I'm working over some house plans with my builder and would like input on a foyer question. The geometry is very difficult to describe, but basically we would like to bring some natural lighting into the home from a dormer that sits about 6' above the entrance door. The foyer is an area about 8 x 12', and opens to a kitchen/living room area with a cathedral ceiling (the peak of the cathedral ceiling is centered over the main living area, and runs left to right from the perspective of the front door).
There are two options we're considering for the foyer. One is to 'box in' the elevated ceiling, so the entire foyer area has a ceiling height of approximately 18 feet. All four walls of this elevated ceiling area will be plumb, and the height will drop back down to the 9' ceiling height before entering into the cathedral area. There is no integration of the foyer ceiling with the cathedral. This seems 'cleaner, but might limit the natural lighting that goes into the main living area because of the 'low' 9' ceiling at the opposite end of the foyer.
The other option is to integrate this raised ceiling with the cathedral. This is really hard to describe. Basically, for the width of the foyer, we would carry the _opposite_ side of the cathedral ceiling upward, at the same slope, past the peak of the cathedral, until it meets the ceiling in the foyer. The side walls and front of the foyer would be done the same way. This second approach would give all of the natural lighting a path into the kitchen area and everywhere else, but i'm a little concerned about all the angles and any potential difficulty framing it in.
One other consideration is that the basement stairwell could use all the natural lighting it can get. The first option would 'box in' this natural lighting more, and may result in better lighting of the stairwell...i'm not sure.
Any suggestions? Sorry if my descriptions aren't very clear.