Bear with me, I have never done anything in the home repair area really.
But I want to redo the lighting in my old studio apartment, because the
lights are basically as old and cheap as you can get. Additionally I want
to hang a ceiling fan/light, and maybe do some home automation stuff if it
isn't too expensive.
I just want to tell someone my requirements, and have them help choose the
lights and also choose people to install them. It's probably about 4 lights
plus the ceiling one.
How would I go about finding someone to help me with this? After looking on
the internet a bit, I saw that lampsplus.com offers a free consultation. Is
this a reasonable way to go? Anyone have any experience with this?
I'm in Palo Alto, CA if that matters.
Sounds like a job too small for an architect or a lighting designer unless
you willing to pay for it. Lighting is very personal like buying a car
unless you don't care about your ride. I suggest you review and approve the
type of light fixtures and installation - endless possibilities - before you
let someone run with it otherwise you end up with a lighting ambiance that
rubs against your personality. Get a good electrician you could work with
and review the lighting options before you give him/her the go ahead. Go see
some of his/her installations to get some ideas first.
It is personal, but that's why I figure that some sort of designer would be
able to translate my needs into the best configuration. I'm willing to pay
for getting it done right. Plus I definitely don't want to hang the ceiling
fan myself so I'm going to have to involve a third party in any case.
Is it really out of the ordinary to do such a small job? I have researched
the problem a bit and there are indeed a lot of options like you say, so I
figure someone who knows the area could do a much better job choosing than I
I guess my question is that I'm looking for someone who has the aesthetic
sense, knows the functional issues like energy efficiency and what kind of
automation is available, and practical stuff like running wires (I happen to
have wood paneling on all the walls which I imagine complicates things).
When I think of an "electrician", I don't think of someone whose forte is
aesthetics, I suppose. Is that not accurate? Do you typically get an
electrician to do the lighting?
You might look for ceiling fan with a remote control for speed and
lighting selections. Your electrician will determine whether additional
physical support brackets are required for the weight of the fan at the
ceiling. If your apartment is lacking safely wired electrical boxes at
the end of the wire run to a light fixture he will fix it and make sure
the wiring is safe at both the fixture and the circuit breaker panel.
Energy saving, warmth or coolness of the colors of the lighting
measured in kelvin, sufficient directed brightness in the reading and
task areas, it's all for your future comfort.
If an electrician has done many high end residential, night clubs, retail
display lighting then he/she should be able to give you some directions.
Typically they don't do high end lighting design but many do simple
residential and simple retail lighting.
Ok this is what happens on a unique lighting design project: the architect
got the project but sub the lighting requirements to an interior or lighting
designer because its outside of his comfort level, the interior/lighting
designer select the fixture types and location (could be one-of-a-kind high
end custom fixtures from Italy, or wherever, without the UL label, etc.) but
has no concept of California Title 24 or code requirements so the electrical
engineer has to make everything work including Title 24, balancing loads,
foot-candle requirements, ensure good visual comfort, design the circuits
including interfacing to any automation system and insure its in compliance
to codes and draws up the plans and specifications so the electrician could
bid on it. In the end the electrician install the specified fixtures and
wires up everything according to the project plans and specifications.
Visit a lighting store that has lots of displays. Haven't been in the
market for much, but when we bought a chandelier the shop had lots of
different samples of fixtures and installations. Bring some pix of your
apartment - a sales person worth their salt could give good suggestions.
They could probably steer you to a good installer as well.
A lot has to do with your life style - work areas, mood or display
lighting, etc. You can do a lot with a dimmer switch :o)
Lamps Plus is a well-respected, long-time retailer and their folks are
reasonably well trained. If you don't want to pay for expertise, such a
retailer is a good option. The staff consultants will be limited to
products that Lamps Plus carries, of course; but they do have an extensive
line and you will likely be able to see what you're getting before you buy
it. It's always a good idea to see a lighting fixture lighted if you can
since it's easy to get one that's too dim or too bright. Glare is also a
I don't know if they are experts on home automation.
They may be able to recommend an electrical contractor or electrician for
the installation too. If not, do you have "Angie's List" in your area?
I've never been disappointed when I've followed their recommendations for
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