The Cool House: lighting
Showing posts with label lighting. Show all posts
Showing posts with label lighting. Show all posts

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Good for another 25

Another CFL downlight blew in the kitchen last week. They are supposed to last 5 years but we have averaged 18 months, not really good enough considering the price ranges from 5 to 9 bucks a pop. I was so mad I decided we were going to try the Cree LED lights I posted about here, which come as bulb and housing in one piece. They are reputed to last 25 years - far longer than I expect to be living in the US, let alone this house - and take no more than a few minutes to swap with the old cans. We set out to buy one as an experiment - if the unit was as easy to install as the video promised we'd replace them all. By sheer good fortune, we found out Home Depot is having an eco-friendly sale so those $50 lights were only $35 each. If the trial LED fit, I'd go back and buy the other thirteen.

We watched the video, read the enclosed instructions, turned off the power and went for it. The old housing had a plate we had to take out, and The Guy had to undo the wires to take it off but that was the only scary part of the process. He scewed the new housing on to the old socket, pushed the unit up until it clicked in place. Then we turned on the power and stood by. Unlike the other LED lights I bought for the mudroom the Cree Ecosmart are instant on and have a nice bright light. The best thing is that bulb is enclosed behind a diffuser so that lightbulb isn't noticeable. We were sold.

The most difficult part of the LED downlight changeover? Getting our hands on fourteen light bulbs. It took four trips to three different Home Depots in two counties to garner all thirteen.

I delivered the first nine home and by the time I got back with the final four The Guy had walked the dog and installed all the downlights. All. By. Himself. No drama, no emergency call for help. Who is this chap and what has he done with The Guy?

Twenty minutes later we had three piles of trash - plastic, cardboard and original plates and a kitchen with one-style eco-friendly lighting.

Thanks to Cree Lighting and The Guy we can enjoy a maintenance-free lighting system in the kitchen and see what we are doing without getting overheated... like painting the walls and ceiling!

Friday, October 08, 2010

Outlets (or Sockets) & LEDs

We decided to replace twenty-three electrical outlets along the baseboard - all the new baseboard, around the first floor - because nothing says tacky like forty year-old black 'n' greasy outlets on spanking new baseboard. We could do this ourselves but we decided to get the electrician in. I keep referring to them as sockets and he's all "What? Oh, you mean outlets". Every. Single. Time. I swear if he does it one more time I will refer to it as the "female electrical connector". My only revenge is that it's him lying on the hardwood floor sighing deeply and not me.

As a floodlight in the mud room had blown I decided to fork over the $50 to see what kind of light the LED would give me. I won't lie that there's a nano second delay but the light is so clear and bright it won me over immediately - the contrast with the first generation yellowish CFLs is astounding. So much so that I dove back to Home Depot to get two more. Unfortunately they only had one - so someone must be spending the fifty bucks for eco-friendliness. I'll have to increase my carbon footprint by driving to another store a few miles further or bite the bullet and order the fourteen bulbs online for the kitchen while I'm at it.

Saturday, October 02, 2010

Touches of Gold

Well Antique Brass, really.

The new sconces arrived - after a lot of thought I finally went with the Jonathan Adler Parker Half-round Sconces for their retro design and gold tone that picks up the design and color of the rug, a couple of paintings and the original track lighting.

This room is going to look so much better with baseboards and a coat of Benjamin Moore Bronzed Beige. We're getting there!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

LED Downlights

I was wandering through the eco-friendly section of the lighting department of Home Depot the other day in search of a replacement bulb for the recessed cans in the kitchen when I spotted something new - LED downlights from Philips. Normally I'd be the first one to jump on an eco-friendly upgrade (which is why I have 6 different bulbs in my kitchen - all different lumens and kelvins) but the price made me choke. The Philips Ambient LED was pennies short of $70. To do the job properly I should replace all 14 lights in the kitchen, plus the three in the mud room/corridor, which would cost ::GASP:: well over a thousand bucks.

