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Before and After

Natural light renovation transformed this New Jersey family’s living room

Skylights provide all-day natural light, fresh air and open up the small living room.

mom dad and infant sitting on a blue couch under a skylight in a living room

Katie and Bryan Gorczynski visited dozens of homes before finding the perfect fit for their growing family: a small ranch house in in Southern New Jersey.

After the couple moved in almost two years ago, they began working through projects: clearing overgrown brush from the front and back yards and widening the driveway, while doing smaller things inside, like painting the living room white to try to brighten the space.

The dark living room remained a conundrum for the couple, even after they swapped out the solid door for one with windows at the top. Katie painted the new door sunshine yellow to add some cheer to the living room and the home’s facade.

“The corner by the front door doesn’t have a light above it so we had to get a window there,” Katie said. “We decided on yellow because it’s cheery and there are no other yellow doors on this street.”

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Photo caption: Before adding skylights the living room didn't have enough natural light coming through the picture window.

It helped a little, but the living room, which has a northwest-facing picture window and a large Japanese maple tree out front, was still dark. The Gorczynskis even adjusted the furniture layout to try to make the space feel more open.

“We put the couch against the wall, even though we wanted it opposite the TV,” Katie said. “When we put it across from the TV the room felt very closed off.”

So, when she was reading one of her favorite blogs, Studio DIY!, and came upon a blog about a master bathroom renovation that included VELUX Sun Tunnel skylights, she clicked one of the blog links to learn more. It turned out to be good timing because VELUX was offering the Daylight Renovation Sweepstakes with a grand prize of two solar powered fresh air skylights with solar blinds and installation.

“I entered thinking I would never win, so it was a big surprise when I got the call,” she said.

VELUX 5-Star Skylight Specialist Sycamore Skylights & Exteriors installed the skylights in April and now the room is bathed in natural light, even on an overcast day.

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“When we were moving the furniture back in we decided to move the couch to be across from the TV and it works now because the skylights give the room height,” Bryan said. “This is our main living space. It’s used all day every day: the kids watch TV, game nights, when we have friends over.”

Katie loves a clean, white space with pops of color from furniture and pillows. The navy blue couch anchors the space and bright yellow accent pillows connect with the front door. Family photos on built-in shelves and a wall-mounted floating shelf make the room feel warm and welcoming. The piano and an antique side table provide and happy contrast to the room’s modern furniture.

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“We bought the couch when we moved in,” she said. “I wanted something dark, but comfy because with have three kids and a dog. The kids play piano, so it’s in there, and I love family photos; the more the better.”

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The kids love the skylights, too, because they can be opened with remote controls, and their shades, also remote controlled, can darken the room for watching TV.

“It’s nice because we live on the busy street and so we can close the window curtains and feel private and still have the natural light,” Katie said.

“I like lying on the couch and looking straight up through the skylight,” Bryan said. “It’s like lying on the grass outside.”

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Do you have a room in your home that’s in need of natural light? Find an installer in your area to find out how adding skylights can completely transform a space.

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