How to Design Light in your Home All Year Long

Do you want to know how to incorporate light in your home all year long?

My client suffers from SAD, (Seasonal Affective Disorder) so the first thing that he said to me is that light is the most important part of the design for his new construction home in Newmarket, NH.

He was able to purchase an antique colonial on 11 acres which abuts 96 acres of conservation land. Not only is this antique colonial dark because it’s position faces East-west with small windows, it’s also not structurally sound.

During the discovery phase of the project, it was clear that the local building inspector would have insisted that the property be brought up to code with any work done to the house. This option became cost prohibitive since there was a structural corner of the house missing (literally) and the original chimney was basically the only thing keeping the house vertical. Ultimately, a company who sells architectural antique wood tore down the house.

This affords us the opportunity to design a home oriented North-south. Which allows the maximum amount of light into the space. My client kept track of the light patterns from November 22 to January 22. During this time, the sun was at its absolute lowest on December 21. Then we located skylights at the 23-degree angle at two different heights so that the sun would flow into the house when the leaves were off the trees in the winter.

There is an interior structural wall in the center of the house that has glass located at the exact height. This allows for light to flow through the skylight and the interior window into the north facing rooms.

The house has been structurally designed for specific points with steel to allow most of the walls to be glass. In addition the gable ends to have windows which will allow light into the space below.

Winter in New England can be long and brutal with days of cloud cover. However, this house will still allow natural, reflective light to enter the house with planned grace.


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