When I got home I started to look around for other LED manufacturers and found one Cree Lighting that offers an Ecosmart bulb for an affordable $50. The company claims each bulb will save $300 over its lifetime and that lifetime should be a long 35,000 hours or approximately 30 years. They are basically telling me I'd never have to change a lightbulb again. And the video shows how simple it would be to install.

What do you think? Obviously no one can test the veracity of the claim to the longevity of these bulbs but has anyone out there tried these LED lights? Is the Easy White color as natural as they claim? Is there a reason they are twenty dollars cheaper than the other brands? I'd really like to have the lighting issue in the kitchen sorted once and for all but I can't justify spending such a huge amount of money on a promise.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

The lights went out

Well, half the undercabinet lights. I haven't even got paint on the walls, let alone a backsplash behind the small appliance counter but now three of the six strip Xenon lights from WAC stubbornly refuse to light up. Ylighting think it's a transformer issue and are sending me a new unit. Until then the lighting will be a little sombre, which suits my mood.

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Inspiration in the Den

The new hardwood floor is in and will soon be sanded and sealed. The electric cables that came up through the platform a foot from the wall have been relocated to a less obtrusive position and although the room will need new paint soon it's a blank canvas I can't wait to colour. It will need a rug, something to soften all that wood, a credenza for the TV (we'll swap the big TV from the master for the smaller one that used to be in the media center) and a couple of sconces. I have plans to use pieces I have in the house for the first two but the sconces will require some real live shopping. It'll take some courage to start looking at lamps again - it's really hard to judge from a product image in a catalogue or web page how it will actually look in a furnished space. But I've made a start and found a few contenders:

jefdesigns Legna wall sconce via Design Public
. It comes in teak, walnut or zebrawood veneer - I like the walnut.

The Oggetti Dune Flushmount Wall Sconce via Lumens. Available in Black/Sand, Mocha/White and Sand.

Parker Half Round Sconce by Jonathan Adler via ylighting in Deep Patina Bronze. Aso available in Polished Nickel and Antique Brass.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010


Just to confirm the wondrous conundrum of coincidence, The Guy and I were speculating whether top hats would make a comeback - especially after Johnny Depp wore one in Alice in Wonderland - when from another direction completely, design not fashion, our musings found their answer. Wooster Black/Silver Pendant Lights from Heals. Also available in Jeeves - the ultimate bowler hat at your service.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

The square on the hypotenuse...

Right angles, triangles and rectangles in the dressing room courtesy of Andrew Geller and Ron Rezek for Artemide. I love Pythagoras!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Blown balls

The Awesome Designer would like me to post a clarification, if not an outright correction to this post. Apparently, the balls in question are not crystal but blown glass. That's right folks, and I am happy to tell the internets that the post title should read Blown Balls!

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Lighting Up

The landscape lighting has been a trifle temperamental since we moved in. It seems constantly being jumped on by squirrels and cats, kicked by landscapers, and knocked over by tree surgeons and snowplows was more abuse than the lamps could take. In places the cable had been completely severed. Although we've re-coupled, duct-taped and generally mended all the parts, it had got to the point that only on fully moonlit nights was it safe to venture down the paths. We finally assessed the risk of serious injury to ourselves or visitors versus the cost of a new system and invested in a set of low voltage lights for the driveway and added a couple of new lamps to the set on the front path.
The dogs were very serious about getting the job done right. Sadie oversaw every lamp connection, leaning on The Guy a couple of times to remind him to screw the bulb in before moving on to the next spot. This is a pretty simple system to install, and even taking time to bury the cable it only took a couple of hours. The downside is that once the lamps are clipped into the cable they cannot be moved and one lamp (on the corner of the path, of course) wouldn't work. We have no idea why that one lamp isn't cooperating but as it snowed last night it will be a while before we can investigate further. And really, will it matter? A few feet of snow, a couple of visits by the snowplow, a falling branch or two and by Spring we'll probably only have half the lamps working again.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Classic/Fantastic Taccia Table Lamp

