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I was reading  Architectural Lighting Online and came across pictures of this renovated barn. I wish I could see some before pictures but it says “85 year old abandoned cow barn” so I got the idea. Murphy/Jahn Architects in Chicago renovated it for an offsite work space-10,000 square feet. There are some commercial and residential interiors where the lighting can really make or break it. The interior lighting is pretty amazing and lets the architecture speak for itself. They hung appropriate sized pendant fixtures that are functional, good looking and don’t intrude on the space. It also allows for natural daylight to come through the windows at the top of the peak. There is a nice balance of daylight between the ceiling, door and windows. I would love to be in there at night as well, I can imagine that the space glows.

These are a few of their interior working lighting drawings in elevation (meaning the vertical section as opposed to a floor plan).

It got me to thinking about lighting and how it often gets overlooked. Lighting can really change the way a room looks and feels.  The differences between warm and cool tone rooms are based on the colors and the lighting. The very warm room uses reds, oranges, yellows while the cool room is based around the blues. Daylight is naturally a blue light, northern light being the most blue. Incandescent light is naturally warm, candle light being the most warm. Jeffrey Bilhuber is an extremely talented designer in NYC. The below photos from his portfolio are good examples of the blue daylight  (true white paint is very cool and emits a blue glare).

Nothing like some firelight to make a room look and feel warm.

There are some sneaky ways to get lighting into your house too if there are some areas where you need more. You can recess lighting into the stairs if more is needed and there are motion sensor stair lights as well which can be helpful outside. Look closely at the riser in the stairs in the picture below. 

Classic swing arm lamps (this one is a double swing arm from Hinson) can add in light in tricky spots where there is not enough light. Flanking a sofa that is against a wall but does not have side tables or additional light next to a bed. 


If you need more lighting in your kitchen you can also recess lighting underneath the cabinets and over the range so there is more direct light on all of the countertops and workspaces. Don’t you just love Christopher Peacock kitchens? I can cook but I feel like I could take it up a notch in here…

Dimmers are a great way to control the lighting in a room. In the dinning room a dimmer can be used to change the mood or in a family room it can allow for low light levels when watching a movie. Dimmers also save a lot of energy if lighting is needed but not at full capacity.

I think lighting is a good place to make an investment in your home if you can. There are a wide range of prices, styles and lamps available.  Fifi Laughlin designs great looking lamps in New Orleans. I am hoping to go see her when I am in Louisiana this spring.

I took two semesters of lighting classes in design school and it is a subject that I can always learn more about. A great site for those needing some help with what type/ what kind of lightbulb to use and to try it on interactive house go to www.energystar.gov Compact Flourescent Light (CFLs) use at least 2/3 less energy than standard incandescent bulbs to provide the same amount of light, and lasts up to 10 times longer. They can save you $30 or more in energy costs over each bulb’s lifetime. More helpful information on the enviromental benefits of CFL’s can be found at Smart Energy Living

Lampshades get their own post!

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