Saturday, March 31, 2007

Coolest Paint Site

I am not usually one to go gaga over paint. I leave that to my interior designer cohorts and stick to drawing plans. But this site by Benjamin Moore has even me excited about playing with paint colors. You can even photograph your room, upload the digital file, and then "paint" it on line. Take a look.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

CFL Light Bulb Shapes

Here's a cool article on compact fluorescent light bulbs and the shapes that are currently available.

ASK INHABITAT: What are the greenest lightbulb options?

Here are some chandelier bulbs from!

How 'bout THAT! Ask and ye shall receive!

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Should Government BAN Incandescent Light Bulbs?

No questions lately so a semi-rant:

I have been recommending that my clients select 100% fluorescent lighting for their kitchens for the last twelve years or so. Ever since I attended a seminar by Randall Whitehead, a renowned San Francisco lighting designer, back in the 90's. Randall convinced me that fluorescent was the sensible choice for kitchen lighting back then, when we HAD a choice. Fluorescents consume far less energy, burn cooler and last way longer than their incandescent forbears. Compact fluorescent lights have even recently come down in price and become available in various shapes like spots and floods. Hooray!

Before the 90's I was already recommending fluorescent general lighting in kitchens in conformance with California's Title 24 Energy Code. I started small, with fluorescent general lighting (preferably indirect) and incandescent recessed cans for task lighting; mixing the few available colors of fluorescent with the warmer incandescent light to get a satisfactory overall result. Then, as compact fluorescent lights (CFLs) came into being and became available in better colors of light produced, I began to recommend using fluorescent recessed can lights as well. All this while my peers, and the general public, were avoiding fluorescent like the plague and dallying with super-hot halogens (You know, those lights in torchieres that set so many dorm rooms on fire before the colleges banned them).

In the intervening years fluorescents have been made available in a much wider range of colors that can be utilized with the full range of colors we find in today's kitchens. So, while incandescents are only available in a warm golden color of light that does horrible things to some colors, fluorescents are being continually improved.
Nowadays I am even more strident in my recommendations, with California's energy crisis behind us and global warming staring us in the face.

Recently I have noticed a number of nations (Australia, for example, with an outright ban) and States, including California, are discussing a total ban on incandescent bulbs, with some exceptions, such as appliance bulbs.
Is It Time to Ban the Bulb?

Radical that I am: I think it IS time to ban the energy hogging incandescent, until such time as technology has improved its performance to match that of fluorescent. Such a move would go a long way toward cutting our dependence on scarce resources and stretching the energy we produce farther. Fluorescent is the 21st Century way of lighting our environments; especially the kitchen.