It's Spring...and I want more windows! :)

lavender_lassApril 18, 2014

I know we've talked about this before, but I find it rather sad that so many kitchens and family rooms have very few windows anymore. I know some people have a less than spectacular view and want an attached garage...but I miss the light!

In our home, we have bedrooms on each end, which eliminates corner windows for our main living rooms. But, we do have a shallow home, so the front and back windows bring light into theses areas...and that makes things a little better. We do have a big window over the kitchen sink (which I love) and a nice group of windows in the family room.

Even if the view is not great (our family room faces the road) with plants and maybe some climbing can still have a nice mini-view out the window and mainly enjoy the light and sunshine. I also love to open the windows (when it's warm enough) and let in the fresh air. Maybe others don't, but without a cross's just not the same.

Just something I'm thinking about, as I see so many new homes with no kitchen windows, maybe a small window or two in the great room. Even with windows in the breakfast/dining area...there isn't much direct light coming into these other spaces.

Maybe more gables and breezeways, rather than attached garages, would make things a bit better. Still trying to find a kitchen layout that I love and just thought I'd ask what you all think. Does anyone miss the natural light or do you have lovely views and breezes? :)

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We do have a great view from our kitchen into our backyard and the woods beyond. We do get breezes too.

I saw on another forum that many don't want too many windows because they live in a hot climate. They keep their windows closed all the time. Personally, I can't imagine living in a hot climate and relying on air conditioning all the time.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2014 at 4:47PM
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Or the opposite, being in a cold climate and needing insulated window coverings. I love lots of windows, and enjoy having them open in the warmer weather. But at night or in the Winter, I want window coverings that completely cover them up.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2014 at 4:58PM
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Sometimes I think my house is nothing but windows and I love it! Every morning, I get up and open the blinds in the living room and dining room to let all the sunlight in.
One of the big factors in remodeling my kitchen and building on to my house was that the original kitchen had no windows. It felt like a dungeon and I hated working in there. Now I have a 6 foot wide, 3 foot tall window above my sink and a 3 ft by 3 ft looking out to my large covered porch. That window faces east so first thing in the morning, my kitchen is getting light.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2014 at 5:01PM
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Our house is a modest split entry, with nice windows in every room of the house except the laundry/utility room and dining room. We added 2 solatubes to the dining room, and they are wonderful!

Some winters (like this one) the only view out the lower level windows was of a snowbank, but at least there was natural light. We don't have any windows on the NW side of the house (our lot is on a curve, so we're not square to the world), but since our prevailing winter winds are from the NW, that works out for the best.

My office has a huge east-facing window, and many days I don't even bother to turn on the lights. I have some big plants who enjoy it as much as I do.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2014 at 5:11PM
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No window = :(

I have done tonnes to lighten up my kitchen:
- replaced front door with full light door adjacent to open kitchen even though it had to be wired glass due to fire regulations
- removed uppers from around my small kitchen window to allow light to flow better
- removed massive drywall pantry in kitchen that blocked light

Just my personal opinion, but I would rather have the cheapest cabinets and appliances and spend the money on putting in a window if I had a windowless kitchen.

I will have to put my money where my mouth is when I attack the two windowless bathrooms that I have. I just hate windowless rooms.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2014 at 6:27PM
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Annkh, I am interested in the solatubes - were they expensive to install? I think they could be a great solution for our dark hall.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2014 at 6:29PM
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there's a guy at our church who's a contractor; he and his son installed two of them for us for $300 or $400 (I don't remember. They did a beautiful job. I'm not sure how much of a friend discount we got :-)

They were well worth it. We have a patio door next to the dining room, so it wasn't dark in there, but not light enough to read the paper at the table without turning on the lights. Now I can! They even glow in the moonlight, which is pretty wonderful.

One would make a huge difference in a dark hall or interior bathroom.

The only photo I have available is one I took mid-remodel. There were no lights on at all; the shadows you see are from the solatubes. The patio door is just out of sight on the left. I have two - they are on each side of the light fixture.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2014 at 7:32PM
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The best change I made was to brick up the north-facing window that looked across the driveway into Mrs. Banerji's kitchen, and add a wall of east-facing windows across the back of the kitchen. I don't have a scenic view, just the bistro table, the garage and the herb garden, but I love love love how open and light it makes the kitchen feel. At one point we figured out how much extra the window was going to be. I took a big gulp and decided that it was a make or break part of the kitchen reno, and shelled out the extra money for it. I'm so glad we did. I could have done without some of the other nice stuff, but the window really makes it for me.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2014 at 7:42PM
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I'd be glad to give you one! This kitchen was an addition to the house, probably built around 1910-1920, and it juts out from the original footprint. But it carries on the doors and windows theme. Five windows (N-S-E-W) plus what's now a glass door. And a basement door, and what were the two original doorways into the house. The problem with the kitchen was finding wall space!

