Ah, sunlight. It’s no myth that it improves your mood. Science even shows that the vitamin D we get from it is essential for our bodies. Exposure to sunlight also increases our production of serotonin, the mood-boosting chemical that makes us feel relaxed and focused. It makes sense, then, that we’d design our homes to incorporate as much of the outdoors as possible, right?
At Paradisa Homes, we believe in design that creates harmony between the indoors and the outdoors, which includes open-concept floor plans that are connected with nature as much as possible. Here are five design ideas to help blur the lines between your home’s interior and exterior.
Talk about luxury living — glass walls are only meant for upscale art museums, modern architecture, and multimillion-dollar homes, right?
Wrong. These days, glass walls have become a new trend in normal homes — and for good reason. By removing the boundary between the indoors and outdoors, glass wall systems are changing the way we think about — and live in — our homes. They provide a clean and uninterrupted view of the outside, so you can enjoy being up-close and personal with nature regardless of the weather. Whether you install a single wall of solid glass or a paneled wall system to allow for mobility, there’s no better way to achieve modern style and truly maximize an open floor plan than with a glass wall system.
Also known as a solarium or a three-season room, a sunroom uses passive heating — energy absorbed from sunlight, that is — to keep this glass-walled room comfortable throughout most of the year. With so much window real estate, it offers one of the best ways to feel truly connected to the outdoors while still being inside. And while a heated glass room doesn’t sound too appealing during an Austin summer, there are plenty of ways you can keep it cool and livable during our hotter months, including:
- Double- or triple-pane glass for extra insulation
- Window tinting to block solar heat gain
- Increasing airflow with ventilation openings and fans
- Installing blinds and black-out curtains to be used during the day
For a middle ground between basic windows and an entire glass wall, your best bet for bringing in the outdoors with extra sunlight is to install skylights. Unlike other ceiling-mounted windows, skylights are set into the roofline and don’t open, so they’re meant more for sunlight and views than for ventilation. They pair well with open-concept floor plans, since they can add so much overhead light to large spaces. They also work especially well for homes built close to adjoining houses, since they offer more sunlight with the added benefit of privacy.
Sliding Glass or Retractable Doors
If you want to literally bring the outdoors in, you can’t go wrong with sliding glass doors. Also known as sliding walls, gliding walls, or moving glass systems, these doors move horizontally with one mobile panel and one that stays put. Available in custom sizes to fit your home, rather than the other way around, sliding glass doors provide a sweeping view of the outdoors and offer a seamless transition between your home’s interior and exterior. They operate by sliding into the wall, which makes them completely disappear. Your interior room is flooded with natural light and fresh air and becomes an indoor-outdoor space, perfect for entertaining friends and loved ones or simply relaxing.
There’s nothing like porch sitting in the summertime, enjoying the aromas of nature and the cool night breezes. But then comes the infestation of gnats dive-bombing your lemonade, flies circling your watermelon, and mosquitos biting any available area of skin. Not so peaceful anymore, right?
With a screened-in porch, you get to experience the outdoors just like you would on your front porch, but without the inevitable swarm of insects. Because the walls are made of mesh rather than glass, you can even have a front-row seat for beloved Texas summer thunderstorms, since the screen barrier will keep you from getting wet. Because our Austin winters are comparatively mild, your screened-in porch will be habitable most of the year, and it might just become your new living room.
At Paradisa Homes, we’re custom home builders in Austin who want to help bring your vision of a one-of-a-kind space to life with new construction homes — and that means including features to connect your home with the outdoors. Contact us today to learn how our architects and designers can help you build the kind of home you’ll never want to leave.