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Varmint's New Kitchen


Varmint
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The lighting is currently crappy -- a bunch of overly hot, old-fashioned cans on tracks.  Thus, anything I do will be an improvement!  I'm not really concerned with the amount of illumination for the bulk of the kitchen, but I want the lighting over the eating bar (which also serves as the primary prep station) to be right.

"Task" lighting really didn't become an issue until I turned 45 and started wearing reading glasses. Think ahead, dude. At about that age, it became all important.

And, do, for the rest of the area, think about uplighting. It's wonderful.

Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"
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Further thought. Imagine yourself in your new kitchen. Are you sure, absolutely positive beyond a doubt, that you will have enough outlets (as in twice as many as you think you will need).

In our Former House, I was blessed with outlets everywhere. I didn't realize that I was so blessed until I moved into a house with a Kitchen With Virtually No Outlets. Two duplexes. Yes, that's it. Two weeks from now, we have plans to farm the kids out, get out the Skil saw, and rip into the rock and get us outlets. Neither of us can stand it.

Yes, two times as many outlets as you think you will need. Put them everywhere. I've developed a new hatred for extension cords.

Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"
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The electrician made me add more outlets, because the code required it. Along the main sink area, there will be 3 outlets. Along the baking region, there will be four. There will be an outlet on both sides of the range, and about 2 or 3 along the eating bar.

As far as uplighting is concerned, my ceiling is low, very low -- less than 8 feet low. And in the baking area, the ceiling is only 7 feet even. Plus, there's no real space to put uplighting. Just more quirks of this funny little house!

Dean McCord

VarmintBites

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The electrician made me add more outlets, because the code required it.  Along the main sink area, there will be 3 outlets.  Along the baking region, there will be four.  There will be an outlet on both sides of the range, and about 2 or 3 along the eating bar.

As far as uplighting is concerned, my ceiling is low, very low -- less than 8 feet low.  And in the baking area, the ceiling is only 7 feet even.  Plus, there's no real space to put uplighting.  Just more quirks of this funny little house!

Another thought on outlets. I had my electrician run "plug strips" under all of my upper cabinets. They are on the back of the upper cabinets and hidden from view but I have plugs where I need them. I also had these strips placed on the ends of my island. This eliminates the need for any wall outlets. You might want to look for a solenoid on/off switch for your disposal. Mine is mounted in my sink surround and is a pushbutton type. This is similiar to a whirlpool tub switch and it sure saves wet gooey marks on a wall switch. I can send pics if you desire.

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The electrician made me add more outlets, because the code required it.  Along the main sink area, there will be 3 outlets.  Along the baking region, there will be four.  There will be an outlet on both sides of the range, and about 2 or 3 along the eating bar.

Good advice from your electrican ... code or no code.

As far as uplighting is concerned, my ceiling is low, very low -- less than 8 feet low.  And in the baking area, the ceiling is only 7 feet even.  Plus, there's no real space to put uplighting.  Just more quirks of this funny little house!

A good thing to remember in the baking area Varmint is that if your ceilings are low, you may not want to use LV lighting here due to the heat the bulbs throw. I had designed a kitchen many years ago with a similar ceiling height, and had used LV lights. Two of the lights were over the main sink and the MR16 bulbs (35W) got so not, the client singed his hair! :shock: We replaced the fixtures with incandescent bulbs, but I was really embarrassed.

Re: Track Lighting. For a designer, the issue with track lighting is not the light they provide. Our showroom is illuminated almost exclusively with track and they work just fine. The problem comes from the fact that they "break" the horizontal plane of the ceiling. Anytime you break a plane, your eye is immediately drawn to it. If the ceilings are high enough (as in our showroom - 16') this isn't much of an issue. In most homes however, I don't want people looking at track lighting when the client has just spent a lot of $$ and time on new cabinetry.

A.

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The problem with track lighting on the I-beam casing is that the support post will be breaking up the track. I envision a total of 4 lights above the eating bar, and I'm actually thinking of doing something like this. Alternatively, I could find something similar that is more sconce-like, to be mounted on the side of the beam, on the kitchen side.

I'd try to find something blue, as my granite counter will be blue pearl.

Dean McCord

VarmintBites

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Dean

Below are the switches I mentioned earlier, they are made by insinkerator and the solenoid is mounted in the cabinet under the sink and the disposal is plugged into the solenoid.

