Creating a Cross-Seasonal Abode

Create a dream retreat from winter through to summer

The ideal home should be thoroughly enjoyed throughout the year without being limited by the weather and seasonal changes. Thoughtful design can make a world of difference to comfort while maximising the value and usability of your home. By considering passive and active climate control, lighting, use of outdoor areas, and styling, you can transition seamlessly through each season, providing a haven to escape unpleasant weather and inviting unity with nature in favourable conditions. In this article, we share tips on creating a dream retreat from winter through to summer.

Summerhill Project. Photography by Simon Shiff. Styling by Norsu Interiors.


Orientation can have a significant impact on the comfort of a home. Often, the optimal direction is chosen for living areas and spaces enjoyed during the day. In Australia, the sun's path is to the north, bathing north-facing rooms in light for the longest period of the day. This can be utilised for passive climate control and maximising natural light in the home. In cooler climates, northern exposure of walls and windows will assist with passive heating. In warmer climates, you may wish to limit northern exposure and opt for east or west exposure or orient the house with access to cool breezes and through drafts. This assists with passive cooling while still allowing plenty of natural light. This can reduce energy bills and improve comfort. 

Portsea Project. Photography by Simon Shiff. Styling by Coastal Living Sorrento.

Climate Control

Effective climate control is essential for providing comfort throughout the seasons. Additionally, climate control makes up around 40% of energy use in typical Australian homes, making efficiency a priority. Features that can assist with climate control include eaves for sun-exposed aspects of the house and retractable external awnings that maximise light during winter and provide shade during summer. Internally, block-out blinds or curtains can control heat and light entering windows. While clever design and quality insulation can achieve a lot, most homes will still require additional heating and cooling options. In addition, consider the size of your home, how much of your home is regularly used, convenience, and ambience created with various systems. For example, gas fireplaces can create a cosy atmosphere and add a stunning design feature that is appreciated all year round, while ducted systems conveniently and rapidly warm the entire home.


Lighting has a significant influence on the atmosphere of the home. Ideally, design should maximise natural light in winter, limit harsh rays in summer, and provide adequate artificial lighting for practicality. High ceilings, large windows, skylights, and reflective surfaces can maximise natural light. Sheer curtains can help filter harsh rays while maintaining natural light. They also add elegance to a room and increase privacy. Lamps and pendant lighting can be used for a cosy vibe in winter. Warm yellow bulbs bring warmth in winter, while cooler white bulbs better resemble daylight. Each can be used thoughtfully in different settings for your desired feel.

Furthermore, paint choice can lift or dampen light within a room. White ceilings and walls will ensure light bounces around the room. If choosing an accent wall for a signature look, lighter shades will ensure the room does not become too dull in the darker months of winter.

Photo courtesy of Three Birds Renovations

Outdoor areas

Outdoor areas are a must-have for many Australians. Ensuring the space is fit for use throughout the year is a valuable investment, enhancing the use of your home. Many now enjoy areas where the lines between indoors and outdoors are blurred. For example, bi-fold doors seamlessly blend the indoors out to invite pleasant weather into the home. Increasing the comfort of the outdoor space with roofing, bistro blinds, and outdoor heating can provide further functionality throughout the year.


Styling can complete your space. A fail-safe option is to invest in timeless pieces that you adore, particularly for large or feature items such as furniture and artwork. Opting for a minimalist look allows adaptation through the seasons by simply changing accessories. Neutral leathers, organic timbers, curved furniture, rugs, and varying textures provide effortless sophistication and a welcoming energy throughout the year. Adding cosy, deep-hued, chunky throws and cushions in winter and swapping for light and bright cotton throws and cushions in summer can be the simple change needed between seasons. House plants are a welcome addition throughout the year, brightening and bringing life to a room.

Your home can be a place of tranquillity throughout the entire year with thoughtful design and consideration of the home's orientation, climate control, lighting, outdoor area design, and styling choices. 

At Construct Melbourne, we work with our clients to design and build custom dream homes that enrich lives throughout every season and for many years to come. Our award-winning team use innovative ideas to maximise the use and comfort of your home and create your dream abode.


The warmth of wood: How to incorporate natural timber textures to your home.


Investing in your Laundry