A detail of the 3rd floor lighting design
One of the nice thing about having friends, and having friends who are designers is that you can often solicit some free advice if you ply them with free drinks and dinner. Such is the case with Sean.
Sean is one of my (Micah) friends from UW. We lived in the architecture marvel that is McMahon Hall. Sean studied as an architect and worked for the first few years out of college as an architectural lighting designer (those of you who live in Seattle can check some of his work at Blue C Sushi at U Village).
Being the ever generous friend that he is, Sean has helped us out with many different aspects of the house so we knew that when we started to think about lighting, we would need his expertise. Sean made not one (Blue Cheese, Arugula and Steak Sandwiches) but two (Thai Chicken Curry and Peach Cobbler) trips over to our apartment to help us out with it. The result of this are the sketches below. You can see Sean's notes on the trace paper over the top of the electrician's set of designs. He gave us tons to think about while still keeping in mind that we couldn't in all likelihood spend a ton on lighting. We haven't finalized the plan yet, but we're thinking it's going to be as close to Sean's plan as possible. Lots of surface mounted lights in bedrooms and recessed can lights used to highlight art, make hallways seem bigger, etc.
One of the big challenges was our 2nd floor because it has a fairly open floor plan with the living room, dining room and kitchen all flowing together without a wall to separate.
The 2nd floor open floor plan
After a few different ideas we put some recessed can lights to highlight certain areas, set up the kitchen lighting and a pendant fixture for the dining room but got a bit stuck on the living room. We eventually decided that it was best to keep our options open, essentially relying on one centered surface mount light, and table and floor lamps to illuminate the room. This gave us a bit more flexibility with furniture arrangement.