This is a pic of the one for my main sink mounted in the surround

gallery_7107_653_1106350223.jpg

This one is for my prep sink and is mounted in the countertop

gallery_7107_653_1106350186.jpg

I really like these as they are easy to use esp. with wet dirty hands

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We used low voltage halogen lights for both task and ambiance lighting. We are very happy with the result. Our celing was a bit tricky because of the steep angle to the celing. We ended up using the Juno LV Adjustable Trim (87104). I really like the use of the MR16 type bubs because you have a LOT of flexibility in beam angle. For example, I've used a 9 degree spot before and it is still very tight, even when from the apex of the cathedral celing (basically two stories). And of course you can use different wattage lights, but we used dimmers most of our stuff anyway.

We used some spiffy lighting from Sea Gull Lighting for ambiance lighting. I think it is their Ambiance LX Track product (sorry, I couldn't find any good pictures). It's pretty slick stuff. Basically a little plastic channel which you can cut and screw how you'd like, then you just "snap" in the copper wire into the channel. You can get various types of lamp assemblies that clip onto the track and tap the wire. The cool thing about it is it is very flexible and you can use various different types of light "fixtures", bulb types and wattages. For example, we used lampholders that accept little halogen "capsules". The whole affair is low profile. We then used 10 watt for under counter and 5 watt for over the cabinet ambiance. You can also vary the spacing. Stuff like the 5W bulbs are pretty low heat and could probably be installed pretty much anywhere, even if you don't have much clearance.

It is hard to understand exactly what your situation is, so it is a bit hard to make suggestions that apply, but I wonder if it might be possible to box both the existing beam as well as creating a new false beam and use it to house recessed lights.

Also, Junu makes track that is meant to be installed flush. It is possible you could box your existing beam just slightly, and then install the flush mount track and then paint it all the same color. This should desguise the track fairly well.

-john

Edited by JohnN (log)
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After spending way too much time on this issue, I may actually go with low voltage, but not with a track or lines. Tech Lighting offers some low voltage products that would be perfect, I think.

I would get a single remote transformer and tie 4 of these onto it: tie 4 of these canopies onto it (scroll down to the first photo - look at the canopy, not the lamp). These are VERY unobtrusive.

I'd then get 4 of these little buggers, and I could add a blue glass shield to each.

These lights can handle a 50 watt MR16 halogen light, and I think 4 of them will get the job done, if I get the beam spread right.

By the way, the Garbes.com site is very inexpensive, as they sell their Tech Lighting at 20% off for "preferred customers (just add your name to their mailing list. If I go with the 4 light system with the single remote transformer, I'm looking at about $650 (ouch).

I do have a question about dimmers and transformers. If I get a magnetic transformer, I have to get a magnetic dimmer. If I have an electronic transformer, a regular dimmer will work. Are magnetic dimmers expensive or finicky? Are electronic transformers problematic?

So, what do you think?

Dean McCord

VarmintBites

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These lights can handle a 50 watt MR16 halogen light, and I think 4 of them will get the job done, if I get the beam spread right.

A chance for you to use your high school trigonmetry! Figure out the distance from the countertop to the light. Using the beam spread (expressed in degrees - you'll find it on the box for the light bulb) you can figure out how much area the light will cover. Make sure you get some light overlap as well otherwise the lighting will be uneven.

I do have a question about dimmers and transformers.  If I get a magnetic transformer, I have to get a magnetic dimmer.  If I have an electronic transformer, a regular dimmer will work.  Are magnetic dimmers expensive or finicky?  Are electronic transformers problematic?

I've always used the electronic dimmers myself. I'll check with my electrician today to see what his experience is.

A.

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These lights can handle a 50 watt MR16 halogen light, and I think 4 of them will get the job done, if I get the beam spread right.

A chance for you to use your high school trigonmetry! Figure out the distance from the countertop to the light. Using the beam spread (expressed in degrees - you'll find it on the box for the light bulb) you can figure out how much area the light will cover. Make sure you get some light overlap as well otherwise the lighting will be uneven.

Assuming a 50 degree spread and the distance between the light and the countertop is 4 feet, that results in a beam diameter of about 44". That would cover the width of the eating bar and 4 lamps would easily cover the length, which is about 118". I could get away with 3, but I need the symmetry of 4. The question is how bright that would be on the counter, but having seen MR16s, I'm not too concerned.

Dean McCord

VarmintBites

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I purchased the porcelain floor tiles and granite counter tiles today. The floor tiles were $414.30, and the granite was $1,155.60, both delivered and including tax. I budgeted $2,650 for these items, so I'm $1,080 under budget for this. Yeah!

