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[icon] Maybe-crazy lighting for my kitchen - Patti
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Subject:Maybe-crazy lighting for my kitchen
Time:03:51 am
The light fixture in my kitchen sucks. It's a bare bulb screwed into a box on the ceiling. Here's a picture that's sort of what it looks like, though it currently has a 150W floodlight bulb in it rather than whatever is in that picture. Here's a picture of the general kitchen layout, though the overhead light isn't visible. It's approximately right over the guy's head. These photos were taken during the property inspection when I bought the place. The appliances have been changed, but the kitchen is otherwise identical.

So I have this crazy idea that I want to put in par cans and some sort of lighting rail or truss. I've always sort of wanted theater-style lighting in my home, and a loft is the right place to pull something like this off. I could put a rail on the all that's above the cabinets, and put maybe four can lights on it pointed in different directions. I suppose I could also put the rail on the ceiling, but since it's concrete that would be a lot harder to do.

For bulbs, I'd probably use LED PAR bulbs. They're expensive, but they're power-efficient and don't generate much heat, and they last approximately forever.

The problem is that I've never worked with these lights, so I don't know if there are any gotchas.

Am I insane? Is this feasible? Is it stupid?
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evwhore
Link:(Link)
Time:2012-09-01 04:39 pm (UTC)
I can't comment on the logistical/electrical sensibility, but I like the aesthetics of the idea :-)

Other thought: disco ball!
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whipartist
Link:(Link)
Time:2012-09-01 09:05 pm (UTC)
That's totally gay.
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(Deleted comment)

whipartist
Link:(Link)
Time:2012-09-01 09:05 pm (UTC)
Thanks!
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ef2p
Link:(Link)
Time:2012-09-03 11:42 pm (UTC)
Am I insane? Is this feasible? Is it stupid?
No. Yes. No. I think you have a very good idea.

There's a couple different ways I could see implementing this. First it looks like your ceiling is concrete, so everything is going to have to be on the surface.

One option is to go back to the 80s and install track lighting. One the track is installed you can point the lights any direction you want. The power and mounting are all in the track, so it's easy to rearrange.

If you want to keep the industrial theatrical look, you'll need to figure out how you want the mounting to look. If you just want the light's hanging, you can put an insert into the concrete and mount the yolk of the PAR right to the ceiling. You could also install a hanging piece of pipe and use a theatrical clamp (something like this). You could also buy some truss.

No matter which hanging option you pick for the PAR38s, you're going to need to do some electrical work. If you're hanging from truss or pipe, you can just convert the existing light socket into an outlet, then run extension cord and power strips from there. If you're mounting the light directly to the ceiling (or is you don't want to see power strips), you'll need to run some conduit. If you get to the point of running conduit, the city will probably want you to get a permit (either ignore them or check with your planning department).

If you're going to mount the lights directly to the ceiling, I would run conduit and place a junction box 6-12 inches from each light. Then you can either install an outlet in the junction box or run the cable from the light into the box and permanently wire it in. Likewise I would do something similar with the truss or pipe. Place a box at the end or in the center of the truss and wire from there.

If you are do it yourself person but running conduit scares you, you can put long cable on the lights are run them to the existing junction box and wire them. You'll probably max out at 4 lights if you take this approach.

Some closing notes: The websites I linked are not endorsements. I just found convenient places products as examples. Also be careful what light fixture you buy. Both theatrical and track light fixtures frequently use weird light sockets. These will limit your choice in bulbs (theatrical bulbs are expensive).

Good luck, sounds like a fun project.
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whipartist
Link:(Link)
Time:2012-09-03 11:58 pm (UTC)
Thanks!

American DJ sells a can that has a standard power cord with it:

http://www.guitarcenter.com/American-DJ-PAR-38B-Can-Buy-Two-and-Save-810112-i1156173.gc

Those look like my best bet for making it easy. I'll probably pick up a couple of those and prototype them by just screwing them to a piece of wood and putting it on the ledge that's over the kitchen. I can convert the socket to a plug as a starting point, and then deal with the rest later if I decide I like them. Specifically, I'd probably mount a truss between the walls.

