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Before and After

Behind the Design: Q&A with interior designer Sachi Lord

Faced with a dark kitchen, she made natural light the centerpiece of a recent kitchen renovation.

White kitchen with natural wood ceiling two skylights and brass light fixtures

Sachi Lord is an interior design blogger based in Hawaii. She added two VELUX skylights with shades to her kitchen during a recent renovation to brighten up the space, create natural ventilation and shine some light on the existing wood-clad ceiling. We talked with Lord about her design inspiration, style and how she came to understand the value of natural light from skylights on home decor.

Sachi Lord interior design portrait

What are your design inspirations in general?

I draw a lot of design inspiration from the beautiful scenery that surrounds me here in the place that I call home—Hawaii! We live near the beach, and I aspire for my designs to exude a relaxed, calming, yet elevated aesthetic. Looking at the neutral tones in the sand, the texture of driftwood, and the husks of coconuts, while all cliché, totally get my creative juices flowing. For the kitchen in particular, I wanted to keep the palette relatively neutral to balance out the rich, darker ceilings in the space, which we ultimately decided we wanted to keep.

Kitchen skylights wood panel ceiling brass fixtures

How would you describe your style?

I describe my style as California Casual with a Scandinavian twist. I love all things neutral, but am particularly drawn to a light palette. I love the simplicity and minimalism of Scandinavian design, and the open and airy vibe California Casual style brings. I enjoy incorporating different natural textures like brass, linen, and jute. I have also been experimenting with adding some Transitional elements to my designs, with some bolder, yet simple accents. Mixing styles is totally a fun way to experiment with your space, and add some depth and sophistication to your design.

White textured tile backsplash brass light fixture

When you bought the house, what did you love about the kitchen? What did you hate?

When we first looked at the house, the thing that I loved the most was the beautiful vaulted ceilings. The space just felt so grand and I loved the richness it brought. However, it also made the room seem pretty dark. The ceiling and the original darker flooring both felt very heavy aesthetically, and there was little natural light coming into the space—that is where the VELUX skylights with shades really made a difference!

White kitchen wood ceiling dark

Tell us how you landed on a white color scheme for the kitchen. How did you help this single color palette not feel flat?

Hours and hours of agonizing! I do believe that white kitchens are timeless, but I did want to add a focal point—the oversized brass dome pendant—to add some drama. Because of the vaulted ceilings, I could get away with such a big statement piece, and I think it really gives some depth to the kitchen. Also, the Morrocan hand-made Zellige tile has a sheen to it that looks almost like an oyster shell when the sun shines on it. It’s very pretty and really adds something special. We also added a plaster range hood that has a stunning texture up close. So overall, carefully choosing unique finishes that added sophistication helped the kitchen have more dimension.

How did you learn about skylights and why did you decide you needed them for the kitchen?

I first saw the transformational power of VELUX skylights while watching the Australian show, “The Block.” One of the contestants added skylights in their kitchen and my jaw just dropped watching the reveal. I knew VELUX skylights were the answer to my dark kitchen conundrum. It wasn’t until I started exploring more of the features of VELUX skylights did I discover that they had venting capabilities and rain sensors—something key here in Hawaii with our frequent afternoon showers. The other thing I didn't realize was that you could add shades to the skylights for when you need to cut the sunlight down a bit. We added white, light-filtering shades, and having them is a must-have, now that I've seem how easy it is to adjust them with a remote control.

What effect do the skylights have on the room?

The skylights are absolutely the single, best decision we made for the space. We comment almost every day about how much of a difference the natural light makes. Our glossy backsplash tile shines, quite literally, and the natural brass dome pendant almost seems to glow; I just love it. In addition, the room feels cooler during the warmer days as the hot air gets vented from the house, it really makes quite the difference.

White kitchen brass light fixture skylights

Tell us about the other design elements and why you chose them?

I wanted to use brass as the primary metal in the kitchen, but I wanted to break up the look with polished nickel, which is slightly warmer than chrome. Mixing metals is one of my favorite things to do in a design, and I encourage other people to do it too! I added in the bridge faucet to bring a transitional element to the kitchen, along with the picture light, which is one of my favorite fixtures in the space. I did have a utility rail planned, but at the end of the day it just didn’t look right. Sometimes, less is more!

After living with the skylights for a while, what do you think of them?

We absolutely love our skylights not only for what the natural light does for our design, but also for the increased functionality it adds to our space. We keep the skylights open during the day to let some of the hot air out without having to worry if rain is in the forecast or not, because thanks to the solar powered rain sensor, we know they will close. Being in Hawaii, having so much sunlight in our kitchen just makes us feel so relaxed and definitely boosts our mood. Overall, we love our VELUX skylights and think they really elevated the entire aesthetic of the kitchen, and would 100% recommend them.

Want to shine some light on your white kitchen? Schedule a virtual consultation with a VELUX Daylight Designer to learn about the benefits of skylights for kitchens or any other room in your home.

Next: 10 Reasons to add skylights to your home in 2023

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