Dean McCord

VarmintBites

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Building permits obtained today. Fee was $260. Homeclick sent the wrong prep sink, da bums. Fortunately, it won't be needed for awhile.

Cabinets were officially ordered on Monday. It'll be 6 weeks for them to be built and delivered, so we may need to delay the start of the project by a week, as we don't want all construction to stop, waiting on the cabinets.

(So, have I bored y'all to death with the details? I'll start posting "before" pictures in the next few days.)

Dean McCord

VarmintBites

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Lighting for above the eating bar ordered today. I went with the low voltage Free Jack system from Tech Lighting, as described above. Cost, delivered, is $720. If I follow strict budget guidelines, I only have $280 for the 8 recessed cans I'll need. Don't think that's going to happen. Plus, I'll need to purchase the dimmers. No worries, though, as I won't be far away from my $1,000 budget.

On the first page of this thread I had a "budget" for my hard costs of $25,479. As of today, I've spent $26,939 for all of these items except for some inexpensive lighting. I went over budget on the cabinets, but I couldn't be more pleased with what I'm getting and at the price I'm being charged. I purchased a hood and dishwasher that is superior to what I initially chose. My over the counter lighting will be top-notch.

Of course, once the actual demolition begins, the true variable costs will kick in! Let's see how close to budget I am then!

I'm already starting to think of what I'll cook in this kitchen and who I'll invite. Do you think I might be a bit excited????

Dean McCord

VarmintBites

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I'd say you have good reason to be excited Dean. It sounds like you've done good planning and even better research.

I'll look forward to the pictures.

Marlene

cookskorner

Practice. Do it over. Get it right.

Mostly, I want people to be as happy eating my food as I am cooking it.

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Dean, are you demo-ing yourselves or having it done? I love demo. Nothing like that big hammer and a pry bar in the hands of a woman (especially when hubby and she have "discussed perhaps" doing home improvement! BTW, he's used to coming now to projects taken past the point of no return.

I'm excited to see photos as you progress. And, not bad on the budget. You certainly did your homework!

Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"
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I'm already starting to think of what I'll cook in this kitchen and who I'll invite.  Do you think I might be a bit excited????

Be sure to tell us how excited you are when you're 4 weeks into the project and drywall dust is in every corner of your house! :laugh:

Spoke to my electrician this afternoon re: electronic vs. magnetic dimmers. Essentially what he said was that they both work well, with a slight nod going to the more expensive electronic dimmers (electronic are slimmer too - i.e. easier to wire). You just have to be sure you have the correct dimmer paired with the transformer you are using for the LV (i.e. electronic transformer = electronic dimmer / Magnetic transformer = magnetic dimmer.)

The electronic dimmers are also limitted to 150W (IIRC) so if you're using 50W MR16's you'll need choose between:

  1. using two 150W electronic transformers running two lights each
  2. one 250W magentic transformer running all four (always oversize your transformer by about 10-20% over load)
  3. chnage to 35W MR16's and do whatever you want. :raz:

Personally I'd go with b) since 1 transformer is easier to wire than 2. You'll also want to stay with the 50W MR16's since you can always dim them if they're too bright, but you can't make 35W bulbs brighter than they are.

Discuss with your electrician as he'll need to know what to wire for. Wiring is much more expensive once the walls are closed in. :wink:

A.

ps. Come on yah Nancy-boy! Grab a sledge hammer and knock down a wall or too. :laugh:

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Knocking down walls with a sledgehammer is so satisfying after a frustrating day. Don't let them scare you Dean. My kitchen renovation including ripping out the ceiling and floors, took 3 weeks total.

Marlene

cookskorner

Practice. Do it over. Get it right.

Mostly, I want people to be as happy eating my food as I am cooking it.

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No, the carpenters will be doing the demo.  The family will be out of the house, living with my in-laws that week.

After spending a week living with my in-laws, I'd have demo-ed the entire house :raz: .

Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"
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No, the carpenters will be doing the demo.  The family will be out of the house, living with my in-laws that week.

After spending a week living with my in-laws, I'd have demo-ed the entire house :raz: .

That would be her family not his. :laugh::laugh:

Bruce Frigard

Quality control Taster, Château D'Eau Winery

"Free time is the engine of ingenuity, creativity and innovation"

111,111,111 x 111,111,111 = 12,345,678,987,654,321

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