Saturday, July 25, 2009


We're not just letting the corn grow (though it is and has tasseled out almost overnight).

One of the things that was overwhelming me the most was the lighting options. I literally searched thousands and thousands of lights online. One of my problems is that I'm a little indecisive. The other problem is is that I like many things and many styles. I have a hard time focusing. I was all over the place.

I was scared. I equated this fear to looking at a blank piece of paper and being expected to write something exceptional. My new home was a blank piece of paper. I didn't want to screw it up.

Dave and I get along really well. If you don't you should NEVER undertake a project like this. It will certainly be the death of your relationship. I kid you not. But, just because Dave and I get along really well does not mean we don't get upset with each other and our predicament. Yes, friends, we are in a predicament.

Even though the lights are the last thing you hang, you have to know pretty early on where you are going to hang those lights and where you want outlets and switches. An electrician can't do his work if he doesn't know where to do it. Long before you know what style or paint you might choose, you may have to figure out what style of lights you want. Woe is you who doesn't have a clue. I didn't have a clue.

So Dave and I had a battle. He was home on a Friday as a vacation day and he was meeting with a contractor. I took a half day of vacation and was thrilled to come home and work along side Dave. Instead we argued. I left in a huff. It was over lighting and how we were having such a problem deciding what to do. I became rather childish (okay, I admit it). I took the car and left and said I would be home later. I let the car take me where it would.

The car got to the end of the road and said, "Turn left and go to the lighting store in Newark. Turn right and go to Tuthill Lighting in Brighton." The car went right.

I drove to Brighton, about 35-40 minutes away in the Rochester area. I had seen their Web site ( I walked in the front door and was greeted by Bruce Bellwood, owner. His family has owned and operated this store on Monroe Avenue since 1924. I figured they were a good bet. It's one of the best decisions I made.

Though the showroom was not terribly large, I felt they could do anything. I know they could by their Web site. Bruce immediately simplified my problems. He said you need to think of only three things in each room, not what style or what fixture.

1. Ambient lighting - lighting the general area of the room (ceiling, perimeter, etc.)
2. Task lighting. Where in the room will you need to have light to do things like knitting, sewing, reading, etc.
3. Accent lighting. Mood lighting, anyone?

Bruce said that once you figure out that stuff, the rest is easy. It makes you focus which I needed desperately.

Bruce gave me several lighting catalogs that I could borrow. He also said that as a service they can take our floor plan and digital pictures and load them on their large-monitor computer (which was sitting on top of a large table in the showroom with chairs all around). Then he could walk through each room and we could all make decision together.

I asked the inevitable because money is pretty tight right now. "How much does this service cost?" Bruce's reply was, "Nothing. I make money on my products." I was sold.

When I got home, Dave met me with a smile. Bruce and lifted a huge weight from my shoulders. I hoped Dave would agree that we should use Bruce and Tuthill Lighting. He wholeheartedly agreed and even called Bruce the next day to set up an appointment to meet with him.

What Bruce needed -
1. A floor plan.
2. Digital pictures (even with the house in studs).
3. A text file or document that explained what we liked and disliked, what our thoughts were on color schemes and why we had made some decisions we had. This was not as hard as you might think because we had already figured all that out before we started this project.

I was able to email everything to Bruce by that Sunday. Our appointment was that Wednesday. It was quite fun. We sat at the table and there was all the information I sent Bruce up on that large monitor. He walked through our house with us as we talked about each room and how we would use the rooms. He made suggestions and got us thinking about things.

The next step
What Bruce asked us to do before our next appointment was to walk through every room and pretend we were living there and go through the motions of turning lights on and off, figure out any mood lighting, and how people move through the house, including the entrance, stairs, baths, halls, etc.

This was not an easy task. I believe it took Dave and I three hours to do this but it was well worth the effort. We realized we needed fewer lights than we thought which saves us money. We realized that in a couple places we still aren't sure of the style and so we are using light fixtures we already have until we can be sure.

At our next appointment with Bruce we got to go through lights and decide which ones we wanted to order. This was the fun part. Again, we sat at the table and looked through all different lights on the Tuthill Lighting Web site. We were able to refine our choices and placed and order for several fixtures. Even Bruce was excited about some of our choices. We left a down payment of half the total and are excited about our choices.

NOTE: You may believe that picking lights this way would be expensive but we compared prices and felt the prices were very comparable AND we got this great added services. We also got some very interesting fixtures that we will be proud to have in our home.

NOTE2: One of the other things Bruce suggested and we feel was a good thing was to put dimmers on everything except lights in cupboards and closets. It really does make sense and it saves quite a bit of energy.

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