Sunset Magazine 1991

Sunset Magazine: Adding High Light

Some windows are specialists. When normal eye-level windows won't work due to privacy considerations or lack of wall space or views, consider the clerestory. Set high in the wall, clerestory windows enhance a room's feeling of spaciousness by bringing daylight deep into a house. They allow light and shadow to play on adjacent walls and floors in an infinite range of patterns, changing a room's character throughout the day.

Transforming a courtyard into an interior room while preserving daylight was the potentially contradictory challenge facing San Francisco architect Michael Connell. Like a square doughnut, the compact row house had a tiny, open-air, 8- by 12-foot light court at the center between the living room and the kitchen. According to homeowner Judy Carlino, it was too small to be useful as an outdoor space, it cramped the dining room and the entry hall, and it leaked into the garage below. Connell roofed the atrium and removed side walls to create a dining and entry area opening to the living room on one side and the kitchen on the other.