Bring in the Light and Do It Right
by Melissa LaScaleia
Ken van Heyningen is the owner and operator of Coastal Transformations in Myrtle Beach, which can revamp your home or office into a more light-filled and energy efficient space.
He got started in the industry twenty-five years ago, when his mother told him about tubular skylights that she had seen during a trip to a Florida home. She was impressed by their beauty, and by how much additional light they let in, as well as how no heat came through.
Always interested in home improvement, Ken was intrigued by the concept. After some investigation and research, he eventually opened his own company in 1995. Over the years, he’s grown in the knowledge, products, services and transformations that he offers. Today he has a myriad of options for making a home brighter and more visually appealing, utilizing natural resources, and helping to reduce energy consumption and utility bills.
Ken feels strongly that you shouldn’t have to turn the lights on in your home during the day, and enjoys transforming people’s homes so they don’t have to. His work also measurably increases your home’s resale value because it enhances its visual appeal and the reduction in energy costs is an added incentive for would-be buyers.
The company installs several different varieties of skylights: Velux Sun Tunnel skylights bring in light without heat or leaks— making them the skylight of choice for the South. They can also reinstall existing skylights, outfit you with blinds, and retrofit solar blinds.
They install solar powered exhaust fans in attic spaces, which remove heat in the summer and moisture in the winter. Similarly, he installs GF 14 attic coolers; they are like fans, but designed specifically for attics and garages, and literally pull out the hot air and moisture from the garage and the attic space above it. All of this results in reduced energy costs, greater temperature regulation, and better protection against mold and mildew.
They also brighten up darkened interiors of house entryways by installing decorative glass panels on front doors.
“Having a decorative glass window on the front door of your house will increase its resale value because it has greater curb appeal,” Ken explains. “It just looks richer. If you have two identical houses side by side, one with a front door that has decorative glass, and one without, the one with the glass draws your eye to the house, and it’s worth more to you, because it’s prettier. Statistically, the perceived value of the home is increased by up to 6%. Full pieces of glass start off at $699.00 to install. So it’s not a really high price point to make the upgrade.”
Coastal Transformations also carries tubular skylights that come in three different configurations, depending on the style and orientation of your roof. One of the configurations, called TLR, is a flat, tempered safety glass which replicates a skylight. It brings in the natural light without the heat and leaks; it looks like an overhead light, but disperses a completely natural glow.
“There’s a solar panel option inside the tube with LED lights in it,” Ken explains. “During the day, it charges the batteries in it, and at night, the tube puts light out as a night light. It’s perfect for a bathroom, walk-in-closets, or anywhere really, you want to see with real light.
“And the benefits are profound. Your color retention is way better with natural light; it alleviates seasonal effective disorder; and reduces electrical lighting costs. It’s a one-time cost, versus continuous high electric bills. Moreover, installing this type of light gives you a federal and state tax credit, and it’s a $35 upgrade.”
Ken’s tubular light of choice is by Velux. Dubbed the Rigid SunTunnel, it offers the best performance in terms of the light that you receive in your home.
All of Ken’s work comes with a ten year installation and ten year product warranty. The tubular skylight has a twenty year warranty on the tubing itself.
Jason, Ken’s son-in-law, began working with Coastal Transformations in 2005, and the company has been family owned and operated ever since. The two consult with clients and do all the installations themselves.
They understand the inner mechanics of products currently on the market and stay current with industry trends. Jason and Ken know which products would serve their customers best depending on the architecture of the space, and they know how to install products properly. This is good news for their clients, who otherwise could make expensive mistakes or select products which are not optimal for what they are trying to achieve.
“With our installations, we include a hurricane dome on our skylights because of our geographic location,” Ken says. “We want to make sure that we’re selling you the best product and outfitting you properly. We don’t upcharge for that protection.”
Coastal Transformations has a showroom in Murrells Inlet, where people can see and select all of the products that they carry.
One of his newest products is an energy efficient doggie door. Called Plexidor Dog Doors, it can be installed in a solid door or even a sliding glass door.
“It functions like a saloon door,” Ken says. “It’s a shatter-resistant panel made from similar material as what is used in windows found on aircraft. Not only is it durable, but it’s also energy efficient.
“The doggie door has a high density energy seal around it made from aluminum so it won’t leak air, and the frame increases its durability. And it has a lock on it, so you can put a 20-gauge steel security plate to block it off if you go out of town.”
As proof of its durability, the doggie door comes with a ten year warranty. It also has an optional awning so that in the event of rain, your dog can stick his head outside the door and make an informed choice about whether to depart the confines of your home or not.
The doors come in four different sizes and can accommodate a pet up to 220lb; the smallest is very tiny, and will accommodate a cat.
You can even opt for the add on— and have an electrically operated pet door that operates via a radio frequency device. Your pet wears a collar which activates the door to open or close, functioning like a mini garage door opener.
Ken loves what he does. And is celebrating his company’s 25 year anniversary this year.
“Our tagline is, bring in the light, and do it right,” he tells me. “Because our two main products bring in light and do it with energy efficiency.”
“My biggest thing,” he concludes, “is making people happy. I don’t have any dissatisfied customers. And you can’t ask for anything better than that.”