Bedroom windows on exterior walls...

mlo1January 16, 2007

I have noticed on many newer ranch style homes that they only put "one" window in a BR, even if that BR has two exterior walls.

Is this a cost savings technique? to allow furniture placement options, privacy? any thoughts?

I am personally inclined to take advantage of any exterior wall to bring in the outside.

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You may be right on all three ideas and perhaps noise level too. It would be interesting to hear from architects.

In new developments they tend to rotate floor plans so windows are not looking into windows of a house next door. At least an entire outside wall is lacking windows. Now that I think about this, my last new home only had a window in the first floor laundry and second floor bath on one side. All the windows were either front or back. My lot was open to a green belt, but most of the houses were backed up to each other on small lots so they still lacked privacy in back.

The second floor bath had a huge window in that house which looked down into the livingroom of the other house. It became a problem because they had full windows from first floor to second, an open room which gave me a full view of their livingroom and stairway. I never asked them, but I'm sure if they wanted to they could see in my house from the top of those stairs. Great window in my bath, but was always covered.

Non window sides are also areas where there is equipment like ACs and electrical, gas, water panels. No windows probably has a bunch of practical and cost savings reasons you mentioned.

I live in an older ranch now and there are windows on all exterior walls, with the exception of garage side. The house next door though has their garage located on my windowed they were designing houses somewhat the same back 50 years. This is an area with custom homes, maybe the window deal started when tract housing began. About 60 years ago?

There is quite a lot of wall space for furniture placement in my small house, even on windowed walls. And privacy is not an issue with so many big old trees, creative fencing, shrubs, etc. Plus I feel the older neighborhood is definitely friendlier/quieter...much nicer living here...even squeezed between the new mansions they are building. This is an area where they like to buy up 2 or 3 lots of smaller homes and build "huge".

I'm with you on the window deal...the more the better, love having them open, seeing the garden and sunshine flowing in.

Jeesh, this was a ramble without any knowledgable answer. Wonder how the Sears/Craftsman homes were designed in the 20s/30s regarding windows? I love architecture and old house design. Will have to look at their layouts as you have peaked my interest.

    Bookmark   January 17, 2007 at 6:51AM
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I've noticed that, too! I think it's a shame. I would rather have a window with a half-shade for privacy than no window at all.

I've noticed the same with new condo developments in our area. It's particularly galling when there are no windows on the south-facing side -- what gives??

    Bookmark   January 17, 2007 at 11:59AM
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In our little cottage, when we replaced the older push-up windows, on the south wall which is also on the street side on a 5 lane road with traffic racing by at 45 mph and more, we opted for two matching smaller non-opening windows one in the liv. rm and one in the bedroom. They are double glazed and also darkened a tad to keep out the blazing sun. We have one other window in liv. rm and one other in bedroom, both push up and double glazed and darkened on the west/bedroom wall for afternoon sun. The new windows definitely cut down on the road noise and is so much nicer. We are not using the 'front' door of the house. It is a steel door with 9 lights in top half. This was the front porch which we enclosed and it's now our little library and my computer space. We use the kitchen's French door as our entry door, and have a screened porch that that door opens up to. We have another French door for the door from our bedroom to the scret garden behind the house. We have a garden window over the sink in the scullery, a 5 lite sidelite on the west wall of scullery and a little double glazed push up window on the east wall of scullery. If we ever move, I would like windows that are larger than open up to views.

For now we are enjoying our quieter atmosphere inside our little cottage.


    Bookmark   January 17, 2007 at 12:09PM
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I like lots of windows in all my rooms except bedrooms/baths. I live in earthquake country so you have to position beds away from windows which is a problem if you have alot of windows. My current master bedroom only has one 8 foot slider, eastern facing. We could easily put additional windows on the north facing wall but our view would be a tall wall and our neighbors yard and the additional light would be minimal. So I've opted for skylites.

    Bookmark   January 17, 2007 at 2:11PM
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Fori is not pleased

My 50s ranch MBR has a big window facing the street and a long high window facing into the neighbor's long high window. We don't open the drapes. (Who put a bedroom at the front of the house anyway? Don't get me started on the bathroom!)

This house is new (and smaller) to us and we have too much bedroom furniture for a small room with two windows--even though we don't expect to open the blinds, it just seems wrong to put furniture in front of the windows!

Skylights do make a lot of sense!

