Shopping, Part II: Let there be light

Lighting shopping is a particularly tortuous form of the sport of shopping.  You spend your time craning your head backwards to see up into the glare of all the overhead displays.  It’s hard on the neck, the back, and the eyes — how do you NOT get a headache after a few hours?  Don’t get me wrong — I love lighting!  Light fixtures and lamps are sculptures that have a function, and you can’t help but notice them, so they need to look great.  I just prefer to shop for  it online, which is what I generally do for my clients.  In fact, I only venture into a lighting store when I can’t get what I need from my regular suppliers’ websites, or if I need technical advice.   Such was the case with our own lighting.   So, after Colin researched the LED’s and I looked up decorative fixtures, we headed out to our local Living Lighting store to finalize our selections and place an order.

I have used Living Lighting mainly for replacement shades and specialty lightbulbs until now, but I liked the staff at my Richmond Hill location.  When I couldn’t find the fixtures I wanted through my regular suppliers, I will admit to stopping by a larger and more ‘design’ focused retailer, only to be disappointed with the selection and the service.  So, I scanned the Living Lighting website, liked what I saw, and decided to work with them for our reno purchases.  The added bonus is that Living Lighting tends to carry brands with a broad range of price points, so I knew we could stay on budget and get great ‘bang for the buck’.  You hear a lot of talk about the ‘High-Low’ mix in design.  It’s a tricky balance to master, but one that I’ve always believed in.  After all, I’ve spent 20 years working to upgrade the decor of modest homes, by combining high quality on the ‘wear and tear’ items with lower price points on the purely decorative items.   I hope you will agree that we’ve successfully worked some high-low’ into our design with our lighting selections.  Without further ado, here’s a rundown on what we ended up with:

We had thought about the pendant for our front hall (which will be more open to the kitchen), with the semi-flush fixture (x2) in the kitchen.  However, I think it would have been too matchy matchy.  So we stuck with the kitchen fixtures, but had to find another pendant for the front hall.

I found these Kichler fixtures on the Living Lighting website, and we both liked them.  We planned to use the pendant in the front stairwell, and 2 of the semi-flush fixtures in the kitchen.  However, upon reflection, I thought this was too ‘matchy-matchy’, so I needed to find an alternative for the kitchen, or for the front hall.

We liked this fixture for the kitchen, but we needed 2 and there was only 1 in stock.  After calls to a dozen more stores, we conceded that this was not to be for the kitchen.  Back to Plan A, sort of.

We liked this fixture for the kitchen, and it would have worked with the more detailed hall fixture, above, or the 2-tiered pendant, below.  But we needed 2 and there was only 1 in stock. After calls to a dozen more stores, we conceded that this was not to be for the kitchen.

This was a temporary contender for the front stairwell.  I liked the 2-tier effect, but I didn't like the way it looked with our 'Loom' fixtures in the kitchen, so if we used it, we would need a new kitchen contender.

This was a temporary contender for the front stairwell. I liked the 2-tier effect, but I didn’t like the way it looked with our ‘Loom’ fixtures in the kitchen, so if we used it, we would need a new kitchen contender.  Enter the fixture in the previous photo, which turned out to be discontinued.  When it fell through, this one went with it.

I was so-so on this pendant for the front hall.  The tag said it had less light than I wanted, and it seemed a little 'flat'.  Then we turned it on, and -- voila -- we saw that the shade had a great linen texture and warmth that we both liked.  Plus, it would complement the kitchen 'Loom' fixtures.  And, it turned out that the tag was wrong about the amount of light.  We have a winner!

I was so-so on this pendant for the front hall. The tag said it had less light than I wanted, and it seemed a little ‘flat’. Then we turned it on, and — voila — we saw that the shade had a great linen texture and warmth that we both liked. Plus, it would complement the kitchen ‘Loom’ fixtures. And, it turned out that the tag was wrong about the amount of light. We have a winner!

These sconces came late to the lighting party.  As I began to picture my existing desk (sans hutch) at the top of the stairs in the living room, I thought that wall could use some light.  I think these sconces on either side of an original photograph, will help to make the wall more interesting, while bringing much-needed light to our living area. Since the prices of the lighting substitutions actually went DOWN, I was able to easily talk Colin into these.

These sconces came late to the lighting party. As I began to picture my existing desk (sans hutch) at the top of the stairs in the living room, I thought that wall could use some light. I think these sconces on either side of an original photograph, will help to make the wall more interesting, while bringing much-needed light to our living area. Since the prices of the lighting substitutions actually went DOWN, I was able to easily talk Colin into these.

For the dining room, we wanted to get something completely different from the kitchen and front hall, while still working with simple lines.  I found this Hinkley fixture on the Living Lighting site, and we never looked back.

For the dining room, we wanted to get something completely different from the kitchen and front hall, while still working with simple lines. I found this Hinkley fixture on the Living Lighting site, and we never looked back.

You may have noticed that none of our fixtures are silver.  While this might be the obvious choice in a gray kitchen with stainless steel appliances, I wanted contrast and warmth.  The railing in our front hall will be bronze, so bronze lighting made sense out there, and since that’s visible from the kitchen, I decided to pull the bronze into the kitchen, too.   The dining room fixture is a pale gold finish, with linen shade, for contrast with all the wood furnishings, and the black fireplace that will be stretched across the dining room wall.   It will beautifully echo the lighter colour of the new flooring, as well.

In addition to all the ‘prettiness’, above, we were also able to finalize our LED puck lights and undercabinet lighting from Alico.  The Living Lighting store manager seemed thrilled that someone was buying what he called ‘the good stuff’, and connected it all to be sure we were buying the right amount of transformers, etc, without buying too many.   Try getting that from an online ‘store’!

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