18 July 2010

Moonlighting and Daylighting

Last night we finally installed the mirrors in our bathroom. We bought two Studio mirrors from Pottery Barn the weekend that we moved in, but we were holding off on installing them until the bathroom floors were finished. Remember the problem with the radiant floors (which delayed our move-in by a week)? Since they knew we were moving in, and in an attempt to give us back our bathroom as quickly as possible, the tilers apparently grouted too soon after laying the tile, and the grout didn't dry properly. The color gradually lightened over more than a week (during which we didn't use our shower) but remained dark and splotchy. We gave it another week (during which we continued not using our shower), and then it took another week (during which we still didn't use our shower) to remove all of the grout and redo it. So here we are, three weeks after move-in, and apart from the toekick needing to be painted and the potty closet vent fan still lacking a timer, our bathroom is finally finished. So we put on our handyman hats last night and got them installed (a more serious undertaking than we expected, since they're really heavy, had special mounting hardware, and needed to be hung at the exact same height). But we got 'er done:

Switching gears, let's talk about those skinny windows way up high in the bathroom. We put them in as a "daylighting" measure -- windows used for natural light, placed high enough that they don't need window coverings. We did the same thing in two of the other bathrooms and in the office, and during the day, pretty much the only lights we ever need to turn on are in the mudroom (where we should have put a solar tube but didn't) and some of the closets. The front bath, which has been our primary bathroom while work was going on in ours, has a good-sized window in the shower, which (since there's no eave hanging over it) provides a better-than-expected view of the sky and the neighbor's trees.

Daylighting isn't limited to new construction, though. You can turn any window into a "daylighting" window by hanging "top down/bottom up" shades, like we did in the kitchen of our old condo:

We had a view of the dumpsters right out the window, and these cellular shades, which we could raise from the bottom or lower from the top, let us block that view while still preserving the view of the trees and allowing light to come in. We just thought it was a practical solution; we had no idea we were being green!


  1. Looking good! Love that you don't need lights. We don't right now either - although I am buying them like they go out of style in anticpation of the long winter nights. :)