The very best illumination for a bathroom, hands down, is daylight. It is natural, full-spectrum, powerful (sometimes too powerful) and best of all, free for the taking. It is not, unfortunately, available 24 hours a day, but the times it is roughly coincide with our workdays.
Here are two “landlocked” bathrooms with our lighting and daylighting solutions.
Dramatic Spa Bath
Two ordinary 1970s baths were gutted and combined into one grand his-and-her bath in Denver’s Country Club neighborhood. Since the neighbor was just 10 feet away from the outside shower wall, a decision was made to forgo windows and instead create a gabled “roof monitor” that penetrates the flat roof above, which pours daylight into the center of the bath (with a soaking tub) below. The client enjoys total privacy and says she “feels like she’s taking a bath outside.”
A single MR16 lamp illuminates the tub, while recessed downlights provide ambient light. Tall fluorescent sconces on either side of the his-and-her vanities provide makeup lighting. Each person has his/her own water closet compartment as well, while they share the generous curbless shower, which features his-and-her showerheads and controls at either end. A light color palette featuring limestone and glass tile assures that no footcandle is wasted.
Suburban Inside Bath
This 1970s bath was landlocked in the very middle of a 3,300-sq.-ft. ranch home in Westminster, Colo., and was shared by two sisters. By reaching for the sky and installing a tubular daylight device (TDD) up through the roof, daylight reached this bath for the first time since it was framed up and before the roof trusses went on!
Reconstruction Experts, the contractor for this extensive remodel, took care to wrap the TDD in insulation to block a common source of heat loss into the attic from the room below. Suddenly, one didn’t need to flip a switch to make a quick visit – unless they were applying makeup or visiting at night. Decorative sconces to either side of the vessel sink provide flattering light for makeup, while dedicated recessed spot lighting at the tub and toilet make sure there is ample lighting for each task.
– By Doug Walter, AIA, senior architect, Godden/Sudik Architects, Centennial, Colo., www.goddensudik.com.