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Give your home a new lease of life with a skylight.

Byline: By Yvonne Jones

I have just arranged for a limestone path to be laid in a client's garden.

It looks wonderful, but I want something to speed up the ageing process, so that the path looked like it has always been there.

I have been given lots of advice - for instance, adding a mix of mud, water and Baby Bio to the path. But essentially all that does is dirty the stone rather than age it.

Architectural Stone Supplies (01254 397 277/www.architecturalstonesupplies.co.uk) suggest rubbing moss over the surface to give the stone that weathered look.

Kirkstone (0207 381 0424/www.kirkstone.com) use a brush with diamond-impregnated bristles to distress the stone and create a naturally worn appearance.

An angle grinder or a sanding disc can also be used to imitate the erosion processes.

There again Bibliotheque ( 0208 883 3713/www.bibliotheque.co.uk) recommend using a mild phosphoric acid diluted with water, and sponged over the surface.

With any of these options make sure you test it on a small area before going the whole hog.

Alternatively, of course, you could just sit back and let nature take its course!

We tend to think of skylights as a means of introducing light to a loft conversion.

But they are much more versatile than that. At relatively little expense they can be used elsewhere in the home to great effect.

Transform a dark and dingy bathroom, for example, or have one installed in a stairwell, so that the entire house benefits from a light injection.

For more information, try The Rooflight Company (01993 830 613/www.therooflightcompany.co.uk).

Before setting out it's worth checking if you need approval from your council's building control team. You might also run into problems if you live in a conservation area.

Skylights can also be a security weak spot, so think about adequate locking systems.

Glazed areas can let out the heat in winter and become hothouse stuffy in summer, so blinds and solar controlled glass might be worth considering.

But I haven't cited these potential hurdles to put you off - it's just that being clued up from the outset saves a lot of hassle.

Yvonne, one of Wales' leading interior designers, trained at the Royal College of Art. Her designs and a broad range of products can be seen at the Chameleon Interiors showroom in Cardiff. Tel: 029 2037 1277. www.chameleoninteriors.co.uk
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Sep 17, 2005
Words:407
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