Prague, Czech Republic
Cool morning air breathes through our kitchen. Birds trumpet in the cherry, apple and elderflower trees over the traffic noises on the street 2 blocks down the hill, a main artery in Prague.
Carol and her family after they moved into their newly renovated house fall of 2011
When we renovated our house, built in 1824 in an old village originally about 1km from the outskirts of Prague but now part of the larger city, our main priorities were getting enough sunlight and space. First, we took off the security bars on the ground floor windows and made them bigger. We broke through two 3 feet thick stone walls to make an eastern window in the kitchen and a western window on the first floor ( US second floor). For space we built an addition which has 4 French doors, a skylight and winter garden with a glass wall and ceiling. Light floods our house to such an extent we sometimes think electric lights are on when they aren't.
Fifteen grey winters in Central Europe taught us our survival here depends on light. So we were looking for a south facing house which we found after a five year search. The low winter sun brings in more light than the higher summer one, so when it's cold outside, our rooms are filled with sunlight when it decides to shine making our plants flourish.