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You don’t need to be a pro to know that natural light can either make or break your space. After all, sad fluorescents have never done us any favors. But what’s a person to do when a room has no windows to speak of? That’s exactly the predicament interior designer and lifestyle blogger Shavonda Gardner faced with the sole bathroom in her 1940s Sacramento, California, home. 

Photography by Heidi’s Bridge

Given it was an interior space, there was simply no way to open up the walls, which meant not only was Gardner missing out on the sun’s rays, she didn’t have access to good airflow. There was nowhere to go but up.

Gardner dreamed of installing “the biggest skylight I could possibly fit in there” as soon as she moved in, but almost five years passed before she finally took the plunge, motivated by a One Room design challenge. To find out if it was even possible, the blogger booked a consultation with skylight company Velux. Happily, she learned her house’s structure and roof lines were great candidates for a skylight. Her pick? The brand’s solar-powered fresh-air skylight.

Photography by Heidi’s Bridge

Photography by Heidi’s Bridge

Not only was it surprisingly easy to put up—even though it covers the majority of her bathroom ceiling, Gardner says the process didn’t even take a full day for the skylight installer to complete the job—but it also does a lot more than illuminate the space. She can open the skylight to usher in fresh air after a shower, and, thanks to its integrated rain sensor, it will automatically close at the first sign of inclement weather. All of these features are remote controlled and run strictly off the energy from the skylight’s solar panel. 

Additionally, since Velux skylights have a no-leak installation method, Gardener doesn’t have to worry about water slipping through the cracks during a torrential downpour. On the other hand, when it’s particularly bright out, the brand’s customizable blinds will throw some (welcome) shade.

Bringing in the skylight inspired her to finally create the boutique hotel–esque vibe she’d always wanted. “My bathroom was very boring before,” Gardner explains. “It was all white, which is definitely not my style.” Her revamped space now includes whimsical floral wallpaper, dramatic black tiles, and a vanity with Lucite hardware. “It became so much more than installing a skylight, because I couldn’t add windows,” Gardner says. Now her family’s whole routine has changed. Here comes the sun.

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