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3 lessons from a healthy home remodel

Get inspiration from a home remodel that doesn’t just look good, it *feels* good too — thanks to a focus on natural light and a connection with nature.

A kitchen with green cabinetry and black countertops has a view to the outdoors through three black-framed Andersen picture windows.

If you’re dreaming of remodeling your home, you’re not alone. 69% of homeowners want to update their home’s appearance.* One homeowner who’s taken on the challenge and learned a lot along the way is pro remodeler and HGTV host Laurie March.

March and her husband recently finished remodeling their LA home. We sat down with her to learn more about how she balanced structural improvements, aesthetics, and lifestyle to bring her dream home to life.

1. The best plans are born from delayed gratification

Better utilizing their space was top of mind for March and her husband who both run their own businesses from home. With a need for two in-home workspaces, a desire for better outdoor living space, and the knowledge gained from living in the home for 10 years, they were able to make the most of their home’s footprint and improve on some of its less-desirable characteristics.

Here’s what they prioritized:

  • Improving energy efficiency through structural upgrades, like adding installation and installing new E-Series Windows and Patio Doors.
  • Creating a quieter environment for sleeping and relaxing by moving their primary and guest bedrooms up to a new second story.
  • Developing a strong connection to nature by multiplying their outdoor spaces with a second-story balcony and a backyard kitchen.
An outdoor view of a bedroom that’s connected to the adjacent balcony all decked out with outdoor couches for lounging.

One of the outdoor spaces March added to her home is a balcony, which is connected to the primary bedroom through a MultiGlide™ Door.

Takeaway: While it’s tempting to make immediate changes when you move into a home, waiting can help you understand what to prioritize and result in long-term improvements that not only suit your lifestyle and aesthetic preferences but also improve your home’s value — realtors agree that Andersen® products improve the value of a home by at least 15%.**

2. A great layout makes the most of your natural light

Because March and her husband were undertaking a major remodel, they had the opportunity to change where rooms were located.

“I firmly believe that human beings need light to be happy and comfortable, but it's also a battle to understand how to use it properly,” said March. “Too much light can be just as much of a problem as not enough.”

To make sure she got it right, March thought about the angle of the sun at the time when each room is most heavily used. Here’s how she made the most of her home’s east-west orientation:

  • The primary bedroom faces west, so they “don’t fight the light” in the morning but instead can open their curtains to “beautiful, filtered, indirect light.”
  • Their breakfast room faces east so they’re basking in “delicious sunbeams” while they drink their coffee in the morning.
  • Their living room also faces east so there’s no glare when they watch TV at the end of the day.

Because they live in a hot and sunny climate, March also took steps to manage heat gain. Dual-pane E-Series windows with low-emissivity glass help reflect light away, and mechanized drapes, and a mechanized awning on the west side of the home further help moderate temperature.

Takeaway: A happy home stars natural light, which has been shown to improve mood, boost energy, and promote sleep.*** As you develop a layout, ask yourself if the rooms are in the right places, and talk to your architect or designer about “daylighting” (i.e., planning windows to maximize natural light and energy efficiency).

3. Windows and doors are key to creating a “healthy home”

March didn’t just use windows and doors to bring in natural light, she was able to leverage these openings for other “healthy home” purposes as well.

Here’s what her new windows and doors do:

  • Frame views: “There’s green outside every window,” March said, who described this decision as calculated. Her choice of black windows furthers the effect by truly “framing” each view.
  • Bring in fresh air: Keeping a lot of the original openings on the first floor helped to promote cross ventilation, because the home was planned at a time when people relied on natural ventilation.
  • Muffle outside noise: New dual-pane windows help muffle the noise from the neighbors, traffic, and even pouring rain — “it just doesn’t transfer in at all,” March said.
  • Create easy outdoor connections: A MultiGlide™ Door opens an entire wall extending March’s bedroom out onto the balcony, while French doors make an easy connection between her indoor and outdoor kitchens.
A kitchen with French doors that open to the backyard and windows above the kitchen cabinetry offering more views of the greenery outside.

The French doors in March’s kitchen are E-Series hinged inswing doors. They connect her home with her outdoor kitchen, garden, and pool. Designing the kitchens to be back-to-back helps her make the most of both spaces and allows plenty of overflow room when she’s entertaining.

Takeaway: Windows and doors are more than just openings in your home. Done right, they are key to creating a well-designed space that’s beautiful, welcoming, and feels good. March truly loves every inch of her remodeled home because it was designed to take in light, views, and air in a way that makes living inside it downright pleasant.

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*According to a 2022 Survey conducted by One Poll in conjunction with Andersen Windows and Doors.

**2022 Andersen brand survey of U.S. realtors and their experience for the homes they sell

*** The effects of exposure to natural light in the workplace on the health and productivity of office workers: a systematic review protocol. Accessed January 14, 2022.