The locally quarried stone and stained concrete shapes that make up Frank Lloyd Wright's iconic Fallingwater are key ingredients of its success, but the maintenance is expensive. Natural stone needs care and mortar; concrete cracks and spalls. So last year the Foundation that oversees Fallingwater made the sensible choice to reduce maintenance costs. They covered the house in... Continue Reading →
The Best & Worst Light Bulb
I finally found it: a light bulb that performs just like the beloved 60-watt incandescent. And I am very, very unhappy. Angry. Because this pack of bulbs costs me $4 to buy but will lock me in to spending an extra $300 over the next decade. And that's not the only downside. Let me explain. I... Continue Reading →
Lighting isn’t brain surgery…?
I frequently hear myself saying that lighting is not brain surgery, that getting it right just requires the attention of a dedicated experienced professional. I might be wrong. (Not literally. I could never do brain surgery because I would pass out as soon as the knife dug in. I'm getting faint just thinking about it.... Continue Reading →
Change is the Only Constant
I am as guilty as the next lighting designer. See my design above for proof. Once upon a time, light indoors depended on light through windows or flames from candles, lamps and fires. The windows were automatically scheduled to turn on slowly in the morning and turn off slowly in the evening. They changed intensity... Continue Reading →
My mother has carefully and meticulously curated a style for the family farmhouse over the past 45 years of residency (we've had the farm since about 1882, but none of us remember that). In the 1970's and 80's when I was growing up it was, well, very 1970's. Then, when we finally all went off... Continue Reading →
Does it cost more?
One of the reasons that light in our homes and workplaces is not good for us is that our primary considerations are 1) how cheaply can we get lighting and 2) how few watts can we use. I am often asked "will good lighting cost more than regular lighting?" Yep. Let's say you hire a... Continue Reading →
Lighting & Learning
Today I delivered a presentation on layered lighting to the Toronto section of the Illuminating Engineering Society. At my request, one of my hosts scribbled "Great Presentation" on a napkin, so now I can officially add "internationally acclaimed" speaker to my self-congratulating biography. Sounds pretty cool, eh? Just another reason not to believe everything you... Continue Reading →
Making Light of a Midlife Crisis
This is my first midlife crisis, and I'm full of excitement and energy (and yes, more than a little anxiety). This phase of life has not been easy, but I'm looking ahead in hope. Why? When I look behind me I see so many seemingly disconnected experiences: spending two years volunteering with Habitat for Humanity,... Continue Reading →
The Good Old Days of Light
I like to believe that I am a forward thinker and not a person who looks behind longingly at The Good Old Days. Most of the time. When it comes to architecture, I love where the world is headed. We're seeing modern homes with large expanses of glass, schools with huge amounts of daylight, factories... Continue Reading →
Lighting can hurt you.
I believe light is a gift that can help us live better lives. A powerful combination of human history, personal experience, and deepening research backs me up: light can help us sleep better, wake up easier, heal faster, feel happier, suffer less pain, reduce the symptoms of aging...and the list goes on. My teenage sons... Continue Reading →