    Bookmark   April 18, 2014 at 8:36PM
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We have a 1926 house with no attached garage and two windows. They are placed rather high on the wall and I can't open them and can't see out of them very well (and I am 5'7"). We will be replacing them with three bigger casements. Contractor said 3k for the windows. I'll gladly shell that out and make do with fewer upper cabinets for more light. The view is less than stellar (neighbor's dining room) but lots are small here and that's how it goes.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2014 at 9:35PM
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Yes, to me even a crummy view is worth having for the natural light and air. That's what sheers are for!

Annkh, that is amazing!! Thank you so much for the info. I'm going to see if I can get a quote from Home Depot as they sell and install (?) them.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2014 at 12:00AM
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I claim the original "No one ever regretted having more windows" quote from 2001 or 2002 when I posted as Fairegold. I stand by it all the way. There is nothing like natural light for the human spirit, is there?

Keep it alive, keep reminding new people to remember the windows.

I think that seldom-used items like holiday china or slow cookers or Costco pantry items can go in cabinets in the garage or the basement or a linen closet. Don't sacrifice windows for more (upper) cabinets than are a bare necessity. And take the windows down to counter height.

No one ever regretted more windows. ;-D

    Bookmark   April 19, 2014 at 12:38AM
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Last 2 remodels of kitchen we did, I enlarged the windows some. One window we widened and the other we brought down. I have to have natural light.

This new remodel though we have abundant windows in the adjacent dinette and great room and the kitchen will open up to it, we're adding two large windows to the ceiling! The whole area will have almost 2 solid walls of windows. Luckily we have nice views too.

There have been many, many threads on timeless kitchens. Windows are truly timeless. I've never heard anyone look at a window and say, wow that window is dated.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2014 at 8:48AM
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" I've never heard anyone look at a window and say, wow that window is dated."

True that, aloha. I was visiting my sister the other day who just moved into a never-updated 1940's built house. I went home wishing my windows were MORE dated!

    Bookmark   April 19, 2014 at 7:27PM
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Oh yes, windows in the kitchen are so wonderful! Having lots of them with Eastern light sneaking in there somewhere (to help me wake up in the morning) was at the top of my list in designing our whole house. And you are right, very few newer homes seem to have windows directly in the kitchen. There are so many "interior" kitchens and, in my opinion, they never get enough light. Maybe some people prefer a dim room? But I think it's because developers are building bigger homes on smaller lots and it is nice to have privacy in the kitchen!

This was one of those things that drove me crazy when looking at homes on the market. A well lit, pretty kitchen could probably sell me on a home even if I needed to gut the rest of the house! If you cook a lot, it just makes everything so much more cheerful. But I live in a fairly warm climate, and cold winters are not much of a concern here.

As for the family room windows: my husband pointed out that lots of people loooove their TV's and having it darker reduces glare. I'd rather throw rocks at the TV though, and have sunshine streaming in on all my books... and bleaching out my floors and carpets... while I'm serving tea to a neighbor and waiting for my lemon cake to finish up! I design my dream houses around events like this (in my free time). :)

    Bookmark   April 19, 2014 at 8:04PM
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A little off topic, but always admire a window above the kitchen sink that has a ledge.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2014 at 10:25PM
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Very well said sushipup! Amazing to me that anyone would *choose* a window-less kitchen.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2014 at 11:46PM
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I'm with you, LL--never too many windows or too much natural light! We're keeping our two/three windows (the third is glass brick; it lets in some light but doesn't provide a view), but I am most excited about being able to look out our back sliders once the wall between the kitchen and den is gone. Of course, as I've warned my husband, I'm afraid that looking at the sad state of our backyard more often will just get me agitated about getting it landscaped.

I'm also really excited about our skylights--can't wait to have all that wonderful natural light!

    Bookmark   April 20, 2014 at 8:58AM
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We lived for thirty years in our 'starter' ranch, a "snout house", with double garage in front and kitchen behind it. There was a big slider on the east side of the kitchen in the breakfast area, but I couldn't see the front walk without running to the entry door.

On a self catering driving tour through rural England we stayed in a converted carriage house/stable in rural England where there was a tall arch-top kitchen window (filling in a stall door, I suspect). I enlarged on that when we built in 2001.

