tag : Canadian Weblog Awards, kitchen lighting, pendant lights, Renovation Bootcamp, Robin Siegerman
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The kitchen is one of the most expensive rooms to renovate, next to bathrooms, so if your kitchen is feeling bland, and boring, an easy way to give it some PIZZAZZ, is with a pendant light or 3! And, if you have an island in your kitchen, or a peninsula (where one end of the counter is attached to other cabinetry or a wall, leaving 3 sides accessible), you have a perfect opportunity to add some punch to the kitchen by using some drop-dead-gorgeous pendent lights.
Pendant lights hang down from the ceiling either in a group, like the one below, or individually. Similar to the earrings on a ball gown, a pendant light can be a focal point and really add to the style of the room, so make the most of the real estate and go for something surprising, or colorful or whimsical! After all, who wants to see a pair of boring earrings with a ballgown?!
There’s nothing WRONG with this pendent fixture, but it’s a bit ho-hum.
These and a hundred variations on this theme are favored by the minimalist set…kitchens designed by those who use little or no color, and very little texture, slab cabinet doors, no surprises….zzzzzzzzzz. Although I could design something like that too, I don’t want to! Life is too short to be conventional!
After 21 years practicing interior design and supervising the decor and renovation of hundreds of homes, I know that when I find a few products that pack a visual wallop, they add excitement to the interior and make the occupants feel good about their surroundings. Lighting is one of those things that not only serves a vital function, but adds an important decorative element to a room and one of my favorites to work with. Buyer beware: unique, good quality lighting is not cheap, but it will make all the difference to the room.
Here are a few of my picks for punchy pendents….
Beautiful lighting always makes my heart beat faster, and if there’s a great company story to go along with it, so much the better! Hubbardton Forge, the manufacturer of the fixture above, was founded in a small Vermont barn in 1974, when two young men revived the nearly forgotten craft of hand-forging raw steel. Their lighting is still proudly handcrafted in Vermont, at one of the largest contemporary commercial forges in the U.S.A. Off-shore products have carved an indelible place in our homes, but seldom are electrical or plumbing fixtures made with quality that will last, so it’s wonderful to see a domestically-made product that started in such an organic way.
This fixture is also contemporary, but for an unexpected touch of whimsy, I would also use it in a traditional room. It has an adjustable stem so can be used with ceilings of 8′-0″ or higher, but at 29″ wide, your island/peninsula would have to be at least 7′-0″ wide to use two of them side-by-side. To use three side-by-side, your island should be at least 12 feet long. If you don’t have an island/peninsula, one of these over a kitchen table would be fab! You can find it here.
Transitional style is one of my personal favorites, whether in furniture, fabrics or light fixtures. Transitional style is marked by clean lines, clear finishes and colors that are neither too trendy or too staid, but has elements of both contemporary or traditional so can often be successfully used in either of those types of interiors.
Although brushed nickel finishes have been around for a while, they have a light, clean look so will endure for quite some time to come. This drum fixture, combines a traditional shape with a contemporary, geometric metal overlay, giving it its transitional style. It accommodates 3, 100 watt bulbs, so a single fixture could be used over a table and give lots of light. But at only 18″ wide, you could use 3 in a row above an island/peninsula and if you use 60 watt bulbs, you’ll have more than enough light output for any task on the work surface. This fixture has companion wall sconces, which you could use in an alcove or on either side of a mirror in an adjoining powder room.
DITCH THE INCANDESCENT BULBS AND GO FOR LED
Because this fixture has a closed bottom so you can’t see the bulbs, to save on energy costs and have an extraordinarily long bulb life, buy medium base LED bulbs in an 11 watt, which is equivalent to a 60 watt incandescent, and its light quality is indistinguishable from incandescent bulbs and are dimmable like this one from Philips, which uses only 11 watts of energy. At just under $15.00 per bulb on Amazon, over the life of the bulb they will cost you less than $1.00 per year.