If I decide I like this route, I think I'll also put up a truss with stands in my living room.
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rmd
Link:(Link)
Time:2012-09-01 07:00 pm (UTC)
Putting on my electrician hat, this is a totally feasible idea.
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whipartist
Link:(Link)
Time:2012-09-01 09:05 pm (UTC)
That's pretty much what I wanted to know.

They look like really straightforward fixtures that take a standard medium-base bulb.
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rmd
Link:(Link)
Time:2012-09-01 11:12 pm (UTC)
Yeah. They generally are set up to plug into a receptacle (usually twist-lock or some theatrical-specific thing - you should use a twist-lock receptacle if you use it with a plug), but I don't see a reason you couldn't hard-wire them in somewhere. Note: if you do hard-wire them instead of using twist-lock plugs, make sure you use strain relief connectors of some sort. These are either a special 1/2" connector with stuff inside to grip a cord, or they look like a 1/2" pipe connector with a chinese fingertrap hanging off the non-threaded end. For this use, I'd go with the latter variety for both functional and aesthetic purposes.

For physically mounting it, if there were some sort of open grid of pipe overhead that you could hang, that would give you a very theatrical-looking ambiance, and also all kinds of options for where to put things and ease of changing them.
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whitebird
Link:(Link)
Time:2012-09-01 08:20 pm (UTC)
Were I to choose a theatre lighting system like this for that space, I'd mount a truss going from the pillar at the end of the stairs diagonally across the kitchen space to the wall above the far right cabinets. That'd provide you with a much greater variety of mount points and lighting areas than a straight wall-mounted truss will. It'd also allow you to pour some light on the table as well. Just make sure the cans you get can mount gels.
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whipartist
Link:(Link)
Time:2012-09-01 09:06 pm (UTC)
It's a fabulous idea, except that there's a ginormous space heater in the way. Hrmm.
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whitebird
Link:(Link)
Time:2012-09-02 02:57 am (UTC)
This picture shows that you could attach a truss to the kitchen side of the pillar at the bottom of the stairs, and then attach the other end to the white wall upright a bit beyond the potted plant. The space heater is not in fact in the way of said truss.

(Unless you used a *really* *weird* lens.)

I could not tell if the green wall was part of the concrete structure or not. If it's not concrete, then you have a ton of options, including mounting the truss very close to the space heater, or even taking a side bar off the truss going from pillar to white wall over across the dining table to the corner by the green wall and window pillar intersection.
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whipartist
Link:(Link)
Time:2012-09-03 08:27 am (UTC)
OK, I see what you mean.

I was planning to just set the truss on top of that ledge, at least to start. I can raise it up higher later on if I want to, but if I do that I'll put it at ceiling level between the two walls. There's a visual openness to the space that I sort of want to keep.

The green wall is not part of the concrete structure-- it's drywall. There's really not much room to maneuver near the heater, though, and I think it would look weird to have it at just a little bit of an angle.
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whitebird
Link:(Link)
Time:2012-09-02 03:48 am (UTC)
Oh, and if you do go with cans attached to a truss, make sure to include a wire safety loop used in such a way that the wire goes around the truss and will hold onto the mounting harness of the light if the attachment screw comes loose.
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prock
Link:(Link)
Time:2012-09-02 12:37 am (UTC)
There's some strange woman hiding behind a bush in your loft.
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whipartist
Link:(Link)
Time:2012-09-02 12:43 am (UTC)
EEEEEKKKKK!

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prock
Link:(Link)
Time:2012-09-02 12:44 am (UTC)
Just tell me it isn't Donna.
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whipartist
Link:(Link)
Time:2012-09-02 12:46 am (UTC)
Donna?

It was the real estate agent, and I've completely forgotten her name.
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[icon] Maybe-crazy lighting for my kitchen - Patti
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