The Light Challenge

Remember the  wish-list items in the earlier post? We’ve been working to get them all in the plans, with one item that wasn’t listed… lots of light.

A typical Philly row home has an offset along the back-half of the home.  This creates a side patio that also allows for windows in the middle of the house to let light in, far enough from the neighbors — 6′ is far for city-dwellers!

Here’s an example of the side patio and plans from our old home.

Side patio
Side patio on the top left part of the image with windows to let the light in

This old garage space doesn’t have an offset, so we needed to explore options. Adequate light comes in from the front (north) and back (south) of the house, but light was lacking in the center of this 50′ deep building.

We were already planning to go up to a new third floor and with taller than typical ceiling heights, the staircase couldn’t be a straight run. It needed to be what’s called a dog-leg staircase configuration; the kind with 2 flights of stairs with a half-landing in between them. This wider staircase complemented the space better.

While we tackled the light challenge, we also tasked our architect to explore and they came up with some terrific options as starting points.

Atrium-like staircase and living room skylight, both with drop-down indoor garden platforms
Option 1: Atrium-like staircase and living room skylight, both with drop-down indoor garden platforms
Skylights across the entire width of the home midway through the span
Option 2: Skylights across the entire width of the home midway through the span
Skylights along both sides of the home to wash the walls with light
Option 3: Skylights along both sides of the home to wash the walls with light

Every direction pointed up… to skylights. J hates skylights, with a passion. They leak, the panes get cloudy, they leak and they leak. But they were looking like a necessity, so, compromises, right?

We loved all of these options, though  2 and 3 reduced living square footage in key rooms/locations, so we took option 1 and ran with it. And, we’re going with Wasco skylights.

The final product eliminated the drop-down indoor garden platforms — as much as we loved them; the idea of a permeable space within the house was a little daunting and probably not within the budget.

Architect’s model showing the third floor addition with skylights down the staircase/atrium

Architect’s model | left: Bird’s eye view through the skylights down the staircase/atrium | right: Side view of the new staircase/atrium and third floor addition

16Architect’s rendering showing the third floor addition and roof deck

Advertisements

2 thoughts on “The Light Challenge

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s