This is the second of four blogs from The Lanham Group on home-buying trends among Baby Boomers. Click here to see the complete library in this series. But watch below for Gary's thoughts on ample light for boomers.
Let’s be honest, if you’re a Baby Boomer, your eyes are likely showing signs of aging. We’re not talking cosmetics; we’re talking actual vision. They’ve surrendered the sharpness and acuity of youth. You now need some “correction” to see that sunrise off Fort Lauderdale beach, or a manatee swimming in the canal behind your Bay Colony home.
While contacts, glasses or Lasik might help improve your vision, your home’s design can help, too. Some improvements are simple and subtle; some could require a contractor’s hand. Yet, letting the sun into your home can shed more light and make South Florida living more enjoyable and fulfilling.
We wrote previously about how single-floor, “ranch-style” homes built in the 1950s through the 1970s often featured large windows and open vistas. Not only has the single-floor architecture attracted a new wave of appreciative buyers. The large windows offered welcome light for tired eyes.
Below are some tips for buying your next Fort Lauderdale home, while keeping an eye on your future life there…
- Let light in. Many homes today feature large, “picture” windows that bathe the space in sunlight. Working with a compass in hand, architects, developers, and builders are aligning homes to take advantage of the sun’s track across the sky, maximizing enviable exposures and welcoming light, while also limiting actual heat. Look for homes with sliding glass doors, skylights, large windows, or windows mounted high near the ceiling to capture more daylight. According to Ron Trebbi, architect and owner of Trebbi Custom Construction, “Windows facing south generally brighten a home’s interior the most. North-facing windows allow constant, uniform light with very little shadowing. Dramatic views of the sunrise and sunset come with windows facing east and west respectively, but come with glare and heat management costs.”
- Seek the expertise of an architect, designer, and contractor. If you love the listed home, but wonder if there’s enough light, bring in a pro. Hire a designer or architect to bring a professional’s eye to bear on the project. Visiting the home at different times of day, you’ll see how the sun’s arc affects the flow of light throughout the house. If they recommend new or different windows, get a contractor to weigh in in on cost and feasibility.
- Trim, move, or remove foliage. Older homes with large, mature landscaping may create shade that affects the amount of light inside – and how well you see. Consider thinning or removing trees or hedges that block light. Be careful, however, not to increase actual heat in the home.
- Add more lights. Can the home benefit from more light fixtures to add more – and actually change the “feel of” light? Whether high-hats installed in or fixtures suspended from the ceiling, or sconces on the walls (along with well-placed lamps around the house), more light sources can make reading or just relaxing easier on the eyes. When adding light sources, higher light output, measured in Lumens or Lux, will make seeing and reading easier on the eyes.
- Change those bulbs. Incandescent is so 20th century! Consider moving to LED (light-emitting diode), CFL (compact fluorescent). Halogens are a type of dincandescent bulb. LED and CFL offer brighter, cooler, and more cost-effective light than incandescent bulbs. Additionally, LED bulbs come in a range of whites and colors from warm candle-like white to cool blue, daylight, as well as a rainbow of colors to complete the spectrum. Learn more at Tom’s Guide.
- Install impact glass. One hurricane warning spent putting up metal storm panels or plywood will have you envious of your neighbors with impact glass. If adding or replacing windows, consider impact glass or “hurricane resistant” windows.
The quality of the light can affect more than your ability to read or see or enjoy your home in the moment. The more comfortable you are, the better you’re able to use your home, the more likely you’ll be to enjoy your residence for years to come. Whether the size of the hallways, the width of doorways, or the brightness of light throughout, your home should “age gracefully” with you. If not, you two may need to part ways – sending you looking for a home better suited to your needs sooner than you’d anticipated.
Light is only one design and living element homebuyers should consider when shopping their first or next Fort Lauderdale home. Check out our entire video series on architecture, ample lighting, automation, and intelligent homes to learn more about how Baby Boomers are redefining South Florida homeownership.
In the meantime, if you’re buying or selling, and want to learn more, let’s talk…
Gary Lanham Group at Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate is a boutique real estate organization offering sales, leasing, and brokerage services to the Greater Fort Lauderdale area. A listings agent matches home sellers with buyers and tenants with landlords. While Broward County is our universe, we focus on Coral Ridge Country Club, Oakland Park, Wilton Manors, Pompano Beach, and the surrounding areas. Call us today at (954) 695-6518 or visit www.GaryLanhamGroup.com.