Help needed with kitchen lighting- PIP

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deckhouseterp
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Help needed with kitchen lighting- PIP

Postby deckhouseterp » Wed Dec 02, 2009 11:03 am

Our 1968 deckhouse still has the original light fixtures in the kitchen. Florescent strips w/ plastic diffusers- the diffusers are in awful shape, cracked, etc. and in the case of the upper fixture unusable, hence that strip of 2 florescent tubes is exposed- lovely!

I have been searching for solutions, but have yet to find anything I like. I worry about 1- running wiring across the wood (the wires come out of the beams, I don't believe that there are "boxes" in the ceiling) 2- doing anything recessed is out of the question I believe due to our ceiling/roof set up.

This lighting is truly wretched and I am so sick of it (lived w/ it now for 20+ months) this is next on my list of things to tackle and I would love some fresh ideas! I had been thinking about doing a large island chandelier where the upper fixture is and then doing some track or pendants where the lower is, but nothing has grabbed me.

Thanks and pardon my dirty windows!

Image Lower fixture- still have the diffusers here- would like to move to something that doesn't take up any wall space so we could raise the wood blinds 3 inches.

Image

Image Upper fixture- you can see the thin wood strips that held the now gone diffusers in place.

Image

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Postby classic form » Wed Dec 02, 2009 2:21 pm

Maybe you could just do without anything there?

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Postby deckhouseterp » Wed Dec 02, 2009 3:36 pm

Those strips are the only lighting in the kitchen (minus the little light under the microwave, which hardly counts)- and w/ the wood ceilings lights are definitely needed. I turn on the current horrible lights when it's an overcast/gray day and always at night. Not having lighting isn't really an option.

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Postby cadman » Wed Dec 02, 2009 3:47 pm

What about replacing with some tasteful tracklights? The Romex could be hidden by wiremould surface mount channels, painted a dark color to match the wood.

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Postby ch » Wed Dec 02, 2009 4:18 pm

You could add a junction box where the romex exits the beam and then swag a couple of lights off of it.

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Postby Joe » Wed Dec 02, 2009 4:45 pm

rather than cherry picking a light here or there, let see the whole space and consider your entire lighting plan. it all needs to work together or you get a mish-mosh of stuff.

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Postby deckhouseterp » Wed Dec 02, 2009 5:03 pm

I took the pictures like the day after Thanksgiving when my kitchen was still somewhat blown apart from hosting a big meal- sorry for the ceiling only shots- I will find some old "before" pics of the kitchen... We have replaced the dishwasher (broken) oven, stove w/ stainless, and put in an above range stainless microwave. Also the ceramic tile was coming up and we had 12 inch slate tile put in. Stainless fridge should be in by the end of the year...

Image

Image

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Postby ch » Thu Dec 03, 2009 3:58 am


deckhouseterp
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Postby deckhouseterp » Thu Dec 03, 2009 11:11 am


deckhouseterp
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Postby deckhouseterp » Thu Dec 03, 2009 11:14 am

Oh- here are some pics of a fixture @ a friend's house- I think a similar suspended track could work for the upper fixture- there is definitely room for something to hang down a foot or more-



Image
Image

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Postby egads » Thu Dec 03, 2009 6:48 pm

I'm not fond of the suspended track. I think I would just use track. The existing romex should be able to be used to feed the end of a track. That gives you lots of track head choices. You could use ones that are made for par lamps (floods or spots) and be able to use some compact fluorescent floods instead. Good energy savings and low heat. fixtures that hold a 12v
MR-16 would be able to use one of the new LED lamps once they come down in cost and have even better beam spread. You could also run a track up the side of one of the beams. (I would not place a track on the bottom of the beam) I guess a track could also go across on the brick side of the room as well. It would give you a chance to light art on that wall. That the least expensive option. Either black track or spray paint white track some brown or tan that blends.

