Hey y’all! I feel like I have the right to say y’all, now that I’m back in the South. And if I can save syllables, I’m all for it. So you might have seen my post recently on selecting plumbing for your kitchen. We will dive into more plumbing selection guidelines down the road but I wanted to stay in the kitchen for the moment and talk to you about skylights. Our kitchen is an unusual situation. It had some strange little windows on an exterior wall – between the countertops and the upper cabinets and in doing the renovation we decided to delete those and make the wall solid. The thinking is that down the line, we will be adding onto the house and that wall will eventually become an interior wall. While there is lots of glass in our house, none of it directly abuts the kitchen. You get nice views from the kitchen through the dining room or den or hallway to the outside, but it’s a bit on the shady side. Here is a photo of what it looked like during the demo. A little dark, even without the funny little windows taken out.
To compensate for our lack of windows we decided that it made sense to use skylights in this space. Our space was ideal for skylights because our island is centered between two large beams and all of the track lighting is on said beams. Plus, we decided not to do any decorative lighting over the island, so the skylights had a natural place to live. I feel like skylights are an often overlooked method of glazing. They are such an amazing way to bring light into a space without sacrificing privacy and into spaces that might not have exterior walls.
When it comes to skylights, there is really one name that comes to mind and that is Velux. They have been around forever and have everything you would ever need in this arena. But when there are so many options even within one brand, it can be hard to narrow down and figure out what is best for your space. So here is my quicky list to consider.
What kind of roof do you have? Skylights can be installed on just about any roof if done correctly. We have a flat roof – which scared a lot of people when we mentioned skylights (leaks come to mind immediately). However, on flat roofs you use what’s known as a curb mounted skylight. The curb is essentially a box constructed from 2×4 lumber that is attached to the roof and flashed. The skylight is installed on the curb at an angle, so rain water runs off the glass. It’s all about the type of skylight you choose (definitely talk to your Velux rep about what’s right for your roof) and how it is installed. Here is a photo of the curbs framed out on an angle. You can already tell there is so much more light in the space
Next up is how much space do you have in your ceiling? There are so many sizes and configurations. If you have a tiny powder room you could easily install a Sun Tunnel. Some of them even have a built-in night light so that they give you a bit of ambient lighting at night. If you have a large expanse you might consider more than one skylight. Just like placing windows, you want to think about the rhythm of the skylights in your ceiling and how they look. Here is a shot of my LA client’s home showing they used skylights down the length of their space to brighten an otherwise dark room with a window only at the far end.
How are you using the space in the room? Is it an office, a kitchen, a bedroom? It’s hard to imagine having skylights in a bedroom where you want to be sleeping and not waking up at the crack of dawn, but now there are standard shading solutions that are super easy to install – they can be light filtering or complete black out. My favorite part about these shades is that they are solar powered so you don’t need to worry about running wiring to your skylight. Similarly, there are skylights that open and those that are fixed in place. There are the old school ones you can open with a crank, but the newer ones operate via remote control and again are solar powered so no wiring needed. I can’t tell you how helpful it is to have skylights in my kitchen that actually open when I’m cooking something stinky or I’ve accidentally burnt a grilled cheese on the stove (hypothetically speaking, of course). Here are ours with the shades closed and with the skylight open for air flow.
And finally, do you want your skylights to function as part of your indoor environmental controls. You’re thinking “what the heck does that mean”. Well, the newest innovation at Velux is their Active Control. Our skylights connect to an online weather station and to sensors inside our home that monitor the temperature, humidity and CO2 levels and they automatically open and shut and shade based on those readings . There is some sort of crazy algorithm. Don’t ask me how it works, but it does, and it always seems to do the right thing. Now that it’s cooler, our skylights are starting to open on their own to let in fresh air. And they have a rain sensor that automatically closes the skylights if it starts raining, so I don’t have to worry. It’s so exciting! Just don’t be alarmed if you have active control and are sitting under a skylight and suddenly hear a humming overhead. I’m still trying to get used to them having minds of their own. We are so happy with the final result. Look at how much light these skylights bring into our space and what a feature they are in our kitchen!
Thank you Velux for introducing me to the wonder of skylights. They really do make our kitchen. And as a plant lady, they also make me extra happy that I can have potted plants on my kitchen island. I can’t wait to work on phase two of our house product and put in more skylights (thinking a Sun Tunnel in the kids bath!) down the line.
* This post is sponsored by Velux, but all designs, words and content are mine. Thanks for supporting my favorite brands that let us create original content and designs for you!