Tuesday, September 4, 2007
I'm still working on the lighting specs, and I'll be glad when I don't have to think about them again. With all of the new faux materials I'm using to build the house, I'm counting on the lighting to give the house an authenticity. The whole building process is such an humbling design experience. After so many years as an editor with shelter magazines, most people would expect me to know exactly what I want, but there is one thing I'm now certain of. Interior designers and architects are worth every penny you pay them. If I only had more pennies....I spent a lot of time thinking about the upstairs sconces this past weekend. I'm resourcing them (and the kitchen lighting) from a company called Visual Comfort who's retail division is Circa Lighting. They have the most beautiful fixtures with collections by designers I admire a lot—like Thomas O'Brien and Eric Cohler. Their in-house lines, Charter House and Studio, are also fantastic. The challenge for me isn't finding something that I like, it's narrowing those choices down to fixtures that are the right size and finish for the rooms. I know it sounds ridiculously simple, but it's not.
I finally decided to sketch life-size cutouts of a few fixtures and take them over to the house to see how they looked on the wall. I also wanted to make sure that the electric boxes were at the correct height for the fixtures. It's a lot easier for the electrician to change the position of them now before the Sheetrock goes up.
Seeing the sketches of the sconces taped in place on the wall made the final decision pretty easy. Here's what I've chosen: For the master bedroom I'm using a pair of Yoke Style Bath Sconces in bronze with white glass shades. In the guest room, I picked a pair of the Metropolitan Sconces in an antique white finish with paper shades. And, for the bookshelves in the common area, I'm going with a pair of the Boston Functional Library Two Arm Wall Lights. Some of the finishes you see here aren't what I picked, but the designs area great.
I met the electrician and site manager at the house on Friday, and we made a key change to the lighting plan in the kitchen. It's always good to meet up with the crew to make some decisions in person and verify other decisions that were made when the design was only on paper. In the kitchen it became clear that three ceiling lights were overkill, so we eliminated one. I was also able to more carefully consider the position of the lights. Alignment (of doors, windows, fixtures, etc...) is something that generally doesn't cost anything but can make the design of the whole look like a million bucks or cheap. Of course there are exceptions, but you always want the exceptions to be intentional and necessary, not just poor planning. The ceiling lights in the kitchen are aligned left to right with one of the fixtures also in alignment with the sink. I probably would have aligned the second fixture with the range, but there was a beam in the way on the ceiling. The left to right alignment was the most important visually. The fixtures I'm looking at will hang, and I'll share them in the next post. I've got a couple of spec questions that I need to have answered before I can make a decision. Circa Lighting has stores in Charleston, Savannah, Atlanta and Houston. I'll call one with my questions when they open today.