When Marilyn Nelson purchased her downtown Minneapolis loft in 2017, she knew she wanted an entire remodel of the unit. The loft, which is located on the top floor of the six-story building, was built as a warehouse in 1902 and later converted into lofts in 2005.

Project: Hard Loft Kitchen and Bathroom Transformation
Challenge: Provide natural lighting to a recently remodeled but dark kitchen and bathroom in a downtown loft converted from a 120-year-old warehouse and transform it into a bright space.
Product: Three Solatube 290 ISn systems with JustFrost square decorative fixtures
Results: Solatube tubular skylights flood the two spaces with bright, evenly diffused natural light; no electric lighting is needed during the day.
Solatube Premier Dealer Installer: SolarMidwest, Inc

120-Year-Old Loft Retrofit by Solatube International - Sheet4
©Solatube International

“I was so excited to find this place. It’s located in the trendy North Loop neighbourhood of Minneapolis. Over 100 years ago, it was bustling with warehouses and commerce and now has this very cool, vibrant and eclectic culture,” said Nelson. “When I saw the amazing views of the downtown skyline and the surrounding neighbourhoods from the top floor of the building, I was sold.”


Even after a complete remodel of the loft, Nelson wasn’t satisfied. The lack of natural light in the unit did not do the new sleek and modern kitchen justice. She wanted her brand-new cabinets, marble countertops and newly refurbished exposed beams to have their chance to shine!

“I had this beautiful remodeled and open space, but you couldn’t see half of it because of how dark it was. When I woke up in the morning, I wanted to be greeted by this flood of natural light in every part of the loft, and that just wasn’t the case,” added Nelson.

120-Year-Old Loft Retrofit by Solatube International - Sheet5
©Solatube International

Likewise, the loft bathroom was another room starved of natural light, leaving the space feeling cramped and dull.


Looking for inspiration, Nelson discovered that some of her neighbours in the building had also faced a similar problem and recently installed several Solatube tubular skylights in their own lofts. She instantly fell in love with the look and style of the skylights.

“Once I saw the amount of light just one or two tubular skylights emitted into the home, I was done. I just had to have them!” she said.

With the help of SolarMidwest, Inc, Nelson quickly set up a free design consultation and then later an installation appointment.

“I couldn’t believe how fast and easy the whole process was,” she added.

120-Year-Old Loft Retrofit by Solatube International - Sheet6
©Solatube International

Nelson agreed that two Solatube 290 units in the kitchen space would fit her needs and ensure a proper balance of natural light to match the rest of the loft. She selected the white frosted square decorative fixtures, which beautifully complimented the new white cabinets and marble countertops.

In the bathroom, one Solatube 290 unit would be enough to make the space feel bigger and brighter. Blending comfort and style, the natural light enhances the tranquil ambiance by illuminating the bathroom design while the white frosted square decorative fixture pairs perfectly with the style of the space.

120-Year-Old Loft Retrofit by Solatube International - Sheet7
©Solatube International


“The Solatube tubular skylights are incredible! I open the door, and it’s just what I wanted! Bright and light, and it doesn’t feel like I’m walking into a dark cave anymore,” Nelson continued. “It’s been wonderful waking up and seeing the sun streaming through my entire loft every morning. Thanks to SolarMidwest, Inc. for their care in keeping the integrity of my loft, all while enhancing my design immensely, with only these few small units!” she concluded.

This transformation of the 120-year-old lofts is another picture-perfect example of the Solatube solution. Whether it’s 120 or two years old, your local Solatube Premier can help make your home fit your dream design.

Do you have a room or rooms begging for more natural light?

Take the first step towards a brighter home by visiting or calling 888.solatube to schedule a free virtual or in-home consultation with your local Solatube Premier Dealer.


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