dark interiors during framing

houseinmaMay 25, 2012

Framing is almost complete and the windows just went in. My concern is that the rear part of the house which actually faces South appears to be dark even though it gets lots of natural light. We have 3 windows in the kitchen, a 6ft wide slider and 2 windows in the family room all facing South. There is at least an 80 ft distance from the back of the house to a line of tall trees. My question is if it's normal to feel this way during framing since the walls are not reflecting light and the windows have a protective film? Should I consider putting in transom windows at this point to add more light(after making cuts elsewhere to fit this in the budget)?

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I don't know if it's normal to feel that way or not - you're the only who can decide if the natural light is adequate for your needs.

I can tell you that we were at the same point as you, and decided we hated the windows we had chosen because they had the interior mullions that divided the window into multiple panes. They seemed so busy and closed in and the light just didn't feel right to us. We had all the windows on the back side of the house replaced with no mullions and it feels so much better to us. (The front of the house is the more public area and we left those as they were so we have a traditional facade in front.)

There may be something to feeling the house is dark at that point of the framing and that may be what we were reacting to. I'd suggest you follow your gut, tho.

    Bookmark   May 25, 2012 at 3:12PM
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I definitely felt that way during framing! I was disappointed because the rear of our house faces east and it just didn't feel as light and airy as I thought it would in the morning. Once the drywall went up it felt much lighter. I think it's perfect now that we're almost finished with our build.

Just a note, we have mullions in the back and I actually eliminated transoms that I had originally wanted.

    Bookmark   May 25, 2012 at 3:53PM
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We are nearing the end of adding a second floor to our house. At first, I was also worried it felt more closed in and darker than I expected.

When the blueboard went up it was even worse :(. But then the plaster was skim coated and it felt better. And after the primer went on the walls & ceiling it got better still.

If you are really concerned you can buy some paper-backed plastic drop cloths for very little money and tape them up in one room to form white "walls". I think you'll be pleasantly surprised at how much brighter it feels when light can bounce off the walls.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2012 at 9:59AM
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We found a model that we love a few months ago. It was nicely decorated and felt well light and bright inside.

Yesterday we peeked in the windows of a house that is the Exact Same Floorplan, but was just drywalled (no paint/flooring/etc.) In the model, the main window-wall faced east, and in the new construction house, the main window wall faced south.

It looked dark compared to the model that we toured.

I'm betting that paint, finished flooring and cabinetry, and furnishings will reflect a lot more lot and brighten it up considerably. :)

    Bookmark   May 26, 2012 at 10:39AM
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Natural light is great---during the daytime. At night and in the winter, you want to make sure that you have great artificial lighting. That will mean more than the single central light fixture and a couple of cans that most builders plan for. Go to a lighting store and consult a lighting designer.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2012 at 11:42AM
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I thought the same thing on our windows. They are specially treated for the sun and the interior and exterior protective films were on the windows! When the film came off - WOW what a difference!

    Bookmark   May 26, 2012 at 9:30PM
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Remember that sheetrock surfaces tend to absorb light AND your windows probably have protective plastic over them that is cutting out about 50% of the light. Once the wallboard is finished and painted and the protective plastic comes off, you'll be amazed at how much brighter everything seems.

    Bookmark   May 27, 2012 at 3:20PM
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Thank you for your responses, makes me feel so much better about the situation. I visited the site at various hours during the day this weekend and feel much more comfortable with it now. Can't wait for the wallboard to go up!

    Bookmark   May 27, 2012 at 4:41PM
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