    Bookmark   January 17, 2007 at 3:59PM
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Fori, I'm in a 50s ranch also. Would love to see your house as there seems to be only a few of us on here.

I can't put furniture in front of windows either. It has always been my thing to go to bed at night and be able to see the stars outside the window...which means my window coverings are open. The bath window is about 4 feet from a fence...terrible view, but has privacy. I planted a vine and small flowering tree there...hoping it will do well when spring gets here.

Hadn't thought about earthquake country and I was raised in So. Cal. Maybe that is why I remember the window locations of homes.

    Bookmark   January 17, 2007 at 7:44PM
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Code dictates that if using a single hung window in a BR it would need to be 36"x 60". That would make for a sill height of 22" inches off the floor.

Would that be ok?, maybe even prefered? Or would you find another window style with a taller sill. I am trying to avoid a horizontal sliding window. This would be in a standard 10'x13' BR.

    Bookmark   January 18, 2007 at 11:00AM
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For our in-progress house, in both bath and kitchen, there are casement windows on north and south, but on the east and west I decided to put in two 4 ft transom (or clerestory) windows near the ceiling. A Frank Lloyd Wright house that had a similar window arrangement inspired me to try this. Being on a narrower lot, I didn't want to see my neighbors, but wanted that lovely morning and evening sunlight and as a bonus got great tree top views. We put a lot of thought into window size and placement and it seems to have worked out nicely.


    Bookmark   January 19, 2007 at 9:22PM
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It's not just in ranches, it's like that in our 1993 Cape too. Our MBR has two exterior walls, facing north and west, and there are no windows on the west wall, even though that could let some great light into the room which is now very dark because the two north facing windows are also blocked by woods. In the winter when the trees are bare there's a lovely view of a four-lane highway. *wry grin* They probably did that because the west side is the driveway side of the house, although that doesn't make a lot of sense to me because the bedroom is over the garage (which occupies half the walkout basement, I understand this is unheard-of in other parts of the country but it is very common here in New England) and the garage doors going up or down is deafening anyway. It always wakes me up with a jolt when DH leaves for work at 6AM and that jet-engine of a garage door opener starts up and rattles that big metal door open. (He parks inside in winter because he doesn't have to scrape ice off the windshield and if it snows the plow guy buries his car.) We might as well have the nice afternoon light! I would have put the two windows on the west side and none on the north side if there could only be windows on one exterior wall. But whoever picked this house plan for this lot was just plain nuts anyway, it is so wrong for the lot it's ridiculous.

When I was drawing up my dream houses, I used bands of clerestory and similar wide, high-set windows in the bedrooms, for maximum light and maximum privacy as well as simpler furniture placement. I've seen that in some of my bungalow books and it just made sense to me, especially if the views aren't incredible (and far more houses have crappy views than have beautiful ones). I remember seeing one bungalow's bedroom that had two exterior walls and 9 foot ceilings, and a row of 3x3' swing-in windows from 5' to 8', the entire width of the wall, on each exterior wall. The cross-breezes would have been wonderful and it certainly seemed from the picture that there was plenty of light despite the fairly low eaves that you could see through the windows.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2007 at 1:35AM
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The windows seems to be the first thing that I notice when looking at a house. I have a thread running in the remodel forum titled "Design and floorplan discussion" that shows the transformation of a 50's ranch that is on-going. The additions will take it from 1150 sq.ft. to near 1600 sq.ft.

Here is a link to a slide show showing the original structure then a floorplan and drawings playing with window designs. Certainly looking for ideas!

Here is a link that might be useful: ranch drawings

    Bookmark   January 21, 2007 at 1:59AM
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mlo...I looked at your design because of my being in a 50s ranch also. Love your new kitchen, master, bath add-on.

The front of your new design looks almost identical to my home. With the exception that there is an 11' long picture window in front. One of the master bedroom windows is on the right as yours.

I use the master as an office/art room, took a back bedroom with large double windows facing the garden. There was only a foot less and like Fori said...who plans masters in the front of a house? There would be no privacy and street lights are a pain.

Personally, I'd reconsider the entrance you are planning. I think from your desing that my door and small entry pad are identical. My garage is single, but double deep, the entry door hidden to the right. I really dislike the entry being there and the small landing. When you drive up to the house there is no actual sight of where to go into the house. The front door opens directly into the living room with a coat closet on the right. Have considered closing in the entrance pad with the door to the front and a small porch across. The expense to do this personally requires thought as to price/value/pain/pleasure.

