Today marks the fifth anniversary of the day I started this blog on February 20th, 2005.
Kitchen-Exchange was one of the very first blogs dedicated to kitchen design. Since that day I have been joined by many talented blogging designers.
It seems very apropos today that the fifth anniversary gift is wood. I love wood in an almost visceral way. Always have, ever since I can remember. I love the feel of wood and its smell.
Today I toured the Palo Alto Net Zero House and saw a TorZo wood counter in the powder room. I was in LOVE! I really, really didn't want to leave that powder room.
Now. I must first say that I am NOT fond of wood counters in the kitchen unless they are completely separate from any sink or cooking surface. I have seen too many wood counters marred with mildew and burns to ever recommend one anywhere but where it can't be soaked or burned. They are so impractical!
But OH this Torzo! It is made of myriad wood chips in light and dark colors in an non-toxic acrylic resin. It is so deep looking, so rich. Pictures can't do it justice.
If I had a desktop of TorZo Orient, I would just sit here admiring it all day long and never get a thing done!
I have asked for a sample to test, since TorZo claims that their product is durable and resistant to water. I shall see about that and report back.
Thank you TorZo, for your gift of beautiful wood on my fifth anniversary.
Kitschy Kitchens is a blog where I critique the worst of the worst in kitchens. Poor design, an assault on the eyes, wrong colors, wrong materials; they all can be found there. Take an amusing detour to discover what you DON'T want in a kitchen.
Saturday, February 20, 2010
Today marks the fifth anniversary of the day I started this blog on February 20th, 2005.
Saturday, February 13, 2010
Cree has designed a replacement lightbulb for the ubiquitous little halogen bulbs that so many homeowners covet.
I have avoided using halogen recessed lighting because of my abiding concerns with overheating. Those days are over with the LRP-38.
The Cree LRP-38 comes as a screw-in replacement for existing halogen lightbulbs; or with a 2-pin GU24 connector for use in California, conforming with Title 24 (California's energy code).
* 500 Lumens (Light Output)
* 12 Watt input power
* 41.6 Lumens per Watt (Efficacy)
* Equivalent to 50 to 90W Halogen
* 92 CRI (Color Rendering Index)at 2700K (Warm)
* 4000 CBCP (Center Beam Candlepower) with 20° beam angle
Reduce Maintenance Costs
* Designed to last up-to 50,000 hours
Protect the Environment
* Long life, energy savings
* No mercury
Now you, and I, can truly have our cake and eat it too.
Friday, February 12, 2010
There is a big discussion among kitchen designers on Linked-In today about LED tape lights used as undercabinet lighting.
Many designers seem to be using such products for their wow-factor without considering whether they produce adequate light for countertop tasks.
I get a picture of somebody working in their kitchen with a coal miner's lamp on their head.
Instead of using products that will not meet our clients' needs for proper task lighting, why not adhere to the US DOE (Department of Energy) standards for LED lighting?
Their engineers have run the tests and they have labeled tested products with an easy to understand label detailing the quality of the light output by the fixture and lamp(s) in four critical areas, with test results right on the label (kind of like the mileage labels we have seen on cars for years).
It's as easy as this: Look for the label. Don't buy or specify anything that doesn't have the label. Learn to understand the label. Buy the product that most closely meets the needs of the application.
Anatomy of the Lighting Facts Label
Measures light output.
The higher the number, the more light is emitted.
Measures energy required to light the product.
The lower the wattage, the less energy used.
Lumens per Watt/Efficacy
The higher the number, the more efficient the product.
Color Rendering Index (CRI)
Measures color accuracy.
Color rendition is the effect of the lamp's light spectrum on the color appearance of objects.
Correlated Color Temperature (CCT)
Measures light color.
“Cool” colors have higher Kelvin temperatures (3600–5500 K);
“Warm” colors have lower color temperatures (2700–3500 K).
Industry standardized test procedure that measures performance qualities of LED luminaires and integral lamps.
It allows for a true comparison of luminaires regardless of the light source.
Unique number given to each manufacturer and product once they have been registered, verified, and approved.
Only products with valid registration numbers may display the Lighting Facts label.
Unique manufacturer's model number for the product.
Specific type of solid-state lighting fixture.
The brand the product is available under.
There is even a DOE web site listing all of the products that have been tested and approved so far: LightingFacts.com, as well as the judging criteria for each application (so you can understand the label) in their Residential Product Performance Scale.
I have taken their pledge to:
* Evaluate LED product quality by using the Lighting Facts label, which reports performance testing data that measures:
o Lumen output
o Luminaire efficacy
o Power input
o Correlated Color Temperature
o Color Rendering Index
* Use and promote products from manufacturers who participate in the SSL Quality Advocates program.
Therefore I will check all lighting products I post about, from now on, to make sure they have been tested and approved.
Buying LED lighting has just gotten a whole lot easier.
An addendum to this post:
Apparently, the Lighting Facts label is so successful it is now being COUNTERFEITED!
Verify that the Lighting Facts label presented by the manufacturer is a legitimate label
“Buyer (and specifier) beware” – not all labels are legitimate Lighting Facts labels!
