A Better Life with Light

the introduction to an informative four-part series.


LIGHT CAN HELP YOU LIVE A BETTER LIFE, but lighting can cause literal and figurative headaches all day-and-night long. I have created a four-part series that will help you tell the difference between a great new lighting idea and those snake-oilsounding promises of better sleep or lower energy bills that never pan out. The solution, of course, is design.

Design is the constant amidst the storms of technology revolution, scientific discovery, changing trends, and industry disruption. You already instinctively know this, so when you want to build a beautiful home you hire an architect. When you want to curate exceptional spaces you hire an interior designer.

But when you want to illuminate a home you walk through with the electrical contractor and count off “four cans here, six cans here and a pendant here.”

Why? Perhaps because anyone can give you lighting. Most bespoke custom homes have recessed cans put on the plans in strict geometric grids by architectural interns or marked on the floor in Sharpie by an electrical contractor. Either way, you will get lighting.

Light, on the other hand, requires design. And design is a verb, an action that means to intend for a definite purpose.

Illuminating a bedroom with what we call 4CnF (Four Cans and a Fan) is lighting without a definite purpose. Laying out a grid of recessed cans on 8′ centers in the great room is lighting without a definite purpose. This will not make the grade when you are building an exceptional home. You need light to support your vision. You need light to help you live a better life.

And that is what this series is all about.

articles in the series

WASHING UP A closer look at how lighting design can make a better bath – and how the same principles can make any space better.

LIVING IN [A BRIGHTER] PLACE Lighting can help us adapt to changes, if it is thoughtfully designed to do so.

LUXURIOUS LIGHTING THAT WORKS Lighting may be the jewelry of the home but should also be the Rolex. What a fixture looks like should be no more important than what it lights like.

LIGHTING What’s Under the Hood? We don’t place $30 metal folding chairs in our home theaters, master suites or high-end kitchens. So why are we placing $30 LED cans in them? It’s like putting cheap tires on performance automobiles or cheap laminate in a custom kitchen. It won’t work as well, last as long or look very good. We need better design and better fixtures to live better lives.