My next suggestion would be cable lighting. That would allow you much more flexibility in placing the light where you need it. (especially the counter of the range wall) In a normal situation, with flat ceilings, I place recess lighting 24" off the wall, directly over the front edge of a counter.
They do make hardware to turn cable. I have installed several cable systems and could give you further advice if you are liking that idea.

It would also be nice to have some under cabinet fluorescent. I might put some open shelves to the left of the range just to accommodate that.

I have to ask, who's idea was it to use those blinds?

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Postby turboblown » Thu Dec 03, 2009 8:10 pm

I don't like most track lighting because it is directional light. Most of these fixtures don't light the room, but light a certain area and cause shadows elsewhere. I have it in my dinging room and it just causes 4 spots of light where the cans are aimed and dark sport elsewhere. I think it's hard on the eyes and plan on removing it in favor of a true omnidirectional fixture.

Why not just re-do new plastic covers with new fluorescent fixtures inside. Maybe use the frosted flat panels and heat them to the proper shape to match what you have. You could use the newer style electronic switch-mode style ballasts too for more efficiency. I have fluor lamps in my kitchen with flat panel diffusers in bulkheads and have always been pleased with their performance. It amazing that how a 50 year old lighting system can still perform just as good or even better than something today. For those worried about being "green".....sometimes you just have to do what works and not worry about being environmentally trendy because Al Gore says so. (Standard fluorescent lighting is still more efficient than most lighting....even compared to the spiral CFL lamps which I use in about 30% of my fixtures). If you want some great reading and techie information on CFL lamps, read this informative page here: http://sound.westhost.com/articles/incandescent.htm
The author put a lot of time into this and has more accurate information than where you'll find anywhere regarding CFL technology.

I'm still not convinced the LEDs are ready for market. My industry has been using LEDs since about 1999 and I can certainly tell you that they always don't last as long as what we're told they will. The white ones are also a very "cold" color (even when compared to a fluorescent or CFL) and also tend to be a very directional type of light and not good at spreading omnidirectional light without complex optical arrays in front of the LED module. I saw a demo last weekend at Home Depot on the new LEDs they carry and think they would make a great pencil-beam spotlight for highlighting something such as a painting or a plant. They plain sucked for general lighting. They look bright when you look into them but aren't that impressive when you shine them onto a surface. I DO use low voltage LED rope light under my cabinets for counter top illumination and it works great. If I were to do it over again, I'd have used incandescant instead of LED for a "warmer" look although not as bright or as efficient. Besides, do you really think a single M16 LED lamp is worth $40?

- my useless 2 cents

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Postby egads » Thu Dec 03, 2009 8:46 pm

I wouldn't condemn all track lighting based on the fixtures and lamps in yours. Mr-16 lamps come in 5 or more wattage's and beam spreads from 8 degrees to over 60 with many in between. The fixtures for 12 volt can be very small. With a remote transformer (or an small electronic in line one) the track can be very small as well. Juno makes one called Trac 12 that's 3/4 wide and 3/8 deep:

http://www.junolightinggroup.com/productguide/854.pdf

WAC makes a version as well.

Here in Southern California I have used a "lighting plastics" (what you would use to search in your area) that could cut and form anything I wanted. I would not doubt your existing ones where custom. I did try to think of a way to incorporate at least the one over the sink in some new build out. Something along the lines of a pocket for the window covering with fluorescent above and maybe some shallow down lights over the sink. Indirect fluorescent is great light and very MCM. But most of my ideas block too much of what must be great natural light from the windows over the sink.

Some details would help:

How far out from the sink wall does the romex come out of the beam?

Same for how far off the brick wall.

Do these two sets of lights switch together?

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Postby turboblown » Thu Dec 03, 2009 9:50 pm

I'm not basing this on my lights- I'm basing it on all track lighting. After all, these are SPOT LIGHTS that are designed to light the spot where they are aimed...not omnidirectional lights. If a track lighting system has 6 lights, you will have 6 spots in the room with peak lighting. No matter if the beam is 10 or 60 degrees, it is still a spot light that well, lights a spot.
8 spotlights= 8 spots of light complete with darker areas between the 8 spots.

