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Need Help With Kitchen Lighting Layout for Remodel

Posted by bloozeman (My Page) on
Fri, Apr 2, 10 at 17:56

I have been toiling over a lighting plan for my kitchen remodel over the past week or so. Truth be told this was one area I did not give much thought to during the initial planning nor did I ever expect it to turn out to be so costly! The remodel had a few primary design goals the first and foremost being getting rid of the 14" of soffit that contained the HVAC duct work throughout the kitchen and (which also feeds a couple of adjoining rooms). Given that I am 6'6" and the ceiling height with the soffit was barely 7' it is obvious why this was the number 1 goal. ;-) Since my house is a territorial style architecture with a flat roof the HVAC ducting relocation is obviously a big challenge!

The other issue I was hoping to resolve with the remodel is the fact that the west end of the kitchen does not get much light during the day since the only window (although quite large) is on the east wall and it is shaded by my neighbor's huge tree by mid-day. Thus, I wanted to include skylights if feasible in the remodel which my contractor said would all depend on the joist layout and we wouldn't know what that looked like until we had the existing ceiling torn out.

Of course the remainder of the remodel includes the usual suspects, i.e., new cabinets, countertops, and flooring as well. Like I mentioned lighting really wasn't budgeted for since I thought the big "buckets" would be the ceiling/HVAC work (especially since an additional HVAC unit is needed as part of the solution), the cabinets & countertops, and finally the flooring.

The kitchen designer I am using put together a plan for task lighting (including under the cabinet) as well as basic path lighting. Unfortunately, due to budget constraints I can not use the cool architectural low-voltage recessed lighting he normally uses made by Sistemalux because the other priority items listed above come first. So armed with some great advice garnished from the Gardenweb forums as well as a couple of local lighting stores I have been searching for a more cost effective solution.

Given the that I am going to end up with a true 8' ceiling height according to my contractor I would much rather use 4" cans vs. 5" or 6". I am already going to have to have some decent "holes" cut into the ceiling for the skylights so I would like to minimize the rest of the impact with the recessed lighting. I have been studying up on the low-voltage vs. line-voltage pros/cons for the 4" cans and did a bit of research into 5" par30 solutions as well just in case. In fact as I type this I still have the 2 Halo cans (4" IC line-voltage and a 5" IC generic) I bought at my local HomeDepot up that I used for some initial testing to compare the par20 and par30 differences, etc.

In the end I decided to go with 4" low-voltage since I know I will get better performance out of it than the 4" par20 solution and something at least comparable to the par30 bulbs I was testing with in the 5" can. Which the data provided via http://www.affordablequalitylighting.com/photometrics.html seems to basically confirm. The obvious issue was cost hence the struggle to try and get the 4" par20 solution to fly. Luckily I was able to negotiate a great deal on some WAC 4" low-voltage IC cans from a local lighting supplier since they were part of a special order that did not get entirely consumed - apparently somebody just put 220 of them into their huge house somewhere here in town but they initially ordered 250 of them. ;-)

So step one was to update my KD's original layout with the skylights since they are a definite go (given the 16" separation between my 2x12 joists the KD designer and I had to come up with something a little contemporary and "out of the box" to get them to work). They are indicated by the 6 squares and are basically 14x14 inch skylights. I then used a 5'6" diameter beam which is what a 12volt MR16 50w 38 degree flood is supposed to produce at an 8' distance to try and ensure that I had decent coverage of light for the various areas of the kitchen.

Here's what I came up with...

I added in the pathway "cans" that are indicated with a "R" and I also added in 2 pendants for the eat-in portion of the island indicated with blue "D"s. The KD has always indicated we will put 1 to 2 pendents in that area but until we pick the actual style out I am not sure of the exact number.

I also have added in a questionable pathway can indicated by the red "R" because I am not sure of whether the 4 cans that will be wall washing and spotlighting artwork on the south wall will create enough ambient light for that area. The gentlemen at the lighting supplier thinks they will but I'm still not sure. I am also unsure of the doorway area on the south wall that enters into my family room. Granted it should get ambient light from the over-the-counter task light cans in that corner as well as the "art wall" cans but the question is whether it will be enough. Especially since likely the art wall will be on as well as the path lighting in most circumstances but the over-the-counter task lighting my not be (no need to use it unless absolutely necessary).

Any advice? I really need to nail this down by Monday since my contractor would like to start hanging the cans, etc. So any help would be greatly appreciated!


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Need Help With Kitchen Lighting Layout for Remodel

Forgot to add that my main concern now with the 4" low-voltage (or any non-LED or CFL solution) is heat. However, when I was over at a friend's house checking out their low-voltage MR16 based setup they said (and demonstrated) how they only have to run their lights at about 60 to 65% under everyday circumstances. When they need more light at the primary task area (a large island) they just crank up the 4 cans covering it. Thus, I am assuming I will be able to do the same. I am also going to install the same Lutron Maestro dimmer solution they are using which "remembers" your last dim setting so just tapping it on will set it to 65% (or whatever I end up running for normal day-to-day lighting).


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RE: Need Help With Kitchen Lighting Layout for Remodel

It depends on the amount of light each can gives out. From the diagram, it appears that you're pretty well covered.

You should be able to find LED lighting (both strip, bulb and recessed) online that is cheaper and better than what is available at Lowes/ Home Depot.

In any case, the pricing of LED is poised to drop sharply soon.


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