Articles by Mary Ellen
What a rush. After a decade of banishing brass and most gold-toned lighting from every house and condo, we’re seeing gorgeous gold finishes rise like the sun. Finally! I have come to think that regardless of trend if you love a color you’ll want to live with it. And not every color works well with the chrome and nickel craze we’ve experienced for more than 15 years. And there’s the bronze metals trend, but here too, not every color responds to bronze.
Appliance shopping. Remember when you bought your cooktop? How would it fold into the vision you have for your kitchen? And, how about the grate? Is the cooktop easy to maintain? What will it be like living with it and using it several times every single day?
A customer recently shared a revelation: for the first time in her life she would have a master bathroom! No kid’s toothpaste in her sink or damp and overstuffed hamper to empty before she could slip into the tub. We high-fived and then she said this: “I want to start with the lighting. I want the light to set the tone.” Start-with-the-lighting are not words we hear every day at Madison Lighting, I nearly swooned.
$1200? A whole house on $1200, and NOT from a big box store? I get that a lot and here is one example of it. This home was built by Cosgrove Construction in Edgerton, Wisconsin. They’re nice people, fun to work with, and insist on quality. So in this house I tapped Kichler. I selected lighting that would seamlessly flow from one room to the next because of the cool open floor plan.
It’s a trend that has been like a tidal wave. Oh, this is no holiday kick, a quick dash with silver candlesticks and Grandma’s sterling on the sideboard. This is a full-blown love affair with stunning metals, and the sheen of glass, a dash (or more!) of crystal, the polish of hand-rubbed finishes. And why shouldn’t we add some sparkle to the house? Winter arrived with a crash (again) and we may live in the grayest state in America.
It’s a lot of fun, sitting on the front porch and watching the world go by. Play a game of cards with one of your kids out there. Read the paper, online of course. The single thing that makes it work in Wisconsin is a ceiling fan for damp locations. And in Wisconsin that’s a tall order. The fan would have to survive 40+ days that started below zero.
Screen porch living. A lovely breeze. Shelter from the mosquitos. A lazy afternoon listening to the birds. A late supper after dark. A fierce game of UNO with the kids before bed. We’ve been educating so many customers these past few weeks on lighting porches just like this: gentle lighting with exterior fixtures that can take the snow wind and rain, and the wildly swinging outdoor temps.
Who came up with the idea of outdoor rooms and blurring the line between indoors and out? Genius. Here in south central Wisconsin we spend a lot of time outdoors in winter tramping in snowshoes, cross country skiing through parks and skating on local ponds like Tenney Park in Madison. But there are long stretches of darkness, and inclement weather, and well, you get the picture.
When steps are used to access the home, a wonderful technique called step lighting can be used. First and foremost step lighting is used for safety, especially in our climate when ice can be lurking on every tread.
Do you have exterior lighting on the house? Carriage lights at the door, and perhaps on the garage? What about the front yard? Walk up to your front door in the dark and what do you see? Probably not much. Silhouetting is a great technique to bring a beautiful tree into view at night. Place a spotlight between the house and the tree, and aim the spot at the house.
Making your bathroom really special is pretty personal. I love this photo because it illustrates something that’s key: one perfect fixture can make an entire room. Painting your toes on the side of the tub is a time-honored tradition.