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Happy first day of Fall!

Yeh, yeh, I know.  I’m not really that happy either, but only because winter is coming, not because Fall is here.  I love Fall as a season because of the many birthdays and Halloween (my favourite holiday ever).  And also it’s a time to regroup and get ready for the winter season.  More importantly, it’s about making sure I have enough lighting.

If you’re lucky enough to be located in a more southerly part of the hemisphere where sunlight is still around for more than 8 hours a day, you might not be as concerned. But up here in the Great White North, we suffer from SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder), which literally makes us sad due to the lack of vitamin D.  It’s become so prevalent that there are vitamin D supplements in many foods available now.  I’ve had to resort to the Tanning booth to get my zap of D.

And I’ve been reading up on the different types of bulbs available now and how energy efficient they are etc.  Although I haven’t compiled all of my findings yet to do a good comprehensive post, I did however come across some interested trivia about lighting that I want to share…

Fact #1– Most infrared rays from the sun are blocked by ordinary window glass. A sunny room warms up because objects in the room absorb the sun’s visible light and convert it to infrared.

Fact #2 – Artists commonly prefer the light form windows facing the nearest pole (north light, in the northern hemisphere), since the light varies the least as the sun moves throughout the day.

Fact #3 – Thomas Edison tried many different substances to create a filament for his electric light, including cotton thread and the beard hairs of redheaded men, before settling on charred bamboo.

Fact #5 – In 1892, Nikola Tesla, hoping to improve on Edison’s incandescent lamp, accidentally invented a primitive laser instead.

Fact #6 – People are attracted to light: A 1974 study published in Lighting Design and Application by Taylor and Sucov found that when faced with two corridors, one lit more brightly than the other, subjects overwhelmingly chose the brighter one. No dah!

Cheers!

Facts courtesy of Dwell September 2010 issue.

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Design Tip – LIGHTING

In North America, we don’t get enough sunlight during the winter months. According to recent studies the incidence of SAD ( seasonal affective disorder) is on the rise and is more common than previously thought.  You know the symptoms; feeling more tired, eating more, overall blahs and in severe cases, total lack of daily ability to function.  Doctors have been prescribing extra vitamin D during the winter. Even my naturopath has me on them this year.  Light therapy, where you are supposed to sit in front of a special lightbox from 15 minutes to 2 hours depending on the severity of the disorder, is popular as well.  But if you are just feeling the blahs, you could be working and living in an underlit environment.

In fact, it’s the first thing, in 99% of the cases I see, that needs to be addressed when I see a client.  Homes are generally underlit and just poorly lit.  Some clients claim that the electricity bill is the cause.  But I argue that not all of the lights need to be on all of the time and it’s very important for you to have lighting from different sources to achieve a well lit room and simply to see properly.  Typically, the magic number is 3 lighting sources, but for larger rooms with more decorative features, the amount of sources will increase.

Here is the rule of thumb:

A room should have:

1. Ambient lighting, such as  from a hidden source that washes the room with a glow, i.e. pot lights, ceiling fixture, wall sconces or a chandelier.  Use a dimmer to control the amount of wash.

2. Accent lighting, is used to highlight a particular area and draw attention to a feature in the room.  Directional pot lights, table lamps or undercounter lighting are some examples.

3. Task lighting is very important in rooms where you read or cook or perform a specific function where you must focus your sight.  Very important.  A reading lamp or spot light are some examples.

I am very excited about the lighting fixtures I’m seeing these days. Check these out:

Coloured glass chandeliers from Up Country.

Feather Lamp, Driftwood Lamp and Organza Chandelier from Trianon.

Mid-century modern from Atomic.

Have a good look at the lighting in your home and do a self assessment.  If  you aren’t sure you need more lighting do the rule of thumb – 3 sources test. Sometimes it’s as simple as changing the ceiling fixture to a track. It will make a huge difference to the way you function in your home or office.  Really!

Check this Thursday’s SHOP WATCH for a very cool chandelier supplier I found.

Cheers!

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