Thursday, November 20, 2014

7 Rules for Under Cabinet Lighting - from renovaton bootcamp by Robin Siegerman

7 Rules for Under Cabinet Lighting
Under cabinet lights keep the counters from being dark
No lighting under the cabinets makes the work surface gloomy
Did you know that poor lighting in a kitchen can cause you to have headaches, neck and shoulder problems and eye strain?  
Did you also know that poorly designed lighting in a kitchen can ruin the whole effect of your costly remodel?
Lighting your kitchen well can make the difference between a room that feels warm and inviting, where friends and family love to gather and linger vs one that feels gloomy and drab or clinical and sterile and makes meal preparation a chore and a depressing experience.
Here are 7 Rules for undercabinet lighting  for your kitchen!
Undercabinet lighting illuminates the work surface 
After the renovation, even undercabinet lighting


My pet peeve is when people refer to this as “undercounter” lighting.  It’s not mounted under the counter, it’s mounted under the wall cabinets to LIGHT UP your COUNTER, therefore it’s UNDER—–>>> CABINET lighting.

Because the tasks you perform often use sharp implements and blades that can lop off a digit or two, lighting up your work area is critical, but there are a few rules of thumb to keep in mind so you can keep your thumb on your hand where it belongs:

1.   The lights should be mounted to the under side of the wall cabinet at the front NOT the back.  The idea is to light your work surface, not the back wall.  Since your wall cabinets are half the depth of your base cabinets, mounting your lights at the front of the cabinet will give you good lighting on the whole counter top, not just at the back.

2.   If you have chosen a highly reflective counter top material like polished black granite, it will look like a mirror when lit from above, bouncing terrible glare off the counter top back into your eyes.  So for this kind of situation, use an under cabinet fixture with a lens that’s frosted which will diffuse the lights so you don’t blind yourself and cut off a digit!

3.   Using individual puck lights for under-cabinet lighting is not the best solution unless you space them very close together so you don’t get “hot” spots under the light and dark spots between the fixtures.  This causes your pupils to constantly be dilating and focusing and can cause eyestrain and headaches.

4.   LED strip lighting will not be as bright as other types like halogen, xenon or fluorescent, so you might want to use two strips side-by-side. This will double your cost, but their life is so long, you’ll virtually never have to replace them, unless you leave them on 24/7. Even then, they should last for a good 15 years or more.

5.   Try to install the light switch that controls your under cabinet lighting in the same place as your general room lighting.  You’ll get aggravated very quickly if you have to run around your kitchen to hit the switches to control various light sources.

6.   Colour temperature of your under cabinet lighting is going to affect how the colours of your backsplash tile and counter top look. If the light is very cool (like a fluorescent with a lot of blue in the spectrum), warm colors like reds and oranges are going to look dead.  On the other hand, a cool light can make green or blue more vivid. Talk to someone who knows lighting before throwing in any old under cabinet lighting if you’ve got a backsplash or counter top you want to highlight.

7.   Unless your cabinets have a face-frame that creates a recessed cavity under your wall cabinets, be sure your kitchen designer specifies a light valance. This is a strip of cabinet-match material of about 2″ high that will hide the under cabinet lights from view so you won’t be hit in the eyes with glare when you sit at a kitchen table.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

And the lights came on.....

Most decorators and designers will tell you that the correct lighting can make or break a room.It is one of the most important factors in good design.   Unfortunately in many cases it is the last thing on people's minds when undertaking a new re-decorating or renovation project.  Space planning/layout is one of the first before purchasing furnishings and then you should look at where the lighting should be an how much of it depending on the activities that will take place in that space.  Poor lighting will affect how we function in the space as well as lack of it can leave it flat and without personality.  Lighting can create a lovely atmosphere in your home.  It offers functionality as well as mood.

To have the most effective lighting scheme, you will require a combination of all three types of lighting, comprised of task, ambient and accent.  The ambient light will provide a general even balance of light throughout a space such as a chandelier.  Task lighting will focus on a specific area such as a lamp positioned for reading.  Accent lighting will draw attention to a particular area and add depth and drama, such as a picture light or a recessed pot light directed toward a piece of art.

When planning your overall lighting you need to consider the mood you want to create and the tasks to be performed in each specific room.  When selecting your fixtures, obviously you would want to compliment the style of your room’s d├ęcor.   The type of lampshade can also affect your lighting.   The shape, material and opacity of the shade will affect the direction and diffusion of the light by sending it up or down and reducing glare.  Using dimmers gives you more control over the brightness and mood. 

These days, we cannot speak about lighting without mentioning the importance of Energy-efficient light bulbs. The original Compact Fluorescent lamps (CFL’s) that were introduced with the coils which appeared less attractive that the standard incandescent light bulbs we were used to have now been redesigned.  They also gave off a slightly cooler and duller light than an incandescent but again manufacturers have worked on making them warmer and brighter.

