Sunday, September 27, 2009

Some Favorite Light Fixtures

Eureka Lighting's Mini Silena Double is a good light for a bathroom vanity.

The "Artichoke" fixture by Louis Poulsen Lighting is celebrating 50th years.

The candle fixture by Kevin Reilly for Holly Hunt has been copied by many other companies but none of them are as good as the original.

This decorative pendant "Frisbi" is by Flos

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Residential Lighting

Residential lighting is best when a variety of light sources provide the necessary illumination for daily activities, the occupant’s ages and physical limitations. There are five types of lighting that when layered provide usable light for day to day activities; all spaces may not need all types of lights.

Task Lighting is the lighting
that illuminates the area where you are working or reading. These fixtures include under cabinet lights and reading lights. Ambient Lighting is the gentle overall lighting for the room. This light fills the room with a warm glow from an indirect light source that is bounced off the ceiling. Cove lighting, pendant hung indirect fixtures, and opaque wall sconces are some of the ambient light fixtures. Accent Lighting is the dramatic light. These lights highlight works of art, give depth to a room, and wash over interesting textures in your home. Recessed adjustable ceiling fixtures, track lighting and uplights are used for accent lighting. Decorative Lighting is eye candy. Its main purpose is to look pretty. Chandeliers and some wall sconces are for decoration. These fixtures should not be too bright or they will overpower other design elements of the space. Natural Daylight provided through carefully designed windows and skylights gives great light during the day and can reduce the need for electrical lighting.

I incorporate the following three lighting scenarios in almost all of my projects. In bathrooms never locate a wall mounted fixture over the mirror; it will cast harsh shadows and prematurely age you. Instead use two wall sconces mounted on either side of the mirror. The fixtures should be at eye level, which is generally 5’-6” above the finished floor. Tall narrow fixtures accommodate most family members.

The traditional design for bedside reading lights is a wall mounted swing arm fixture which has to be mounted carefully to be at the right height for actual reading. A better solution is two recessed adjustable low voltage halogen ceiling fixtures located over the bed. The lamps should have a tight beam spread, such as a MR-16 ESW. The fixture on the right should be aimed to the left side of the bed and vice versa to prevent your head from casting a shadow on your book. The switches should be located accordingly. The fixtures should be located 18” to 24” from the wall and 2’ from the center of the bed.

Chandeliers over dining tables are decorative and do not provide the accent lighting necessary to show off the sparkle of your crystal and silver. The same recessed ceiling fixtures that were used as reading lights in the bedroom can be located over your dining table as accent lights; the bulb should have a wider beam spread. They should be located on the long axis of the table 3’-6” from the middle of the table. Almost all fixtures throughout your house should be on a dimmer to control the amount of light and extend the life of the lamp.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Schematic Design Phase

The next few post are covering the design phases in a project. The first phase is conceptual design which is also referred to as preliminary design or schematic design.

During the conceptual design phase, we start by developing a concept for the design. Successful concepts for previous clients include: 1. The design of the house will complement the owners collection of arts and crafts furniture; 2. The house is to be a jewel box for weekend retreats; 3. All major living spaces should have a view of the significant live oak; and 4. The house will be based on a vernacular dog-trot.
We then begin to translate your program into a design that can be constructed. Possible design solutions are developed as freehand thumbnail sketches (often with a bit of watercolor added to improve readability) allowing us to quickly test design and siting ideas. We will also explore sections and elevations of the project. Massing, fenestration (window and door openings), and style are all quickly studied.
A well conducted conceptual design phase is critical to the success of the project as decisions that effect budget, function and your ultimate satisfaction are being made. We must be open minded, creative, and keep asking "what if we…?" to arrive at the best solution.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Residential Design Teams

The three main team members on any project are the owner, architect, and general contractor. Other professionals involved are a structural engineer, a geo-technical engineer, an interior designer, landscape architect, an arborist, a mechanical engineer, and often a sound system designer. The structural engineer is hired by the architect and their fee is included in the architectural fee. The other professionals will either have contracts directly with the owner or billed as a reimbursable expense.

Owners: The most important team member. There are three intertwined factors involved in the design and construction of a house; 1) project size, 2) cost, 3) quality of construction and detailing. To stay within budget; the owners determine which of the two factors are most important to them. The architect then has control the third factor. The owners involvement throughout the project varies from owner to owner; you can be involved in every selection or rely on the professionals and approve the design decisions at each junction.

Architect: The architect is responsible for translating the owners program into a design that is appropriate for the site and client. The architect is responsible for coordinating with the other professionals. The architect produces drawings and specifications to communicate the design to others. The architect will also present the designs to any review boards.

Structural Engineer: The structural engineer is responsible for ensuring that the structure is designed to meet the local building and hurricane codes.

Geo-technical Engineer: The soils are tested by the geo-technical engineer to determine their bearing capacity. This information is used by the structural engineer in the design of the foundation.

Interior Designer: The interior designer works with the architect and owner in selecting the interior finishes, furniture, fixtures, and window treatments.

Landscape Architect: The landscape architect works with the architect and owner in the design of all exterior spaces, finishes and plant material.

Arborist: We often recommend the use of a certified arborist when there are significant trees on the property that we want to protect. The arborist will trim the dead wood and deep fertilize the trees prior to construction.

General Contractor: This is the team member who actually builds the project based on the drawings and specifications provided by the design professionals.