Solar tubes

Solar light tubes - A Pinch of Joy

Solar light tubes - A Pinch of Joy Our new solar tubes were installed this week!  Not an exciting picture — but exciting results!  We had a solar tube in our previous house in a windowless bathroom and absolutely loved the natural light it brought into the very dark space.  So when our roof was being replaced, we added two solar tubes to the process.    This is what the solar tubes look like on the outside.  (Don’t you love that new charcoal roof, too?!!)

Hole in the ceiling for solar light tube After the roof and the installation of the exterior dome was finished,  the workers came back later to complete the project.   They opened a 10 inch circle (also comes in 14 inch diameter)  in the ceiling and installed the rim.  The roof has several angles and there are trusses going every which way so they had to work around them and make sure not to interfere with any electrical wiring or other utilities.  Actually we originally wanted three solar tubes, but the third one would have been a “challenge” to install around the trusses so we decided not to do that one.

Reflective tunnel for solar tube Next the highly reflective mirror like tube is installed between the exterior dome and the interior rim.  the light is channeled along the polished surface without losing any intensity. It is absolutely amazing how much light these ten inch tubes deliver — even on a cloudy day!    The tube is somewhat flexible at the top and bottom so can be adjusted to accommodate different angles. It is weather tight.  Our old one did not affect room temperature – we don’t expect these will either.   A light diffuser and ring snap over the rim to give a finished look.

Solar tube exterior cover

This is the exterior cover before it was installed.  Very simple components and simple but very efficient technology.  The ancient Egyptians employed very similar methods for lighting.  The brand in our previous house was SolaTube which had a “flatter” dome and fit closer to the roof.  It was installed on a northern exposure and lasted through two roof installations with absolutely no problems.   The brand just installed is Velux, which stands a little taller and is more noticeable, but because it is on a side roof that is not an issue.

Finished solar tube installation in windowless Laundry Room

Finished installation in the windowless laundry room.  (It’s actually further away from the light than it looks in the photo.) The light streaming into the room is great!    It is bright enough to do laundry without touching a light switch!  Carry in a full basket and no juggling to turn on the light switch.  Switch loads from washer to dryer.  No light switch.  Fold clothes. No light switch.  And if the switch doesn’t go on — no light burning all day because someone forgot to turn it off on the way out of the room.    Another reason to love the solar tube — money saved!

The other installation is in the middle of the kitchen.  That room is not technically windowless as there is a big northern window in the adjacent dining area and a glass door to the deck that also opens to the kitchen.  However, the prep, cooking  and cleanup area was far enough from the windows so that lights were required all day long.  Not any more!  I walk into the kitchen and think, oops, forgot to turn off the light.  No, it’s real daylight and no switch involved!   It is bright enough that we no longer turn on lights in daylight!  Love it!

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House update – week 7

First decorative piece hung -- A Pinch of Joy

First decorative piece hung -- A Pinch of Joy

We’ve been concentrating on covering the walls with paint. And being able to find the things we need daily. Like clothes, food and important papers. This bit of wall décor managed to escape from its box. As soon as I saw it lying on the basement floor, I knew where it belonged. Above the dining room door to the deck! It makes me happy, happy, happy.

Looking up the stairway wall

Our big accomplishment this past week has been to finish this two story wall along the steps to the lower level. Almost.  The niche needs another coat of SW Biscuit.  Fun contortions –  especially painting the sides with a roller on a five foot long handle.  See that line of terra cotta at the top next the white ceiling?   No idea how we are going to paint the ceiling and that strip of wall above the steps themselves.

Missing handrail If only we could find the screws and mounting brackets for the long curved handrail. They are resting comfortably in some “safe” spot where we “won’t lose them”.

Broken Chevron Curtains

Curtains. No long curtains to be found. And the ones I ordered did NOT look like the picture when they arrived. Back they went. When we went to the capitol city a couple of weeks ago, we went curtain shopping. Bytes found these – but in a short length. So I ordered longer ones from the store’s website later. They are absolutely perfect for his room! Love them! Just eleven more windows to go . . . .

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Painting progress

Progress in painting the new house - dining room

Progress in painting the new house - dining room

We managed to put quite a few gallons of paint on the past several days!  The dining room went from deep gold to soft Tradewind (Sherwin Williams).  Every wall is so deeply colored that it takes three coats to cover — primer and two coats of color.  Every. wall.  That is why it is taking us so long:-)

The light fixtures also express an Old World Tuscan flavor with oil rubbed bronze and gold globes.  One of the things we noted when looking at the house was the consistency.  There was an obvious master vision and it carried all the way through.   The colors flowed and were consistent with architectural details and accessories like the light fixtures.   Wheels said as we walked out the door on our first visit that this house was a jewel box.  Our vision is different but we are working toward our own jewel box effect.  (Fingers crossed!)

Kitchen - cutting in above cupboards

Bytes is cutting in the primer above the kitchen cabinets.  Walls are 9 feet high which adds to the challenge!  The color here will also be SW Tradewind, which goes well with the tile backsplash and granite.  We’ve all learned to cut in without using masking tape.  Saves a TON of time!   Yeah, that’s a really dark spot on the kitchen ceiling.  It’s from a batch of paint that was  mixed differently.  That 10 foot square has been repainted.  Twice.

Fan removed - celling patch in progress

The ceiling has been painted from the front door to the back door.  Rather than using stark white, I chose Heron Plume (SW) — a soft warm barely there baby brown.  There was a huge fan in the middle of the living room that we removed.  (I can’t tolerate air movement across my shoulders –one of the remnants of an auto accident.)  It makes the room look SO much bigger without it. Still needs to have the patch finished, though.

We’ve also been able to unpack more boxes and get things a little more organized here and there.  Feels like progress!

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