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Bridging the Gap between the Old and the New

Skylights for Tiny Bathrooms.

We are folks who’ve lived it to the hilt in the 70’s and the 80’s, now a bygone era. In those days, pursuing a career and saving for the kids’ college education while dealing with a mortgage was the be all and end all of our lives. Well into our middle age now, my husband and I decided to sell our sizable property on Burgess Avenue and move into a small, old but well-designed clapboard house on High Street, in Westwood, Massachusetts. It is so much cozier and easy to manage, what with my arthritis playing up severely every now and then. We love Westwood, which is why we decided to downsize and get a smaller place so we could spend most of the year here, and invested in a little flat in Austin, Texas, where we planned to spend our winters; we would also be near our daughter and her four little boys!

The little clapboard placed we bought was old, but with some renovation and modernization in terms of plumbing, wiring and the installation of new high-performance windows, we were ready to start the new chapter in our lives. Our interiors were done up in white, wicker and glass, our only concession to color the occasional colorful cushion and floor rug. I’d even decided to have the Natural Woven Wood Blinds in a Sarasota Camel that matched my wicker furniture, installed on all the windows of the house except in the bathrooms. No fluttery sheers and heavy drapes for me! There was just one little problem that we hadn’t considered till now – the bath in the master bedroom.

Installing Skylights.

We had three peaks around our house. The one to the west sheltered our bathroom, and the little window on the peaked wall was bare, 18 by 18 inches, quite an anomaly. A dark and dingy little place! A cell in Guantanamo! It looked as if the bathroom were an afterthought, a small space, 7⅓ by 4⅓ feet in dimension, the wall was just 7-feet high, with the peak giving it added headroom. We decided to cover up the little window and have two skylights installed on either side of the peaked roof, and I can’t tell you just how much this decision has transformed the little bath. We had a fancy new shower panel installed, the cubicle covered in glass on one end, the new cantilevered WC on the other; we got a pedestal sink installed on the wall opposite the entrance that not long ago had an eeny meeny window on it, and a tall bevelled mirror over it. We also got two narrow cabinets built on either side of the sink and mirror for rolled towels and supplies. We had them built out of faux wood, with faux wicker in a natural bamboo color as inserts within the door frames. I had my white, glass and wicker here too! And the bathroom looked awesome – well-lit with an airy, spacious feel.

Motorized Skylight Shutters from Norman.

Having skylights installed was all very well, but the peak was west facing and caught a lot of the sun, and consequently, heated up the little place. As we had lots of land around our property, privacy was not an issue, but the uncomfortable heat was; the skylight wasn’t inoperable, but ventilation wasn’t a primary consideration as we had a modern HVAC, and it was a tiny space. Jim decided to get motorized skylight shutters installed, after having read some books on window design. As we’d already ordered our natural blinds online, we decided to do the same for the skylights.

The Woodbury Advanced Polymer (the material used to make helmets and automobile parts ) Skylight Shutters made infinite sense for sustainability in a warm and humid environment, treated to combat the growth of odor causing bacteria, and mildew, they were the best option. And they’re lightweight to boot though they’re innately crafted to be durable.

We opted for the motorized version as we were both growing older, and I with my arthritis would find the operation of shutters with telescopic poles a total trial! The motorized shutters are operated with an RF remote that looks like a compact smartphone that offer eight tilt positions for the shutter vanes to control the light in the bathroom. And it could be used to control the vanes of a host of shutters, not just two like we have! I wouldn’t have to use glares if I wanted to read the newspaper or a paperback while I was on the pot! At night, they could be positioned open to allow a view of the Milky Way.

We were a tad bit concerned about cleaning the skylight, especially after the incident of the teenager falling through a skylight when he’d got up to shovel the snow off the roof! But the shutters were practically clip on and off – they could easily come off the brackets they’re fitted on to when the skylight need a detergent spray cleaning, which my dear tall husband could do without working a sweat! And if we wanted the snow shoveled off the roof, nobody would come crashing through as the shutters would prevent any such occurrence! And nobody could come crawling into our little place if we forget to close the skylight when they were opened once in a while.

I’m pleased as punch, and I can’t wait to have some shutters installed in our apartment in Austin. That would be great. Motorized skylight shades and shutters have given me an outlook that I hadn’t considered before. I may well end up cheating the arthritis threatening to take over my body!

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