LED Lighting = $avings!

LED Lighting $aves Our Environment While $aving You Money!

Remodeled Vancouver kitchen with LED lighting

LED Lighting in Remodeled Kitchen

LED lighting technology was in its infancy eleven years ago. It wasn’t available when I was working in the San Francisco Bay Area in the 1980s until 2000. California passed laws to help energy conservation, but it was a heavy-handed approach. We did have incandescent filament lamps, but we were forced to use fluorescent lighting as the main source of light in kitchens and bathrooms.

Homeowners objected to this limitation, so we worked around the laws making fluorescent under-cabinet fixtures the main light source in kitchens. The fixtures were controlled by the switch closest to the kitchen door. These fluorescent lamps were small in diameter so the fixtures were short. There were varying lengths of the fluorescent lamps, but we were limited by which lengths were available in either warm white or cool white.  I made the mistake of mixing the lamps on my first project. Warm white looked reddish-orange and cool white looked blue-green. The backsplash in my clients’ kitchen looked like Christmas!

For a while, we could use halogen lamps in recessed and decorative fixtures. They were used because they could be dimmed. But the regulations got Then manufacturers produced fluorescent lamps with standard screw-type bases so they could be used with recessed and decorative fixtures. The EPA told us that CFLs would be the standard to replace incandescent lamps. Reluctantly, the construction industry and homeowners adopted this, but everyone hated the results. Fluorescent lamps were on or off. No dimming. The light was simultaneously flat and harsh.

My, how we’ve come a long way — and the future looks even brighter!

In 2005, LED lighting was available, but there were limitations:

  • Not dimmable.
  • Color was a cool blue-white.
  • Replacement bulbs (lamps) for many fixtures did not exist.
  • Strip and rope lighting was available, but it was very expensive ($40 per foot!).

 

 

LED lighting has improved!

To create the indirect lighting for the entry hall and hallway, dining room, living room, master bedroom, and kitchen in our new home in 2006, my husband had to buy 3,000 individual LEDs and wire them together on “perf” board. Then he connected the finished Light-Emitting-Diode (LED) strips to a dimmable transformer and plugged the transformer into a switched outlet that had been installed in the coffers. It was a lot of work for him, but it saved us thousands of dollars. We got the results we wanted and lit all of those areas with only 100 watts of power, which was reflected in our lowered electric bill. To achieve similar results in 2021, any Homeowner can purchase ready-made dimmable LED strip lighting for a multitude of purposes and a multitude of color ranges:

  • Indirect lighting in trayed/coffered ceilings or on crown molding
  • Task and accent lighting under wall cabinets and countertop overhangs in kitchens
  • Accent display lighting in unlimited applications
  • Safety night lighting in bathroom toekicks and stair edges
  • Increased-visibility lighting in pantries and closets

Comparison of LED lighting to other types of lighting

In addition to LED strip lighting, there’s a wide selection of bulbs available, replace discontinued incandescent and outdated CFL bulbs. The colors, brightness, and dimmability have been improved, to enhance all interior environments. The best news for all of us, though, is that the price of LED lighting has dropped like a rock as the technology has improved and the market has become more competitive. Early incandescent lamp replacements were as high as $50 each. In 2021, we can purchase better LED replacement lamps for as low as $5 each! Here is a chart from Earth Easy that graphically shows how cost-efficient LED lighting is:

Comparison chart for LED, CFL, and Incandescent lighting

There is more technical information available at Wikipedia.

LED Lighting has grown in popularity

Lighting designers understood the benefits that LED lighting would have on the environment. They knew that homeowners and businesses would save money on energy bills. They worked with manufacturers to develop better and varied light sources for residential and commercial use. “DOE estimates there are at least 500 million recessed downlights installed in U.S. homes, and more than 20 million are sold each year,” according to a report by energy.gov.

Armed with all of this information, I hope that you’re inspired to switch (pun intended!) your existing lighting to LEDs.

 

See before and after pictures and a description of the featured kitchen project that successfully used LED lighting.

 “See the Possibilities. Create a Positive Difference.”

 

© 2016 D. P. Design – All Rights Reserved; Revised 2/2021.

A Powder Room CAN Be Different!

Your Powder Room Can Be Anything You Want It To Be!Your powder room is the one room that can be totally different from the other rooms in your home.

