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let there be light…





When I was in Philly last week, I found myself waking up tired and groggy, with no desire to get out of bed. I love Philly, but I had forgotten about gray winters and cold weather and how much they really used to affect my mood. I'm so dependent on lots of natural light, and I've come to learn how much happier it makes me. Being back in L.A. really made me appreciate all this sunshine I'm lucky to live in year round.

It's funny, because I'm currently looking at studio spaces for my office, and some of these spaces have no windows (no windows?!?). The person showing them to me would say, "Some people don't want any light."

Say what??? Do you guys crave light like I do, or would you be content working in a dark space?

{Image sources, top to bottom: Melnikov House via Design Squish, Allandale House, Lindman Photography.}


  1. Wow that last room is my PERFECT bedroom! I live in a flat at the moment with very very little light (plus it’s in England so lots of grey skies!) and it is making me seriously lack motivation! I also used to work in an office with no windows and used to have to squint from the light outside when I went out it was awful! I am definitely in need of some bigger windows and some sunshine! Must work harder so I can move to some sunshine.

  2. I’m in graphic design school in Baltimore and my creative brain seems slightly stifled lately and I truly believe it’s a direct result of the winter blues! I hope to move to a place that affords me year-round sunny skies when I graduate.

  3. I recently went to Norway in December. We spent some time in Trondheim (in the south) and some time in Bodo (Arctic Circle) which only gets 3 hours of light a day! I knew it might affect me but after 5 days of it, I just wanted to go back to Trondheim and also home back to England (which was similar). I’m so craving spring and summer at the moment with the long summer evenings in our south facing garden! Apparently lack of light up risk of diabetes due to lack of vitamin D – so it’s good for your health and well-being!!

  4. Light! I don’t even mind sleeping in rooms with no curtains. Of course, I live in Canada, so much of the year I find a deficit of light…but it makes me appreciate the coming of spring all the more. 🙂

  5. i’m a nut for light – i’m lucky in that i face a wall of windows overlooking DC during the day so i get a lot of natural light in. but in years that we live abroad, i’m definitely a purchaser of happy lights – and a getaway in february to a sunnier place is a must.

  6. I think I’m not able to live somewhere with no light. I love darkness and I need my room to be pitch dark when I want to sleep, but I live in the Mediterranean, on an Island, and have 2 walls with huge windows that I keep open 16 hours a day.
    I’m 25 years old and realise that with time, I can stand grey skies and cold winters less and less.
    I totally get you!

  7. I’m currently doing up my home it’s a nice country cottage with some lovely views like the picks, pipes burst over bad frost nearly two years ago, pictures have really given me some ideas bout what to do no need in filling the roof with clutter when they can look like this.

  8. I *live* for natural light but being a wedding photographer I have to spend most of my working hours in a dark room to edit properly. The light changes the color casts and messes with editing levels – messing up the look of the photos. The worst part is that I live in the North where it’s only light during the warm months, which is exactly when people get married and I have to work more. By far, the worst part of my job! Vitamin D supplements help!

  9. HAHA, these images and rooms are so beautiful and serene I literally thought to myself Oh JOy! when I looked at them! Thanks for a bit of sunshine in my day.

  10. I’m not sure I could work/live in a space with completely open walls (like the last photo) but the idea of no light at all is incredibly depressing. I can see it if you’re trying to set up a darkroom, but other than that…no way!

  11. Living in Belgium, I know exactly what you mean by wanting to stay in bed, grey winters and cold weather! Can’t wait for spring!!! You’re very lucky to be living in a sunny place!!! Good thing I can escape this belgian reality through your blog! 😉
    Thanks for the light! 🙂

  12. winter is trying to kill me this year! i’m on the east coast and i can totally relate! the grey and gloomy skies have really been downer for the last month or so. i’m looking VERY forward to warm sunshine on face that spring will bring!

  13. this is my first winter in Philadelphia and i had no idea it could be this grey and gloomy all the time anywhere but Seattle. i need more light! and it doesn’t help that all the buildings here only have windows on two sides and that my house in particular only has windows on the east wall. so, so drab. i’ve found myself wearing even brighter colors than usual but seriously, spring needs to come and clear the skies soon, i don’t want to feel like i need to turn on the lights in my studio at all ours of the day anymore!

