Sanding Stairs and Pondering More Lighting

Stairs of Parallam

sanding the beams before cutting to size

“Parallam” is an engineered structural beam material. Its designed to be very strong and very straight and consistent. I’m using it for my stair treds. I like the look and the fact that its a sustainable material. I like the balance of the machismo of the steel stair structure in combination with the softness of the wood. This wood material reminds me of a bundle of sticks or grass. I think it relates well to my bamboo floor and my bamboo shade that is the “door” to my stacking washer/dryer room.

rough placement of the treds pre-install

Here you can see the rough placement of the treds before final trimming to size. I have to admit I was a bit concerned about the scale of these hunks of wood in the small space but, happily, my estimates seem to be okay. There will need to be a railing of course but I do like the way that it looks without any railing. I’m working on sanding and final finish before I get them in place.

 

What About Bedside Lighting?

tolomeo wall light

I need to get all of the outlets and light fixture electrical boxes in place. Since I want as clean an installation as possible it seems necessary to determine the type of fixture before I can decide on the exact location of the electrical box.

At this point I am imagining an adjustable light fixture on each side of my new bed. I would like the fixture to mount to the wall without any cord, therefore I need to know what kind of light fixture as well as how wide the bed is going to be and how the fixture attaches to the wall.

Options, Options

Of course there are many options here just like all the other types of fixtures. So more research to do here too. I do want something that has some softness to it and doesn’t seem overly technical. Some of these get very technical very fast. It would be nice if there was some warmth to the light too like this one with a fabric shade. As always cost is a major deciding factor and some of these are too expensive.

 

ledino wall light

philips swing arm

ledino wall light

 

 

 

Lighting, Both Natural and Artificial

Still Looking

Available in many different sizes but the price goes up accordingly

In an earlier post I was deep in a search for the perfect pendant light fixture. I called this my “fanciful pursuit.” I seem to labor over these fanciful decisions even more than the labor that I put into the fundamental infrastructure of the new abode.

The search never stopped and I have looked at many different sizes and configurations, none of which seemed to be just right. After creating the big entry space in my mind and now a reality, I guess I put a lot of pressure on myself to make it something special.

 

Nature Has It’s Impact

Lately I’ve been watching the sunset like a movie projected onto my upper story.

the sunset projects onto the new wall

The new sliding glass door creates a nicely framed image of the sunset. I find myself watching this image as it moves and changes color. It draws me upstairs to see it in person. I realize now that a pendant light fixture would block this view and I’m not sure if I want to let that happen. I was already thinking that the new fixture should somehow represent the sun or natural light so that, even on foggy days, there is a reminder that the sun is up there somewhere.

Now I’m looking at ceiling mounted fixtures and I’ve found some interesting images that intrigue me. I’m even thinking of putting recessed lighting in the ceiling and then hanging my own custom shade that hangs slightly below the ceiling hiding the fixtures and providing a glow as though there is a skylight in the ceiling. In all my research there is an obvious correlation between size and price. I know that is a “no brainer” but prices jump dramatically as soon as the diffuser gets bigger than 20 inches. I can make my own diffuser as big as I want for much less.

Large Ceiling Mounted Fixtures

found on ylighting website

This fixture is the “Quadra Ice Flat Ceiling Light” by Proli Diffusion Studio. Made in Spain by Vibia.

Its just shy of 24″ Square and I like the quality of the light shown in this image.

I’m not sure how this would work on a slanted ceiling. I think I want the diffuser to be level and I might be able to do that by adjusting the attachment point.

 

 

The Feeling of a Skylight

also found on ylighting

This is the fixture that inspired me with the idea of a large skylight. I like the quality of light in this image but I think it will take some experimentation in the actual space see what is possible.

This fixture is called “Big Ceiling Light” appropriately enough. The design is by Lievore, Altherr and Molina. Made in Spain by Vibia. It’s available in two sizes: 39.5″  and 47.25″ Diameter. I would guess this is the bigger one in the image.

There is a lot of finesse that goes into the design of these consumer items and I’m sure that is what makes them worth so much.

Here is a detail of the fixture above. You can see that its a high quality light that is probably worth it’s price of over $3,000.

I’m wondering, however, if I can create my own diffuser that I just hang from the ceiling underneath a few recessed fixtures. Well, that is the latest exploration that I intend to do. It may take some experimentation to achieve the quality of light that I am seeing in these photographs.