Now I look out over our driveway towards the street through a 68W X 82H archtop with two 54H operable casements flanking one stationary casement. It's set an inch above the granite. We have 9-foot ceilings, but this and the matching archtop in our master bath are in curved raised ceilings.

Ours is a narrow 'country lane' type street, popular with bicycle riders, dog walkers, runners. We're back far enough that I don't need window coverings, and I love seeing *life* going by -- as well as knowing who's approaching the house.

Our garage is set at a 120 degree angle to the back hall/laundry/powder room side of the kitchen. I still have the convenient garage/family entry near the kitchen, but I have a *view* -- and the kitchen looks pretty grand, too!

    Bookmark   April 20, 2014 at 11:30AM
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I basically have given up a walk in pantry in exchange for a large 74 inch wide window (in a house that definitely needed more light). I still have a nice enough pantry but not walk-in. I was hesitant at first when a friend suggested the larger (much larger) window but I don't regret it now.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2014 at 11:51AM
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We opted for a lot of natural light in the kitchen of the house we are building. To start with, we aren't doing ANY upper cabinets. I can add them to the refrigerator wall later if we feel the need. With 34 drawers in the lowers, I think there will be enough storage! In this picture, the big triple window on the left is over the kitchen sink. The range goes between the other two windows. Exposure is NNE for the sink wall; ESE for the range wall, so we get morning sun in all of the windows. We're in the woods, so the sun will be toned down during the hot months.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2014 at 7:20PM
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I don't know......I guess I'm in the minority where I *chose* a windowless kitchen. Not to say it doesn't get a lot of light because the two adjacent rooms have a LOT of windows and that light definitely makes its way into the kitchen. BUT....

Probably 9 months out of the year I'm prepping daily breakfast when it's still dark outside, and same with dinner. What good are my windows then anyways? I opted for more windows in multiple directions in the dinette and family room. I dunno, it doesn't bother me at all to have a windowless kitchen in our situation. And I certainly do enjoy the privacy of our new kitchen also.

Although I won't deny a kitchen with a sink with a huge window over it is beautiful- most certainly. (mine instead is in the island facing the family room activities or views out of those windows). Works for us at this phase of our lives. Some day i may choose differently. there's no catch all for everyone though.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2014 at 8:49PM
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I think the main reasons are that builders want to wring every penny out of every build, and windows are more expensive than plain walls. The other thing is that with so many houses in subdivisions and within 6 ft. of their neighbors, windows are always covered and closed anyway.
We are finally moving out of a subdivision, and I am so excited I will not need blinds. Our budget was tight, or else I would have added several windows anywhere I could. We did make every window bigger, which I'm happy about. We have large windows and a slider in our nook which is open to the kitchen, so I have a nice view and plenty of light when prepping/doing dishes.
I would highly recommend anyone building or remodeling to add as many windows as they can!

    Bookmark   April 21, 2014 at 12:42PM
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I happen to have a lot of windows in many rooms. The kitchen has a 60" wide east-facing casement window and a skylight. I find the skylight quite nice. It lights up the entire room without introducing too much sunlight. I also have another skylight and an entire wall of picture / casement windows in two adjacent south-facing rooms, which also help brighten up the kitchen.

I have a long, narrow hallway upstairs that has no windows. It's squeezed in between bedrooms. Thanks to a large skylight above the hallway, it is quite bright during the day.

None of my bathrooms have windows or skylights, however. They are all on an exterior wall (north wall), so windows are possible, but the previous (original) owner chose not to put in any windows, probably for passive solar reason. I initially thought it's odd. Now that I've lived in the house for almost 5 months, and have been frequently using 2.5 bathrooms (out of 3.5), I find having no windows is actually quite nice -- I feel cozy and very safe in there. :)

This post was edited by ILoveCookie on Mon, Apr 21, 14 at 13:33

    Bookmark   April 21, 2014 at 1:18PM
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Wow, I'd be unhappy with NO wall cabinets in a kitchen. Won't you be doing a lot of bending to get dishes and glasses and put them away again?

