Herb Lagois imagines…

A Family Room

Open, light… and happy


Bring on the natural light, says Herb Lagois, owner of Lagois Design–Build−Renovate, especially if it’s in a part of the house where everyone spends a lot of time. The addition of a family room, ideally connected to the kitchen, should be light, bright, and open to the outdoors.

We don’t live the same way we used to in years past, Herb says, where we were confined to little, often dark, compartments in a house. Now we like to be aware of household activities around us and changes in the natural world, too: sun, rain, snow; daylight and moonlight; dramatic shifts of the seasons.

If you have a family room or gathering space in an older house, chances are you’ll have a lot of small windows. Once you sit down, the outside world practically disappears.

No matter what your stage in life, it’s an emotional boost to invite the outdoors in, to let it be a big part of your day, your mood, your psyche.

So Herb would flood a new family room with natural light. (He says that alone makes any room a happier place.) In Herb’s “dream” family room, there are plenty of large windows, perhaps skylights, and a walkout to the back yard.

“When I go to visit potential clients who want to add on,” he says, “it’s amazing how many beautiful back yards there are. They’re not being taken advantage of.”

He explains “open” can be interpreted differently by people and many still want formal spaces. But a family room is not a formal space. It’s an everyday place, a much used space. Its tone and style impacts the mood of a family, day in and day out. For that reason, Herb would advise keeping it open and contemporary.

But a family room, like any other part of the house, must be designed holistically, he adds. So ideally a family room should would be planned with the future in mind: for instance, wider door openings.

“The integration of indoors and outdoors is important simply from a health perspective,” Herb says. “And it makes a beautiful space.”