Posts Tagged ‘track lighting’
Sunday, June 20th, 2010
One of my absolute favorite home improvement projects is updating kitchen lighting. I think that’s because most kitchens have such crummy lighting and once you make the necessary changes, the impact is so dramatic. You feel like you’ve really done something!
I’ve always lived in older homes because my husband and I are attracted to unique properties — no cookie cutter tract homes for us. And so far circumstances haven’t come together for us to build a custom home from scratch. That’s definitely on my bucket list! But until then, it means I’ve dealt with some pretty awful kitchens. My 1950′s Cliff May designed California ranch style home may have been a mid-century modern masterpiece – but the the kitchen had literally only ONE wall sconce for a kitchen light, ONE kitchen drawer and FIVE linear feet of counter space. Not kidding! Then there is my current home which is a very contemporary open plan tri-level custom home built in the 70′s. It had that horrible dropped-ceiling fluorescent light fixture in the kitchen. Talk about an awful glaring light. I hated it every time I had to turn it on.
So, without dredging up further painful kitchen memories – here are
The three layers of light every kitchen needs! - Part 1 – Ambient Lighting
Ambient Lighting: This is your general source of light. It’s usually provided by a ceiling fixture of some type. Of course, lighting coming from windows counts too. Most older kitchens have a single fixture on the ceiling, or if you’re lucky, you might have a second one over the sink. In many kitchens from the 70′s it’s going to be that big fluorescent light hidden behind white plastic. My best recommendations to improve the ambient lighting include:
- Track Lighting – These are easy to install and fit right over the old j-box. They range from inexpensive systems found at big box stores to very high end systems available in many finishes and with many styles of spot lights that can be attached to the track. Track lights allow placement of several spot lights along the length of the track. Check with an electrician to be sure how many spots you can add to the track so you don’t overload the circuit.You can extend a single line or create L shapes, U shapes, or a square track configuration. If you are replacing a single old light fixture this now gives you ambient light throughout your kitchen instead of a single source. Spots can be aimed at the floor or also at artwork on the walls or down on a kitchen table.
- Recessed Can Lights – preferably adjustable – These are easiest to place in a ceiling with an attic above, but there are types that can be retrofitted from below. This usually costs more than track lights, and installation is best left to an electrician. They are popular because they provide lots of light without giving your ceiling a cluttered look. They don’t have quite as much flexibility in angle adjustment as the spots on a track light, but they still will allow you to aim the lights where needed.
- Chandeliers - If you have a high ceiling in your kitchen it can be a real style statement to include a chandelier. Select one that is an appropriate scale to the room in general so that it will provide sufficient light.
- Monorail Lights - These function pretty much the same way as track lights, but they hang lower from the ceiling, so are best used in rooms with high ceilings. In fact, this is my fixture of choice for kitchens with exceptionally high ceilings because they can be extended several feet down from the ceiling putting the light where you need it and putting light bulbs within easy reach for changing. Unlike tracks which are always straight lines, the monorail can be curved in any shape. You can have fun creating a curved application that looks graceful and puts light anywhere you want it.
- Skylights, Windows & Solatubes®: These won’t help you at night, but a skylight or one of the tube style daylighting systems will brighten up your kitchen so much, you may be able to skip turning on the lights even on a cloudy day. And you may want to evaluate your windows too. Could you increase the size? Add one?
You may also like:
Tags: Ambient lighting, chandeliers, halogen, Kitchen, Lighting, monorail, pendant lights, sconces, task lighting, track lighting
Posted in DIY, Design Tips, Interior Design, Kitchen, Lighting, Uncategorized | 1 Comment »
Friday, March 26th, 2010
Portland Interior Designer Shares: Where to Shop in The Pearl District – Lux Lighting
(Photo: Pearl District Bridgeport Condo featuring monorail lighting, George Kovacs Floor Lamp, Kartell pendant lamps – interior by Pangaea Interior Design)
If you are moving to the Portland, Oregon Pearl District from somewhere in California (who isn’t? — I did!) or any other sunny place, you are probably noticing that there just isn’t as much light here with the cloudy and rainy days we often have. In fact, for the whole first year I lived here, I would think it was around 5:00 or 6:00 in the evening when it was only 2:00pm!! So today I’m sharing a little of my expertise on designing lighting plans and where to buy the coolest contemporary lighting fixtures and lamps.
