Mother Nature as Art

  • Kristen Ordonez
  • 02/14/22

Reprinted with permission from go.kw.com

Buyers crave listings with windows and designs that showcase scenic views.

Whether it is a lush, green forest that evolves with the seasons or the roar of crashing waves along a pristine beach, the perfect view is how many buyers come to find their perfect match in a home. Real estate agents are no doubt aware of this phenomenon, especially now, when the swiftness of a sale can sometimes be dependent on how great the views are. Windows have, in turn, become more than just a way to see the outside, but a way to showcase spectacular works of nature as art. 

If the views of a home are the way into a buyer’s heart, windows are the home’s method of flirtation. Windows can heavily affect a homebuyer’s decision in more ways than just the amount, from size and shape to orientation based on the movement of daylight. Real estate agents from across the country have noted the trend along with some interesting effects it has had on the market. Greg Miner of the Utah Luxury Group, Keller Williams Park City Real Estate, says that while many aspects of a home can be easily tweaked to suit a new owner, views are Mother Nature as Art By Kristen Ordonez Buyers crave listings with windows and designs that showcase scenic views. a built-in value that not only make the owners happy, but will help resale value. He also notes that oftentimes access to natural views in such a grand way are what separate luxury properties from the rest. 

Perhaps our love of views derives from an innate need to be in nature. Scott Rodwin, AIA and LEED AP with Rodwin Architecture, understands this indescribable instinct that buyers have to be outside. “Clients typically request excellent indoor/outdoor living; we can’t always be outside, but having large, well-placed windows and glass doors helps create that sought-after feeling of being outdoors even when inside.” He adds that having that strong sense of connection also makes a house feel larger. 

Outdoor recreation is a huge part of life in Park City, according to Miner, and many homeowners and buyers in the area also look to bring the outdoors in through large windows and glass doors with views of the mountains where they spend so much time. “There is a lot that goes into a property to make it a luxury home, but one of the biggest ‘wow’ moments any prospective buyer has is always when walking into a spectacular great room or stunning master suite, with large windows and full-glass doors that let in impressive ski resort, mountain and meadow views,” he says. 

Brittney Ferro with Keller Williams West Ventura County in California cites an even bigger factor that not only affects the beauty of the natural views, but the home as well: natural light. “I have some buyers that will absolutely not consider a home if it does not have several windows and large doors to the exterior,” she says, noting they are also interested in an openfloor concept living. “It can include ocean and mountain views, but if the windows and doors are not oriented towards the view then the home has a huge decrease in value.” 

The need for daylight is critical in architectural design, according to Rodwin. He says that while most clients list “capturing the views” as a main goal of the project, having excellent daylighting is just as important to the successful design of a home. The best way to do this? Through design, one can balance the desire for large windows with passive solar design, which in layman’s terms is to try and capture solar gain when we want it (when it’s cold) and block it when we don’t (when it’s hot).  

“Here in Colorado, where the sun is very strong, it’s essential to offer a lot of protection from overheating. We do this through a combination of techniques,” Rodwin notes, such as placing a majority of windows on the south side to gain shade in the summer and allow in the lower sun in the winter. 

As Rodwin and many real estate agents can explain, orientation with regard to home building, and therefore window placement, is crucial for more than just providing access to excellent natural views. As Melissa Green of Keller Williams Realty Golden Isles puts it, “‘Location, location, location!’ may be a well-known real estate term, but ‘Orientation, orientation, orientation!’ is important as well.” She expands, saying that the interplay of natural light in an interior space creates mood, enhances materials, and energizes a place. “It is indeed a design element like no other,” Green says. 

Luckily for buyers, depending on what natural landscapes appeal to them the most, there is almost always a market for what they want. Especially in recent years with the pandemic, access to natural views went from being a perk to a priority, according to Ferro. “People are relocating to our small beach town and often they are coming from more expensive areas, so they are quick to buy our hillside or oceanside homes at a premium.” Across the country in Georgia’s Golden Isles, Green notes that available properties offer views of oceanfront, riverfront and marshfront, with listings staying active for as short as two weeks. 

While there is sometimes conflict between the desire to have large windows for views or more wall space to display art, some buyers do reserve an interest in having both. North Carolina agent Sarah Spencer of Keller Williams Realty Outer Banks notes a recent instance of this — a couple looking for a gallery space in their desired beach home. “This request is rare because the feeling of these oceanside retreats is intentionally relaxed. High art feels out of place,” she says. She also recalled a moment when a client once said that “each sunset was like waiting for an artist to show up on cue.” 

“I’ve always loved that thought,” she says. 

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