From the Practical to the Fanciful

I’ve been dealing with a smorgasbord of engineering and design issues. The seismic retrofit is done and inspected except for the final application of plywood sheets to solidify the newly reinforced wall areas. With help from my brother (an engineer) and a local sheet metal shop I laid out the basics of my new central heating system and, at the same time, I’ve been looking at some of the available products to personalize my new home.

The Practical

With help from my brother, I laid out a schematic diagram of what I want to do with the central heating system. My house never had central heating before but I believe this system will help to keep the humidity under control and dry out the furthest corners of my house. I’m concerned about keeping my house dry in this humid, coastal environment.

Three dimensional CAD drawing of furnace layout

From this basic concept I worked with the sheet metal fabricator to come up with the system approach. The average person could have all of this design and installation done by a professional but I can’t afford the thousands of dollars that it would cost right now and I’m very motivated to get some heat in my house. Once I get all of the custom pieces made, I can use stock ductwork to make the runs and connections. Its fairly simple and inexpensive once the basics are in place.

Fanciful is more Fun

Of course I don’t mean “fancy.” You know I prefer a clean and simple design but the search for good design is definitely a “fanciful” pursuit. Good design is almost always more expensive and harder to find. The money I save and the extra time that I spend doing the final construction myself allows me the luxury of searching out products that I really love. I can take my time deciding what bathtub I want because I am the one that has to install it as well as pay for it.

I decided that I needed a couple of ceiling fans to maintain good air circulation away from my new peaked ceilings. There are many different fans available and the one you pick is definitely a big part of your design approach. Hopefully a ceiling fan won’t be changed very often and therefore is a more permanent part of your interior space.

Ron Rezek ceiling fanRon Rezek ceiling fanI looked around locally and couldn’t find anything that was simple and of small scale so I switched to an internet search and found a good variety of products at ylighting.com. There I found a couple of simple fans that had the option of shorter fan blades. Coincidentally I’m familiar with this particular designer, Ron Rezek’s, work as well. I’ve seen and appreciated many of his simple light fixture designs. I have no connection to ylighting but I found their website easy to use and their prices comparable to or lower than other sites. I like ordering from people that make my search easier and maybe even enjoyable.

Entrance stairwell under construction, beginning of shear wall plywood

A space begging for a centerpiece

While I’m working on the plywood shear wall nailing, I can’t help but think about what my new entrance space is going to look like when it is finally finished. I have very intentionally created a larger scale entrance into my new home. I wanted to make the stairwell a feature rather than just a necessity.

My plan here is to have some sort of hanging light fixture. I am not sure yet how big it needs to be in order to look right with the scale of the space. I’m going to have to mock something up in order to figure that out.

Pendant lighting research begins

I know that it has to fit within my general concept of style for this house but I am not sure yet just how big it has to be. I’ve been looking at websites again, from Ikea to Crate & Barrel to ylighting and I’ve seen a great variety of fixtures and a huge variation in price. Some of the large fixtures can cost up to $4,000. The Ikea light that I am looking at is made out of paper and is very cheap but I’m not sure it is big enough and maybe not even durable enough. If I can’t find the right fixture I’m thinking about making it myself. As you can imagine this fixture will have a big effect on the feel of the place.

Crate & Barrel Finley Pendant

IKEA pendent made of paper requires assembly

Available in many different sizes but the price goes up accordingly

22" dia. for $700, not much bang for the buck

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Crate & Barrel fixture is 28″ in diameter and is only $200 but I’m not sure if thats going to be big enough. I think I am leaning toward something really simple and therefore may end up making it myself. The simple circles don’t look that hard to make do they? Experience tells me however, if I can find something that I like and can afford, then buy it.

 

Both Practical and Beautiful?

Morso small wood stove

Satisfying my needs for beautiful function are these next two items on my wish list. I am definitely buying this wood stove when I can fit it into my finances. I looked at a lot of different stoves and when I saw this one in person, I was sold. It has the solidity and weight of an old fashioned stove and the size and simplicity to fit into my small space. It’s worth the wait to get the right thing.

Duravit shower / bath

This is the tub that I’m thinking about but can’t afford to buy yet. I’m really intrigued with the design concept that allows for a larger showering space and also a nice place to soak a while. It isn’t the cheapest design but I think it will be great to use and also look really nice in my new bathroom. It looks a bit like the plan of my house.

As always, just comment here or drop me an email if you want to know any more about anything here. I want to be helpful and keep things interesting. I’m not advertising anything here, I’m just trying to share my interest in good, useful and beautiful design.