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Lighting

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Berkeley Parents Network > Reviews > House & Garden > Lighting


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Outdoor lighting

April 2013

Looking for an electrical contractor who can install backyard lighting -- someone professional, reasonably priced and good with recommendations for both functional (paths and steps) and aesthetic (trees) lighting. We are in Orinda. Light Me Up


Garden Lights is based in Orinda and is highly reputable (multiple awards). If you are handy, you can buy a kit at home depot, or investigate what the kit has and build your own (comprised of a transformer with a timer/sensor that is plugged into an exterior outlet, an electric cable that simply screws into the transformer, and lights of your choice that click into the wire). I got my driveway done in less than an hour - 150' cable with 10 projectors pointing to the pavement and up to the trees. Cost: $500. Of course I had to make two trips to figure out what I want and one to return unused items...). Good luck! Like trying it out myself
For Outdoor lighting, check out the Urban Farmer store, right off of I-80 at Central (El Cerrito/Richmond border) They have a good selection of lights, but best of all, they will let you check out a kit for free, which allows you to see how the transformer works and run a number of different lights to see how they look in your garden. Free! Great service they provide. There are different options for the transformers depending on how many lights and zones you want to install. I ended up getting a transformer off of Amazon, but bought lights from them. Bryan in Oakland

Need to replace plastic cover on fluorescent light

Nov 2007

I'm in need of replacing the plastic sheeting on an inset fluorescent light. I'd like to do something other than the ugly 'corregated' look. Has anyone gotten creative and replaced these hideous 36''x48'' sheets with something else? Trish


Go to TAP plastics in El Cerrito on San Pablo Avenue. They have all kinds of plexiglas that they could cut to size to replace what you have. for a very clean, modern look go with what looks like sandblasted glass.

You might also consider using a new piece of clear plexiglas with a beautiful sheet or sheets of handmade paper behind it. Just be sure that paper is far enough away from lamp - although fluorescents don't get very hot. Papers can be gotten at an art store or the Japanese textile store on 4th Street in Berkeley. Local architect


Complying with 50% fluorescent lighting code in kitchen?

Feb 2006

Has anyone had any recent experience attempting to comply with the new (Oct. 2005) lighting requirements of Sec.6 of California's Title 24 Energy Code? We are doing a kitchen remodel with permits in Albany and have been told that half the lights in the kitchen must be fluorescent and that the new Sec. 6 amendments have effectively precluded any way for a contractor to get around this requirement (i.e., by using ''temporary'' fluorescent lighting and then replacing them after the inspection). We want to save energy and are installing fluorescent lights in other rooms, but we don't want a fluorescent kitchen. Thanks. Matt


We installed all of the fluorescent lights under the cabinet. This seemed to work for us. Good Luck! Kathryn
Matt: We recently finished remodeling our kitchen--this is how we handeled flourescent lighting--we/the electrician installed the newer flourescent lights on the top of the cabinets (these send light upwards to the ceiling) and under the cabinets (to light the counter tops)then we were allowed/able to install incandescent recessed can fixtures in the main part of the ceiling (to light the room). The newer flourscent fixtures are much "softer" than they used to be--and the combination of the two works well.......... Cookie
I'm not an expert, but my understanding is that fluorscent has to make up half the WATTAGE of lighting in the kitchen - noth the number of lights! I don't know how they decide what wattage to assume for the non-fluorsecet fixtures, though. That essentially means very few non-fluorescent lights since fluor. gives out so much more light per watt. First, I'd encourage you to re-consider your idea of fluorescent in the kitchen. There are so many (and ever more) options in terms of light "color", and instant-on fixtures (must be electronic ballast), that they might not be what you think. The instant-on are a little more expensive, but I think well worth it (and will pay for itself in electricity savings!) In our current kitchen renovation, we are using electronic-ballasted "warm" fluorescents for under-cabinet lighting, three recessed "can" fixtures, and two ceiling lights. The only non-fluorescent is a dimmable fixture over the sink. That's about 600watts of fluorscent (! the equivalent of about 2400 W of incandescent!) and 150 of non-fl. if everything is on at once (that would be rare!). I guess if you really want lots of non-fl. options, you'll have to include lots of fl. too, to make up for it, and just use the ones you prefer. You can also find good info and discussion of this at the GardenWeb wesite's "kitchen" and "remodeling" forums www.gardenweb.com. You can email me if you want more details about our light choices. R.K.
Our architect had a brilliant suggestion (I think she's all around brilliant and can't say enough good stuff about her and her wonderful work -- Hiromi Ogawa, www.hiromiogawa.com), which was to put in fluorescent *under cabinet* lighting. It's discreet and functional and while it's there to satisfy the code, it isn't the *main* light fixture for the room (which is much more attractive). Isabel
Our architect designed recessed halogen lighting for the ceiling, and also installed two large "schoolhouse" hanging globes that use compact fluorescent bulbs, with separate switches. We also have fluorescent lights under the cabinets. This satisfied the code. The pendant lamps look great and go with the style of our Craftsman house, and we have the option of using them or not (we use them for quick walks in and out of the kitchen but for cooking, the halogens give us the lighting we need.)

