As I write there is blue sky in Yorkshire and it’s a pleasant interlude between the dark clouds and torrential rain that we have all endured over the last 7-10 days, and which is forecast to continue. It is a timely reminder just how important sunlight is to our mind-set and how the way your property faces will be a major factor as to how you choose to live and enjoy your home.
It’s no coincidence the trend for “open plan living”, “light airy spaces” and “modern family space” (to quote a few well used estate agency phrases) is based around the concept of capturing what daylight exists whatever the time of day or year. Ideally such space wants to be on the southern side of a building and if you are fortunate to be able to do so, there is then the option to install patio/bi-folding doors that could then lead onto a strategically situated terrace for barbeques, lazy Sunday afternoons etc, etc. But not all homes have this option by virtue of location, neighbouring property, topography or in my case living in an upper floor flat in central Harrogate! So what are the alternatives?
Fortunately, when I last checked what sunshine we do enjoy, it still rises in the east and sets in the west. So, for those of us who do not have the benefit of a south facing living area, what are the potential alternatives? Well if you have an east facing kitchen, sunshine will brighten your morning coffee fix. If you have a west facing sitting room, sunshine will help you relax with a beer, glass of wine or gin and tonic at the end of a day. But what if your living space faces north? Don’t despair because with most houses being largely rectangular in shape, by definition, it does mean other rooms will be facing elsewhere. Indeed, some will tell you (including a photographer friend of mine) that if facing north, the light and especially if you are fortunate to have views to go with it, will be stronger and clearer, rather than hazy as you will not be looking into the sun!
Some of you might be thinking where am I going with this piece especially if it’s pouring with rain when you read it. Whether your rooms face North, South, East or West, there are some easy and simple changes you can make to improve the overall lightness and feeling of space within any living areas. At one end of the spectrum it might simply be a case of pulling curtains back, changing the angle of blinds or the perennial recommendation to declutter. At the other knocking through between rooms will often give a double aspect making a huge impact on the amount of available light, although rarely at a modest cost. There are also in-between options to consider as well. One notable example I am aware of is an owner who moves furniture around a room to suit the time of year, including a feature sofa against the left wall in the summer which is then moved to the right-hand side in October to give a more cosy feel over the winter. As ever it’s a matter of personal choice.
And if this all sounds like the rambling thoughts of an estate agent who is trying to avoid any discussion about Brexit’s impact on the property market, you will be right. Whatever the outcome of discussions that are/are not be taking place between Westminster and Brussels, the sun will continue to shine (at least occasionally) this autumn and hopefully a few times through the winter. And when it does, we will of course smile and enjoy it, whichever room in your home you happen to be using at the time!
Tim Waring FRICS, Head of Residential at Lister Haigh, and based in Harrogate. 01423 730700 www.listerhaigh.co.uk