No matter what the spot lamp's beam spread is, you will still have darker spots in the room. Much of a room's shadow elimination is provided from the light that reflects from the ceiling back down into the room and with track lights this effect doesn't exist. With most stardard type fixtures, you get light that travels upward from the fixture that hits the ceiling and reflects downward filling the voids and shadows of the room. Higher ceilings somewhat help out since the spotlight's beam width expands with distance but this just makes the light spots bigger.

This is exactly why a room with 500-1000 watts worth of in-ceiling recessed can lighting isn't lighted as well as the same room with a simple pair of standard hanging omnidirectional fixtures with only a 75-100W bulb in each. (In my own house, the living room has seven 65-watt lamps in standard recess mounts and the equally-sized family room has a ceiling fan with three 13-watt CFL lamps...the family room is brighter since the omnidirectional light scatters everywhere including up to the ceiling)

The only advantage to the small halogen spots (M series) is the tightly-wound filament allows a more concentrated light to be more strategically placed to the reflector for a better and tighter spot beam aim. This is why is is so popular for landscape lighting. Low voltage lighting has a built-in inefficiency call a transformer. Most laminated transformers used in LV lighting are only about 90% efficient. Even the landscape crowd uses the high voltage standard bulb when maximum light scatter is desired. With track lighting, you will definitely get more light scatter and more overall light from a 120VAC lamp versus the 12VDC/24VDC halogen mini lamps. Besides, the bulbs are 8-10 times less the cost with line voltage lamps too.


Each light has its place, but in my (and just about any lighting professional's opinion), track lighting is not intended nor is it designed to light a room- it is designed to highlight a designated area such as a kitchen island, a single wall, a showcase, a painting or anything that is to be accented. A proper light designed to illuminate a complete room must be designed to project light equally in all directions or in as many as possible with the given fixture.

Track lighting is cozy & warm and looks nice, but there are much better and more efficient ways to light an entire room when your goal is to light the entire room. I don't dislike track lighting, but it has to be used for what it is designed to be used for and lighting an entire room is not its job.

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Postby egads » Thu Dec 03, 2009 10:40 pm

What I am suggesting is treating the kitchen counter like islands of focused task light. You assume a lot of light going everywhere is always desirable. In this case the open beam kitchen shares open beam space with the adjacent areas (it looks like) If it were my house I would not want that light bleeding into those spaces (like the dinning room) I would not mind ambient, indirect light in that or most spaces. Especially if I could separately control it. I have a lot of it myself, original to my 50's rancho. I have converted most of that to fluorescent for the spread. Fluorescent light goes everywhere. Sometimes that's nice, sometimes not.
(one of the best uses of fluorescent light is in a swimming pool. There is a conversion kit and it is amazing how the entire pool is lit without the beam of regular floods)

This kitchen does not seem to need any light in the center of the room. There is such a thing as tasteful spills of light. (in this professional lighting designer's opinion)

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Postby johnnyapollo » Fri Dec 04, 2009 6:25 am

Have you looked at other flourescent options? There are low profile bulbs that come in fixtures that hug the ceiling more - these fixtures have a shield that allows light to flow downward and to the room and would meet both your task lighting needs and desire to gain some window space. They don't look as cool as what you currently have but they may offer a substitution until you find something better - at that point they can be repurposed for under counter lighting or something else.

http://www.homedepot.com/Lighting-Fans- ... ?langId=-1

Anohter option would be to build a wood enclosure with a simple obscured diffuser in the opening. Rob Houston did something similar in his bathrooms and it turned out very nice and appropriate. It would basically be a box the length of the light build to fit snug against the ceiling with a flat piece of white plastic beneath. You could also build a similar enclosure for the upper lights. He used shellac to have a natural look to the wood.

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Postby deckhouseterp » Sun Dec 13, 2009 4:20 pm



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