Lighting Strategy Brightens Home

Here's an example where vaulted ceilings and 'light shelves' help illuminate an interior where a client was seeking more light.

March 31, 2004

Remodeler: Washtenaw Woodwrights Inc., Ann Arbor, Mich.

Architect: Architectural Resource LLC, Ann Arbor

Project location: Ann Arbor

Age of home: 35-40 years

Scope of project: lifting ceilings and roof; master suite remodel; kitchen, dining and living area remodel and addition; remodeled front and rear entranceways

Nothing transforms more than the power of light. The interior of this late 1960s-style split-level was dark and dated with 8-foot ceilings and a cramped kitchen. It presented both a challenge and an opportunity.

"When we came on the scene at the onset of the project," says architect Michael Klement, "the clients' design criteria completely centered around more light, more light, more light." The result was "a dramatic change to the midlevel of the house," where the main living areas are.

The key to adding light and space was to take off a section of roof, add 200 square feet to the rear of the home and vault the ceilings in the kitchen, dining room and living room, adding volume and light. "The interior design opened up by installing 11-foot walls on the rear elevation," Klement says. Skylights, transom windows and oversize casement and picture windows help maximize natural light throughout what is now a 4,257-square-foot home. Ceilings range from 11 feet in the kitchen and dining spaces to 8 feet in the front living area.

Klement used recessed lighting fixtures ôeverywhere we could to get light where you need it and to view the light, not the source.ö On the upper level, where the bedrooms are, a combination of recessed light fixtures and tubular skylights opened the long hallway and brought soft light into the interior.

Taking off the roof provided the best opportunity to add volume and light to the interior of this split-level home. ôThe large, scissors-shaped trusses were designed to maximize interior space,ö Michael Klement says. Removing the roof left 60% of the house exposed to the elements, however. The existing roof was taken off one day, and the trusses were installed the next. ôIt took careful planning to pull it off,ö Klement notes. The trusses then were tarped for protection, and the house was roofed in within a week, Bruce Curtis says. Klement says the pre-engineered trusses, placed 32 inches on center, help optimize natural light by accommodating large skylights and also increase the roofÆs thermal performance with less wood and more insulation per foot. Photos by Stanley Livingston Photographer

The kitchen/breakfast area, which grew from 260 to 409 square feet, now includes an island with second sink, a built-in desk and furniture-look cabinetry. ôLight shelvesö at the top of the cabinets illuminate the space both day and night. Remodeler Bruce Curtis disguised the uplighting fixtures on the shelves with crown molding around the cabinets and along the top of the walls. During the day, translucent lenses on the top of the ledges bounce the light from the windows up, ôcreating an ambience of reflected natural light,ö Klement says. Three tubes of fluorescent lighting, also on the top of the ledges, can be controlled individually to create a look of soft light or cool bluer light. Transom windows above new French doors and cabinets help increase natural light and accentuate volume. Maple cabinets and flooring also provide a warm, light feeling in the kitchen.

Appliances: KitchenAid, Sub-Zero, Whirlpool Cabinetry: Hampshire Hardwood flooring: Bruce Home controls: Leviton Lighting fixtures: Alko, Lightolier Sinks: DuPont Corian, Kohler Windows, doors: Pella

See the Before and After Photos

See the Floor Plan

New exterior lighting accentuates the exterior renovation, including the garage bump-out, new walkway, and new front porch and entranceway.

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