If there is one consistent design theme that runs through our remodeling projects during the past twenty years it is our clients’ desire for more light filled spaces in their homes. This makes sense to me because one of things that makes Denver and Colorado an attractive place to live is the high quality and abundance of natural sunlight. Why not take advantage of this great natural amenity and bring it inside of our homes? Please take a look at this brief pictorial tour to get a sense of how we can improve an existing space to take advantage of Colorado sunlight and fill homes with more light.
Here is a photo of the west and north wall in a new second floor master bedroom. One of the best and simplest ways to bring in more light is to install an abundance of windows. We also built a vaulted ceiling which allowed for a second tier of window to be placed higher up above the lower row of windows. Installing windows at different heights creates interesting effects as the sun moves across the sky during the day.
Take look at how much brighter the remodeled bathroom is compared to the same area in the original bedroom before it was remodeled. The use of bright, white tile and a very light gray paint also helped to considerably brighten up this room.
There are a number of techniques at work here to create a very interesting light filled space. The windows are larger than normal, but they have frames to break up what would otherwise be an overwhelming amount of glass. Although the tops of the upper row nearly touch the ceiling, the bottoms of the windows are held up above the floor to provide useful space for shelves and also to make the interior space feel more contained and inviting. The ceiling also slopes up towards the windows making the room more spacious and providing more room for windows and more light.
This shows what can be done to a very mundane garage space. transforming it into a beautiful new kitchen. Natural light enters the kitchen from four directions via windows in opposite walls, light from the hallway to the front entry which has windows and a skylight, and from behind the location of the photographer from windows and skylights in the adjoining great room. So what could have been a very dark kitchen due to the dark cabinets and natural wood floor is instead brightly lit with both natural and artificial lights.
We used a variety of techniques to turn the old kitchen into a spectacular and inviting new area to cook and live in. First we vaulted the kitchen ceiling to open up the space. Vaulted ceilings almost always have the effect of brightening up a space especially if the ceiling is painted white or in a pale color. Then we added skylights in the ceiling (more light) along with a triangular window in the end wall. So we were both able to add windows & skylights and get natural sunlight from different directions. This made the kitchen much more pleasant and inviting. We also increased the number of recessed cans, added pendant lights and enlarged the window over the new sink.
Once again we were able to use multiple techniques to totally change the dark and tired kitchen into an interesting, functional, beautiful and, of course, a brightly lit new kitchen. The walls dividing and separating the kitchen from the eating area and old dining room were removed. This allowed light to fully illuminate all areas in the kitchen. Two rows of ceiling cans were installed, along with a sun-tube skylight (visible in the ceiling near the far wall). White cabinets and light natural flooring brighten up the kitchen and provide a pleasing contrast with the darker granite countertops. All in all a big improvement.
I hoped that you enjoyed the tour. Perhaps we could do something equally as creative to your home.
John A Happel PE, CGR, CAPS
for H & H Builders LLC