Where to buy lighting fixtures


May 2005

We are working on a major remodel of our home, gutting the kitchen and adding another bedroom and bathroom on the back of the house. We are looking for some interesting lighting for our project- pendants and sconces mostly. We have found recessed and under cabinet lighting, but are looking for something special for the decorative lighting. It seems that everyone's got the same old stuff. We live in Orinda. Any suggestions? Looking for lighting in all the wrong places


If you're looking for sconces, I'd highly recommend Metro Lighting in Berkeley. You'll pay more than you would for something from Expo or Ikea but the service was great and I'm pretty sure that they actually make the lights themselves as they saif they do a lot of custom work. I really love their fixtures and shades and it seems like they have a widew variety of styles that can be interchanged. Good luck! C
You must check out Metro lighting! They are a refreshing change from most lighting stores, they design and make their own line of fixtures. They have a selection of more traditional fixtures,along the lines of Arts and Crafts, fitting with bungalow style architecture. But they also have a large selection of fun and funky things that include beautiful art glass. Cool stuff we couldn't find anywhere else... It's not the cheapest store around, but a great value and worth every penny.... Check them out... www.metrolighting.com a well lit household
To the Orinda remodeler: Have you tried:
  • Omega 2 on S. Pablo near Dwight (2204 s. Pablo) (a lot of restored pieces)
  • Berkeley Lighting (1623 S. Pablo)?
    Christina

    Lighting consultant/ designer


    Dec 2006

    I'm in need of an excellent lighting consultant for my modern home. I appreciate any recommendations. Thank you!


    I can highly recommend Marcie Shefren for a lighting consultant. She worked with us on our kitchen lighting design; and I know her personally. Marcie has a high degree of integrity, she is very knowledgeable and a joy to be around. She designs lights for both residential and commercial, indoor and out. She loves light. Contact info: 510-528-1417; mshefren@earthlink.net; www.marcieshefren.com Good Luck! susan
    I think Make My Day, on Piedmont Ave in north Oakland, would be perfect for your needs. The owner, Rita Lee---experience architect and AIA. She provides design services/hourly. Her husband---Brian Liebel-- handles the lighting end of things. He's a lighting design and controls specialist. He knows more than the manufacturers, having worked as an electrical engineer designing many well-known projects in the Bay Area in the past 20 years. Indoor as well as outdoor lighting, too. He's very modest and doesn't tell you, but he's the designer of the lighting for the Sony Playstation store in the Sony Metreon bldg in SF, plus the lighting for the energy conservation education on lighting interactive displays (he did all the controls, too) at P G and E's Energy Center in SF several years back. They're at 3850 Piedmont Ave in Oakland, phone (510) 601-0608. Closed Mondays. Happy Lighting Customer
    April 2005

    I am looking for recommendations for a lighting designer, ideally someone who would spend a bit of time walking rhrough my house with me to discuss opportunities to improve lighting in the kitchen, family room, hallway and living room, and then give me a recommended plan. Our budget is modest (we are a DIY-family), but I need some imput on location, type and design. Thanks. Karen


    Jeff Nichols of Ideal Lighting & Fan Co. is EXCELLENT! He recently installed track lighting in my living room. He did a consultation first and went over things such as: what type of lighting to install, how much lighting is needed, etc. His telephone number is:(925)513-4704. Joy
    Feb 2005

    Could anyone recommend a lighting consultant (if there is such a thing?) or lighting contractor? There are several rooms in our house that desperately need more light, even in the daytime, and rather than just buying more lamps (that our kids would knock over), we were hoping to get someone to recommend what kind of other lights (overhead, track, hanging etc.) should be installed. Thank you so much for your advice! In the Dark


    We had exactly the same needs in kitchen, living room, and home office. Tom Johnson is a licensed electrical contractor and one of the nicest people you'll ever meet. He's done small and medium sized work for us for a decade. He looked at our situation, made recommendations, told us where to get the fixtures if we wanted to do it ourselves (No!), the bought and installed them, came back and tweaked things a bit when one area was still too dark, and all is now well. And a couple of months later, knowing my wife was recuperating from surgery, he came by with a roast chicken. Tom is in Richmond (510) 234-4055) and works all over the East Bay. John
    August 2004

    Con someone recommend a good residential lighting designer for the Berkeley Area? I am not looking for full plans and specs, but more an idea person/sounding board. Liz


    To the person who wanted a lighting designer/consultant - Call Scott at SCOUT. I just used him to ''stage'' my house - which included consulting/upgrading lighting fixtures. He is wonderful to work with - and talented! his number is (510) 547-2688 or (415) 823-0346. Tell him betty sent you. good luck
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