Creating Prospect

Researchers at the University of Washington have identified 5 characteristics that make your home just right. The first two are the paired concepts of prospect and refuge.

“Prospect” is the quality of having an extended view, an increased volume or a scene spread out in front of you. The good news is that you do not need a large home or cottage to be able to achieve this. You can use the ideas that fit your taste and pocketbook to create prospect in your existing cottage or do renovations to achieve increased prospect improving the livability of your cottage or home.

If a space is just one big open area it seems much smaller than it actually is. People who have watched their home or cottage being built knows this. When the foundation is completed, the building seems very small and you worry that you should have planned for it to be bigger. However, once the framing goes up and your eye has some vertical limits to the view, the structure suddenly seems much larger.

You can make use of this phenomenon to make your home or cottage feel larger and giving it more prospect, by dividing any large spaces visually into multi spaces or by providing a view into another area.

Consider whether you could increase the size of a doorway into an adjoining area and install French doors or pocket doors and making it partially open to the room which requires greater prospect. In older, smaller homes & cottages creating the spacious of prospect can dramatically alter the space. Lack of technology kept windows small and the need for cool covered porches created dark dreary rooms.

When you are able to look through and see a portion of a sequence of spaces, you gain prospect, as the building seems to go on and on.

Shotgun homes in New Orleans and Charleston are good examples of this sequence of space. From the street these homes seem to be impossibly narrow, but from the interior each room has normal width and the views through from room to room are quite lengthy, giving the impression of a spacious home. Seeing through a sequence of spaces gives shotgun homes the prospect they require.

To use this trick, consider rearranging the furniture in your room to gain the advantage of longer sight lines. If you think corner to corner diagonally across your room, the distance is greater than from corner to corner around the perimeter of the room. Set your furniture on angles so that you look along the longer diagonal lines and you will make the room feel larger.

If you add windows which extend the sightlines from where your furniture is placed, on the diagonal, the room extends further still.

Taking this concept even further, you could create an exterior outdoor room defined by plants, furniture and garden structures which builds on the concept of a sequence of spaces, giving increased prospect to your interior living space.

Volume is as important as square footage when considering prospect. Increasing the volume, increases the prospect in a room. If it is possible to open up a ceiling and follow the line of the rafters to create a vaulted ceiling then prospect in that space will increase dramatically. Painting a dark ceiling a light colour will also add prospect to the room, especially if the paint has a reflective sheen to it. Putting in a skylight to increase the light in your room will increase its feeling of volume.

Increasing the size and number of windows looking toward your longest view will increase the ratio of prospect in a room, and don’t neglect the use of outdoor windows. We recently experienced a cottage which has windows on three sides of a small living room. Two sides looked to the outdoors and the third looked into a screened porch. Having an extended view on three sides of one half of that living room greatly expanded the impression of space as well as creating a dramatic panoramic view.

Consider all the ways you might be able to use an interior window, a half wall between rooms when you are trying to increase the feeling of space on the room where you are. Your mind does a mental comparison of size so a view into a smaller room increases the perception of the size of the room you are in.

Thelma Jarvis Sales Representative

Port Carling: (705) 765-6855
Bracebridge: (705) 645 5257
Cell: (705) 644-3554
Fax: (705) 645-1238

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