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My “Swiss army home” concept includes skylights to bring the outside in

Guest blog by style and design expert Emily Henderson.

A woman stands in a bedroom under two skylights

Over the past few years, I’ve written a lot about skylights - when to use them, where to place them, their benefits, and how to design around them. I can still talk about these things for days (and I will, you’re not off the hook yet), but lately, I’ve just been feeling really grateful for my skylights and I wanted to explain why. Guys, the world has shifted, and our “new normal” is starting to become a more “permanent normal.”

From here on out, I think we’re going to be spending more time in our own homes. I’ve been thinking about this a lot from an interior design perspective—this idea of trying to implement a “swiss army home” that can function not only as a refuge, but also as a classroom, as a playground, as a home gym, as a movie theater, as a restaurant (or bar!), as an office...the list goes on, but you get the idea—and the one thing that I keep coming back to is that now, more than ever, it is SO IMPORTANT to bring as much of the outdoors as possible into your own home.

I’ve been living at the Mountain House, a project we outfitted with the help of VELUX last year, for about two straight months now. We absolutely love it up here—we picked this place so our kids could have fun exploring the great outdoors—but for now, we’ve temporarily halted that exploration in favor of staying inside the great indoors. I’m so grateful that we installed as many skylights as we did.

Henderson attic play room

As a stylist, I harp about natural light all the time. It’s what makes a great shot, but it’s also what makes a home feel happier. Brighter. And boy, do we need that right now. The applications here are endless, too: you can bring light into places where windows couldn’t (or shouldn’t) go, like showers. You can brighten up your stairwell (and TRUST ME, that makes a huge difference!). You can eliminate dark corners and weird shadows, which will make your whole home feel lighter and more open. Plus, they draw the eye upward which makes your space feel bigger—something I am very grateful for after living in close quarters with my whole family.

And I know I’m here to talk about design and that energy efficiency isn’t necessarily my wheelhouse, but there are a lot of practical reasons why I’m a fan of skylights, too. My big two: First, in a bathroom, you can pop open a skylight with a remote control and remove all that lingering humidity. (Be gone, mold and mildew! Cleaning is so much easier without moisture buildup.) And second, warm air rises, so opening a skylight can help suck all that hot air out while bringing in fresh air from the great outdoors. It’s a great way to cool your home with the help of Mother Nature.

Tax Bathroom Shower Tubhero

It’s wonderful to be able to look up while I’m souping and see the actual sky, instead of my neighbors tree line. Plus, the lighting makes me feel like I’m in a Nancy Meyers movie kitchen.

Henderson kitchen skylight

I also love lying in bed and watching clouds go by, or watching the colors of the sky change at sunset. (And after that, I love using my remote control to activate my VELUX blackout shades when it’s time for bed—the best of both worlds!)

Henderson bedroom before and after 2420
On the left, the room darkening skylight blinds are closed. On they right, they're open to let all that glorious sunshine in.

Skylights truly do make my life brighter, and better—it’s why I’ll continue to sing their praises any time I’ve given the chance.



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