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Bringing in the Sun

Sunlit rooms with the right interior design, provide a comfortable and cozy ambiance that symbolizes the contentment in both winter and summer.  That is why we let as much sunlight in as possible without causing overheating.

Be mindful of the sun when creating your design. A well-sited home maximizes natural light, bringing sunlight into every room for at least part of the day.

It is a good time to think of the sun when on a site visit. The house utilize the natural lighting at best and enhance the overall house design through a good site planning. Variations can be created to control the amount of light that comes in every room. At one time, an interior stylist arranged the living spaces in a sequence to follow the sun on a lot set 45 degrees to the cardinal points of the compass. These elements directed the basic floor plan, although it made fitting the second floor bedrooms quite challenging.

Wind Considerations

Another factor to consider when planning a site is the wind. In order to place exterior elements in locations that take advantage of pleasing summer breezes while allowing extended outdoor activities in cool weather, it is important to know the typical wind patterns of the local climate. For example:

  • From the west and northwest: these cold winds freeze everything on clear winter days or cool things off in hot weather
    • From the northeast: cold winds, often comes with heavy rain or snow
    • From the east and southeast: warmer winds that bring in rain and unsettled weather
    • From the southwest: cool, welcome breezes in summer

Long periods of cool and cold weather are common in the northeast. So creating outdoor living spaces facing southeast is more advantageous because they are sheltered from cool winds and allow you to extend exterior living spaces into the cool swing seasons. This is something home renovation builders in Melbourne are achieving. Areas facing northwest are comfy in hot weather, which still comprise a small number of days despite warming trends. Catching any available breeze is desirable in southern climate where there are extended periods of hot weather.

Placing the garage on that side of the house is one method to protect it from strong winds. A landscape architect can help in deciding whether solid fences, perforated screens or dense vegetation is the best wind breaker for your house.

Trees and Plants

Sorting out existing plants and trees on the site might be difficult that us why it is recommended to get a professional opinion from someone familiar with the local flora to determine which plants are valuable and worth keeping and which can be discarded and replaced by coastal furniture or nick-knacks.

A professional can provide some viewpoint and help you make the right decision to minimize the environmental destruction. Professionals can advise how you can preserve the trees near the house so that they will not be killed by the inevitable changes in water level, cut roots, or compressed soil.

Soils, Ledge and Drainage

As part of the study involved in designing a septic system, a civil engineer can identify the soil and drainage on a specific site. In most cases, the foundation and drains are designed to cope with the local soil and water conditions.

A chosen site can become unworkable due to ledge, unsuitable soil or excess water. Sometimes ledge, unsuitable soil or excess water can render the chosen house location unworkable. Although the average civil engineer can manage these kinds of situations, however the advice of a geotechnical engineer or soils specialist may be needed if problems arise. Make sure not to try impractical methods such as trying to keep the water out of a basement located below the water table. While waterproofing is commonly is used in underground commercial buildings, such techniques are expensive and complicated.

The Front Door

Even though most residents use the back door for entry, many houses still feature a ceremonial, proportioned entrance even though it is rarely used. The entry is a key factor in any floor plan, but should be made as part of a logical design to a house extension.

Formal front entries are seldom utilized. Make the entrance a primary part of the design instead, take for instance, a small roofed porch protects the entry that connects every part of the house.

Other Climate Considerations

Gardening enthusiasts will want to examine the site carefully before locating beds. A professional gardener can create plans showing the shadows cast on the site by trees, providing you the option to locate areas with maximum sunlight during the growing season and ideas on where you can then put all your new eco outdoor furniture. If applicable, try to visit the site on different times so that you can determine where the shadows fall.

During the summer solstice around June, the sun rises and sets quite a bit to the north of east and west, and is high in the sky at noon. At the winter solstice around Christmas, the sun rises and sets just as far south of east and west and is quite low in the sky at noon. With a careful shadow study you can determine the best growing areas on the site. Insect infestation must be taken into consideration in some climates. A screened porch may be necessary in order to enjoy the outdoors. Since covered porches cut out the sunlight from the rooms behind, it is ideal to add skylights on the porch roof or use a translucent material for the porch roof.

An outside corner facing southeast, as mentioned earlier, can create pleasant outdoor living space in the spring and fall, when it otherwise would be too cold outdoors without direct sun and complete protection from the wind. Each site is distinctive, and taking advantage of its elements will require adjustments. Be sure to consider each factor to determine which should be prioritized.