief with the Baldivis Display House was to ensure the maximum light transmission was achieved throughout the interior layout, as well as presenting a beautifully fluid conduit between interior and exterior, including in the alfresco patio area,’ says Mark. ‘We achieved this brief through using large spans of glass, with a minimal frame section to prevent light from being obstructed. All the glazing used is 4mm and 5mm clear annealed and toughened glass.’
The new Summit Homes project has been met with high acclaim, especially given the airy and breezy effect achieved on such a limited budget. This ability to economically employ all available resources to remarkable effect is one of the many hallmarks for which Jason Windows is highly respected.
As is clear from the photography, Jason Windows’ systems receive their perfect visual setting here. The raked triangular ceiling contrast with the horizontal planes of the kitchen/dining area, with its low, lithe appearance bathed in light from the bank of adjacent windows.
Energy efficiency is one of the key features in the ‘Industria’ Baldivis display home.
The exceptional energy rating would not have been possible without Jason Windows commitment to energy-smart glazing. Yet even while reducing energy consumption, the window system demonstrates that through innovative design, light ingress to small lots housing is still possible by using cost-effective window and door solutions, the judges enthused. When careful planning is employed in commissioning the right glazing materials, smaller-scale builds can command the design advantages more commonly associated with major custom-designed architectural projects.
The aesthetic contribution of the glazing in the ‘Industria’ to the home’s uplifting effect was deemed worthy of additional recognition, with the judges reserving special praise for the ‘contrast of expansive awning windows against the exposed face brick’.
These combined features complement the house’s minimalist aesthetic, with the sleek, slender characteristics of Jason Windows’ door and window furniture adding considerably to the interior’s generously relaxing and therapeutic feel.
The attention that has been given to the windows is deserved, as they completely transform the space without detracting from the architect’s intentions. The windows echo the wall-plus-roofline’s pentagonal form, with a common thread of exposed roof trusses throughout providing a further echo. The surrounding wall s of the lounge seem to soar, as a strong visual connection is made by the glazing between interior and the sky above. The recurrent raked form flows through to the Master Bedroom, where irregularly shaped windows serve as a reminder of the window systems’ visual innovation.
The ‘Industria’s’ angular visual motif continues right through tho the secluded patio, which is again framed by the clean lines of the Jason Windows system. Their light, angular precision perfectly set off the curvature of the porch are, its swooping form hugging the neighbouring shoreline. The effect is completed by extensive 1950s-style detailing, complete with a porthole-style window.
Jason Windows’ systems have been incorporated seamlessly into this cleverly designed home, resulting in an uplifting fusion of functional practicality and clear vision.
First published as ‘Kissing the Sky’, pp32–34, Glass Australia Magazine, October 2018 Edition. Republished with permission from Jill Johnson Media.
Text by Tim Roberts, Photography courtesy of Summit Homes Industria Display Baldivis.
About the Author
Jill Johnson Media is the editor of the Australian Glass & Glazing Association’s Glass Australia magazine. Glass Australia magazine is the industry leading publication of the Australian Glass and Glazing Association (AGGA). Each edition focuses the spotlight on the latest technical advances and innovations driving product development in the glass and glazing industry. Glass Australia’s objective is to collectively lead industry development to ensure the provision of safe, high quality and sustainable products and services.