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Natural Light

Empty nester couple downsizes to light-filled home

Skylights provide natural light while maintaining privacy in a home with tight lot lines.

When Sara and Frank began to think about their retirement, they were sure of one thing: they wanted to downsize to a home located in a walkable community.

They knew they had found their ideal location in a piece of property on Hope Street in Greenville, S.C., close to the Greenville Health System Swamp Rabbit Trail. The trail stretches 20 miles from the city’s downtown to outlying areas and the town of Traveler’s Rest, S.C., and sidewalks make it easy for the couple to stroll downtown for an impromptu dinner out.

But the location presented some challenges.

“The lot was incredibly small,” said Todd Usher, president of Addison Homes, a high performance home builder based in Greer, S.C. “(It) had only a 12-foot backyard, so our ability to get light into the back of the house, which happened to be the living space, was very challenging. They wanted privacy from the neighbor behind them, yet they wanted natural light. So the VELUX skylights played a key role in bringing natural light into the home.”

To solve the lighting and privacy challenges, designers with Addison Homes placed two skylights in the living room and one in the kitchen. Located high on the roof, the skylights flood the living room and kitchen with natural light throughout the day.

“I’m on the computer a lot and I read a lot,” Sara said. “It isn’t until 8 o’clock at night that we ever turn on any lights because the light is just there for us to use. And frankly on those winter days when it’s cold outside, it’s cheerful in here; the light comes in, the warmth comes in and it brightens your spirits.”

The skylights also play a key role in the home’s energy efficiency.

“We’ve been quite pleased with our energy bills since we moved in,” Frank said. “It’s a fraction of what we paid for in our old house.”

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

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