1902 Victorian

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Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Lighting Guidance

We have chosen a new pendant light fixture for the kitchen, but we need some help figuring out how many of these we'll need and where we should put them.

Right now, we have three light fixtures in the kitchen: the ubiquitous fluorescent light over the sink, a particularly hideous "chandelier" (I hesitate to use such an attractive word on this thing) over the table, and a flush-mount fixture with three regular light bulbs near the center of the room.

In the daytime, the overhead lights aren't necessary because of the windows taking up nearly one whole wall. At night, these fixtures provide a reasonable - if a bit dank and orangey - amount of light.

The new fixtures we've chosen each have a single bulb.

So we'd need more than one of them to equal the current amount of light. Then again, they extend down two feet further than the flush-mount fixture does (the ceiling is 10 feet).

I want plenty of light, but the room is not huge (14.5 x 14 feet), and I don't want the ceiling to look crowded.

I've played around with the layout in Photoshop and come up with these options:

The yellow circles represent the actual scale of the shades (12 inches wide) but not how far the light will spread. (Suddenly, I'm feeling a strange urge to play dominoes.)

Some of these layouts would require considerable rewiring and patching on the ceiling. The work is within Darwin's range, and the ceiling is easily accessible from the attic, but it would still be a pain in the you-know-what.

There's also the possibility of installing under-cabinet lighting to illuminate the work space.

Beth and Meredith at House Made recently put up a similar pendant light over their sink, and they advise that you can never have too much light in the kitchen. Does anyone else out there have firsthand experience with this type of light fixture? How much area does one light cover?

Or just opinions?


Beth said...

Hmmmm...well here's what I would do if we were going to go all out AND had attic access (we can't get into our attic because of a bee hive incident in the 80s, so our neighbor/historian tells us):
I would put up some true white light canister lights above every cabinet or so (they're the little ones that Candace on "Divine Design" uses) for "task lighting." They tend to go away, and don't clutter up your ceiling. Then I'd put up pretty accent lights wherever they would just look good and where I wanted overall light, like the middle of the room. (I LOVE that you chose the yellow banded fixture at schoolhouse -- that was our second choice.)
I would definitely put something nice over the kitchen table as it makes it feel cozy and centers the table. Make sure that if you choose a chandelier that it's not a downward facing chandelier. We have one in our dining room, and if you look up from the table into the light, you just see a bare bulb, which bugs me (not enough to do anything about it -- just enough to be annoyed).

6:17 PM  
Kristin said...

We're still debating between the yellow and the vintage green, though at the moment I'm leaning toward the yellow because we already have so much green.

I've thought about the can lights (I watch Divine Design, too!), and it probably would look fine in our kitchen since we're not really going for "total historic accuracy," if there is such a thing. I mean, how historic is it *really* going to look with a microwave, dishwasher, refrigerator ... avacado-colored oven?

All we're trying to achieve is a more attractive kitchen that flllooowwwws with the house better.

Darwin might kill me if he hears me talk about heaping more work onto him, though.

9:56 PM  
Kasmira said...

I like the idea of one light over the table and one over the sink (looks like you can use the existing wiring) and then task lighting. We had under-the-counter lighting in our kitchen, but we ripped it out because it was not installed well, the wires were ugly, and one of them didn't work. Maybe you can find something nicer.

7:35 AM  
Gary said...

Speaking of light fixtures, I just got my new Rejeuvination catalogue in the mail today. They do curtain rods now!
If you do the above cabinet cut-outs, install some switched outlets in the side walls so that you can plug in any suitable lighting for there. They will take care of the ambiance lighting for the kitchen. You might consider a recessed fixture for above the sink unless you can put a wall light there. As for amount of light cast, put in the brightest bulb the fixture will allow and install a dimmer switch! Oh, while you are at it consider a 3-way switch if there is more than one way into the room.

12:16 PM  
Chris said...

I *love* those lights. I have some lights from Rejuvenation also.

I can tell you what we are leaning towards in redoing our kitchen. I want a simlar pendant over the sink and one over the island. The rest of the kitchen will have some recessed cans.

I would worry that too many of the hanging pendants would look cluttery... maybe too much of a good thing.

1:30 PM  
Kristin said...

Gary, we haven't decided for sure whether we're doing the cutouts or not. It's so hard to tell what they'll look like in our kitchen!

Chris, I'm with you on the too-cluttered thing. I think too many pendants would look crazy, especially if they're in random spots. I've seen kitchens with several, but they're usually put in a line, like over a bar or something. We don't have an island, but we do have the table. Maybe one over the table, one over the sink would be enough with the can lights. Then there'd be no ceiling-patching to do at least.

3:25 PM  
Anonymous said...

Install dimmers (it's easy!) if you haven't yet, too. Makes the lighting so much more versatile.

Under-cabinet lighting rocks and is pretty easy to install (so I'm told; my dad did it in my parents' house). From using your kitchen, you know where you need the most light. A consultant at a home-improvement warehouse could give you some free tidbits. Rewiring isn't that hard if your leads are long enough; or you can just splice in some more. It's almost as much fun as you can have in an attic (but not as fun as insulation .. ack!).

In our kitchen, we need a lot of light over the sink and a dimmable light over the table. I already installed a new stainless venthood with good lighting.

-Texas T-bone

3:42 PM  

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