Monday, July 17, 2017

Five Steps To Great Dining Room Lighting

Clients often wonder about the "correct" way to choose and hang a light fixture over a dining room table. While there are no absolute rules, there are some guidelines that can help.

1. Shape It

Generally speaking, it is prudent to choose a dining table before choosing a fixture to go over it. If you choose a round dining table, a round fixture works well.

If you have a long, rectangular table or an extension table, linear pendants are the better choice.

Here is a linear pendant of metal, marble, and silk I chose for a dining room for a client who had a long, rectangular glass table.

Or if you have a fixture you like but it is too small, you can arrange multiple lights over a dining table.

2. Scale It

Another rule of thumb is that your fixture should be at least 12 inches smaller than the table in all directions. So, for example, a 48" diameter round table will look best with a light that's no more than 24" wide. For a 36" wide rectangular table, look for a light that is no more than 12" wide.

Linear pendants can be kept in scale by choosing one that is 1/3 to 2/3 the length of the table.

3. Hang It

Again, generally speaking, the dining room table functions best when the bottom of a light fixture is hung around 30"-36" from the table top. Much more than that and you'll be losing the actual light output, not to mention visual impact. Of course some homes and dining rooms have higher-than-usual ceiling heights, so in these cases, it is best to hang the fixture where it seems to look best in between the ceiling height and table top...within reason. Use your judgment and keep it in scale.

4. Dim It

One of the most important things to consider when choosing and hanging a light fixture is the light output. A dining experience should not make you feel like you are being questioned by the police, so installing a dimmer is a must. Make sure that the fixture you choose is dimmable. And depending on the voltage and type of fixture, you may have to purchase a special type of dimmer.

5. Layer It

Dining room light fixtures offer a lot: style, visual impact, and of course light. But a light fixture can only do so much. If you can, think about adding layers of light. In fact, my Design Mantra #4 to the right on this page is "Layer your lighting." Use a combination of ambient light like recessed lights along with wall sconces or table or side lamps to vary light and to introduce illumination from many sources. This goes for every room, not just dining rooms.

Of course if you hire me to design your dining room, all of these issues are taken care of!
Have a bare dining room? Give me a call!

Happy designing!

Monday, July 10, 2017

Know Your Sofas: The Serpentine Sofa

Yes, it's time once again for another installment of "Know Your Sofas" and this time we are looking at the classic yet thoroughly modern Serpentine Sofa designed by Vladimir Kagan.

Vladimir Kagan in his 100A Barrel Chair, circa 1950s

Here is an image of an original Serpentine Sofa from 1950, the year it was introduced. You can clearly see how the sofa relates to the freeform/kidney and boomerang shapes that were popular in the 1940s/1950s, and a bit into the 1960s.

Even though it was created within the Mid-Century Modern milieu, this sofa transcends the style of that era in a way that very few other Mid-Century Modern pieces do. It fell out of favor for a few decades, but, as styles swing like a pendulum, there has been a huge, renewed interest in the Kagan Serpentine Sofa, as evidenced by the stunning, beautiful, and quite modern applications used by some top interior designers. The sinuous and sensuous shape pairs well with elements as disparate as 1970s furnishings or Baroque antiques!

Serpentine Sofa in a room designed by Jean-Louis Deniot
Serpentine Sofa in a room designed by Julie Hillman
Serpentine Sofa in the Parisian apartment of designer Klavs Rosenfalck
Serpentine Sofa in a room designed by Robert Couturier
Serpentine Sofas in a room designed by Martyn Lawrence Bullard for Tommy Hilfiger's Miami home
Serpentine Sofas in a room designed by Francis D'Haene
Serpentine Sofas in a room designed by Ingrao, Inc.
Serpentine Sofa in the apartment of Amanda and Clayton Benchley

If you would like a Vladimir Kagan Serpentine Sofa of your very own, it is available through showrooms open to interior designers. Give me a call!

Happy designing!

Monday, July 3, 2017

Happy July 4th, 2017

I wish all of my followers and regular readers here in the United States a Happy Independence Day!

I will resume regular posting after the holiday.
In the meantime, happy designing!

Monday, June 26, 2017

History of Furniture: Hans Wegner

Hans Wegner was one of a few select designers who ushered in the era of Danish Modern interiors, now generally referred to as Mid-Century Modern. Starting as a cabinet maker's apprentice, he eventually worked for Arne Jacobsen, another legend in Danish Modern design. But he started his own company and created over 500 chairs in his lifetime with 100 of them seeing actual production.

Arguably his most famous design is the "The Chair" (or The Round One as Wegner himself referred to it), summing up the idea of Danish Modern design in one elegant silhouette.

Available today from PP Møbler, The Chair comes with either an upholstered or cane seat.

The Chair was even the chosen seating for the candidates to sit in at the first-ever televised 1961 Kennedy/Nixon debate.

His Wishbone chair is a study in restraint.

The three-legged CH07 Shell chair is so light, made of bent plywood, that it even has is also sometimes called The Smiling Chair for obvious reasons. Today it is available from Design Within Reach in different wood finishes and fabrics and leathers...even hair on hide!

The Wegner Papa Bear Chair looks like a teddy bear with paws up, waiting to embrace anyone who sits in his lap. Again, Danish furniture manufacturer PP Møbler still has this in production.

Perhaps his most unique creation is another anthropomorphic object, the Ox Chair. Based upon drawings of oxen and bulls by Picasso, it sports a set of large horns!

Happy designing!

Monday, June 19, 2017

Napoleon's Luxuria Line

Fireplace manufacturer Napoleon has announced a breakthrough product: their new Luxuria Linear line features a gar insert fireplace that does not need a heat screen! This is great news for us here in California where state law prohibits the sale or installation of a gas fireplace without a heat screen in front of the glass window. Too many unsuspecting children and pets had been burned by touching the glass window of gas fireplaces. But Napoleon has created something they call the Dynamic Heat Control and Glass Guard Systems which redirects hot air away from the window, making it cool to the touch and safe for little ones and furry members of the family. I can't wait to learn more about this brand new product and specify it for a client. The line even took first place in the Gas Fireplace division at the Vesta Awards, an award created by Hearth & Home Magazine in order to honor industry leaders in design and technology.

Thinking of adding a fireplace to a chilly living room or dining room--or bathroom (go ahead, live luxuriously!)? Give me a call.
Happy designing!

Monday, June 12, 2017

Element Reflections Recessed LED Lighting by Tech Lighting

Over the years, I've heard a smattering of clients express their dislike for the common recessed ceiling light, claiming that it makes a ceiling look like Swiss cheese. But what if the recessed light was more than just a housing for the bulb? What if it was an actual decorative element in and of itself?

To this end, the modern lighting company Tech Lighting has created a new kind of recessed light. Called Element Reflections, the concept is an LED ring light which bounces light up into a decorative reflector dome to cast diffused illumination down onto a space.

The inner reflective dome comes in five different styles.

Bloom reflector dome
Dune reflector dome
Fleur reflector dome
Skye reflector dome
Torus reflector dome

The apertures are available in three different sizes, 5", 8" and 12". And each light can be further customized by coming with a flange (or trim kit as it sometimes called) or without a flange to be plastered into the ceiling plane.

Here are some images of the Bloom reflector in situ...

...and here is the more modern Dune dome.

The Fleur dome is possibly the most decorative of all and could enhance traditional decors...

This seems to be an elegant solution to the "Swiss cheese ceiling" effect!

Happy designing!