  14. Natural light is essential to my well-being! It is around this time of year when I start to feel so hopeless… gray days and a long cold winter make it hard to get out of bed.
    And without natural light? Yuck. When I used to work as a school social worker, I would get so many migraines due to the florescent lighting above. I’m so grateful for sunshine!

  15. Super excited about your updates about the expansion of Ohjoy! Really looking forward to see/hear more about your new office space as it unfolds itself!

  16. I definitely would want a lot of natural light flooding in! Staring at windowless walls while working without seeing anything from the outside world is just not very appealing!

  17. I’m smitten with the space in the middle photo- so surreal and amazing. I’m definitely a natural light girl. When I first met my now husband he would keep his apartment super dark all the time and it drove me crazy. Gladly, he’s come around on the light, open spaces issue because I couldn’t function in the dark all the time. Can’t wait to see what sort of studio space you find!

  18. studios without windows? who wants to be there? l live in Greece where sunshine is almost year round yet a mere wekk of rain depresses me,can’t wait for spring!

  19. I almost don’t even believe the lady who said some people don’t like to work in light! I can hardly even function without natural light. Unfortunately for me, I live in Michigan and our winters are 100% grey. Needless to say, I go a whole winter getting the bare minimum done. I CAN’T wait for spring!

  20. I absolutely need light to work! I have a hard time functioning without natural light as well. I live in Brooklyn and our top floor apt provides plenty of natural light. We would love to have a backyard but that would mean moving into a ground floor apt- not something I think I could deal with. I’m with you, I need that natural light to feel uplifted and energized!

  21. You’re not alone – I neeeeed light. I’m in NYC and am just hanging out for summer – although the city does have some glorious winter days sometimes! That last photo is just gorgeous – dream holiday home!

  22. I crave light! We’ve actually had two sunny days in row up here in AK so I feel pretty good (oddly enough…all winter has been one dark gray smudgy sky (especially on our side of the mountains)).

  23. yea… winter can be depressing. especially up here in the north. but then summer comes around, and you appreciate it SO MUCH MORE. at least i do. winter can be fun sometimes, when you sports (skiing, tobogganing, skating) or have snow ball fights with your kids. (:
    love, x
    btw: every time i leave a comment it always takes me two tries because the first time i post, it goes to that word verification thing and bugs out. then i lose everything i wrote and have to re-post. might want to look into that.

  24. I am kind of a vampire and really like to be in the dark. That being said, I would die in a room with no windows. Basically I just hate artificial light, because its completely obnoxious.

  25. After moving to Denmark where we go weeks without actually seeing the sun, I have really grown to appreciate the white used in Scandinavian design. Our first place had no direct sunlight and I nearly died! Our new place has tons of windows and I just couldn’t survive without them!

  26. Natural light is a must! I find that my mood is definitely affected when the days are dark and gloomy. Here’s hoping that you find a bright and cheerful studio space!

  27. I totally hear you. Up until a few years ago, winter used to be my favorite season (Christmas! my birthday!) but eventually the lack of natural light weighed in. The days are slightly becoming longer and it’s now almost light outside when I leave for work and come back home and this makes such a big difference. We had the worst of summers last year, so I’m definitely picking a sunny location this year for our vacation.

  28. Light is life, I’m currently living in London (for 5 years now) and it’s as people said, grey and cold MOST of the days. I’m originally from Venezuela (South America) where is warm and sunny most of the year and it’s been one of the biggest challenges I had to face. It’s so hard to get up and feel ready to do anything, I recently spent 5 days in a row indoors (with a 14 months baby boy!) unable to cross the door, today finally the sun shone and I felt so happy that literally almost cried (no joking) when the sun was in my face. I’m seriously considering to move into a brighter warmer country sometimes in the future!
    Enjoy the sunshine because in other parts of the world we crave for it 🙂
    Jessica Rebelo Design

  29. Yes, I crave light all the time. When we have a bit of sunshine here in the UK I feel so much better. I think most people suffer from SAD a little. How I envy you living in a lovely sunny place like California.

  30. I used to live in a row house in Toronto, and the main living area had no windows. There were windows in the entryway that *sort of* worked for the living area, but there was also a half wall that helped to block the light. Needless to say, I hated it! I vowed never to live in a house that has a windowless room, and believe me, some do! I live in the sunshine now too, thank goodness, and love the natural light in my home.
    xo Green Gable
    PS Just ordered Rivet and Sway glasses per your post!

