A lot of space, not enough light Design: Ceiling tracks with spotlight bulbs and hanging fixtures plus color-corrected, slim-line fluorescent tubes above the cabinets spread a glow in room with cathedral ceiling.


July 21, 1996|By Rita St. Clair | Rita St. Clair,LOS ANGELES TIMES SYNDICATE

My living room, kitchen and dining area are all part of a single large space with a cathedral-type ceiling. I find the openness very comfortable as well as stylish, but the setting does present its own set of problems. Lighting is one of the issues I've never been able to resolve. The kitchen is especially frustrating in this regard, since the track lighting installed in the rest of the space doesn't work well for kitchen tasks, owing to the height of the ceiling. Do you have a suggestion for how I might light this portion of the space?

You don't have to rule out track lighting entirely simply because the ceiling is high. One possibility is to install a track in the kitchen area and then hang some suspended light fixtures from it, by means of either stems or cords. Keep in mind, however, that pendant lighting is meant to supplement other light sources; by itself, it's not adequate to illuminate a work area, and that certainly includes kitchens.

That's why you may also wish to install down lighting in the track itself. The spotlights it casts by means of bulbs with either narrow or wide beams -- the choice is yours -- will adequately illuminate task areas in the kitchen. These directed beams can also be used to highlight cabinets or some other attractive feature.

Pendant lighting of the sort shown in the photo is generally quite functional as well as pleasing to look at. If hung by sufficiently long cords or stems, these suspended fixtures will also illuminate a work surface. And unlike down lighting, they have the added advantage of producing a pleasant ambient glow as the light is suffused through the shades, which are usually made of frosted glass.

In a configuration like the one in the photo, pendant lighting acts as a space divider. It creates a curtain-like effect that you may find most helpful in demarcating your kitchen area from the living room or dining area.

The fixtures seen here are manufactured by the Brass Lighting Gallery in Milwaukee. Constructed of metal and glass, they are available in a variety of finishes.

To light the kitchen area in a most effective and varied manner, you may want to consider a couple of other options along with the pendant and down-lighting combination.

Assuming the kitchen cabinets do not extend all the way up to the tall ceiling, you could place color-corrected, slim-line fluorescent tubes above them. Their warm light will reflect off the ceiling and back into the kitchen space.

The same kind of fluorescent lighting can likewise be placed under the upper cabinets to enhance the task lighting on the counter tops.

Pub Date: 7/21/96

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