Friday, September 22, 2006

I saw the Light

Since the electrician started putting up boxes, I've had to pull out my lighting binder and refresh my memory about lighting design - where to put lights, what kind of lights to use and how many. There really is so much to know in order to do "thoughtful" lighting design as opposed to the "Swiss cheese" method of dotting the ceiling with recessed cans. I felt pretty good about our design, which I worked on and refined using Randall Whitehead's books plus the awesome online services of the GardenWeb Home Forums.

Still, I wanted a real person to walk the space and critique the design. So I hired this local lighting expert for an hour consultation. He wasn't cheap, but I think he was worth it. I say I think, because I have to wait and see the end result. It's like the windows. In my mind, I was thinking they would look a certain way, but to actually see them for real, in situ....well, the proof of the pudding is in the eating.

Wanting to get the most out of our hour, I of course, prepared a list of questions and issues that I wanted him to address. Which he did!! Things like actual sconce height and placement; 3 or 4 MR16s for our dining table?; do I need additional lighting in the entry?; how do we do cove lighting in the kitchen?; more wall sconces in the LR?

He also tried to align the recessed cans along common lines so it would look more orderly. He pointed out that the actual placement would depend on the locations of the ceiling and floor joists and I should probably place paper furiture templates on the floor to make sure the cans were centered correctly. Duh, I hadn't even thought of that!
He even gave us a basic exterior lighting design!

So, armed with all this knowledge, I found myself admiring the very dramatic lighting in the Cheescake Factory bathroom. They had wall sconces flanking the vanity mirror for ambient light and as a decorative light fixture. Everything else was recessed. I loved the MR16s above each sink. I wonder if I can incorporate that into our Guest BA??? I've made so many changes to our lighting plan, I wouldn't blame my electrician if he started charging me for them!

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