We had a very inspiring trip to the Met Museum the other day. Another small exhibition we wandered into was Classic/Fantastic: Selections from the Modern Design Collection. This show had lots of desirable pieces, we'd seen before like the Clarice Cliff pottery and the Henning Koppel silver clam-shaped serving dish, but especially the Taccia lamp, designed in 1962 by Achille Castiglione. We know we've hit upon a favourite when both The Guy and I yell out from opposite sides of the room "I love that lamp". The Taccia is glass floodlight atop a fluted column, it is at once classic and modern and fits perfectly into our style. And we have the perfect spot for it: placed on a plinth in the corner at the top of the front stairs. It would provide much needed light there, illuminate the redwood ceiling and provide something beautiful to look at even when not switched on. Luckily it's still available from Flos via ylighting for $2,548.00. Unluckily we are still forced to endure the fierce frugality measures we imposed at The Cool House in our attempt to mitigate the economic meltdown. It's a good thing we can go check it out at the Met when the need arises, no?

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Fingerprint Design

Cutting edge technology takes designer Dan Yeffet's fingerprint and turns it into the Detail.MGX lamp. Originally offered in a limited edition of 30 large spheres, it's now available as a more affordable series of three mini pendant lamps. The lamps are produced using Selective Laser Sintering (SLS), a 3-D printing technique that is becoming more widely seen in lighting, furniture and textile design. Detail.MGX will be one of the products on view at 100% Design in London next month.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Win a Light

If you like modern lighting stroll over to 2modern Design Talk where they are currently running a competition to win this Meridian Table Lamp from Lights Up!.
All you have to do is visit the 2Modern lighting shop and then leave comments about it on on the contest page. Not too complicated is it? Competition ends June 30th.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Silver White Light*

*Today's light-themed playlist at the bottom of the webpage. Bragging rights for the reader who knows the artist who wrote/recorded this song, which is not on the playlist. Extra points if you know what he's doing now!

My prize arrived yesterday, the Jonathan Adler Carlyle Beaded Lamp I won last month over at ::Surrroundings:: and it's super, fabulous, lovely. Although the finish is Polished Nickel the colour is a subtle silver with a white shade. It's also extremely heavy. I had no idea it would weigh so much. I thought it would be nickel painted ceramic but it's too heavy to be that. This is a good thing as there is little chance a kitty will knock it off the end table.

It's a great design, a classic shape yet modern enough to fit into my den and I love the mix of metals we have going on in there now, the poished nickel with brass spotlights and a chrome and glass chandelier. It seems a lot but it all works together. I need a small accessory or two to sit next to it but it goes well with the new Hayward Red pillows I got from Crate and Barrel a couple of weeks ago. This room is starting to come together and I'm delighted I entered that competition.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

It's going to get a whole lot lighter

Look, look. Do you see what I see? Do you recognise that light? The sofa? The balcony? It's my living room.
I entered a competition over at Surroundings, a site run by designer Linda Merrill of Chameleon Interiors. Check it out, it's dedicated to all aspects of design - and there's plenty of information over there as well as lots of Insporn - it's full of lustworthy objects.
And what did I win? Why this absolutely gorgeous Jonathan Adler Carlyle Beaded Table Lamp offered by Croft & Little. It couldn't have come at a better time. I've been looking for a lamp to go here since I moved the old lamp to the master bedroom in the great art reshuffle. I almost bid on two lamps on eBay, despite the $0 in the lighting budget, one I forgot about until 10 minutes after the auction closed, the other I was going to do today. This is a gazillion times better, it will wake up that boring little corner in terms of light and style.
It would be very remiss of me not to thank the person who sent me to the competition at Surroundings in the first place, Susan Serra of The Kitchen Designer, whose blog I read avidly. If Susan were thinking of giving away a kitchen, especially a beautiful Hansen Kitchen, I'd enter in a heartbeat...

