During the 1960’s and 70’s, skylights were a big thing, and for Project High Mark, the bigger the better - or so they must have thought!

The clients and I have spent lots of time thinking, and talking about what we could do with this massive skylight that spans almost the entire length of a long hallway. In the end, we decided the best thing to do was to embrace it by uncovering it, and letting the ceiling sore up to the sky.

Here’s what we’ve done so far:

  • The old 1960’s framing for the plexiglass diffusers, and the joist running across the opening, have been removed.

  • New drywall has been installed

  • Recessed lights were added

  • Wood trim and a ledge for indirect lighting was added around the perimeter


A baby skylight, of course! At the end of the long hall was a deep bench - and just to be clear, it wasn’t a pretty bench made of wood, but instead it was framed with 2x4’s and then wrapped in dry wall.

You can actually still see the remnants of the bench at the end of the hallway. Above it was another skylight. Once again, we decided to clean it up, and expose the height in the same way we did for the big skylight.

The contractor built a beautiful arch above the bench that is now slated for a wood top and veneer front, and wall-mounted lighting.


There is no way we would have thrown a single arch detail at the end of the hallway randomly IF there wasn’t already arches that were apart of the original architecture.

The arch detail shows up two other times in the house - the first one, and most prominent is this arch shaped window in the dining room. The window was replaced, and it has been beautifully and skillfully wrapped in wood trim.

The second arch is found in the guest bath. The original window was replaced with obscured glass and eventually it will be wrapped in tile, making it suitable for being in a tub / shower combination.

In this same bathroom, we’ll repeat the arch with a barrelled feature above a make-up vanity,


Also part of the original design of the house are skylights in the family room. Because of their narrow size, we couldn’t expose them like we did with the ones in the hallway. If we had, they would have ended up looking like deep, holes in the ceiling.

They have also been trimmed out in wood, and will be painted to match the ceiling. The intention is for them to blend in.


  • Some times the best solutions are the ones that simplify things. That said, simple doesn’t necessarily mean easiest, or cheapest. Often the easiest solution isn’t the best. For instance, covering up the skylights would have been easier than the list of things that we ended up doing but we would have missed a big opportunity.

  • Often I see arches thrown in remodeled homes, in an effort to be creative. Just because you can, doesn’t mean it should be done. Think long and hard before including them. They add a strong detail that needs to be appropriate for the architecture.

  • Repetition is the architectural glue that visually holds things together. Take for instance the arches in this project - we added two, to the two that were already there. That said, we did it judiciously - we didn’t flood the place with arch details - we included it only in places that made visual sense and where we would get the most impact.

  • Did you notice that the we in the design scenarios I’ve shared with this project mean me and the clients? This isn’t always the case. Sometimes clients don’t want to be as involved with all the nitty gritty parts of the design process, but then there are others that do. Either way works - whichever the clients prefer.

  • Bottom line - if you have been hesitant to hire a designer because you are concerned that you will loose control of the project - it doesn’t have to be that way. You just need to find the right designer.

To see more about this project go here, here , and here..



Photo Credit: Lindsey King Photography