How to free up floor space + make your space bigger

Since most of my residential remodeling projects have involved 1 bedrooms, where every square foot matters, the #1 reason for bringing in a professional designer is what I call “spatial strategy.” Obviously you know how important closets are in maximizing storage in small spaces, and thinking creatively about every piece you bring into your home, but to maximize use of space and the illusion of largess, here’s a favorite secret of mine: sconces..

Sconces free up counter and shelfspace for decorative elements, and lighting generally opens, brightens, and makes every nook and cranny useable.

Here’s how to make a bedroom brighter, and give each partner reading light, freeing up nightstands for charging stations, books, etc.:

Perfect Bedroom Sconce w Reading Light

Another way to start your search for sconces perfect for the living room, dining room, bedroom or reading nook is to checkout models by George Kovacs. He sells a wide variety of modern sconces that can work in a variety of styles. Serge Mouille’s abstract, Calder-inspired spidery chandeliers and sconces are having a moment, but for resale value I’d advise mode versatile pieces.

What sconces inspire you?



Geometric Modern Kitchen Lighting: Task lighting gets a fashionable rethink

Kitchen lighting is boring. I’m hunting for options for a great little recessed alcove in my kitchen that won’t lower my ceiling, but will provide a modern look and good task lighting for kitchen work. Here are two from my shortlist. Which do you prefer?

LED Lighting Fixture: Geometric and Angular. This fixture works very well for a recess we have in our kitchen (we’re fortunate to have the space for a kitchen chandelier. Without that recess, we’d be more than happy with the Lemonbest recessed LEDs in the rest of our apartment, but we’d like to kick it up a notch). ¬†Downside: this chandelier doesn’t come with bulbs, so we’ll need to buy 2 backs of these LED bulbs if we don’t opt for cheaper halogen lights. I’m pretty sure this photo has LEDs in place, and they look gorgeous.

Geometric Kitchen Light Fixture

I’ve also spoken out about the Moooi-esque “Dear Ingo” chandelier, which is better known as the spider chandelier.¬†This is a perfect example of form meeting function, and this link sells the Dear Ingo for a fraction of the retail price.

Modern Kitchen Chandelier

How to Fake a Fabulous Closet: Part 2

In home remodeling, realtors and decorators will all advise to put your money in kitchen and bath amenities. For a 1 bedroom like ours in Sunset Harbour, our kitchen will never be ideal for a serious chef, and our bathrooms are well on their way to gorgeous…so I’ve set about the task of improving the #3 priority, which comes #1 to most women (if they’re like me): closets!

Lighting in a standard builder’s grade closet is some variation of a standard overhead fixture: whether a lightbulb with a string or small flushmount. Overhead lighting creates shadow, particularly under any type of shelving. So even if you invest in your tricked out solid shelving (forget that wire junk), you’re only creating darkness, and darkness means the closets are incrementally less useful because if you can’t SEE your stuff, you can’t USE your stuff.

I’m faking my way to a fabulous closet by having my electrician line the interior opening of my closet with rope lighting. Rope lighting isn’t Christmas tree lighting, so don’t confuse the issue and create a fire hazard. Rope lighting is cool, LED-based, and looks ugly, but after the jump, you can see some beautiful examples of how this strategy lights the contents of your closet at eye-level and downward, evening out the closet lighting and helping you see your stuff.

Because your stuff is gorgeous, and deserves better lighting than that sad little bulb.

This is a project you can totally do yourself if you have an electrical outlet nearby. Because I have access to an electrician right now, I’m putting him to work on integrating this with my motion-sensor, so the moment I open my closet doors, everything will be illuminated. Can’t wait! Standard Rope Lighting (18′ fits more standard 80″ closet heights and 48″ openings)

Also, to create visual unity, I’m also investing in a whole bunch of the same coat hangers. This is the best bargain I’ve found for heavier-duty coats and men’s suits.