Thinking about kitchen lighting.
I always think it’s funny when people comment on how “fast” I am about completing renovation projects in our house. Maybe it’s because I don’t post very often, or because I tend to not show a lot of in-progress shots? Whatever it is, it’s a big, fat illusion. We are the slowest renovators ever. Case in point, we’ve now been living with our “temporary” kitchen for more than SIX YEARS. In fact, it’s been a whole year and a half since I last wrote about how I should probably start getting to work on fixing up the kitchen for real. How much have I done since then? Zilch. I mean, unless you count complaining about it. I never procrastinate when it comes to complaining.
I like this solution a lot. My kitchen is actually a decent size (maybe 15′x15′?), but it’s a difficult space—it has three doorways, two tall windows that reach well below counter height, and a big hearth. There’s very little continuous wall space, so it seems small. The ceilings are high, though (about 10′), so having a bunch of dangling pendant lamps isn’t as precarious as it might seem. It would be easy to hang them high enough that the average person wouldn’t be smacking skull to bulb. Even a 3′ dangle would accommodate a 7′ person. (I’m over-thinking this, yes.) The height of the bulbs is adjustable by simply wrapping or unwrapping the cord. Nice. Plumen CFL bulbs would look great and be more efficient than incandescents.
The other good thing about this solution is that it provides an easy way to run lights across a wide distance without having to install additional electrical boxes in the ceiling (those of you who live in old houses with original ceilings understand why adding/moving boxes is a pain), since all of the cords run from the same source. Yes, track lighting would also be an option, and I’m not writing it off completely…but it can get expensive once you you enter the world of the non-ugly. (IKEA used to have a really nice and affordable track system called SÄNDA, but it was just discontinued. Sigh.)
Most importantly, this fits into my “unfancy” approach to kitchen renovation. It doesn’t alter the original structure of the house, it’s inexpensive, it’s simple to execute, easily reversible, and the materials are honest.
I think I might have posted these photos already ages ago, but I thought it was worth adding them to this post since this is essentially the same idea but with a branch instead of metal rod. I like this, too, but I think it’s better for over a dining table than for general kitchen lighting. I also love that built-in bench. All of the windows and doors in my kitchen make it impossible to do anything like that, but I would if I could.