You may have just moved into a building with floor to ceiling glass windows, or may be considering a Chicago new construction highrise home with wall to wall glass….
It certainly is exciting to live in an all glass building. Check out the new condo buildings in Chicago’s Streeterville area and you will notice many of these are currently being built as “all glass”. Many modernist architects are using glass construction so that condo owners will be able to enjoy the feeling of wide open space. Even if the rooms are smaller, the spectacular views help to expand the living area.
There are, however, some important points to consider with the luxury of large windows.
First, notice the direction of sun exposure in the unit. South and West exposures are prone to stronger sunlight. This can cause increased fading of furniture, carpeting, wood floors, artwork and even kitchen cabinets.
Consider also your privacy. Some new buildings even have walls of glass in the bathrooms!
Shades of various materials can be installed to combat at least part of the sunlight and privacy problems. Sometimes these are offered by the developer, often motorized. Many of these shades offer sun screening that allows you to maintain a view, but these are not enough for privacy In a New York Times’ article, interior designer Jamie Gibbs states “…it is like a scrim on the theater stage with the light illuminating the actors from behind. You see defined shadows. There is not a lot left to the imagination.”
Joseph Rice of Joseph Rice Interiors, Inc., a Chicago decorator who has done work in a number of these local buildings, agrees. In his experience, the only way to control light and temperature in this situation is by using draperies. He also states that it is mandatory to use designers and installers who are knowledgeable about installation requirements for each individual building.
Also, check to see if the building is a four pipe system. In this type of system, air conditioning and heating is supplied by the building and you do not have these units in your apartment. If it is, you fortunately will not have to be concerned about the extra cost of heating a unit in the winter or the additional cost to cool the apartment in the summer. Be aware too of the type of glass the developer will use in your building. This will give you a clue about the insulation factor.
The wonderful views of expansive windows can be enticing. Just make sure you do your homework before making the move.