Kitchen cabinet manufacturer, Clive Christian, is known for their over-the-top traditional detailing and may have been one of the first kitchen companies to feature crystal chandeliers over their kitchen islands. Without a doubt, they bring a certain je-ne-sait-quoit glamor and sparkle to the kitchen, but to my eye, their kitchens are a little like indulging in a calorie-rich meal with many course, and copious amounts of alcohol: seemed like a good idea at the time, but gives you heart burn if you indulge on a daily basis!
Now, people who know me, know I LOOOOOVE me some bling, and wear big rhinestones at the least provocation. But the difference between wearing bling and decorating with it, is that you take off your clothes at the end of the day and wear something different the next one, whereas your kitchen will wear the same outfit for at least 15 years…So my design advice is, by all means add some bling if you love it, just don’t go overboard, so you won’t get tired of it.
Here’s the mini Belini, single light pendant fixture by well-known manufacturer Feiss that I’d use as a trio over an island that gives some lovely sparkle without beating you over the head with the point!
OTHER AREAS IN THE KITCHEN
If you don’t have a kitchen island, or you do but you also have an architectural feature you want to highlight, there’s no better way to do that than with interesting light fixtures.
In this window-well that is two-and-a-half stories high, it cried out for some interesting lighting that would not only highlight it, but provide light to the eating area of the kitchen. So I found an interesting, Mexican punched tin lantern that was surprisingly affordable, ordered 3 of them and had a special canopy made so they could be mounted to one junction box and had the chains adjusted in length so they are at staggered heights. This fixture invites the visitor to look up into the window well, which becomes a much more noteworthy architectural feature than if I had just left it plain.
Here are another variety of Mexican lantern available through Renovation Bootcamp for a pre-Christmas price of $309.77 each. Custom canopy, applicable taxes and shipping extra. Contact me at Robin@RenovationBootcamp.com for more info.
Armed with these ideas and the thousands of interesting choices available, you have no excuse for boring lighting!
My choice to include Mexican lanterns was no accident, since I was fortunate to recently spend 10 days in Mexico. It was a wonderful trip, and in a future post, I’ll share some of the joyful and colorful Mexican folk art and art on canvas that I saw and some of the fascinating history of the Mayan culture.
While I was away, I got the wonderful news that this blog, Tales from the Trenches on RenovationBootcamp.com was nominated for a 2014 Canadian Weblog Award! I’m so thrilled to have been nominated! It’s not only an honour, but gratifying to know that there are more people than my just my husband and son who like what I’m writing! Thank you to the folks at Shmutzie’s Canadian Weblog Awards! It’s a juried competition, with no voting, so also, thanks to the 38 volunteer jurors. They have hundreds of blogs to review and they put in a lot of time. The top 5 blogs will be announced on December 5th, so follow along!
Plagiarism is a nasty practice that runs rampant on the web, perpetrated by people who don’t have the creativity or imagination to dream up their own content but have to steal that of others. I have been offered “cheap tools” to spin other content to use on my blog, which is just a way of stealing content and disguising that fact so Google doesn’t catch on. Needless to say, all my content is original and comes from 21 years of experience and a lifetime of learning.
If you are thinking of stealing content, the least you can do is link back to the original post and give the author credit. It’s what your mother would like you to do and you will sleep with a clear conscience.
Lecture over. 🙂
Some of the links in this post are affiliate links, which means when you make a purchase, I receive a very small commission. However you never pay more and everything that I feature are items I would use for myself or clients and are on sites that I regularly patronize for my business.
But as always, when you make a purchase from an affiliate link, 20% of my commission is donated to Covenant House, an organization devoted to helping kids on the street with no place to go. And at this time of year, that is a heart-wrenching thought. So I appreciate your help in helping the kids.
Also, in time for Christmas, my book
Renovation Bootcamp®: Kitchen
Design and Remodel Your Kitchen Without Losing Your Wallet, Your Mind or Your Spouse
will be included in that offer. Buy it from Amazon in Canada or the USA and send me proof of purchase, and I will make a donation on your behalf to Covenant House.