How to Stylishly Bring More Sunlight Into Your Home
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How to Stylishly Bring More Sunlight Into Your Home

Design pros are turning to a chic alternative to the roof-puncturing skylight: the interior window. Here’s what you need to know.

Fri, Aug 18, 2023 7:30amGrey Clock 2 min

THE OPEN floor plan lost considerable appeal once the din of WFH video calls began echoing through it. As Americans have grown more interested in walls, but no less interested in airiness, a new-old solution has emerged: interior windows. These apertures let light jump from room to room while creating a soothing sense of separation.

When renovating her historic 1902 home in Grand Rapids, Mich., interior designer Jean Stoffer found 100-year-old storm windows there. As part of a new wall pierced by a wide doorway, they proved a handy way to introduce a distinct but not too darkening division between her grand living room and kitchen-seating area. She then painted the windows’ wood sashes black, in keeping with the home’s exterior windows. “The style of an interior window should be the same as or complementary to the home’s exterior windows,” Ms. Stoffer advised.

Other designers stress the importance of visually quiet portals. Max Worrell, an architect in Brooklyn, recommends windows with slight frames that “go away as much as possible.” In a South Carolina home, interior designer Barbara Westbrook also wanted an interior window to disappear. Atlanta architecture firm Historical Concepts installed nearly floor-to-ceiling glazing between a living room and a reading room (which has windows overlooking the outdoors), making the reading room “look like a porch,” she said. She matched the trim work around the interior windows to the colour of the reading room’s walls so that “your eye does not stop at the window but looks through the window.”

Vintage windows have advantages. Designers in search of handsome frames have more leeway when they needn’t factor in heat retention and element resistance. Retrouvius, a salvage company and design studio in London, often repurposes exterior windows no longer up to code, to add “an instant historical reference” in older buildings, said co-founder Adam Hills.

Wedging even a small transom window above a door frame can brighten darker spaces like laundry and powder rooms. Assuming the doorway is a standard 80 inches tall, you need a ceiling height of at least 9.5 feet, said Stephanie Sabbe of Sabbe Interior Design, in Nashville, Tenn. Any lower, and your transom will look squished.

Costs for an interior window vary greatly. On one end of the spectrum, explained Ms. Stoffer, is a simple wooden-sash window with minimal millwork set into a non-load-bearing partition wall that’s, say, 6 feet wide in a room with an 8-foot ceiling. A skilled carpenter can turn such a project around for roughly $1,500. Ditto for a standard transom.

Meanwhile, if you’re planning to install a custom steel window with complicated moldings into a bigger existing wall with mechanicals in it, you’ll need an engineer and other tradespeople. Cost: in the tens of thousands of dollars.

If all this glass seems like an overshare waiting to happen, know that light and modesty can coexist. To brighten a windowless bathroom in a Brooklyn home, Mr. Worrell cut an aperture in the wall between bed and bath, then filled it with a translucent but not transparent glass. “In the bath, you get daylight from the bedroom’s windows, while in the bedroom, you see only a shadowy figure,” he explained. The result is less edgy than it sounds, he said. “There’s a bit of play with voyeurism, but it’s discreet.”


Consumers are going to gravitate toward applications powered by the buzzy new technology, analyst Michael Wolf predicts

Chris Dixon, a partner who led the charge, says he has a ‘very long-term horizon’

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Going warm and fuzzy for the 2024 Pantone Colour of the Year

Prepare yourself for the year of the peach

Fri, Dec 8, 2023 2 min

Pantone has released its 2024 Colour of the Year — and it’s warm and fuzzy.

Peach Fuzz has been named as the colour to sum up the year ahead, chosen to imbue a sense of “kindness and tenderness, communicating a message of caring and sharing, community and collaboration” said vice president of the Pantone Color Institute, Laurie Pressman.

“A warm and cosy shade highlighting our desire for togetherness with others or for enjoying a moment of stillness and the feeling of sanctuary this creates, PANTONE 13-1023 Peach Fuzz presents a fresh approach to a new softness,” she said.

Pantone Colour of the Year is often a reflection of world mood and events

The choice of a soft pastel will come as little surprise to those who follow the Pantone releases, which are often a reflection of world affairs and community mood. Typically, when economies are buoyant and international security is assured, colours tend to the bolder spectrum. Given the ongoing war in Ukraine, the Israeli-Gaza conflict and talk of recession in many countries, the choice of a softer, more reassuring colour is predictable. 

“At a time of turmoil in many aspects of our lives, our need for nurturing, empathy and compassion grows ever stronger as does our imaginings of a more peaceful future,” she said. “We are reminded that a vital part of living a full life is having the good health, stamina, and strength to enjoy it.”

The colour also reflects a desire to turn inward and exercise self care in an increasingly frenetic world.

“As we navigate the present and build toward a new world, we are reevaluating what is important,” she said. “Reframing how we want to live, we are expressing ourselves with greater intentionality and consideration. 

“Recalibrating our priorities to align with our internal values, we are focusing on health and wellbeing, both mental and physical, and cherishing what’s special — the warmth and comfort of spending time with friends and family, or simply taking a moment of time to ourselves.”

Each year since 2000, Pantone has released a colour of the year as a trendsetting tool for marketers and branding agents. It is widely taken up in the fashion and interior design industries, influencing collections across the spectrum. 


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Chris Dixon, a partner who led the charge, says he has a ‘very long-term horizon’

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