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Powder room: the fixtures

No gold tiles or bejeweled faucets but a splash of colour from the vessel sink amongst the sea of gray tones

The dressing room light

Of course if you are going to take down the light in the dressing room to use in the powder room you have to put something in its place. Luckily (or part of my devious master plan to drive The Guy crazy) I had a spare halogen light fixture from the master closet light improvement project. Unfortunately when The Guy removed the fixture he revealed a circle of Navajo white that didn't match the surrounding super white paint. But luckily again, I had a can of that left over, so all we had to do was give the circle a quick coat of paint and voila. Right?
I'll spare you the photos because here's how it went down.
"What's the quickest way to do this, we don't want to go get a roller do we?"
"I've got a touch-up sponge you can use, but it could get messy so just strip off your shirt and jeans and I'll get it"
That was the luckiest thing that happened all day because you'd be surprised how much paint those sponges can hold. When The Guy jumped on the chair dressed only in underpants and socks and pressed that sponge to the ceiling there was....
Let's just say the clean-up took far longer than the touch-up.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Powder room: the lighting

I know it was probably a very expensive fixture, but no-one has been able to secure it to the ceiling, and a half-attached, rusty chrome and lucite chandelier is not going to add anything to the vision I have for the powder room.

I made The Guy swap the light fixture from our dressing room for this one. And guess what was underneath the chandelier? Great swirling 60s disco balls, it's more of the silver metallic wallpaper I found when I painted the room. Oh my eyes. This must have been fantastically fabulous back in the day.

It took two of us to take down the light. Then we got out the scales. It weighed 9.5 lbs.

We carefully peeled off the wallpaper. I'm going to make a scrapbook of all the wonderful wallpapers and tiles that decorated the house in 1968. I wish I could have seen it then. I had a moment's regret that I'd taken down the light, and the wallpaper, then I got back with the programme: bringing the decor into the 21st century.

When we put up the Facet Clip by Ron Rezek for Artemide light the room instantly looked cleaner, sharper and much bigger. The Guy complained, of course, about another of my crazy ideas but I get the satisfaction at the end of the project, of hearing him say "You know, you were right, it looks fantastic".
Of course I was honey, of course it does.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Powder room tile choice

Saturday morning was spent running from one tile place to another to find the perfect floor for the powder room. First stop HD to look at the marble we could buff down and seal. It was Hopelessly Depressing. We did buy a $9 Carrara marble lintel but the only marble tiles they had left were Crema Beige, and these were chipped and horrible.
Then on to a "real" tile shop where 12"x12" honed Carrara was a staggering $12! Eeek. And the more I looked at it the more I thought it could turn into a bad 80s nightmare. So we chose six Porcelain tiles that would co-ordinate with the countertop to try at home. First contender was a light grey marble-like 13'x13" tile that unfortunately looked dirty in the powder room. Second a great stone-look cement-coloured tile but it was too modern for the space. Likewise two Urbatek tiles in grey-green and slate blue and a fifth that had sparkles in. Unfortunately that one did look like someone had missed the loo, so that left number six.

Kitten-approved final choice: grey porcelain tile with black and stone veins.

Oops. First casualty of the renovation - the brand new lintel. It didn't stand up to being trodden on.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

File it under lust, baby

Looking through some inspiring photos on the internets today I came across the Legna Lightbox 2 from Jef Designs. This digital painting is illuminated by three fluorescent tubes creating a soft, back-lit work of art.
I want something like this to replace the Artimide Logico light on the landing. I'm not sure that the Legna lightbox would provide enough light along the corridor but it's certainly the right size (20h x 30l x 3.5d) and has the wood effect in it that we just can't get enough of in the Cool House. Can you image how striking it would look there? As it costs $1500 and our lighting budget right now stands at $0 or less I won't be able to find out if it would be as stunning on our wall. I'll just have to worship it from afar.