Removing a section of wall and adding a window in the wall behind it made this space feel much more open and inviting. (David Price, Renovation Design Group)
Architecture is often associated with how the home is viewed from the exterior, but there are far more opportunities to impact the lives of those who live and visit there in the views from within a home. Interior views are comprised of diagonal views, long views, connecting views, partially-hidden views and surprise views.
We learned in geometry that in a right-angled triangle, the longest line is the hypotenuse, the line connecting the two perpendicular legs. In most houses, the side and front or back walls make a right-angled triangle. If you visually draw a line from one corner of your house to the opposite corner you would make a hypotenuse. Creating a diagonal interior view along the hypotenuse in your house will make your house seem larger. This is a trick we use in architecture to make a small house seem much bigger.
Another visual trick to make your house feel bigger is to create long views. The long view is an alignment of multiple openings and pass-throughs, or a view of a long hallway from one end of the house to the other. The long view draws your attention to the next space and the one beyond that, encouraging you to explore the house further. A long view requires a focal point at the far end. A window works well and extends the view even further into the yard. If the view ends in a wall, there should be an intentional use of furniture and/or art, and lighting to provide a pleasant conclusion to the visual “journey.”
If a room is visually isolated from the primary living space, it is often forgotten about and therefore rarely used. This is a common problem with formal dining and living rooms. The connecting view is designed to combat the “out of sight, out of mind” problem. If you can see a space, even with a partial view, you are more likely to use it. By making a new opening in a wall or by widening an existing doorway to visually connect unused spaces to your primary living space, you will make your home more functional.
Interior views should not only make your home more functional, but also make it more interesting. Adding intrigue to a house is achieved with the use of partially-hidden views. Psychologically, a partially-hidden view draws you in, engaging the eye and making you want to experience more of the home. It adds a sense of mystery for guests and subtly reminds homeowners that the room is there to enjoy.
Another way to add interest to your house is to add surprise views. These are interior views that can only be seen from certain angles where they are generally not expected. Creatively adding a view of a piece of art only seen between two cabinets, for instance, adds a certain level of appeal to the architectural design of the house. The surprise view sometimes is a happy accident, though it can be intentionally planned during a thorough design process.
You can enhance your own interior views right now by strategically placing art and home décor pleasantly in your sight lines. Complementary paint colors and floor coverings flowing from room to room will also impact your interior views. Purposefully placed interior views can stimulate and recharge the occupants of a home. A home designed with interior views in mind can connect the family and create a more comfortable, inspiring place to live.
Ann Robinson and Annie V. Schwemmer are the Principal Architects and co-founders of a residential architectural firm focused on life-changing remodeling designs at RenovationDesignGroup.com. Send comments or questions to ask@RenovationDesignGroup.com