A personal take on your new bath and hopefully not an intrusion. Have never enjoyed seeing the bathroom directly from the bedroom. They always seem to design the wall for the bed with a line of sight into the bathroom. With your layout, the first thing seen is the toilet. I'd switch the sinks with the toilet.

Can you put french doors in the dining/master bedroom? This would be another thing I would change in my up and being able to walk out to the back garden. Or is the footprint of your lot such that this can't be done, too close to the property line?

This is my house when I was buying. It has wood shingled siding. I tore out the bushes and half the grass, replanted with bunches of flowering bushes/plantings, added 3 trees and a winding brick path from street to entry. There is a brick planter the width of large window which I do not want to plant in because it would require hand watering. Planted trumpet vine to cover this, but may have to move them in the spring since they can become invasive....I forgot this.

This spring I am adding a 6' deep pergola spanning across the garage and 4' to right of front entry. Hopefully soften the ranch look and provide a more welcoming entry. Will also tile the small porch to match the brick path and am putting in a fence with a gate across the front/street. As you can see I am very close to neighbors, but there are many trees and my lot is large/deep in back. Can't wait for spring to get back to the outdoors.

Apologize for the mock is a cut and paste mess. Was also considering adding headers to windows and painting same color as shutters. Plus this is the first time I have ever posted a pic and took some bravery for show and tell. I am open to any input for the front of house and what to do with the entry. Should probably post separately...but maybe not until I do a tad better at mocking up.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2007 at 9:27AM
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Thanks emagineer,

The first slide show picture showing a 2 car garage and picture window in front, is the original home (pink outline). The MBR has always been in the back with it's adjoining bath, which was a toilet (as shown), a small sink, and a corner shower, in a 4.5ft. room! I agree that the mst.bath still needs layout help. The closet has to stay a part of that area as-well, maybe a mst.bath entrance through the closet?

Emagineer, your entrance looks to have 3-4' of stoop. My proposal is near 8' of a clear area before the entry door, but your point is well taken on things not being crowded and easy on recognition. Tough to seamlessly add-on as everything is a compromise in one direction or another. Your ideas for your home make sense, and I applaud you for even being able to accomplish a post with photo's and photoshop, I have struggled with this digital learning curve!

    Bookmark   January 21, 2007 at 12:41PM
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I think the additions you're planning will be delightful. I like the pergola idea spanning the garage and entry. If I understand correctly, it will have a small bump-out over the porch (.. or will it be in a straight line over and including the porch area?).

And the cut and paste aint too bad either -- I can still remember my early attempts at photo editing (shudder) :)

    Bookmark   January 21, 2007 at 9:19PM
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Gray...I really appreciate the feed back. It helps to know my thinking is in the right direction. AS for the cut/paste, I just found some other pics and messed with them to add the fence/pergola. Should have done a better job before career was teaching computer graphics which is why I was a tad iffy about posting what I knew was child play. Retirement is photography/graphics. And...I probably shouldn't have admitted this publicly....considering what is shown.

The front has bugged me since moving in. Yes I am going to bump-out over the porch about 4' to meet the brick path. After coming up with this idea I started driving around to see what other's have done and a number of houses did the same. They looked so much more finished and welcoming. I love to garden which also made this concept seem the best option for pulling house/landscape together.

MLO...when I looked at your plans I thought the full master suite and kitchen was part of the add-on. What does your current house look like without the add-on?

The porch is about 5 X 4, just enough for one person to stand on. There was a metal railing there at one time which must have been removed years ago. If I had the money to put a porch all the way across with entry in front...that is what I really want to do. My other thought was to extend the current porch area out and around the front with the pergola covering it. Again, maoney for concrete work is keeping me from this. As with you, this is a very sought after neighborhood and upgrades are well worth the investment. Perhaps in a couple of years I'll figure this out beyond the simple, but am hoping the pergola will make a huge difference.

Know you posted in Remodeling, but maybe try it here too as a separate post..since we love small. Someone gave simple directions for inserting pics. So simple I wondered why no one else had shared it. Each of your pics in photo bucket has 3 selections below them, one says HTML. Copy the HTML code and paste in your post. That is all you need to do.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2007 at 8:13AM
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OK, lets try this...

Emagineer, the bump-out in the back (east) of the home that is highlited in "pink" is the original plan. The new larger bump-out which surrounds the old one is new and highlited in "green". Pink=old/original and green=new/proposed.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2007 at 10:26AM
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