Even if you’re used to being in the public eye, coming home to a glass house can feel like a whole other level of exposure.
But for some people, living in a home with wall-to-wall windows brings them closer to the landscape, the weather and the sky and allows them to enjoy a space that feels more expansive than a traditional house. The design is a modern take on ski houses or farmhouses, filled with more natural light.
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Hayes Slade, an architect and co-founder of Slade Architecture, and her husband and business partner James, designed a glass house in Amenia, New York that was completed in 2018.
The home is situated on a 400-acre plot of land in a way that makes it hard to see any neighbors. While the public spaces of the home – the kitchen, dining room and entertaining spaces – are on the upper level and surrounded by windows, the private spaces – including the bedrooms – are on a lower level where the walls are made of stone.
“One of the qualities of glass is transparency, which is nice when you are inside the house, but one of the other qualities is reflection,” said James Slade. “Often when you have a lot of light on the outside of the house, you end up seeing a reflection of the landscape so the house becomes almost a stealth house.”
The growing interest in glass houses is largely due to two things, said Hayes Slade.
The first is innovation in glass technologies, including improvements in glazing and sealing that have helped to better regulate the temperature and draftiness of the homes, she said. The second is the increased social acceptance of living in a home where many of your activities can be viewed by the neighbors.
Social media may be playing a role, said James Slade. Being less private in our online lives may allow us to feel more comfortable with having less privacy in our physical lives, he said.
“With social media now, you can have a very private house and have a very public life,” he said. “Is this glass house more public than the home of somebody who lives in a enclosed house, but is constantly online? I don’t know.”