Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Layers of light

NOTE: I realize lighting designers refer to the three lighting layers as ambient, accent, and task lighting. The 'Layers" referred to in this post are simply my personal thoughts on a single home, and how we planned for our lighting needs.
Often referred to as "the jewelry" for the house, light fixtures and fans help homeowners and designers create the desired look for each space. For our master bedroom, we chose a replica of the first ceiling fan made by Emerson over 100 years ago. The Emerson Cornerstone fan is perfect when paired with our plantation style 4-poster bed. 

There is a more casual feel in our guest bedroom, prompting us to choose a Casablanca fan with beadboard blades. The fan appears perfectly at home in the space and adds a nautical touch that echos the water view from the bedroom window.

While planning the house, we realized there would need to be ample lighting in each room. Our solution was to incorporate plenty of canned lights with dimmers, which would allow us to control the amount of light. Using cans also allowed us to look at lighting fixtures for their beauty, instead of only as the primary light source in each room.

Visual Comfort
Holborn 4-light
Although I am not sure this is fact or simply my imagination, most ceiling fixtures fans available today seem to be more for ambiance than for lighting. I dare not drop a piece of food from the breakfast table without turning on the ceiling cans for the search and rescue mission. The charming lantern hanging above the table adds character and beauty to the breakfast space, but it does not have enough light when standing alone.

My husband's study also has a ceiling fan, but we chose to add a light kit to that fan because it added to the historic feel of the fan. The light which is given off by this fixture is not helpful for a work space. We also included a pair of sconces in his study, which give off about as much light as a candle flame. Together, these lights will be beautiful in the evenings, but neither will allow any work to be done. That will require the ceiling canned lights to be used.

Table lamps will be a third light source to be added in various rooms. My fourth layer of light involves my favorite nightlights that will be strategically placed to allow us to walk around the house at night without bumping into walls or furniture. OUCH!

One specific idea is exciting, although only to me I'm sure. Our master bathroom has a separate little "water closet" for the toilet. I've realized how difficult it is to be quiet if I am in the restroom while my husband is sleeping. Closing the door to the toilet at night is like going into a darkroom without the ultraviolet lights on. "Where is that doorknob?"

The electricians looked at me a bit strange, but "Yes! Please! I definitely want that electrical outlet in this tiny room." Now I just have to decide the style of nightlight I will put in this outlet. Plus I'll also need to remember to turn it on before I go to bed each night. What a small thing to be excited about.

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