  31. Natural light is the first thing I looked when we were hunting for a home to live in. It brings a different kind of mood every morning when it peeps through the windows, feels like you alive again. I moved from australia to join my ex fiance ( who is my hubby now ) and lived in Philly for a year and so, and I honestly don’t like it. It was the first time in my entire life live with limited light, really felt like a vampire that days.

  32. light! i live in dc and it’s definitely grey in the winter time. my condo is a corner and has 2 walls of windows. we get light in the morning and the afternoon which i love! i don’t know how people live dark spaces/places.

  33. I definitely crave light, I recently moved to an office without windows and I notice it makes a big difference in my mood/energy.
    Kristina does the Internets

  34. Joy wishing you all the best in your studio hunt! It sounds so exciting and working in a beautiful place I believe makes a whole load of difference to many aspects of one’s life! High ceilings, wooden floorboards and plenty of sunlight. I’m dreamin’….

  35. I’m currently residing in my at my parent’s east facing 1 bedroom + den apartment. As you would assume, I am living in the windowless den and I can tell you from first hand experience that natural light makes a HUGE difference. It’s extremely difficult for me to wake up in the morning simply because I have no natural light. I would definitely opt for the windowed studio space!

  36. Must. Have. Light. My husband thinks windows are a pain (haha not pane!) and his parents’ house is pretty dark. Our house right now has small windows and it literally brings me down. I love opening up currents to shed lots of sunlight on the room. It is just necessary. The next house will have bigger windows. End of Story.

  37. I’d say as a true California girl at heart, I need my sunshine, although I suffer from migraine headaches, so I can appreciate a dark atmosphere at times. Or a sexy, dark cocktail over dinner 🙂
    My fiance, who is from Boston, and I spent a summer on the east coast with his family a few years ago. I couldn’t get passed the dark, showery weather and the lack of true blue clear skies. I cried when our plane touched down in CA.

  38. Living in an Eichler style home I’m very puzzled as to why anyone would ever not want any light. I can’t walk into a normal house without cringing or squinting trying to find any hint of light. I am so used to living in a glass box that I have nightmares about having to live or work anywhere that’s dark.
    Good luck on the search! I’m sure you’ll find the perfect place soon.

  39. I would just give my right arm away to be in an office with natural light!! Currently I am working in a clothing company and we have no natural light at all!! Now it is getting better because sun is lying down later.
    Anyway I just feel that to be creative you need plenty of light.

  40. Oh, my!!! How I wish I had a beautiful and full of light place like this to work from. And the views are fantastic!
    Unfortunately, my husband would never live in such places (he loves concrete jungles like NYC).

  41. You just summed up how I’ve been feeling all winter. I’m a native californian that lives in NYC now, and while I absolutely love it, the dreary winters can last for so long. I did a juice fast to get some more energy and get out of my funk… Can’t wait for spring.

  42. omg, it’s all about natural light. When I lived in Boston, I was lucky enough to live in a room with big windows (not that it mattered, since it’s gray and wintry 8-9 months out of the year). But coming back to LA made me realize how you can’t take the Cali out of the Cali girl. spoiled, fsho.

  43. I need as much natural light in the room as possible. Otherwise I feel like I’m in a box. Although that was pretty tough in college on the days I was stuck inside the library doing research or studying and the weather outside was beautiful.

  44. Totally love the light. My ex was happiest in a darkened room with the TV the only light – and expected me to sit dutifully with him. I now realise that most of our living rooms were dark – no wonder my creative self was screaming to get out. Hopefully my next home with have huge windows with our beautiful Australian sunlight streaming in!!

  45. I’m the same way, I absolutely need lots of light. I used to live in the midwest where the winters would drag on forever all cold and grey. Now that I live in California I can’t imagine going back 🙂

  46. There’s a much better feeling starting projects during the day in natural light but I notice that my productivity can go up at night time. Clearly these people who don’t like light at all are bananas. 🙂

  47. While I love big light open spaces, I also really dislike lots of big windows with darkness outside (I think you can call me a scaredy cat for that) – it’s quite the dilemma.


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