House to Home: Lighting

Admittedly, I got obsessed with light fixtures when we started planning for the renovation of our newly purchased fixer-upper. Light fixtures add to a room what jewelry adds to an outfit. No surprise, I suppose. Our home is a reflection of my style philosophy. I love punctuating an outfit with something unexpected, sometimes whimsical even. That translates to the kind of light fixtures we now have in our home.

I tried reading books on interior and architectural lighting… and got bored. Instead I chose to follow my heart. This is probably not the best advice and I do respect the whole science of lighting. But, at the end of the day, without any professional help… we’re happy with our choices.

In planning for lighting, we prioritized the MOOD we want to achieve for each room. Most of our lighting is warm. Who doesn’t want a cozy feeling upon entering a room?  We only used white lights for functional areas like task lighting for kitchen countertops, reading lamps, and general area lights for storage spaces and service areas. Warm lighting also enhances the look of wooden surfaces and textures. I remember visiting the renovation site several times at night and turning on sets of lights to see how the shadows form and how the lighting brings out textures of the floor tiles, upholstery, and objects in each room.

DRAMA.

A dimmer light switch adds more drama to a room. We installed dimmers for the dining room, living room and our master bath. That’s right… we wanted our bath with drama and mood lighting! I actually packed this glass link chandelier in my suitcase during one of my business trips. A shop in San Diego was on closeout sale! The staff had to individually wrap hundreds of glass links in paper. Why wouldn’t I cram this into my suitcase???

Perfect for a luxurious bath!

Perfect for a luxurious bath!

SHOCK and AWE.

For the living room, we initially chose a clear glass and chrome modern chandelier. Safe choice. Not quite me. So when I saw this orange, blown glass piece… my jaw dropped and I had to have it… short of having a tantrum in the shop! I love it for its color and the fiery pattern it projects into the raised ceiling. The first time we lit it up, hubby and I just stood still, eyes fixed on the ceiling.

Fantastic. Happiness.

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Interesting color and texture for daytime.

Love the contrast with our cool-colored tree last christmas.

Love the contrast with our cool-colored tree last christmas.

CONTRAST.

Our dining set is made of old German oak in a rustic walnut finish. I call it rustic because the surface has gotten naturally worn down to a beautiful oiled finish. The pieces are so heavy and yet there isn’t a single nail to hold them together. How could we ever let go of something so precious? Keeper! So to balance off the rustic charm of the dining set, we chose a modern pendant lamp in clear polycarbonate. I just love the juxtaposition of rustic wood against the synthetic material of this lamp!

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WHIMSY.

When I think of reading lamps, those green and brass library lamps come to mind… and the Pixar icon. Mechanical. Ho-hum. But I wanted something industrial so I tried my best to contain my excitement when hubby and I chanced upon this gigantic reading lamp! Had to have it. SOLD. It was on sale too, being the last stock in the shop. We ended up paying the discounted price for a new one they found in their warehouse. Meant to be. I know there are rules on proportion that applies to decorating. I don’t care. This obviously works and that’s that. Got my whimsy fix for this room!

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EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED.

Hubby got this egg lamp for somewhere else in the house (I don’t remember). But I felt that the guest bathroom’s lines were too rigid and square. It needed something to soften the hard lines. Voila! An egg-shaped lamp above the water closet! Who would expect that in a bathroom??? Perfect.

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SENTIMENTAL.

I wrote about the Tord Boontje Icarus pendant lamps I got online a while back. They have been waiting for over two years to find their place in our stairway. Graceful, unusual, ethereal, mesmerizing… they are all that but the most importantly, these angel wings remind us of our son, Raithe.

Soft and ethereal during the day.

Soft and ethereal at daytime.

Ablaze with warmth to light the way to our master suite.

Ablaze with warmth to light the way to our master suite.

JUXTAPOSITION. 

One of the reasons we chose to live on a hill is the lush greenery and the sweet sound of chirping birds as we wake up in the morning. For continuity, I decorate with live plants in sunny areas indoors. I find it ironic to decorate with artificial plants in an environment where plants thrive beautifully. However, we have dark areas in the house that hardly get any sunlight like a hallway behind the living room wall. It felt like a hotel or condominium hallway – places that trigger claustrophobia.  In that dark hallway, our Tord Boontje Garland lamp found its perfect spot. With very little natural light to nurture live plants, this lamp carried into the otherwise melancholy hallway, a hint of fauna… in glossy copper!

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KALEIDOSCOPE.

The most recent addition is a Philips Living Colors LED lamp that can be set to any color. I love this!

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Its so portable, it can light up a wall to add an accent color or a corner as a backdrop for non-flash photography. When we bought this, I planned to use it in our pool lounge for when we host cocktails by the pool. I will use it there when I’m done decorating that room. Last christmas, I intentionally chose a whitish tree and lit it up with this lamp, changing the color whenever I felt like it. Hot pink and purple were the colors to have last christmas and I didn’t really want to buy new sets of ornaments in those colors. I already have several boxes of ornaments piling up in our storage room.

This is such a practical way to change the color of my tree. Awesome, right?

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Choosing fixtures was the easy part. Buying light bulbs was not. It was a process of trial and error. Funny how we shopped for light bulbs just guessing wattage. Our wall sconces for the exterior windows lit up the entire village on our first try! We had to change them to the lowest possible wattageYup, I should’ve been patient with those lighting books.

Too much light is just as bad as too little of it. By “too much”, I mean too bright. I love a room with multiple light sources in varying heights and intensities, creating intimate and cozy little nooks at night. Hence, the search for light fixtures isn’t over. I’m still obsessed and looking! 🙂

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