Sunday, November 16, 2014

Hoboken Brownstone- Electrical

Next up on our brownstone renovation... Electrical! Outlets, switching, light fixtures, fire detection, data... it's a lot to think about.   It takes a methodical approach to get everything in just the right spot.  It starts with solid initial planning during the construction documents to get it all on paper. Not only will the building department want to know that everything is covered, you'll also want to have the scope well documented for the electrician's bid on your job.  

Then during construction there should be a thorough walk through with the architect, contractor and home owner once all is framed and junction boxes are tacked in place for outlets, lighting, switches, cable, etc. It's important to take a good look at all your electrical placement before the sheetrock goes up. And its helpful to have a furniture plan for critical areas like a family room where you have important lighting, outlet and data needs.

One of the more interesting aspects of the electrical scope happens to be one of the trickiest... Lighting.  I find rooms that are the most visually comforting have a layering of light. You start with great natural light, then general illumination, then add task and accent lighting.   

Photography and Furnishings by J. Laurie Designs

Also think about how to make the most of all your spaces with accent lighting.  In this stair hall, we have great daylighting from a skylight above but it is also warmly light by a well placed picture light that draws you visually down the hall.

Or like this office niche next to the kitchen... the desk space is made more inviting with a wall sconce task lamp without losing desk space. 

If you can afford an extra 20 bucks per light switch, then dimmers are a great way to be assured of just the right amount of light and the ability to change it depending on the need. A place where people don't think to put dimmers...bathrooms.  There are times when you just don't want to see yourself under 200 watts!  Ever wonder why they have low lighting in bar restrooms... everyone feels better about themselves ;)  So why wouldn't you do that in your powder room for your guests! 

Not only do fixtures provide a necessity of light,  they also have a big visual impact and can help create a unified style from room to room.  Lighting selection is successful when it reinforces your design aesthetic. For example, here are three lighting options for the same type of fixture that all evoke a different stylistic preference.

Vintage Industrial...

Arteriors | Kenneth Large Pendant

Mid-Century Modern...

Early Century Classic (with a clear shade twist)...


And then there's 'Transitional'. But that's just a catchall for everything else!  So keeping that in mind, try to be a little daring with your selections... maybe go for an authentic period piece.  But be bold about it...  if you think the fixture is too big... it's probably perfect!