There’s a reason they call them “picture” windows. Beyond bringing that vital daylight into an interior, great windows let us look out on the world. They let the outdoors in, yet keep the elements out. Here, Luxury Defined presents homes with spectacular window designs which admit daylight while connecting us intimately to their surrounding space. Whether perched on a mountainside or at the edge of a lake, whether a traditional Mexican hacienda or an English country manor, these homes welcome in the light and the world. As Edith Wharton wrote, “Set wide the window. Let me drink the day.”
San Miguel de Allende, Mexico Architect Pedro Urquiza's tour de force, Casa Heyne sits high on a hill overlooking Parque Juarez and Centro Historico in San Miguel de Allende’s most exclusive neighborhood. Inspired by traditional Mexican haciendas and historic buildings, this masterpiece of artisanal craftsmanship was faithfully built using only the 400-year-old tools and techniques of colonial Mexico. The luxurious, six bedroom, eight-bathroom result has an intimacy and authenticity which evoke a bygone world of elegance and privilege: From the thick, sun-dried adobe walls to the antique mesquite doors, the exquisite, site-milled beamed ceilings, arched windows and hand-waxed “floating” wood floors. Casa Heyne is a luxury residence like no other.
Ski the Future
Incline Village, NevadaSki the Future is a marvel of contemporary design overlooking Lake Tahoe and the Sierra Nevada. The 9,000-square-foot home comprises a multi-faceted, cantilevered structure with walls of glass and steel that tower above the lakeshore. Inside, a six-story glass staircase and high-speed glass elevator provide access to the spectacular indoor-outdoor living spaces, enclosed within giant floor-to-ceiling glass panels for optimal lake and mountain views. Four serene bedrooms and four large, sybaritic, full bathrooms accommodate family or guests. The half-acre lot offers landscaped, undulating grounds that lead down to the private, 98-foot stretch of lakefront with a steel pier, boat hoist, and two mooring buoys.
Lakeside, MontanaThe gracious and beautifully named Soaring Osprey is one of the most distinctive homes on Flathead Lake—the largest freshwater lake west of the Mississippi in the Lower 48. Situated on 2.9 acres in Montana’s Big Sky Country overlooking Hockaday Bay and adjoining a bird preserve, the home offers complete privacy. Magnificent architecture by Richard Smith is itself a work of art, starting with its spectacular windows—monumental waveforms which evoke the osprey’s wings in flight. Tiered terraces, which provide spectacular views across the lake to the Rocky Mountains that frame it, create a unique venue for grand-scale entertaining or a private recreational idyll.
The St. Lawrence Estate
Petite-Riviere-Saint-Francois, Quebec, Canada Poised sky-high on a dramatic promontory above the majestic Saint Lawrence River, this breathtaking contemporary home offers panoramic views from all three levels. Featured in Wallpaper and Architectural Digest, this refined contemporary residence was designed by Bourgeois/Lechasseur and won a 2014 Nobilis prize for the quality of its architecture. The home has three bedrooms and two bathrooms, and an open-plan living space featuring planes of floor-to-ceiling glass. Wood-burning fireplaces and wooden accents throughout warm the living spaces, while exposed structural members keep the feeling of openness. Located in Charlevoix, near Baie St-Paul, and nestled next to the Massif, this home has effortless access to some of the most spectacular skiing in North America.
West Sussex, EnglandLittle Thakeham is a Grade I-listed masterpiece built by the preeminent British architect Sir Edwin Lutyens in the medieval vernacular style, set within luxuriant formal gardens and grounds, with far-reaching views of England’s glorious South Downs National Park. Its 12,480 square feet accommodate nine bedrooms, eight bathrooms, and several south-facing reception rooms with impressive fireplaces, original wood flooring, and exquisite stone mullioned windows. The double-height drawing room, with its Juliet balcony above the fireplace and oriel window, provides a particularly bright entertaining space. The family wing comprises a kitchen/breakfast room and sitting room. Off the kitchen is a one-bedroom annex and a two-bedroom cottage. The tranquil grounds host a swimming pool and pool house, triple garage, and outbuildings.
Highland Park, IllinoisThis estate commands endless views of Lake Michigan and a scenic 1.91-acre setting along its shores. At the entrance, a grand doorway topped with an arched window opens to a foyer with crystal chandeliers. Lake views take center stage throughout. On the main level, an office, living room, great room, chef’s kitchen, and two en suite bedrooms offer sweeping views. There’s also an exercise room, home theater, and indoor pool. Upstairs, the master suite is adjoined by three additional en suite bedrooms. The lower level boasts a family room, game room, wine cellar, second theater, and wet bar. At the rear of the house, three grand, floor-to-ceiling arched windows look out on the lake and grounds, complete with an expansive terrace for entertaining or lounging, and a landscaped lawn with steps to a private beach and a boat dock.