I know I haven’t posted in a long time, but the drought is over for now, and I’m back at the keyboard.

I have been archiving and organizing all my projects documents and photos, as well as all my personal documents and photos (which I’ll tell you about later), and they have inspired me to show you some interesting design ideas and procedures.

This particular project was for a young couple who lived in a two story home. The wife was an artist and needed a bright, open, inspiring room where she could create her lovely paintings. We were presented with a approximately 12 x 12 bedroom on the 2nd floor, with a small window in the outside wall.

The criteria:

Bring in a lot of natural light, make the room seem larger, and keep the price as low as possible without going outside the footprint of the bedroom.

The solution: We came up with a solution that was simple and relatively inexpensive. It raised the ceiling height by about 2 feet, and gave an abundance of natural lighting.

The process:

  1. The first thing we did was remove all the insulation in the attic, and remove the ceiling sheet rock.
  2. Next we came approximately half way across the room from the outside wall (~ 6′ in this case) and attached a new set of ceiling joists to the rafters, parallel to the floor. To visualize this, come off the outside wall 6′ and plumb up to the rafters. At this point, now several feet above the existing ceiling joists, attach new ceiling joists and support them with a kneewall built on top of the existing interior bearing wall. This kneewall will be the upper portion of the interior bearing wall when you are finished. Finally, to keep continuity in the joists, connect the new ceiling joist with the rafters on the opposite side of the house. [See sketches below]Floor Plan 800w

Sectional 800w

  1. At this point, provided the room is not too large, i.e., you haven’t had to go too far up the rafters, you have tied the outside wall and the opposite outside wall together, so that the weight of the roof won’t spread the outside walls.
  2. Remove the existing ceiling joists.
  3. Header off the rafters for the new skylights with 2x10″s, sistering 2x10’s onto the exposed rafters in the room, with the exception of the rafters within the skylight well. See photos below. The increased depth of the rafters will allow you to insulate the new pitched ceiling properly, as well as strengthen the new ceiling/rafter system. As you can see in the photos, the outside wall goes directly into the skylight well for a really clean look.
  4. Cut the roof decking open and install new skylights.
  5. We also added matching sized windows in the outside wall.
  6. Sheetrock and paint.

The result:

This made a huge difference to this room, exceeding our client’s initial criteria and expectations. The cost was kept to a minimum. The room had a much larger feel to in due to the raised ceiling, and even though this was a North facing room, gave plenty of natural light.

Skylight installation 2

Skylight installation 1


Skylight installation 3


Skylight installation 4

The next time you are asked to create a more spacious feel and add more light to an ordinary 8′ ceiling bedroom, see if this solution might work for you. Our client got an incredible looking studio, as we changed the ordinary into the extraordinary.

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