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Iran Building and Construction Materials Database

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Using Transoms to Catch Natural Light

Using Transoms to Catch Natural Light

Little windows hit a high note in this historic home.

“There are lots of arches throughout this home , and we wanted to reference them in the kitchen ,” explains architect Robert Jackson Miller. Some of those nods are literal (arches frame the range hood and breakfast inglenook , for example) , while the transoms add a more abstract , yet harmonious note.
“They tie into the rest of the house and provide a nice way to manipulate the high ceilings ,” Miller says , noting that they rest on a horizontal datum line that unifies the space , providing a point of alignment for door headers and other millwork elements. “This house has tons of plank , wainscoting , and chair rail. There’s no sheetrock until you get to the ceiling ,” he says.

Although each transom is inlaid with the same intersecting pattern , units capping doorways are paned with clear glass , while those atop cabinets are embedded with reeded glass with a quarter-inch curvature (to obscure objects inside) and backlit for ambiance. “The rest of the house still preserves history rather faithfully , but the kitchen has a unique feeling to it ,” Miller says. “It’s like a little lantern that glows.”

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