Lighting design (and the unexpected fun of powerpoint placement)

In all the selection consultations I’ve been having there was one in the diary I wasn’t that excited about, which was the one where I’d specify the power points locations at the Clipsal showroom. Now if kitchens and bathrooms are sexy, then power points are an unexciting necessity, right! But after spending a few hours at Clipsal I have to say how wrong I was, it was actually really interesting and fun.

When we did The Block everything was done on the fly, there just wasn’t the time for any pre-planning. So each time we’d move to the next room I would work out which lights I wanted to buy, then I’d get the electrician in and point out where everything should go. We would draw things on the wall in pencil as we went, that was the limit to our pre-planning. And to be honest, with everything I had to think about electrical wires and how they worked were the last thing on my mind, I just trusted the electrician to know what he was doing.

But after my meeting at Clipsal and seeing how meticulously it’s usually all planned I now have a new understanding and respect for the process. (Sorry and thank you Adam!)

In the consultation we started out with the floor plan of our house, which the consultant Marcus has already designated some standard points on.

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How the plan looked when we started…

But because I am all about pre-planning with this build (have I stressed that enough yet!) I had already done two things before I got there, which made Marcus extremely happy and the process go very smoothly. Firstly I have spent the last few months looking at lights and deciding what I wanted in each room. As pendant lights are very much on trend I knew I wanted lots of feature pendants, rather than just down lights, so before I got there I worked out what I wanted and where they would go.

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My phone has lots of photos like this on it…

Then I drew a rough guide of what furniture would go in each room and where it would be placed and from there I could work out where I wanted my power points for lamps, TV’s and computers. You see, in our current house there is a definite lack of power points and it drives me NUTS! I love the soft lighting lamps give and we tend to use lamps rather than ceiling lights, but there are spots I have a lamp for looks that aren’t even plugged in because there are no power points.

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This lamp looks pretty, but can’t be switched on. Some people may think that’s a little pointless, but not me!

So I knew with this house I wanted lots of power points and I wanted them to be in the right spots, so I worked that out before I got to our meeting. Then Marcus and I refined it, adding down lights where we needed extra lights, working out where would be the best spots were to have light switches, where we wanted data and phone points and how all of the wiring would interconnect. He used a computer system that seemed very easy to use and it all made for an interesting and informative session. I am such a building nerd now!

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How it looked when we finished. Looks complicated doesn’t it.

There were still some notes indicating that I would need to approve final placement, so when a pendant light goes in that has to be in exactly the right spot I can be there to oversee it, just like on The Block. But mostly it will all be organised before, so the poor electrician doesn’t have to put up with me moving the placement of down lights and patching them at the last minute because they weren’t quite right. (Again, sorry and thank you Adam!)

This is just an example of how different building in ‘real life’ is to The Block and how much you have to be organised when you’re making your decisions before the build. I was speaking to my sister in law who just renovated her house and she said ‘I wish I could do it all again now. I know so much more and have such a better idea of what I want that I’d do lots of things differently.’ I think a lot of people feel like that and I know there is no way I could do the build I am doing now if I hadn’t done The Block first. So I really hope this blog can act like a learning experience for those of you who are building or renovating, or planning to, because who wants to have to do it all again to get it right!

It’s a very busy time for the build at the moment, with most of the selections getting locked in and lots of meetings (and thought) to make sure everything is exactly how I want it. And then the pool hole is dug next week and the slab goes down the week after. How exciting!

Amity x