Rob and his crew (CEI Electric) have been putting in some long hours to get the final lighting wrapped up.  It’s very cool to finally see the house lit up at night! 

The fixtures in the bathrooms are our favorites - they are such small sconces, but they put out an amazing amount of nice diffuse light.

Exterior Lighting


Rob has the major exterior electrical wrapped up - the connection to the Xcel service is complete and all the exterior light fixtures and outlets are in!  We went for subtle exterior fixtures made of brushed aluminum.   

To keep the wires from the alley away from our house, we connected the main feed to the garage and via conduit underground, brought it into the basement.  As part of the installation, Rob also included conduit for a photovoltaic panel array on the roof - this allows us the option of solar if we have any “extra” money at the end of the project.

Tech Lighting


We received the final two Tech lighting fixtures the other day.  They are the same as the track fixtures, but in stainless instead of white.  These will hang from a single bar in the stairway for any artwork we might get in the future.

The fit and finish of these well-priced fixtures is great.  Now, if we could just get some great art at affordable prices...

Tech Lighting

Electrical and SIPs


Rob our electrician has been patiently drilling away into our SIPs panels - this is one of the numerous challenges that brings into question the efficiency of the SIPs process.  Even with the pre-cut chases, at every corner and from wall to ceiling, in many cases Rob has had to cut out access holes to get at and pull the wires.

We had more visitors at the site on Friday (from two great local architecture firms Studiotrope and Insitu), and they spoke of a SIPs process where electrical conduit and boxes are installed as part of the fabrication process vs. in the field.  I guess if you can coordinate everything down to the last 1/2”, it would be advantageous to do it this way.

If you are building with SIPs, make sure your installers place the panels at the intended interior/exterior orientation, and that each corner is drilled out for continuous chase access.  Also, make sure each chase is well marked.  We had a few panels that are square and symmetrical which were installed backwards - an easy mistake to make, but it has created confusion when trying to pull wires, because the chase marks are no longer visible.

Interior Lighting Studies

We are now beginning to look at interior lighting schemes.  The challenge is to move beyond a sea of recessed “can” or track lights and arrive at something a bit more interesting at a reasonable price. In the quest to control energy consumption, the wisest choice would be compact fluorescent fixtures.  However, we are still having a hard time getting over their start-up behavior, light color, color rendering, and a “lack of brightness”.

There are trade-offs to think of with can light sizes too:  six inch and up are readily available and cheap.  Most smaller sizes, which are nicer and more subtle are more expensive, have limited wattage, and require more fixtures. Although low voltage would be a choice to get smaller fixtures with bright lights, we want to avoid both the cost as well as the sparkle and glare that they give off.

For more images, check out our renderings on Flickr