Monday, December 13, 2010


In planning this house, I spent many hours working on making the spaces flow together and on determining the size and location of the windows. I have not thought very much along the way about the lighting that will go into those spaces.

In a timber frame that is insulated with panels, the lighting has to be planned earlier in the process than in a conventionally framed house. There are minimal places in which to hide wires and no wall or roof cavities. As a result, on a very cold recent evening we found ourselves laying out future hanging lights on the sawdust covered floor and using a laser to project the location onto the ceiling. Holes were then drilled up through the roof panels and spaces for electrical boxes chiseled out of the roof decking. Before we could do the final step to get the roof weather tight we ran wires over the roof panels for every ceiling light that will hang from the roof. In this house it was the lights in the bedrooms and in the entry and stair areas.

In my efforts to rapidly educate myself about lighting placement and options, I have learned that there are basically three types of lighting that one should think about- general, task and accent. Also, in a house with an open floor plan, such as this one, it is possible to differentiate the spaces through creating unique lighting scenarios is each.

Since we used rough sawn lumber that is somewhat weathered in places, I am going to go with a theme of utilitarian light fixtures throughout the house. These barn inspired fixtures seem to be quite popular right now and are prevalent on Amazon and at Ikea. I am hoping they will contrast well with the wood frame and floors and the plaster covered walls. And while lighting placement will be tricky to change, the fixtures themselves can be swapped out easily to create an entirely different look.