Dear Leanne: How important is it that window trims and base-boards match? We have bought an older home and are replacing the windows. The new options for trims will not match the cur-rent baseboards, which are 2.5-inch mahogany. The window replacements are a hefty expense, so although we do plan to change the baseboards, we would prefer to hold off on any additional renos right now. We would like the new window casings to be white, but our current baseboards are stained wood. Also, we are changing some of the windows now and other rooms in the spring, so there will be a mix of styles for a while.
Dear Reader: You are embarking on transitional renovations, meaning you are planning to exe-cute the project in pre-planned stages. Anyone who has experienced initiating a change in their decor will attest to the fact that a ripple effect ensues, and it is always beneficial to plan for those ripples in advance. You have the advantage of realizing before you begin that there will be a visual change that will need to be addressed throughout the transition. Your most obvious option is to minimize the differences by painting the boards and frames in a white that matches your new window casings.
Although this may seem like a tedious process, it will provide a more seamless appearance. You may wish to compare the time and cost of replacing the base-boards to repainting the existing. The obvious advantage to repainting the existing boards is that they are already cut to measure and so can be a relatively easy do-it-yourself project. To do the job right, however, they should be removed before they are painted. Painting baseboards while they are on the wall can cause an adhesion problem if you wish to remove them at a later date.
Baseboards and window frames hold architectural appeal, and designers strive to use these details to complement a room. When you are ready to replace the remaining windows and base-boards, width and profile should be considered. Until then, keeping the colouration consistent will be your best option.
Dear Leanne: I have two questions about lighting. First, what is the best height to hang wall sconces? I have two hurricane-style sconces that I want to hang on each side of a buffet in my dining room and don't know if there is a standard height. Second, how many pendant lights would you suggest over a 182-centimetre kitchen island?
Dear Reader: There are no hard and fast rules for how high to hang a light sconce, but using the "two-thirds rule" of balance provides a basic guide. If you have an 2.4-metre ceiling, 1.62 metres up from the floor would be two-thirds up the wall, a good height for sconce placement.
A few considerations may impact the specific placement of these lights, such as the height of your ceiling; whether there will be artwork between the sconces; the size of the sconce; and the light shade. If art is involved, the size of the work will influence the exact placement of the sconce. You may find the two-thirds rule helpful here as well, where the centre of the light source is placed two-thirds up the wall from the bottom of the art work. Typically, sconces are positioned between 1.62 metres and 1.78 metres from the floor for ceiling heights of 2.4 to 2.7 metres.
Regarding pendants, the number required depends greatly on your pendant style and the total surface you are attempting to illuminate. Pendant lighting is typically a task light, so you want to provide a bright surface area with minimal shadowing.
If your island is about a metre wide, a set of three pendants set in a straight line, 40.6 centimetres apart from the light source will likely be adequate. You might get away with two pendants, but three would be my recommendation unless the fixtures are large.
If you have a wider island, you may find setting the lights in an offset pattern to cover a greater surface area is beneficial. With this approach, you may opt for four or five smaller lights in a staggered pattern.
Your ultimate decision will depend on the size of your shade and the bulb you choose. If you have a small shade, the light will be focused, whereas a larger light shade will diffuse to cover a greater surface. You want to make sure you have sufficient light for the entire task area.
Leanne Brownoff is a business consult-ant with vast experience in interior design. She welcomes your questions at leannebrownoff.com.
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