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Creative building solutions for bringing the light in and neighbours out!

11 April 2018

Privacy is a basic human right – one that is getting harder and harder to implement in contemporary architecture. The balance between bringing in enough natural light and maintaining an element of privacy in our homes is a tricky one to achieve. Aside from the shortage of real-estate, most people tend to overlook the importance of creative solutions that can help retain privacy while still maintaining the right ambient lighting. 

Below we’ll be sharing some great and easy ways you can bring the light in and keep the neighbours out.

Skylights

The most obvious and amazing choice for maximising the natural light and privacy input for your homes is by opting for skylights. Skylights are located on the rooftop and can be designed in customised ways over the parts of your house where you need natural light the most. They’re also a great way to optimise the sun-path – the natural direction of the rising and setting of the sun – so you can get some great daylight savings in the process.

Since skylights are located on the rooftops of a home, they’re the least likely additions for your neighbours to peek through. If you still aren’t reassured, then you can even construct a low-height parapet wall around the periphery of your rooftop to keep prying eyes out.

Glass blocks

Glass blocks are another great alternative window material installation that can maximise the input of natural light in your home while retaining an element of privacy at the same time. Glass blocks have an opaque film that allows natural light to pass but are extremely hard to peek through.

Therefore, even if you’re using them on typical window fronts, you’ll be glad to know that no one else can look inside your home. While typical window panes emulate transparency to the fullest, glass boxes are a trendy way to use your natural light quota without giving anyone a peek into your private life. They’re also available in various sizes so you can even customise the design of your window with them.

Window shutters

Window shutters are the ideal interior and exterior covering choice for when you want natural light and privacy at the same time. They consist of a solid frame with vertical stiles and horizontal rails that can be customised according to your preferred interior/exterior design style. These can either be fixed or adjustable. They allow sunlight to filter through while maintaining an inherent amount of privacy within your home. 

Slit windows

Slit windows of the vertical and horizontal variety are a great way to limit the view inside your house while letting in an ample amount of natural light. The best part about such windows is that they are narrow and highly customisable. This means that people from the outside have a very limited view on the inside, while it’s completely opposite for the residents of the house. Slit windows also make amazing design elements. They can be used in either single formations or a cluster, or even L-shaped forms if the design calls for it. They can easily be shuttered with the right window coverings and are a new and improved take on the typical window design.

Dormer windows

Dormer windows are a great choice to optimise privacy while letting in a lot of light for homes that feature gables or attics. They can be used in double-height spaces or even an attic retreat that is hard to peek inside. These windows project from the slope of the roof and can be strategically designed to optimise the sun-path and retain privacy from neighbours. They’re classic and timeless – the height of slice-of-life Americana. Their typical placements require the formation of small alcoves, which automatically create barriers between the private parts of the home and the outdoors.

Automated window coverings

Also known as motorised window coverings, these are the perfect alternative to typical draperies and curtains. Motorised blinds are available in various systems – hardwired, battery operated and even plug-in – and can be controlled from a remote control or a switch. For those of you who wouldn’t like to compromise on your windows, these automated coverings are the perfect solution. These coverings are also one of the most stylish house design trends these days.

These blinds and window coverings allow you to enjoy the aesthetic of conventional windows, but as soon as you feel like you’ve got unwanted eyes peeking into your home, you can simply press a button to shut them out. Moreover, these are available in semi-transparent and opaque materials/textures, which diffuse the sunlight and allows you to retain privacy at the same time. Moreover, they’re aesthetically and functionally pragmatic, lightweight and are perfect for double-height spaces!

So these are some clever and up-to-date techniques you can use to bring in a lot of light while retaining the privacy in your homes. We hope these creative solutions help you come up with some great designs!

Luke Oleenik serves as the Managing Director of XL Building, a trusted building company specialising in second storey additions and custom home construction across Melbourne. Prevent your dream home from turning into a nightmare with his free ultimate building guide.

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Luke Oleenik serves as the Managing Director of XL Building, a trusted building company specialising in second storey additions and custom home construction across Melbourne. Prevent your dream home from turning into a nightmare with his free ultimate building guide.

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