Shared Kitchen & Dining Lighting

By Kate Riley March 9, 2016

Here we go again! Friends I’m so happy to announce I have a new blank canvas to work with, last week we closed escrow on the purchase of another house in Las Vegas, like I’ve done before I’ll be traveling back and forth once a month to oversee the renovation.

Here is a first glance at part of the kitchen and dining room. Everything you see will go, I am reconfiguring and modernizing the space, changing it all. That old florescent light box will come out and so will the dated ceiling fan. New recessed lighting, a chandelier, and pendants over the kitchen island will replace them. Adding wood beams is also part of the plan. Also I’ll need a chandelier to drop down over the dining table. That said, it brought to my attention the topic of mixing light fixtures in shared kitchen and dining spaces like this one.

 kitchen dining before

I don’t believe this is a rule written in stone by any means, but I do know this, the one no fail way to mix light fixtures in close spaces like the kitchen and dining room combo above is to match the finish of the fixtures but vary the shape.

In this recent kitchen remodel I combined pale wood finishes in different shapes for the pendants and chandelier because they were close to each other in one connected space. Varying the shapes keeps it interesting, matching the finishes keeps it clean. Here are three examples of the same concept, in styles from transitional to contemporary.

 complementary light fixtures

 nickel pendants and chandelier

sir development

 brass modern fixtures

wit & delight

I created four more examples using the same trick: pairing chandeliers and pendants in different shapes but the same metal finishes:

 different fixtures matching finishes

1) Eight arm sputnik & brass pendants  2) heritage bronze and glass chandelier with be squared bronze pendants 3) polished nickel pendants with silver & glass chandelier 4) Nine light copper chandelier with copper & glass pendants.

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I don’t subscribe to the notion that the finishes on light fixtures in adjacent spaces should always match, there are no rules other than fixtures close together should complement each other, but it is a great designer trick for making sure fixtures that are relatively close together look cohesive and at the same time it keeps the lighting interesting.

If you want to use color or texture (woven, shell, etc.) you can always mix it up, here is a good example of how to do it. In this cottage kitchen the homeowner mixed a large scale textural basket weave pendant with porcelain enamel pendants. The same is happening in the traditional kitchen and dining space below, the finishes on the fixtures are different but the styles are complementary.

 cottage white kitchen and dining room

allee architecture + design

 classic shape chandy pendants

cyndi parker interiors


Speaking of great lighting, I also rounded up some favorite floor lamps over at Lamps Plus today with ideas on where to use them. I’ll be updating you on the renovation as it happens, much more to come!


International Travel with Children

By Kate Riley March 7, 2016

Hi friends! Today I’d like to share a few takeaways from our international travel a few months ago, the family globetrotted to Fiji, New Zealand, and Australia for 3+ weeks and had a blast. Traveling for more than a week and with kids can be challenging, you’ve got to plan ahead! Times have changed so much from my two month backpacking trip through Europe in my early twenties when it was just me but I had to carry film, maps and a guide book, there was no technology back in the dark ages :)

My children are 10 and 12 and that’s a really good age for taking them abroad. I recall the days of strollers, diapers, naps and car seats and I know this trip would not have been as enjoyable had the trip required all that extra gear. I’m a big believer in waiting until they’re older when attempting long trips to far away places because they can carry their own stuff. They can also enjoy the trip, remember it and learn from it. When they were toddlers we kept our travel close to home for years then started traveling again just a few years ago when they were 7 and 9 (from California to Montreal and Québec City). Our next big jet setting adventure will be Europe in 2017.

Passports & Immunizations. This one is obvious but make sure the kids have passports up to date since US passports expire every five years for children under 18. Many countries require that the passports must not expire for several months after your travel dates as well so factor that time in. I also scanned our passports and emailed myself a copy just in case they were lost and we needed to replace them.

Check the travel bureau to see if the country recommends immunizations, and don’t forget to research if the country you’re visiting also requires a travel visa. We found out last minute that Americans need a visa to travel to Australia but thankfully we we’re able to get them within an hour. We felt foolish not knowing that information months in advance so take my advice and check to see if you need a visa before you go!

Pack Ultra Light. Our strategy was one rolling carry on and one backpack per person, that’s it. My kids had to bring independent study homework with them, they also had a book and their school issued iPad they carried in their backpack. Matt and I also had only one carry on piece of luggage and one backpack each. We left a little room it them to pick up souvenirs but I was proud of how lightly we traveled, it helped us quickly move from place to place without spending hours repacking everything.