Wednesday, April 15, 2015

The Right Lighting

You decide to buy a home and remodel it. You pick people whose work  looks like what you want and with whom you get along. The process begins and you sign off on drawings and things move ahead. Then you start hearing numbers—not just proposed numbers but what things really cost. And despite being a woman who used to love to shop (I lobbied for it to become an Olympic sport but the committee got all uppity with me) you quickly learn that you have NO idea the  cost of the basic items that go into a house. Today’s wake up call: the electrical plan. 

©Anderson/Collier Architects
Our plans. Bold circles are recessed lights. The dotted lines indicate the path to the switch that controls that light.

If you can’t quite tell from the drawing the majority of our lighting is coming from recessed lights. This is because it is a midcentury look and because our ceilings are a bit low- 8’, which means Mr. G can touch with the ceiling with his fingertips. When this was shown to me, I gave it a quick look and said, “Sure, fine, if this is what we need to have.” Now we are beginning the electrical work and I’m looking at prices and guess what? Recessed lighting is the most expensive kind you can use! Which is a bit bizarre to me because I don’t think of it that way but obviously, I’m wrong. Now it is track lighting that is considered out-of-date. I haven't even kept up with shoe styles so how can I be expected to know these things?!

It appears to me now that the architect has this house lit up like the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree. That might be fine if we didn't want lamps anywhere in the house but that’s not the case. In some rooms I prefer floor or table lighting—namely the bedroom. In others, like the bathrooms, there will be wall fixtures so why have an  overhead light as well? Plus, no female architect would put an overhead light directly above the vanity because no woman applies make-up lit from above. Can you say, unflattering to the extreme? It automatically adds ten years to your face.

©Anderson/Collier Architects

So, finances aside (all right, partly aside) here are my changes (using hot pink Xs so it doesn’t seem so harsh on my part). In the master bedroom we'll have lamps on the nightstands so I'm removing those two lights. The light in the master bath is right next to a window and we'll have wall lights. And now that I think about it, do we even need the overhead light above the toilet? It's not that big a space. As for the three hall lights, I'm cutting those because the railing and stairs will be a focal point and one of the few places in the house where we can have a hanging light fixture. Also, each of the closets has a light inside so why have a light directly outside?

Of course,  all of these will necessitate another set of drawings. My bad.

Your turn: what kind of lighting does your house have? Do you like it or would you like something different?

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