Cats occasionally know best. Especially when they find that one spot in the house where even on the blusteriest of days you can curl up and feel the warmth of the sun. Creating human-sized versions of that perfect sun spot gives clients a place to enjoy spectacular views or just watch their favorite tree bloom regardless of the weather.
The projects featured in this collection show the benefits of including a glassy room, nook, or corner in environments as varied as snowy mountains, windy beaches, bustling cities, and remote forests on sites ranging from Maine to California. Natural daylighting, passive heating, cross-ventilation, and a beautiful backdrop are some of the advantages generated by concentrating glazing in a single area. All of that, plus the perfect place for a cat nap.
Finding the ideal location in the floor plan and determining the best window placement and quantity are key components to produce a bright bay like the ones in the accompanying slideshow. Architect Mark Hutker designs custom houses primarily in the Cape Cod area in Massachusetts and frequently tries to add a room or alcove in every house that features three translucent walls. He prefers facing at least one window wall toward southern exposures but with long overhangs that block direct southern sun while allowing low winter rays to penetrate and heat the interiors. “If you can get three solar exposures into a room you’re almost guaranteed that it’s going to be a fantastic room all of the time,” he says. “If you’re going to create a space that open, “ he adds, “then you need to consider the view levels and window apertures to make sure muntins or sashes don’t obstruct the horizon.”