Let there be Light: Formulating Our Renovation Plan

TREX-Deck4

This is Part II of Joe and Lulu’s Richmond House Renovation. Last week they shared their plans for lighting and incorporating elements of Feng Shui into their design and this week they show how they executed their plan.

When ELLE DECOR asked the interior designer Benjamin Noriega-Ortiz, about the most important aspect of decorating a house, he responded, “Light is the magical ingredient that makes or breaks a space. It’s one of the most important elements in all my interiors.”

So, following our feng shui session, and with this quote in mind, we finalized five components of our lighting upgrade and renovation:

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1. Adding recessed lights in the corners of three rooms: master bedroom and living/TV room

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ParlorChandelier+TVRoom2

2. Installing two chandeliers: one in the master bedroom, another in the front parlor and a hanging lamp in the living/TV room

USB-Outlet
3. Upgrading outlets to more modern USB outlets with two plugs and two USB’s to recharge iPhones and iPads
4. Replacing old switches with new dimmers

TREX-Deck4
5. Invigorating our “marriage, relationships and partnerships” corner of the house with recessed TREX Deck Lights, which would turn our poorly lit outside deck into the “Party Room” just outside of the dining room and add dramatic light up the brick wall of our neighbor’s house.

Come on baby, light my fire
Concurrently, during our planning process, we realized that underneath the buckling, old plaster of the far wall of our interior, now master, bedroom lay a dormant fireplace. To compliment our lighting plan, our contractors removed the plaster along that wall to uncover a now beautiful fireplace. They fixed up the masonry, closed off the chimney so animals couldn’t get in and applied a sealer over the bricks and mortar. (An old, now repaired, leak on the roof along the chimney line had caused water to leak in, damaging the plaster, causing it to separate unevenly from the chimney wall.)

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TVRoom-Bookshelf2

Now, our interior bedroom was ready for prime time. Once completed, we placed scented pine candles in the hearth of the refurbished (and deactivated) fireplace, which warmed up the room with a real flame and a subtle, natural aroma.

Results: Storage Rooms Transformed
Once we cleaned up all of the dust, painted a few of the rooms, moved our furniture back, re-organized a few rooms, and hung a few new pieces of art, we realized that the lighting transformed our least favorite rooms into our most cherished ones:
• Our former storage room (i.e. the interior bedroom of the house) became our master bedroom with a beautiful chandelier and fireplace that draws your eyes into the center of the room and heightens the energy with the fireplace.
• Our living/TV room became our favored room to entertain in now that we had plenty of light to see one another

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• The TREX Deck Lights along with three outdoor hanging lamps converted the back deck, a place to keep our recycling, into a glorious outdoor parlor to sip a glass of wine before dinner.

The legendary furniture designer, Charles Eames, said, “The details are not the details. They make the design.” In our lighting renovation, details like the TREX Deck Lights and tweaking where we hung our art made the design. The TREX recessed deck lights provided us with functional yet simple solution for transforming our side deck. Each 1″ dot of light installed flush with our deck boards, highlighting the texture and color of the red brick wall. The 8 lights provided us with much needed illumination as well as a beautiful finishing touch to our lighting upgrade. As an added bonus, TREX recessed deck lights use 75% less energy than traditional incandescent lighting, so they keep energy bills green.

Here’s the TREX lighting remote
TREX-RemoteControl

Unfortunately though, our electrician did have some problems installing the lights, as it was his first time working with the product. Subsequently, one of the lights began flickering on and off but a quick (and free) visit from our electrician fixed that. All in all, we are very happy with the product.

Conclusion: To Give Light
The Spanish phrase “Dar a Luz,” literally translates as “give a light,” but it actually means, “give birth.” We are excited to share with all of you that we expect a stork to arrive with our little one in March 2015.

Whether you believe in feng shui or not, we recommend creating great energy in your home with lots of light which can welcome in guests, new projects and even a new life.

What We Learned
During the course of our renovation, we learned a tremendous amount. As Walt Disney said, “You can design and create, and build the most wonderful place in the world. But it takes people to make the dream a reality.”  And that couldn’t be truer for our home.

Lulu led the design efforts and shared her vision with the people that made our dream a reality. We would like to thank:
• Steven Phillips from TREX for providing us with the eight deck lights in our new and improved “party room” just outside of our dining room.
Restoration Builders of Virginia for managing this project
• Timothy Dahl, the founder of Charles & Hudson for inviting us to write these guest blog posts about our experience renovating our home in Richmond, Virginia
• My brother, Andrew Kutchera, for helping us re-configure our furniture and art work as well as add complimentary ambient floor and table lights. All of his final details, as Charles Eames quote indicated, made the design.

If you have any questions, please feel free to email me at joe {at} kutchera . net

“To love beauty is to see light,” Victor Hugo

[Disclaimer: I received 8 free deck lights from TREX in exchange for reviewing them in this unpaid blog post.]