Remodeling your powder room can be a lot of fun, but it can be expensive! This is the only room in your home where you can break the rules of “architectural integrity”. You can choose any style that fulfills your desire to do something different.

How The Homeowners’ Journey Started

The couple fell in love with the custom vessel lavatory that they saw at a local home show. I’ll always remember hearing their discussion. My booth at the show was next to a major plumbing showroom’s booth. I walked over to the couple and we had a great discussion about how beautiful the custom green and red glass lavatory bowl was. Then I invited them to my booth, where we continued the discussion. A few minutes later, they asked me to their home to talk about remodeling all of their bathrooms. 

During the first appointment, they showed me the existing powder room, the master bathroom, and their son’s bathroom. All of the rooms in their home, except the bathrooms, had updated color schemes, furniture, and accessories. The bathrooms were caught in a 1970s time warp. We talked at length about what they wanted for the three bathrooms. The wife said, “I have to have that gorgeous sink somewhere in my home!” I agreed and said that the powder room would be the perfect spot. 

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Thanksgiving Prayer and Blessings

Thanksgiving-Prayer

Thanksgiving week, 1974.

 

It was the Monday before Thanksgiving. I had made the choice to move from Portland to San Francisco right after Labor Day, to start a new chapter of my life. It didn’t take long to become acquainted with people at work, at my new church, and through the local Glen Park Homeowners’ Association.

Two weeks before, I had started thinking about how I was going to spend Thanksgiving, and had been asking everyone if they had plans, hoping that someone would either invite me to share the day with them, or leave the door open for me to suggest a group potluck. Everyone had plans. I felt awkward about inviting myself, so I’d usually reply, “That’s wonderful,” or something similar. By Monday, I was feeling very alone, and sad. (more…)

Contractors Want Respect (Just Like You!)

Contractors , Communication and Respect

 

Part 1 contained information about how to find your contractor. Now we’re going to discuss what happens next.

First Meeting and Follow-up

Meetings with contractors should include the major decision-maker(s) when the appointments are scheduled, because communication, compatibility and respect areContractors need Communication and Respect, too! important parts of the working relationship.

When contractors come to your home for the first time, it should be during daylight hours, if possible, so they can see details inside and out that may affect your project.  You may have to accommodate a very early morning appointment, or you may have to take time away from work for the meeting.  They will  want to see your electrical panel and other utility connections, in addition to seeing all areas adjacent to the areas you’re planning to remodel or add.  They  may want to quickly inspect the attic and crawl space (or basement); problems in these areas could also affect your investment. (more…)

Remodeling Horror Story Not Just For Halloween

Remodeling Horror Story: Trick Or Treat?

Remodeling horror story isn't just for Halloween!

The title of this blog is seasonal, but unfortunately, a “Trick or Treat” remodeling horror story happens year ’round. It’s not limited to one type of remodeling project. Here  is a  remodeling “horror” story list, bad experiences that were avoidable:

  • A D-I-Y basement renovation that got out of hand.
  • A master bathroom project that was totally bungled by a designer who acted as the general contractor.
  • A D-I-Y master bedroom expansion into an adjoining bedroom; taking out a bearing wall is a NO-NO!
  • A bad deck replacement done by an unlicensed contractor that left the Homeowners with no legal recourse.
  • A new home that had all of the hot and cold lines swapped by the plumber.
  • A D-I-Y floor refinishing project that ended up with the floor being replaced after the sanding drum was installed backwards, chewing up the floor.
  • Homeowners who had purchased appliances ten years before the actual remodeling, and ended up donating the appliances because they wouldn’t fit in the new kitchen.

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Your Contractor Is Waiting For Your Call!

Your Contractor Wants You To Find Him/Her!

Your contractor is just a phone call away!

The best way to find your contractor is referrals — from neighbors, friends, family, or business associates.  These are your best resources, especially people who’ve remodeled recently.  You can also get referrals from the showrooms you’ve visited.  Don’t rely on advertisements.  They can be misleading.  You’ll be better off to contact your local professional remodeling organizations (NAHB, NARI, or NKBA) for several names and phone numbers.  Most local building departments will not refer contractors. It’s a conflict of interest.

Two Warnings About Referrals:

  • Don’t hire a one-person contractor who says he/she does everything.  An unforeseen family emergency, illness or injury can ruin time projections.  There aren’t enough hours in the day for a general contractor to draw plans, manufacture cabinets, and  work on your project. Overall quality of your project will suffer.

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