Each kitchen we build is different because each home we build is totally custom. And, around here, we love a well-designed, custom kitchen. We work with each of our clients to make sure they are putting their space and budget to the best use, and one of the aspects we have been focusing on developing in each of our homes is the lighting plan.
When planning your custom home’s design, taking into account the solar orientation of your lot and placing windows, skylights, and sun tunnels in such a way as to take full advantage of the natural lighting and energy from the sun is an excellent way to make your home more efficient. And, combined with other energy efficient building measures, can make a significant impact on lowering your utility bills. With the kitchen being one of the most frequently used rooms in your home, it only makes sense that a well planned lighting design for your kitchen will also go a long ways in making your home more efficient.
One recent custom home we built in Frontenac, MO is a great example of how a great lighting plan can elevate a custom kitchen from good to great.
This home is a perfect example of a well designed and thorough lighting plan that combines Energy STAR lighting fixtures for conventional lighting sources, as well as multiple points of entry for natural light sources.
First we will address the electrified lighting sources. At the first level, or low lighting, below the cabinets closely illuminates work spaces and also provides a great source of lighting at night. A second level of lighting using pendants and modern chandeliers can be seen above the island and eat-in table space. These light sources provide direct lighting for eating spaces and can be isolated to create a relaxed atmosphere during family meal times. The third level of lighting is the recessed lighting built into the tray at key points above the sink and built-in desk area, then higher up at intervals to provide direct, overhead lighting for the whole space. During the evening these lights can be used in combination to provide work light or ambient lighting depending on what the family needs.
Now we’ll address the natural sources that are the main source of light during the day, and can be used independently to provide plenty of light for projects and dining. The most prominent source of natural light is the large, floor to ceiling windows with transoms that fill the wall opposite the workspace. These windows provide a lot of natural light, and perfectly balance the dark wall of custom cabinetry that in another space with less natural light might consume all of the light in the room. These windows are complimented by standard windows above the kitchen and desk – the two main areas that the family anticipates they would need extra lighting. In this home we have added a second layer of natural lighting with the use of a large skylight above. This brings in a ton of extra light, and makes the electrified lighting necessary only on very rare occasions.
As our clients become more aware of the energy savings benefits that come with placing energy efficient windows and skylights in their homes, we are adding this element of lighting design into many more homes that we build. That is also one of the advantages of custom building, each home is designed specifically for the lot it is built on and allows us to factor solar orientation into the home’s energy efficiency plan to create a space that is as functionally and beautifully lit as it is efficient.