Rooms in the North are frequently gloomy since the sunlight never reaches the windows… Find out how Claudine and Alain managed to brighten up their north-facing kitchen with the help of a light reflector.
Espaciel : Could you tell us a little about your home and your kitchen?
Claudine : We bought our house in the suburbs of Paris around twenty years ago. Our kitchen was small and was situated on the street side of the house, facing south. We had an extension built on the other side of the house, in order to have a more spacious kitchen and to take more advantage of the garden.
Espaciel : Did you consider the room’s lighting when you had the work done?
Alain : Alain: The kitchen receives natural light from three different openings: the main north-facing window which looks out onto the garden, a small window in a corner, and a French window that leads out onto the terrace. The main window measures approximately 1.20 metres by 1.80 metres and we chose a thin frame in order to let as much natural light into the room as possible.
Claudine : To give the kitchen a warm atmosphere, we decided to paint the walls a pale orange colour, but the fact is we’d gone from a fully south-facing room to a completely north-facing room with no sunlight… I hadn’t really thought about the consequences of cutting out the sunshine. Natural light was sorely lacking, especially during the winter and on rainy days. Especially since the kitchen is the heart of our home; my husband and I both cook, our daughter does her homework in the kitchen too, my friends come for coffee in the kitchen, and my husband works on the computer… It was a sad room, and we had to have the light on constantly in order to feel good in the room.
Espaciel : What made you think about using a light reflector?
Alain : I saw the system on television a few months ago. I thought that it might be a good way to brighten up our room without having to resort to more building work.
Claudine : At first I was a bit sceptical and I wasn’t really convinced that it would work. This window is in line with the main entrance to the house, so you see through to the garden as soon as you come in. I thought that the reflector might “block” the pleasant view. I requested information via the Espaciel website and an advisor, Lucy, gave me a call. She sent me a selection of photos taken by other customers of the reflectors in situ with before and after photos showing the gain in natural light, which reassured me concerning the aesthetics of the reflectors once they were in place.
Alain : I had a few doubts about how the reflector would work, since I need to open and close the shutters in the morning and evening, but Lucie explained that the reflectors can easily be tilted several times a day. We ordered an exterior window sill reflector from the website and it arrived by post a few days later.
Espaciel : How did the installation go?
Alain : I’m not into DIY at all, but even I managed to install it really quickly! Assembling the product is really easy thanks to the instructions that are fully illustrated with photos: you can see exactly what you need to do. There’s no need for any tools, and I installed the reflector in just minutes.
Claudine : I watched my husband set up the reflector, and I’m sure I could have done it myself.
Espaciel : And now that you’ve installed the light reflector?
Claudine : Well, our north-facing kitchen that was so dark is now light and bright! We have lots of light coming in, despite the fact that the window is in shadow all day long. We never imagined that there was so much light available, especially since the sunlight never hit the window, but in fact there is… And the view out to the garden is still perfect, because the reflector is extremely thin: you can still see the trees and the sky as soon as you come into the house.
Alain : We saw the effect on the ceiling and the back wall as soon as the reflector was attached in front of the window. My wife and I chose the angle of the reflector in order to have the luminosity that we wanted. It works all the time, but for me it’s when the weather is gray or it’s raining that you really see the greatest effect. And I can still open and close the shutters freely without the reflector getting in the way.
Espaciel : One last word?
Alain : You get used to it very quickly. It’s an excellent solution that’s both simple and effective.
Claudine : The reflector seems to be very weather-resistant. It has already spent 8 months outside in the rain and snow… and it’s still in perfect condition. You just need to give it a quick clean with a cloth from time to time. I’m very happy with our purchase.
Thanks to Claudine and Alain for their account. For further information and advice from one of our light experts, send us a mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or get in touch with us via this page.