Shafts of sunlight brighten an 1882 house in Denver
All living things need light. But ownerarchitect Don Parker found
light hard to come by in his 1882 house in downtown Denver; a
neighboring building to the south kept the house in shade through much
of the day.
Parker’s solution was to install four large roof skylights and
to cut openings in the second-level floor. The openings bring a
generous portion of the newly won sunlight down to matching planter bays
on the first floor–enough to support lowlight plants such as Dracaena
deremensis and Philodendron scandens oxycardium.
Parker cut the shafts through the decking of the second floor,
leaving the exposed support joists underneath intact for strength. Rails
around the shafts upstairs keep people from stepping through.
Half-walls and folding doors give an open feeling while letting
light spread through the house. Upstairs, the large bedroom area
pictured above can become two rooms with the folding door closed. A
bathroom can also be partitioned into two small rooms, providing
convenience and privacy for guests.
Photo: Morning light brightens east facade of house, but building
at left stands to the south, blocking sun most of the day
Photo: Four new skylights bathe upper level with light. Floor
cutouts and two stairwells spread light to people and plants in
previously shady first level. To show flow of light more clearly,
drawing eliminates fixtures, room dividers
Photo: Rail surrounds shaft that directs light from nearby window
to ground floor. New woodwork, old brick give warm feeling; folding
door splits space into smaller rooms
Photo: Plants grow from containers in bark-filled triangular
planter bed. Floor-support timber gives them climbing space. Angled
counter separates dining nook from main living space