Once the loft began to take shape, we started thinking more about windows and skylights. The easiest solution would be to install a window on the gable end, but ehh…we couldn’t make it work with the composition of that elevation. So, skylight. But where? If we placed it on the north side we would have great diffuse light and avoid excessive solar gain…but if we placed it on the south side, would we get a view? We quickly dug into our archives and pulled up the photos that we took on the roof right after we closed 3.5 years ago (because doesn’t everyone climb up on the roof to get a sense of their new surroundings?) This is the photo we found:
Not bad…it’s what realtors would call a “territorial view”. Ok, so we could get a solar shade if it meant we could have that. Just to be sure, Kyle crawled up on the roof again last weekend to confirm the situation. Sadly, once he got to the right place and put the camera at the level of the skylight, we discovered this was our view instead:
(And no, the tree is not on our property. Don’t get any crazy ideas.) We panned a bit to the west. Bah, no good. I’m not taking the news well.
The crane-your-neck view to the west was better, but was it still worth the solar trade-off?
Or could we be happy with better light and this view to the northwest?
And actually, it’s not even a skylight. In order to provide egress (in the event that there was a fire and someone was sleeping up there), we decided to go with a roof window. Something like this by Velux:
In addition to interior solar shades, Velux also offers a “heatblock awning” – a shade mounted to the exterior of the unit (but operated from the inside as seen in the lower left photo). While interior solar shades definitely help, the best way to reduce solar gain is to keep it from coming through the window in the first place. And if we want this little oasis to be tolerable during the summer (remember, we’re Seattleites – we think 80 degrees is unbearable), a little solar barrier might be worth it. As an extra incentive, Velux also offers a standard 40% discount for licensed architects (who are using the products in their own home). Yes! They know the way to our hearts!
So, now all we have to do is cut three big holes in our roof. The roof that we installed by hand less than 3 years ago. It will be worth it.
Images above from www.veluxusa.com.