Mar 2019

Illuminating a New Home or Remodel

By Sanford Fogg

In a new monthly column, Sanford Fogg, of Fogg Lighting in Portland, offers his best advice on illuminating your home.

Q: What’s the most important thing to consider when planning lighting for a new home or remodel?

A: Bringing in a lighting designer at the start of a project is key. This is not a luxury reserved for people with big budgets. We will consult with any customer, free of charge, in our store. For a reasonable charge, we’ll also make a house call, but this is not typically necessary. Working with floor plans or drawings, we can determine how much light you need in a room, what types of fixtures will work best, and where they should go. Because lighting is one of the last things to be installed in a house, people often don’t contact us until the final weeks of a project. At this point, the wiring is done and it’s no longer possible to alter the lighting plan. We see kitchens that are drastically under-lit, with a grid of recessed lights in the center of the room instead of over the work surfaces. In living rooms, people frequently use recessed fixtures like klieg lights overhead, when they should be positioned around the room’s perimeter to create more comfortable, ambient illumination — to name just a couple of potential pitfalls.

Because contractors’ allowances are sometimes not enough to cover the type of lighting homeowners want or need, we also help clients devise a realistic budget up front so they are not hit with unexpected costs at the end of the process. You can spend a lot of time and money on your plans and architect, and choose the prettiest countertops, tile, and art, but if you don’t light it all properly, you can’t take full advantage of, or truly appreciate, the work you’ve done.

Mar 2013

Light Through the Artist’s Eye.

William Nicholson’s
Primulas on a Table

When we look at great paintings or photographs executed by talented artists we are looking at interpretations of light, dark and shadow. Light is crucially important to artists because it sets the tone of the painting or photograph. In painting or photography the quantity of light is referred to as value without which we could not see a painting (or anything else for that matter). Three important properties of light to an artist are: 1.) Where the light source is, 2.) Does it lend texture and 3.) Does it give the subject volume.

Both these still lifes have the same light qualities, one is in color the other is black and white. Obviously Nicholson painted this in color, but it is interesting to note that the subject still has texture and shape and you can still determine the source of the light when the color is removed. 

Primulas on a Table
Without Color

So when you are deciding how to light your home or office think like an artist. How much light do you need, where should it come from and what kind of texture to you want your home to have. Your house is your palette. Use proper brush strokes and you will see and appreciate the results. I try to think like an artist when I design lighting plans for my clients and customers.

Please visit my website FoggLighting.com to see how we can help you. Be sure to download the Underwriters Laboratory app, LightSmart, from the app store for lots of useful lighting information.