By Iyna Bort Caruso
One of an architect’s best tools is so powerful that it can sculpt a space and enhance your well-being. It is shapeless and weightless. It boosts moods and sharpens focus. The tool? Natural light. “It’s everything. It’s transformative,” says Joshua Zinder, managing partner of architecture and design firm JZA+D in Princeton, N.J. “How people feel in a space is critically important, and sunlight just makes for happier people.” With the potential to reduce energy consumption, too, it’s no surprise that home buyers are making it a priority. “It comes up in every conversation,” he says.
The way in which the home is oriented toward the sun is critical. South-facing rooms receive the most and steadiest winter sunlight in the Northern Hemisphere, enabling homeowners to take advantage of heat gain when temperatures drop. North-facing sunlight, meanwhile, is consistent and diffuses throughout the day. And when it comes to windows, it’s not simply a matter of bigger is better. Placement and style must be balanced with privacy, heat gain/loss, and the need to minimize glare.
A thoughtful lighting plan can animate a home. Skylights, transoms, and clerestory windows set high on a wall above eye level may allow light to penetrate deep into rooms. And tubular daylighting devices, also known as sun tunnels or solar tubes, can direct sunlight from the roof into the interior. Mayi de la Vega, chief executive officer, ONE Sotheby’s International Realty on Florida’s East Coast, sees first-hand how buyers gravitate toward homes with abundant light. “It radiates a certain energy, a positive energy,” she says. “We all feel good in sunlight.”
This light-abundant, spacious home in Ontario balances grand-scale living with intimate tonality. Gracious proportions, with ceilings reaching up to about 21 feet, set the awe-inspiring stage for a rich yet soft palette of museum-quality finishes. The generously sized great room is lined with steel and glass partition walls. On the second level breathtaking skylights can be found. The primary suite offers prime north-east sunlight and a spacious en-suite with heated floors. A sensational entertainment space fills the lower level, with a wet bar, games area, theater room, and gym.