When planning your lighting, it is important to speak with expert lighting suppliers in order to be certain that your final plan will serve your needs.  The new LED's are amazing and having attended two seminars on this topic, it is definitely worth your investment to read about them and seek information from the experts. The latest way to select the correct amount of light for your space is measured in lumens.   I have learned quite a bit recently about wattage, lumens, halogen, cfl and leds,  but do not consider myself a complete expert so I defer to the many notes I have and the lighting experts.

All I can say is that lighting never looked so good!!

Friday, November 14, 2014

Christmas has come to Sheridan Nurseries

Yes, Sheridan Nurseries is a Christmas wonderland.  I attended a container making seminar there today and as usual, Michael did a fantastic job.  Such a talented and creative man.  Of course it got my own creative imagination going and I picked up my greenery and some other odds and ends and now I am ready to create my own Christmas containers.

They have every style possible for decorating your Christmas tree and home.  Their collection of gift items is amazing.  Below are some of the photos I took and you will see how fabulous this place is.  Thanks to Brenda and June as well for the goodies we were served.


Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Retail Therapy

Spring came and went and somehow I missed it.  It seemed to be summer popped in for a very minimal time and it seemed to be raining way too much for my taste, and poof, it was gone as well and we headed into fall and now winter.   With all the business of the fall preparing for holidays we shop but we do not always treat it as a fun and enjoyable process when we have so much to do.  We are so busy we have so much to take care of that we tend to be happy to have it completed.  Well, now that we are heading into the Holiday season it is a great time to get a little 'retail therapy.'

I love to shop and all decorators and designers are very much into this pasttime.  This is where work can also be fun!  We call it 'sourcing' when looking for items for clients but when it is just for ourselves, it is really just good old fashioned shopping.
The old saying that the shoemakers children have no shoes tends to hold up with designers and decorators in that we are so busy working on clients projects and attending many showroom events to see the latest and greatest out there, we don't seem to have time for our own abodes.  Well now is a great time to take a little time and as Nike says DO IT! 

I really am in need of a little 'retail therapy' for myself and decided to check out some great spots, just to name a few and get your home ready for upcoming entertaining.

Pottery Barn
EQ 3
Crate & Barrel
Urban Barn
Wicker Emporium

Most are already dressed up for the Christmas season and can really put you in the mood. Watch for a future post dedicated to the wonderful displays at Sheridan Nurseries

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas.....

I have been checking out just a few of my favourite shopping spots and and they are all decked out in their finest for the upcoming holidays...

Sheridan Nurseries

 Pottery Barn


 Wicker Emporium

 Urban Barn


 Interior Design House

 Watch for a future post dedicated to the wonderful displays at Sheridan Nurseries

Tips for Designing your Dining Room

Top Ten Tips for Designing a Dining Room

1.       The table size should be determined by the size of the room and the other     furniture in it. Absolute minimal clearance between the table edge and any facing wall or buffet is 30-36” but this will not allow for circulation behind a seated diner, or allow access to the buffet during a meal. Ideally, you should have 48 - 60” of space between a table and facing obstruction.

2.       Each diner needs his own dining space of 24-30”wide by 16-18” deep. Generally there will also be a shared space between facing diners of 5-9”.

3.       When buying any area carpet to go beneath the table, all chair legs should sit on it firmly when pushed away from the table. Always buy an under pad to protect the rug fibers from the hard floor. Rug under pads should be about 2” smaller than your rug on each side.

4.       To determine furniture quality, check the details. For example, look for dovetail joints in drawers. ( Fan-shaped tendons that interlock with a corresponding notched mortises) Also, look for a piece of wood that provides a dust proofing layer between drawers.

5.       In a room with an 8 foot ceiling, chandeliers should be hung with 30 -32” of space between the bottom of the chandelier and the table surface. Increase the space by 3” for every foot if you are lucky enough to have a high ceiling.

6.       The width of the chandelier should never exceed the width of the table. Ideally it should be 1/2 to 2/3 the size of your table width.

7.        Always use dimmer switches.

8.        Wall sconces should be mounted 60” from the floor.

9.       Centrepieces should never block the view of diners. Average eye level for men is 27”from the table top and for women it is 19”.

10.       Finally, have fun and be dramatic when decorating this room. Often it is a separate, more formal space, giving you the freedom to make it different from the other areas in your home. It can be decorated with deeper, richer colours that complement candle light, sparkling crystal and gleaming white dishes.

Sources:    Human Dimension and Interior Space by Julius Panero and Martin Zelni,  Furnish – The Home Furnishings Experts; Winter 2012, Furniture Today Media Group;  10 Principles of Good Interior Design by Vinny Lee