Revisiting Your Home – Let there be LIGHT!

Ahhh, a long-awaited HOMES post! Enjoy while dreaming of your next home or reno…


Never under-estimate the power of natural lighting. Nor should you over-estimate it, btw.
Natural (and free!) lighting with windows in every room is a must. Here I’ll add two types that are not oft given enough priority for your next reno/build consideration.

In just about every house I’ve designed, two of the things I have highly recommended to clients for a wonderful living experience are both in glass – side windows in every room and skylights in every (upper floor) bathroom.

Skylights are often taken out of construction for two reasons – budgets and fear of leaks. They shouldn’t be – they’re not that expensive, and installed properly they should not leak. Two of the houses I’ve lived in have had skylights in the main bathrooms and it’s become a “MUST” have. There’s nothing like extra light coming in from above, especially when most bathroom windows tend to face closed-in side yards. Our upper bathroom window faces west, which is already nice, but the south-facing skylight just makes the room magical, any time of day. I also love hearing the pitter of raindrops in a storm, from my nice hot candle-lit bath… Say it with me – AAahhhhh.

dsc_0346Goes to show that a window doesn’t have to be large to have impact – this skylight is only about 20″x20″.

dsc_0348I took the last shot from my bathtub. My toes need re-painting, and the tub needs de-toying.

Side windows. Generally municipal guidelines restrict windows facing your side property lines to a pretty small amount. Our (older) house came with 2’w side windows in our north-facing bedrooms, and the extra East/West light that comes in first thing and late in the afternoon sure helps brighten these spaces. It’s surprising how much extra light comes in just in these narrow openings.

Our kitchen also came with two fairly big side windows facing east, which again really, really brightens the space up. They’re not so big, however, as to add too much heat.

dsc_0379Side window in the door (facing east) to the backyard. Ignore the unfinished trim… Every time I imagine a solid door here, I shudder.


Ok, so ignore our mess + clutter. This side window brings so much extra morning light into our kitchen, desk area (below), hallway… The light really travels from the side, whereas the rear-facing main window light tends to get hidden by cabinets.


The light coming across from the (east facing) side window in the Kitchen. AND again, ignore the mess + clutter… I guess I could have at least TIDIED, but I was so thrilled just to be awake in time to get a morning shot! Ya, I sleep in.

Our family room was originally built as an old covered porch with openings on 3 sides, so we obviously get a lot of light in there. We have two windows that open for summer ventilation, plus the room has a lower ceiling (and therefore slightly shorter windows) to help minimize heat buildup.

dsc_0385We open/close curtains and sheers depending on the time of day/time of year. With light on 3 sides, there’s lots of options in our Living space. Beware of too much light in a room with a TV, however.

Wherever possible, it’s great to have windows facing in 2 or 3 “light” directions – East, South,  or West. If the windows are too large, you start having to get into all kinds of complicated window covering (dust-collecting) solutions. If they’re smaller to medium, they can be left open for light to sneak on in at any time of day.

With our open-plan Main floor, you can literally stand in our hallway and have natural light flooding in from all 4 directions.
Which is good, because we haven’t installed lighting in a few of the rooms yet.
It’s on my ‘to-do’ list. Somewhere.


Revisiting Your Home

Not taking on so much work doesn’t mean I stop thinking about work. I do love my (non-Mom) work – designing houses. I really enjoy creating Homes for people, places where they raise families, hold parties, rest, grow, seclude, entertain.

Combining passions is just plain prudent. Good old common sense for time + efficiency. So, now, my long-time passion for building new and renovating older homes can be combined with my new passion (for now) for blogging! And all those web surfers out there searching for hot tips for their homes can benefit from my ramblings.


While not many people can afford to build new in these uncertain times, the timing is good for updating, renovating and reviving with lowering construction costs, so this series will focus on smaller parts throughout the home.

Coming soon (not necessarily in this order) : Let there be Light!, Kitchens, Indoor/Outdoor, Open Spaces, Natural Finishes… and more. I hope.

Any other suggestions? Gotta put all that Architecture school to good use somehow ;-).