    Bookmark   April 21, 2014 at 3:17PM
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This post is timely. At this moment I am getting our 50 year old windows replaced with new casement windows. They are a big part of our budget, but I know we will be happy with them. One window we are turning into a french door to the back yard, so we don't have to go through the garage to get there. I am so excited to see them at the end of the day. I agree I need the light and air from the windows.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2014 at 4:21PM
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I will have a few upper cabinets, but my plates and most of my glasses will go in lower drawers anyway so my kids can reach them. I have had plates down in a drawer before and find them very easy to access.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2014 at 4:26PM
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This post is timely. At this moment I am getting our 50 year old windows replaced with new casement windows. They are a big part of our budget, but I know we will be happy with them. One window we are turning into a french door to the back yard, so we don't have to go through the garage to get there. I am so excited to see them at the end of the day. I agree I need the light and air from the windows.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2014 at 5:52PM
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This post is timely. At this moment I am getting our 50 year old windows replaced with new casement windows. They are a big part of our budget, but I know we will be happy with them. One window we are turning into a french door to the back yard, so we don't have to go through the garage to get there. I am so excited to see them at the end of the day. I agree I need the light and air from the windows.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2014 at 5:54PM
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robo (z6a)

I'm a total window lover. One unexpected benefit of moving our kitchen is that we went from a small window facing neighbour's house (boring) to a, well, still smallish window facing the street.

I now love spying on the neighbours! So fun to see the world go by. We also added a patio door in the kitchen and have two skylights. It is THE BEST! My strong preference would be kitchen overlooking backyard, but this is a nice second.

Although I don't have any, I particularly love corner windows. Next dream home maybe.

Our condo kitchen was windowless and I had no interest in being in there. Now our dining room is windowless (by necessity, it's in the middle of the house) and this is miles better for us, just because we spend so much less time there anyway.

This post was edited by robotropolis on Mon, Apr 21, 14 at 19:03

    Bookmark   April 21, 2014 at 6:49PM
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I can't imagine living without windows in the kitchen, or any room for that matter! We have had these Southeast facing corner windows for almost 30 years now and although the view may just be a vine on a fence, and the neighbors' roof, the sunlight and happiness the windows bring in is priceless :)

    Bookmark   April 21, 2014 at 10:29PM
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Yes. I NEED light:

And windows:

It's one of the very best things we did with our remodel-opening things up to access all the windows. We live in a neighborhood, but in the woods, and have never felt the need for window coverings. I love the way light streams in.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2014 at 11:38PM
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re: no uppers- We are going to have a few open shelves for our every day dishes- coffee cups, 2 sizes of glasses, bowls, and small dinner plates. We're going to go to Ikea or some such and buy inexpensive matching stuff. I'm hoping we can 'train' ourselves to have just 4 of each item on a shelf, with spares in a drawer.

The problem for us is going to be thinning out all of the excess kitchen stuff. I did an inventory one day, and we had 19 coffee cups- for two people! I want to sell/donate/throw out all of our mismatched stuff and streamline things.

Our new house is working out well for light. The only rooms without a window are the powder room and the master closet. From sunrise to sunset, no lights are needed unless doing a detailed task.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2014 at 7:19AM
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Sushipup, I actually do regret a few of my windows. Not in my kitchen, but in my family room. I have 10 windowsâ¦two on the south wall, five (the entire wall) on the west wall, and three on the north wall. While I absolutely love all the light, I wish that I had done one less window on the west wall and the two side walls - hard to describe, but the windows come all the way to the edges/corners where the walls meet so there is no space for any sort of window treatment, which I really would have liked in hindsight. Having lived with the room for 11 years now, I would have changed the windows completely.

As for my kitchen, I have no real window in the active part of my kitchen - I have one over where our table is. There was originally a window over my sink, but we ended up adding on to the back of our house, putting a mudroom in. However, the view from that kitchen window was one of the nicest from our house as it overlooks the water. To keep the view, we left the cutout over the sink from the window, and put in french doors as our back entry into the mudroom, which is small - only the width of the double doors. So when standing at the sink, I still have the view out the back doors. And to increase the natural light, there is also a window on the south wall of the mudroom, just to the left of the door.

We are in the very early planning stages (like, I keep thinking about it but can't seem to move myself forward) of a kitchen redo. I'm actually considering getting rid of the mudroom altogether my kids don't come in/out that door, it's mainly used for the dog to go out and for dh to get to the grill. I want to incorporate the mudroom into the kitchen, which means changing from a u-shaped kitchen to more of a galley. But I can't figure out where to put the sink. I think it will end up on the south wall, which faces my neighbor's house and currently has no windows. My plan is to add two windows on that wall, even though it means they will be facing my neighbor's house. I'll still have the french doors to the deck, so I'll still be able to see the water, but will have to look sideways from the sink rather than straight out.

If we ever get around to starting this project, I am really looking forward to having sun shining into my kitchen all day! Even though the family room with all the windows is open to my kitchen, it's sort of off to the side so the natural light from that room spills into the eating side of my kitchen, not the cooking side. I can't wait to have some of the cooking side!

    Bookmark   April 22, 2014 at 12:18PM
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