While the spectacular plywood ceiling in the open-plan living area, built by Tim and Mat, got lots of praise, it was actually their use of skylights that had judge Jamie Durie raving.
Jamie says he thought the success of the living area came down to the natural light that was created, particularly through the use of skylights. “I can't speak highly enough about the Velux skylights,” he says. “They automatically open up and allow the hot air to escape, so you create a vacuum, and it pulls all the cool air in. That’s solar-passive architecture doing its very best. I think every home in Australia should be like this.”
Velux’s national sales manager, Robert Cussigh, says that the key to success with that room was the fact that there were a series of skylights grouped together.
“One skylight on its own in your bathroom is good, because it's so big, but if you put one skylight into a big room, it gets a bit lost. It might be a light source or maybe provide ventilation, but it won’t have that wow factor.”
“When you start to bring the skylights closer together, and install multiples of them, it becomes a feature. Although, of course, any skylight will give you the benefits of natural light."
"When you walk into a room that's sunny and light-filled, it looks beautiful.”Robert Cussigh
So how many skylights is ideal? Robert says he recommends at least two or three – and the biggest one you can afford.
“There’s not a massive price difference between a smaller one and a bigger one, so my view is to always go to the biggest that you can afford. You’re not going to complain about having too much light.”
“It adds value to your home because people walk in and fall in love with that room, because of the way it feels or the way it looks.”Robert Cussigh
“When you wake up and you walk into a space with natural light at 7am, (or 6:30am in summer). It feels inviting. It feels like, ‘Hey, my day’s started’.”
Robert says that part of the appeal of a skylight is that it helps to connect the inside with the outdoor spaces.
“I'm in a leafy suburb and there’s a lot of gumtrees and trees around. If you look out the skylight and see a part of a tree or whatever, it’s nice. Sometimes you just see the blue sky, and even when the weather is bad and you see grey sky, thunder and lightning rolling in, it’s still quite nice.”
As with the House Rules example, skylights can help to elevate a ceiling, particularly flat ceilings.
“It makes the room feel bigger, by lifting the area where that area where the skylights go – it gives a room a little bit more volume and makes it feel bigger,” he says.
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