How can I maximize natural light with a 10' porch?

Lyns06February 11, 2012

Hey guys!

I'm still in the floor plan stage, so I'm trying to flesh through any questions/problems before I get there.. we'll see how that goes!

Anyhow, I really want a home with a lot of natural lighting. Our land is going to be in an open area within a very wooded area in the country. We won't have any neighbors within view and so I am wanting a whole lot of windows to maximize the natural light.

The only problem I see with this is that my husband and I fell in love with a floor plan that has a 8' porch on the front and a 10' porch on the back.

My plan is to have very large windows to pull in as much light as possible, but are the porches going to prohibit the light, even with the large windows? I really love the cozy feel of a covered porch outside of the windows, but am wondering if I would be better off to keep the front porch and maybe plan a large deck on the back?

Also, the house (a cape-cod style) will have a cape-cod (not sure what it's called) upstairs window visible to below in both the front of the house and in the back (above the great room).

If I do stick with the porch, what size windows should I aim for to get the most light in? (The ceilings will be 9' tall.)


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are the porches going to prohibit the light, even with the large windows

Absolutely. But if the porch faces west or east, there will obviously be more sun for part of the day.

I once lived in a deteriorated Long Island Gold Coast mansion overlooking the Long Island Sound with a terrace the full 50' width of the living room, all glass. Who needed direct sun with that view?

Here is a link that might be useful: Gold Coast Mansions (Video)

    Bookmark   February 11, 2012 at 4:42PM
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My house has front and back overhanging porches (front is 8',back is 7').The back overhang(facing east) has four skylights that aim towards the windows below,it seems to let in good enough light.The front faces west so I'd rather not have that blazing sun coming in. Only thing is I've had to rescue countless birds,butterflies,dragonflies etc. that find their way into skylight tunnels. I've finally put sheets of that clear window wrap at the base of each one (ceiling of porch)and voila! no more critters up in skylights. It doesn't look too awful,hope this helps. Covered porches are the bomb!

    Bookmark   February 12, 2012 at 12:16PM
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Thanks, guys! I guess I didn't really think about how the position of the home would affect the sunlight.. and since we own the surrounding 500 acres, we can really turn the house how we like!

I like the idea of skylight tunnels in the porch, too. I'll have to run that by my husband!

And, yes, I love how cozy a porch feels so I think I'm just going to try to make my windows/view as awesome as possible and enjoy the view and coziness of a porch in one!

Thanks so much for your input!

    Bookmark   February 12, 2012 at 7:54PM
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We have a deep back porch as well. We live in a climate where we would get little use from a porch or patio if it weren't covered. The roof of the porch is the main roof; the floor is part of the main foundation. The living room windows look out onto the porch and beyond that to a nice view of our yard, the birds,etc. But we had to plan more lighting in the LR due to the porch, even with large windows. One thing that helps us is that we bumped the dining portion of our kitchen out beyond the porch and gave it six windows. We gave up a formal DR in order to have the one large eating area with great light and windows. One option.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2012 at 1:14PM
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Hmm, that's a good idea. One area that I've juggled around a dozen times in my floor plan is the dining area. I don't do a lot of hosting and don't see that changing, even with a newer/nicer home. Although my family is big on meal times together, we don't need to eat too formally. I would think that we'd rather enjoy a great view of nature and wildlife than of formal dinner sets! Maybe I can see how I can work the floor plan to make the eating/dining area more light filled, too. Thanks for the input!

    Bookmark   February 13, 2012 at 6:27PM
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I had this same question about our potential porch. It was great to get the positive responses that I did. Here is the had lots of great information!

Here is a link that might be useful: 10' deep porch

    Bookmark   February 13, 2012 at 7:54PM
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Alex House

Check out his website where you can input your particulars (latitude, Longitude, window height, overhang length, space above window) and you can a result which details how much sun and shadow will penetrate into your room.

If you want more tools be sure to check out the other tools on the website, some will give you a graphic image of how the sunshine will lay on your floor and how deep into the room the sun will shine on any given day of the year.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2012 at 8:35PM
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