Never assume that a label presented to you is accurate. Always refer to the product list on the program web site, www.lightingfacts.com/products, to verify whether:
o Items are registered with the program
o Performance values provided match values listed and verified by the program
A second addendum to this post:
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced that it will extend the deadline for the new consumer Lighting Facts product label from July 2011 to January 1, 2012. This decision was made after reviewing public comments. The new deadline will allow manufacturers more time to incorporate the label on their bulb packages. However, the FTC encourages manufacturers to incorporate the new labels on their packaging as soon as possible.
The new FTC Lighting Facts label emphasizes lumen output, estimated yearly energy cost, life, light appearance, and wattage. This information will help consumers choose the right bulb for their lighting needs, while shifting the focus from wattage to lumens. This effort is especially important with the Energy Independence and Security Act legislation which impacts light bulbs beginning in 2012.
Sunday, February 07, 2010
This is a strictly West Coast Q & A.
Eichlers are contemporary California homes built by Joseph Eichler back in the 50's, 60's and 70's.
I have helped design kitchens and baths in many Eichlers over the years, and there are some unique issues about their construction that present interesting challenges.
1. They are built on slab floors with radiant heat built into the slab in the form of piping which carries hot water from a boiler.
2. The design is open plan, with beams and posts to support the structural load (which is the roof).
3. As Tiana mentions in her question below; the roofs are tongue in groove wood, with no room for insulation. The roof is made waterproof with tar and gravel on top of the T&G planking.
4. The electrical actually runs on top of the roof in conduit. Lighting is mostly ceiling mounted ball glass pendants.
Just saw your blog while noodling around trying to find recessed lighting using very shallow cans. We have an Eichler home in Lucas Valley (outskirts of San Rafael) and were wondering whether we could possibly put in recessed lighting in conjunction with a new foam roof.
This is usually not an option because the roofs are just tongue and grove ceiling boards over the exposed beams, then tar paper, old tar and gravel roof, then foam. But we have 2 inches of rigid board foam in between the tar paper and the tar and gravel on top.
Soooo, when we pour another 1.5 inches of foam for a new roof, we should have approximately 3 inches to work with being then flush with the surface about to receive the new roof.
Is there any recessed lighting which could be used in such a way? -- and ok to use with a sealed in application like that (conduit wired over the roof and permanently
I was hoping with all these new low heat LED lights, someone would come up with one-- perhaps one more commonly used in cabinets. LEDs are quite bright so the lights could possibly be smaller than normal and still give plenty of light at counter level.
Any ideas? If you have a solution, there are lots of Eichler owners all over the Bay Area who would love your input!
You would likely make a good kitchen designer Tiana. Our profession is consumed with getting the most out of every inch we are given. ;-D
Getting back to your question: In fact LED recessed fixtures are just a big as the old incandescent fixtures above the ceiling line.
It's true that the lights themselves are tiny, even when ganged together to form a downlight. But they generate a great deal of heat, in spite of your misconception. So a lot of room is taken up by the attached heat sink.
This is a Cree LR6. 3/4ths of the light is the heat sink. See the little fins on the sides? They help dissipate the heat. This fits inside a typical recessed fixture that takes up even more height. Then there is the wiring on top of that.
The only ways that I can think of that you could mount recessed lights in your Eichler ceilings would be two:
1. Apply sheetrock to the bottom of your ceilings beams. That would provide enough clearance to recess the fixtures.
2. Build insulated boxes, big enough to provide the prescribed air space around the fixtures, on your roof at the point of each fixture.
I'm afraid either solution would compromise your Eichler home to the point of making it not an Eichler any more.
The only other solution I can offer is to refer you to my favorite lighting designer, Randy Whitehead. I assure you, if there is a solution I have not presented that solves your problem, Randy knows it.
Please let us know if Randy has an answer for all those other Eichler owners out there because I'm sure that this post will draw them like flies.
Good luck Tiana,
Wednesday, February 03, 2010
Kelly Morisseau, over at her Kitchen Sync blog, has posted on the angst of consumers who wish they had taken more time or spent their money a little differently AFTER they have completed their kitchens.
Read Kelly's post Rushing the Design Process and then come back and read the rest of this.
Kelly advises her clients and readers that the process of planning a kitchen well and thoroughly takes about three months, and I agree. But there are some caveats that are unknown to the designer and the client when they are just beginning the process.
Kelly, and I, or any other experienced designer; can do the work and take our clients through the process of selection of products for a kitchen in three months, and produce a well thought out finished product. Sometimes we can even do it faster. But we never know up front how decisive the client is going to be.
I have had clients who, when presented with a choice of cabinet dealer, cabinetry manufacturer, door style, wood and finish; made their selection and moved on to the next decision in one day. Others may take weeks to decide the same question. The same goes for all the other myriad choices that are part and parcel of our work as kitchen designers.
My point is: To design a kitchen efficiently, we need choices efficiently. Hundreds of them; from the very big, to the minuscule. And we can't proceed, efficiently or otherwise, until we have them.
In fact, I make it a practice to not even ask for choices that come toward the end of the design process until they are needed. Because so many choices are predicated on other choices that must be made before. And I don't want to overwhelm my client with too many decisions at once.
So, to make a long story short, I tell my clients to give the process three to six months. Just in case they are among those who have a hard time making up their minds or (worse) change their minds when they see something they didn't know existed in a showroom or friend's home.
Better to give the process the time it needs than to feel pressured or rushed. The journey, from beginning your work with your designer to the day your new kitchen is finished and ready to use, will be a lot more enjoyable if you don't also have to deal with the "time factor".