The renovation of our Californian Bungalow on Sydney’s North Shore is, for all intents and purposes, “finished”. If you’ve renovated, or loved a house, you will understand that renovating is never really over.
When designing a renovation, one of the aspects that needs consideration is a lighting plan. This needs to be done fairly early in the piece so wiring can all be in place when it’s time to install the beautiful fittings.
A good mix of downlights, pendants and wall lights help in creating atmosphere and functionality for your home. LED lighting has come a long way since we started designing our home five years ago. So much so that we ended up installing LED downlights through the hallways and KiDiLi as well as my office. These lights give a good even light and save on electricity at the same time! Dimmers were installed on all the downlights to adjust the brightness. We opted for warm white bulbs which gives a softer light than the cool white.
LED strip lighting was also installed under the wall cabinets in the kitchen and laundry. I’m amazed at how much light these give and yet they are not harsh on the eye.
However when it came to “pretty” lights, there were so many options. Our bedroom already had a chandelier but I needed a light for the dressing room.
The ceiling in the dressing room was lower than the rest of the house as it was once a verandah. I knew I wanted a luxe feel to the dressing room so opted for a single glass pendant that had chandelier-like crystal droplets inside the cone of glass. It looks great and creates a lovely pattern on my wallpapered ceiling.
The lounge, dining and entry all had existing lights which took me five years to choose after we moved in.
Fortunately, I still liked them and so didn’t have to set about choosing alternatives. I sometimes wonder if my dining room could handle a more dramatic fitting now that I’ve painted it a dark colour, but for the time being it’s fine.
I chose lights for the kitchen and casual dining to complement the cabinetry in the kitchen. The black iron look echoes the black ladder rail and cabinet handles and the shapes of the pendants help create the Hamptons style I wanted.
Each single bedroom needed a pendant light too. They would all have bedside lamps but you still need a larger overhead light for those times you lose something and need some brighter light. My daughter chose her Factory light which possibly wouldn’t have been my choice, but it works well and gives out a good light.
The main guest bedroom needed something elegant. Along with my daughter’s bedroom it was part of the new build. We replicated the high ceilings and decorative plaster strips so I chose a white wire chandelier. I thought it was good value at $125!
The other bedroom is in the original part of the house and was once my daughter’s bedroom. I commissioned the girls at Feature Pieces to make me a large conical drum shade in a fabric that co-ordinated with the roman blind fabric.
Then it was on to the bathrooms. Appropriate facial lighting is key in the bathroom and ideally there should be a light source at face height or above the mirror to provide reflected and direct light on to the face. In the main bathroom, we installed downlights as well as cute little wall lights with glass shades. Being practical, I chose glass shades rather than fabric as it will wear better with steam and water.
I had been eyeing off the Verona wall light for a number of years and so it was an easy choice to make for the ensuite. However, the mirrored cabinet could not be recessed into the wall. The wall was original and only single skin brick. The builders were not keen to take out bricks for the cabinet as it would result in weakening the entire wall.
So the cabinet was face mounted. The lights sit beside the cabinet but I don’t feel they give enough light. I have devised a plan to rectify the situation but it will have to wait. There’s always something you would do differently next time when you renovate. So you should always do at least two……if you have the energy!
The powder room is my drama room. The gorgeous Catherine Martin Antique Lace wallpaper, gold framed mirror and black vanity help create the scene. I didn’t want to detract from the wallpaper or mirror so chose not to install wall lights. The ceiling has a skylight leaving little room for a pendant light. You may remember last year we had a weekend at the refurbished Sydney Shangri La Hotel and I stole the lighting idea from their spa rooms. The builder and electrician placed a strip of LED lights behind the mirror so a warm glow seems to emanate from the mirror. It adds to the drama without detracting.
I’m really happy with all the lighting choices I’ve made. They add the finishing touch. Lights are a very personal choice but can add so much personality. I was working with a client about 6 months prior to starting my own renovation and it had never occurred to her to put a different light in every room. I gave her some suggestions and she had a ball at the lighting shop choosing a different light for each area of her home. If you think about light fittings as the jewellery then they will add to the overall finish of your home.
If you would like assistance choosing light fittings for your home, contact us for an online or in-person consultation.