written by:
October 22, 2015
A skylight is only technically a window; it offers a unique skyward view and brings light vertically into a space. This means a bright patch of blue, grey, or white in the ceiling whose illumination can fall directly upon a room or be diffused by a wall. To see the skylight's full potential, explore these 10 examples.
Briggs and Knowles based their design of the oculus on traditional Victorian skylights but tweaked it to fit a more modern sensibility and outfitted it with fluorescent tubing to recreate the effect in the evening.

With a little faith and a lot of foresight, Keisha Martin entrusted Laura Briggs and Jonathan Knowles to revitalize a derelict rowhouse, returning it to its original splendor and then some. Martin’s new home is both an homage to the past and a design for the future. Briggs and Knowles based their design of the oculus on traditional Victorian skylights but tweaked it to fit a more modern sensibility and outfitted it with fluorescent tubing to recreate the effect in the evening.

 

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Originally appeared in Modern Rowhouse Renovation in New York
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Skylights in Brother and Sister homes by Anonymous Architects

Linked by a modern version of a white picket fence, two near-identical houses in Los Angeles add space by extending beyond their envelopes. Skylights add to the apparent volume of the space, as well as performing the practical duty of providing light.

 

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Originally appeared in Twin Houses on Tiny Lots Stretch Outward for Space
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Annandale Home master bathroom and living room.

A modern addition in Annandale strengthens a home's connection to the outdoors and enhances natural light. Save for a new fan and a coat of oil on its pine floors, the original living room remains unchanged. The master bathroom, however, has been completely refurbished with Scala accessories and a Duravit Happy D wall basin. Both rooms are brightened by skylights carved into the roof. 

 

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Originally appeared in Renovation Near Sydney Opens Home Onto a Lush Garden
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Modern Illinois farmhouse addition master bedroom with vaulted ceiling

The turn-of-the-century charm in Tom and Irene Curry’s farmhouse-style home in Evanston, Illinois, was hard to miss. Original tile enlivened the fireplace, and neighborhood life played out through the front bay window. But after five years in the 1,350-square-foot home, the winning details couldn’t overshadow the constricted nature of the house, where they were raising their children Zoe and Jake. The illogical kitchen, narrow staircase, and conservative design impeded the family’s daily rhythm, while grandfathered energy-inefficient systems created unnecessary waste. A new, relaxed interior and radical roof made the home more sociable and energy-efficient.

Zoe and Jake horse around in their parents’ new master bedroom. Issa says he vaulted the ceiling to fit under the addition’s angular roofline for “spatial impact.” Paint is Extra White by Sherwin-Williams.

 

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Originally appeared in This Farmhouse-Style Home Gets a Clever and Geometric Update
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Skylight window in Durham, North Carolina

A couple buildt this home that makes the most of its woodsy site. Its skylight window framing views of trees is from the Velux FCM Series; the paint is Harmony from Sherwin Williams. Courtesy of Richard Leo Johnson / Atlantic Archives Inc.

 

Originally appeared in Streamlined Modern Living in the North Carolina Forest
5 / 10
Modern bathroom with skylight and glass door

A house in Echo Park makes the most of its narrow lot with open-plan spaces spread out over four levels. Its subway tile-lined bathroom was kept as simple as possible, with Hansgrohe fixtures and cabinets made of vertical-grain Douglas fir above a top-mounted Duravit sink. Since installing a window was unfeasible given the bathroom's proximity to other properties, architect Simon Storey added a skylight over the shower.

 

Courtesy of 
Anonymous Architects
Originally appeared in Home and Studio Maximizes Very Narrow Site in Echo Park
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Narrow restaurant with a glass ceiling

In Córdoba, Argentina, a minuscule passageway between buildings is now home to a luminous, modern restaurant. Architect Ernesto Bedmar worked with CAPÓ Estudio to refine the interiors. The existing concrete slab ceiling was replaced with glass to let natural light enter.

Courtesy of 
Gonzalo Viramonte
Originally appeared in This Amazingly Tiny Restaurant in an Alley Is Under 8 Feet Wide
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Sculptural wall shelving ceiling renovation

When Svetlin Krastev and Dessi Nikolova had their second child, they saw two options: Go broke buying a bigger apartment, or renovate their existing 620-square-foot home. They chose the latter. The clients embraced the material because it is kidproof—any marks can be cleaned easily and the matte finish resists fingerprints. The structure was built off-site, brought into the apartment in pieces, installed on a wooden skeleton, and then sanded over a three-day period to achieve a seamless integration with the back wall and the skylight overhead. “It’s kind of a melting design that comes from above and goes down the shelves,” says Schoenenberger.

 

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Originally appeared in All Together Now
8 / 10

American history lives on in this family’s Tribeca, New York, loft after a renovation by a couple of enterprising architects. The architects had to gain approval from the co-op board to break through to the roof—the loft is on the top floor—and add a terrace and master bedroom suite.

 

Photo by 
Originally appeared in A Renovated Tribeca Loft with Skylight
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open plan home in japan skylight

In Tokyo, Japan, where the houses are crammed cheek by jowl, two old friends from architecture school have created a 793-square-foot home out of canted concrete boxes. Just above the small entrance vestibule, he incorporated a skylight, which brightens the space and allows a peek at the apex of the adjacent roof’s concrete overhang.

 

Photo by 
Originally appeared in Open-Plan Concrete Home in Japan
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Briggs and Knowles based their design of the oculus on traditional Victorian skylights but tweaked it to fit a more modern sensibility and outfitted it with fluorescent tubing to recreate the effect in the evening.

With a little faith and a lot of foresight, Keisha Martin entrusted Laura Briggs and Jonathan Knowles to revitalize a derelict rowhouse, returning it to its original splendor and then some. Martin’s new home is both an homage to the past and a design for the future. Briggs and Knowles based their design of the oculus on traditional Victorian skylights but tweaked it to fit a more modern sensibility and outfitted it with fluorescent tubing to recreate the effect in the evening.

 

Photo by Adam Friedberg.

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