Blue Space: Benefits Through Waterfront Living


Blue Space: Benefits Through Waterfront Living

By: Randall Kipp
Photography: Maxwell MacKenzie

Throughout history there is no shortage of people who have experienced and expressed the calming, inspiring, and even healing effects of water.
— Wallace Nichols, The Cognitive Benefits of Being by Water


Here in our little nook of the world, waterfront living is desired above all. That comes as no surprise considering the tranquil, secluded nature that waterfront property provides. In addition to the picture-perfect views, simply observing nature - specifically water - has been shown in scientific studies to have cognitive benefits. Simply observing water, or ‘blue space’ as it’s often called, has been linked to “higher perceived restorativeness” than those studied without exposure to water.

Supporting this notion, directly observing the water has been linked to a whole host of positive effects: calmness, clarity, creativity, relaxation, restoration, healing, peacefulness, negative ions, and general happiness, just to name a few.

Simply put, being in the presence of water has positive effects on the mind and the body.

As an architect, my goal is always to maximize the benefits of the home and property by marrying the two in a way that enhances the landscape and is tailored to my client’s desires.

Modern Architecture has always been my passion for many reasons - design, simplicity, intentionality, creativity, innovation - but what tends to separate Modern Architecture from more traditional design is the unique ability to merge spaces: To blend the indoors with the outdoors.

Waterfront homes are extra special. They give us an opportunity to tap into the benefits of “blue space” from inside the home while we’re sleeping, eating, reading, exercising, and so on. When we draw the water in, we are creating an unlimited flow of scientifically proven, positive benefits on the human body every single day.

I’ll leave you with three things to consider when building a waterfront home, with the intention of inviting the outdoors in:

  1. Windows, windows, windows. Particularly on the waterfront side of the home, floor-to-ceiling windows help create the illusion of a merged space. With fewer areas of wall space and maximum window coverage, you’ll have the sense of being outside.

  2. High ceilings. Low ceilings tend to give a feeling of constriction and block the feeling of expansion. Raising the height of the ceilings, even if only in the main living space, gives an open and flowing feeling to the home.

  3. Acknowledging entirety. Maximizing the views and blurring the lines between indoors and outdoors isn’t just about the land or the home. It’s about creating a custom atmosphere by turning a waterfront lot into a personalized, intentional home. This can be attained through a comprehensive, cohesive design that considers both the architecture and the landscape, both existing and proposed. The structure and the landscaping should be one, not separate. For example: thoughtful design and placement of plants, trees, pools, patios, porches, piers, and other outdoor structures.


Our friends over at The House & Home Magazine published this in the August/September 2018 edition. View the article here.


Photography: Maxwell MacKenzie