This post might turn into a rant because it is tragic to me how frequently home designs fail to take any advantage of their site, even on properties with outstanding views.
It’s easy enough to site a home that takes advantage of a spectacular view and give the view to the living room. I’ve been known to adjust the angle of a home’s orientation so that there is a straight line from the entry porch thru the vestibule and living room, through the centre of the living room window (and shifting the house 8 feet to avoid looking directly at a hydro pole) to line up on the centre of the Comox glacier.
That’s great and all, but my goal is to take advantage of as many views from as many places in the house as is possible.
One property i worked on had a river view in the near field and a mountain range in the distance. My clients and I worked to massage the siting of the home so that both views were visible from sitting and standing positions in as many rooms as possible.
I also took advantage of some unexpected views over the tops of downhill buildings in rooms that could not face the river or mountains.
It’s not uncommon for me to move a wall or a roof line in a way that frees up a view from an unexpected angle or room in a home that one would not expect to have a view.
Spending time on a site to understand its light and shade sources, surrounding buildings, vegetation, noise sources and future development is critical to me, even on a small city lot. Clients have found me out on their sites at all times of day with a tall ladder and a chair in an effort to gain a better understanding of what rooms might go where on a site. I call this approach to design “furnishing the site” – imagining the couch here, the sink there, the tub there, the chairs at the island there…
The featured photo above is from a design for a client who loves to garden. They are fond of the play between the wild vegetation and their manicured garden space. During site exploration we tagged all the native dogwoods and possible feature trees and sited the house and garage / driveways accordingly. This is not a view property but I foucused the entry view corridor on a garden feature in the near distance and the untouched forrest as a backdrop
The photo to the side here is an example of an alternative view on “views”…In my world it’s not just the “BIG” view. I break views down into static and active, near field and distant views. A view of a small kitchen garden can be every bit as inspiring as a view of a distant mountain peak. A carefully chosen view angle can maintain ones sense of privacy AND provide an interesting alternative view down an otherwise very public beach view.