Many of my clients living in the Pearl District are in one of the wonderful Lofts, Condos or Townhomes in buildings like 937 Condominiums, Bridgeport Condos, Streetcar Lofts, The Elizabeth, Indigo @ Twelve West, The Encore, The Wyatt or The Henry – just to name a handful. If you are not lucky enough to have a corner unit, although you may have floor to ceiling windows, they are probably all on one side and you have big lighting issues further back in your home. To complicate matters, you may have concrete ceilings or walls and steel studs. Enough to stop the DIY design enthusiast in their tracks! Many of my clients call me for help in designing a lighting plan for their Pearl District loft or condo. If you want a truly unique and upscale look, I have many “To-The-Trade” resources. But lots of my clients hire me to help them come up with a lighting plan, and they want to do their own shopping at retail stores to keep their costs down. They then run their favorite options past me for advice before making their final decisions.This is a great way to avoid any expensive mistakes! With a lighting plan consultation you can be sure you have all your lighting needs addressed and that it all looks great together.
So, I’m sharing my favorite retail lighting specialty store in the Pearl District. It’s Lux Lighting on the corner of NW Glisan & NW 13th. Their showroom will just knock your socks off with the latest in modern, contemporary and transitional lighting. They carry a huge array of brands. Some of my personal favorites are Foscarini (I have their Big Bang Chandelier in my own entryway – fabulous!,) Flos, George Kovacs, Luceplan, Modernica, Robert Abbey, Pablo and many, many more! They have amazing and unique high-end light fixtures and lamps as well as amazingly affordable and beautiful designs. I have always found Lux Lighting’s sales staff to be knowledgeable and willing to help with tricky lighting design issues.
Here in Portland, and especially in the Pearl District’s high rise lofts and condos, coming up with a great lighting plan is important to feeling good in your home.
** The first layer of light, ambient lighting (or overall general lighting) can be addressed through ceiling fixtures. Monorail and track lighting are two solutions that give a great amount of flexibility to your lighting through the myriad choice of spot lights and pendants. This will be especially important in the deeper recesses of lofts, condos or townhomes that have windows on a single side. Balance the amount of light so you have as much light toward the back of the space as you do near the windows.
** Task lighting is the next layer. Reading lamps and above counter lights in the kitchen are two good examples of lights that make it easier for you to function in your home. Think about the tasks you perform – cooking, reading, working at a desk – and add extra light to shine directly on your work space.
** Accent lighting is what really brings your space to life and adds that designer look. This includes lighting for your art, “up lights” that wash light onto the ceiling, and decorative lamps that are beautiful in their own right. Since many of the newer construction buildings feature lofts or condos with high ceilings, this is the perfect opportunity to add drama with a spectacular chandelier.
I also want to recommend Red’s Electric as my go-to resource for installation of all lighting elements in high rise condos, lofts and townhomes in the Pearl District. They have experience in these buildings and know how to work with all of the concrete, steel and special restrictions. Please tell them Pangaea sent you!
If you have one of these great Pearl District lofts, condos or townhomes and need help lighting up your space, call me today to schedule a lighting plan consultation! 503.816.4394
Tags: 937 Condominiums, accent lighting, Ambient lighting, Big Bang Chandelier, Bridgeport Condos, condo, floor lamp, Flos, Foscarini, George Kovacs, Indigo @ Twelve West, Interior Design, Lighting, loft, Luceplan, Modernica, monorail lighting, Pablo, Robert Abbey, Streetcar Lofts, task lighting, The Elizabeth, The Encore, The Henry, The Wyatt, track lighting
Posted in DIY, Design Dollars, Design Tips, Interior Design, Lighting, Lofts, Pearl District, Shopping, Uncategorized | No Comments »