Wednesday, December 29, 2010

We-Design-Day: Thinking, rethinking and thinking again

Every so often I've experienced the 'doubt' and it does usually surround my own projects (for our home). The less residential work I do the more I doubt my ability to do residential work. For some bizzare reason, planning labs, offices and the like is far easier - perhaps because it is just one project of many. My home is mine and the choices I make impact a greater audience.


I did have 'the talk' with my Husband about budget and true to our usual dance, he said "What does the project need?" and I said "I knew you'd say that!" and I explained my desire to design a project to a budget and not budget to a design. This is causing me many mixed feelings because I want more than we can afford. But with our budget in mind, I'll be planning a project to fit.

This week has me finalizing (or trying to between play sessions with TroubleMaker) the measured plan of our basement as welln trying to find just the right solution. This morning, my husband and I sat around discussing his needs for his office and studio. He was able to further help me refine and define his needs. I've got a better understanding of just what he requires which does simplify a few things for me and what I need to squish into our family space.

I also need to take a careful look at the ceiling. Our ceilings downstairs are suspended with accoustical tiles. Not exactly a designer's dream but they are simple and easy to work with. We have a few wacky bulkheads to deal with. One of which I have no idea what purpose it serves. My plan is to take down some of the tiles and see if the one is actually necessary or if I could replace it during the renewal. I also need to improve the lighting in both what will be in my new sewing studio as well as in the library area. I'd like to improve the lighting in the family room as well, however, my main focus will be the area in which we work.

A photography studio has special lighting needs that generally aren't met by general room lighting. My husband has a series of soft boxes and hot lights that he uses for table top work (like the pictures he did here) as well as his portraiture (seen here). He does need good task lighting around his office space. Furthermore, we will be moving all the prop storage into his new studio and that area will require special lighting as well - likely I'll use unit mounted lighting to provide the best direct light so we can see what we're selecting.

Think about your space and the tasks you do. For my sewing studio, I already have incandescent fixtures mounted to my sewing table. These are postitionable so I can focus them on the task at hand (whether sewing a piece or threading a needle). I need more general lighting for cutting and the other crafts I do. We'll be having a work centre in the Sewing studio and I need to ensure adqueate lighting there as well. I have an issues with shadows and must think about those as well.

One of my first renovations was to our kitchen in our condo. I picked two halogen fixtures that had three positionable lights. They provided very decent light - except when I was standing at the counter doing anything! Because the light was so bright (and very hot, I might add) my body cast huge shadows and I was always turning and shifting to allow the light to get past me.

Here are some lighting basics.

The typical types of lights used vary with the application. There are fluorescent, halogen, LED, incandescent and compact fluorescents. My personal opinions aside, each light has an appropriate time and place. Think about the work you are doing and what you need for lighting to see. Think about the time of day that you will use the space and what (if any) access to natural light you have. Take the heat the lights give off into consideration - as I mentioned, halogens are HOT. They have a good light rendition but they generate a lot of heat! Fluorescents of old caused many problems for people (flickering) but the new ones are much better and there are even 'true' light bulbs that replicate day light.

I'm not 100% familiar with LEDs but I do know I personally have difficulty with them. I cannot see accurately with them and the light itself is muddy and I see flickering and fluttering when I look at them. My husband read recently that it may be caused in part because they only emit on certain wavelengths and our eyes see the full spectrum. I know the are environmentally friendly but my issue with them is, the colour rendition aside, is that if one light burns out on my string of Christmas lights, I must replace the entire string... And that's a green thing I can't wrap my head around.

Come really close and I'll tell you a secret... Compact fluorescents drive me nuts. First, the colour rendition is horrid. never, ever, ever try to pick a paint colour in the presence of a compact fluorescent! Second, they flicker like mad (to me). Third, they are STILL a fluorescent and contains mecury - which requires special disposal procedures.

Incandescents are the oldest and most commonly used light for residential applications. They are not eco-friendly but they do have a nice light (albeit a bit yellow). And they can be turned into some pretty cool crafts once they burn out!

I'd hope I'd have another download for you this week, but with all the holiday fun, I didn't get it printed out for this edition.

Have a great week and feel free to send me any lighting questions!

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