Friday, April 27, 2012

A Lighting Plan Allows Your Home to Glow

Even if you are not remodeling right now, any craftsman home is enhanced with warm, inviting light fixtures.  Craftsman homes are filled with color; and a lighting plan allows your home to glow like a treasure box. Well-planned lighting sets a mood, is welcoming, provides light for specific tasks, and can enhance certain architectural elements in your home.
Bungalows shine with beautiful lamps, wall sconces, and lighting tucked behind architectural elements.  Two of the quickest ways to improve the quality of any room is with “period appropriate” paint color for the walls and improved lighting.  I love considering the possibilities using these two simple ideas.
Lighting Plan for New Construction
When our plans were drawn up, a lighting designer developed a plan that included recessed lighting in the ceiling which is so common in new construction today.  Later our architect made adjustments to remove many of these cans from the plan.   As I look at it today I have a great deal of interest in making some further adjustments to avoid the use of ANY can lighting in the ceiling.  This type of lighting seems to defeat the purpose of building a home in the era of the early 1900s.  To avoid it altogether may be a challenge, especially in the kitchen where task lighting is so important but I think I have a plan now……
A Visit to the Ultimate Bungalows 
On a recent trip to southern California I had a chance to meet a number of people in the Greene & Greene world.  I spent one day in the Gamble House and also the Robinson House. Being in the homes that Greene & Greene built galvanized my sense that cans don’t have a place in a home of this era. The light fixtures below are found in both the Gamble House and Robinson House kitchens. Placed correctly, a modern kitchen can be outfitted with the needed task lighting with this style of fixture on adjustable dimmer switches to serve all your needs:
Obviously today we need more light than this one fixture can provide.....

The Robinson House kitchen uses lighting correctly and in keeping with the period.

An Important Lighting Rule of Thumb 
When you plan your lighting, keep in mind that your goal is to
have your eyes shielded from the direct shine of a light bulb.  This is very important in living rooms and bedrooms. For example, sit down on your couch and in each chair—be sure that the placement of whatever light fixture you use is such that the eye does not see the light bulb from either a sitting down or standing position.  Many bungalow ceiling light fixtures with art glass are designed so that the light is directed up to the ceiling which is then reflected back down--- many use art glass or mica that shield the eye from a direct light bulb glare.  Keep this in mind when you shop for light fixtures to avoid problems.  The kitchen lights shown above are placed at the right height near the ceiling for this reason.

Light Fixtures Made to Order at Old California Lighting
My brother and his wife live near Orange, California where Old California Lighting is located.  Over the years I have visited their showroom several times but my last visit was unexpectedly interesting.  We walked in early on a Saturday morning and by chance we were greeted by the owner Tom Richard who then treated us to a factory tour--- which included the opportunity to see nearly finished custom made light fixtures.  One of these fixtures was a huge Greene & Greene octagonal chandelier for a home in Bend, Oregon, it was about 3 feet in diameter and quite impressive.  A smaller fixture of similar design is also shown:

Tom has the capability to build fixtures to order for a wide range of styles.  Using wood, art glass, and various metals, this family run business can design and build anything from classic arts and crafts light fixtures to contemporary designs.
Also in production during our visit were rustic but modern wall sconces and a chandelier with a southwestern flair and modern touch. These two pieces were designed to add a warm glow to an Arizona hotel:
Very difficult to see in these photos-- but these hotel light fixtures are quite hip.

Imagine in a Scotsdale hotel lobby or lounge.

Even if your idea is sketched on a napkin it can be designed and tweaked to your satisfaction.  Of course there are many traditional bungalow light fixtures available on their website ready for your home right now too. 
While on our tour we learned about patina finishing:
Patina bath

Parts drying from a dip in the patina bath. items are carefully packed in a self-forming foam shell for shipping using instapak:

.....and wrapped as a secure pallet for shipping—these two pallets are for one home:

The photo below shows some glass work prep for what I think is their Iridescent Green.
I just found something very cool on their website. 
On this page  when you hover over a color of glass it lights up so you can see the light lit and unlit!
A new favorite item for me is the lighted house number box. On a dark, rainy Seattle night it can be tough to find house numbers and unfortunately we have far too many nights like that around here.
While in Pasadena I met with several craftsmen specializing in custom light fixtures which I will feature here in the future.  In any home there is room for a few custom pieces but it would be difficult for most people to afford very many of them.
Old California Lighting offers many beautiful options and they have the economies of scale in place so that you can feature these light fixtures in your home throughout.  Tom and his family will go the extra mile to help you get the right lighting for your bungalow,  it’s a small investment that's sure to bring much happiness into your home!

Now when you look at photographs of craftsman interiors be sure to look at the element of lighting.

How is lighting tucked into architectural elements used?  Where are lamps placed in the room?  Is recessed lighting used and if so is it directed like the photo below?
Directed recessed lighting (sorry not a bungalow but it's hard to find examples).

If we use recessed lighting it will be to carefully wash a wall with light as shown above. What ideas do you have now?