Windows and Views

May 3, 2024

If you’ve spent any time looking at our work, you might have noticed an abundance of windows. If we had to pinpoint any defining stylistic features that unite our projects, our use of windows would certainly be one of them. Unsurprisingly, one reason for our love for windows is natural light. Natural light provides a unique kind of warmth to a room. While it is beautiful in its own right, it also marvelously elevates the beauty of not only the room itself, but the art and objects in it. Natural light, which is only made possible through strategic use of windows, is one of the many ways we seek to tie a space to the world outside.

Obviously, we could say so much more to sing praises about natural light, but our love of windows goes beyond just our appreciation for natural light and all it has to offer. If you want to know what is, perhaps, our biggest reason for being fascinated by windows, then you have to consider our primary region of operation: the Mountain West. The M.W. is known for the beauty of its scenery: green pine trees, rolling rivers, vast mountains, and a large, open sky. It would be a shame to neglect all of this beauty when spending time in indoor spaces. This is why windows are so deeply integrated into our designs. We want the beauty of the environment we find ourselves in, those trees and those mountains and that sky, to be enjoyed from the comforts of the house, anytime of day. But windows should not just let us see the outside world; they ought to capture its beauty. Window frames should serve the same purpose as a painting or picture frame. They not only draw attention to and emphasize the beauty of what they hold, but they protect and, in some ways, define it as well. 

Now, large and soaring windows accomplish this task well. They let in ample amounts of natural light. They provide easy access to the majesty and magnitude of the mountains. They open up the space to the outdoors. And we have used these sort of windows plenty of times before, like in our YELLOWSTONE RIVER RESIDENCE. But smaller windows do a just as effective, and oftentimes more effective, job at capturing this grandeur. Using smaller windows instead of large ones does not restrict or limit a view, but rather refines it. This is more than the “less is more” minimalist credo. No, this is instead about treating views as a work of art. It’s about seeing them as a painting or photograph. A painter or photographer picks a particular part of an environment to show us as to highlight its beauty. If they painted or photographed everything, what they really want us to see could easily be lost. Smaller windows do the same thing: as opposed to showing us everything, they guide our attention to something specific. Its beauty is emphasized because we are not distracted by any visual noise around it. For one example of this just look at our SAUNA HOUSE. Beyond just calling attention to what is already there, clever use of windows creates something new entirely. 

Keep in mind also that windows are a two way street. Sure, they show the outside from the inside, but they also provide a glimpse of the inside from the outside. Windows, then, are an important tool to demonstrate the beauty of an interior space to the outside world. Just like a beautiful view can be framed like a painting through use of windows, a beautiful space can also be elevated in the eyes of those looking into it. Sometimes, just the light itself pouring out from an inside space is a captivating image. Natural light illuminating a room, a mountain view becoming a painting on the wall, a living room becoming a mural, and warm interior light pouring into the outside are all made possible through clever window design and placement.