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The Importance of Light and Orientation in Home Design

July 13th, 2022

By Francisca Alonso

2 min read

Modern Style Custom Home by AV Architects and Builders in Great Falls Northern Virginia

One of the most important considerations when designing a home is how to achieve natural light through its orientation. The amount of natural light that a house receives can have a significant impact on the overall feel and atmosphere of the space. When we design one of our Vacation Style Living homes one of our most important considerations is light and orientation. Here are some of the ways we achieve this at AV Architects + Builders.

We use half the number of doors and double the number of windows that your standard colonial home. Why half the number of doors? Having too many doors breaks up the space and makes everything smaller plus closed doors create stuffy spaces. We use angles to create privacy eliminating the need for too many doors. We believe a door to every room disconnects people from each other which is the opposite of our philosophy of engagement and communication. Open spaces in a home can make the difference between a cramped and cluttered feel to a more open and inviting atmosphere. Our design philosophy always goes back to creating a home for our clients that produces the same feeling they have when they are on vacation. You can have that year-round.

No “dead hallways”. A dead hallway is a hallway without windows, and we avoid them at all costs. A hallway should never be a narrow, dark passageway between rooms. We design all our homes in 3D which allows our clients to experience the space and volume using Virtual Reality technology. In terms of spaces like hallways, which get you from one point to another, our methodology is to always have TWO points of every space where we can see the outdoors. Having that constant connection to the outdoors is a central theme in how we design our homes which is paramount to reducing stress and increasing health and wellness.

In terms of the orientation of the home, this is crucial element.  It’s the difference between a happy home and sad home!  We always position the backyard facing south to get the most sun exposure, because we tend to spend more time during the day in that part of the house. South, southwest, southeast is where we position entertaining spaces, again for the natural light. We position the front door facing north because we don’t tend to spend as much time in that portion of the home.  If we can achieve that perfect orientation, we like to take it to the next level and position the Owners Suite where the sunrises and the dining room or grotto where the sunsets.

There are many benefits to waking up with the sunrise and winding down as the sun sets. For one, it can help you to reset your body’s natural circadian rhythm. This can lead to improved sleep quality and overall energy levels throughout the day. Additionally, sunrise and sunset are typically associated with calming and peaceful feelings. So, by starting and ending your day with these natural light cues, you can help yourself to feel more relaxed and at ease. Finally, taking in the beauty of a sunrise or sunset can be a great way to center yourself and find a moment of peace amidst a busy day. Whether you watch the sunrise from your bed each morning or take a few moments to appreciate the sunset each evening, making this connection with nature can have a big impact on your overall wellbeing.

So, when looking for lots to build on, keep that in mind (and we can help you find that perfect lot!).  Sometimes we only tend to think about the zip code, schools, price but do not forget to also question how your dream home will be positioned.  You want to live in a naturally bright home where the lights only have to come on when the sun goes down!

At AV Architects + Builders, we believe in Vacation Style Living™ – our unique design philosophy that encourages health, wellness, and happiness every day.  Contact us to learn how we can build your home retreat.


9903 Georgetown Pike Suite 201
Great Falls, VA 22066
(703) 865-5065