Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Let the discussion begin...

OK...put your thinking caps on.

As you know, if you've been reading, I'm remodeling the basement family room. I've finally made a decision that I'm ripping out the furring-strip "studs" and starting over with 2x4s and fiberglass insulation. It took forever to just say, "Screw it," and make a decision on that.

My latest mental wrestling match has been the ceiling. I tore down drywall, mostly because I didn't want drywall up there. I don't mind "can" lights, as we have them all over the kitchen and second floor. But, I wanted to do something different. Yes, it's fluorescent lights, but I LOVE the look and the space-saving-ness of this idea particularly. It's better than the fluorescent shop-lights with covers we have down there now. I've kicked up the contrast and only included part of the page, for copyright avoidance purposes. :)

Unfortunately, as you can see in this picture, it looks really nice with a drywalled ceiling. Factor/problem #2 here is that, although our joists look pretty dirty and cruddy in spots, the bottoms of the floorboards above are really in beautiful shape. I like the idea of keeping them exposed, but I DON'T want track lighting, for sure. See the joists below.

Am I missing something here when I think that there's no way I can do both: (1) have the light boxes and (2) avoid a drywalled ceiling, especially since I just tore down all the old drywall that was up there (which I might have done anyway, honestly...wanted to see what was above it)?

My thought was to have three fluorescent light boxes where the current fluorescent fixtures are, then maybe install some sconces along the walls for softer, dimmer light when needed. The bar area would probably get can lights or something else--probably not a fluorescent, as there's no fluorescent light there now.

Or, and you can be honest here, am I just COMPLETELY out of my mind for thinking that these light boxes will look nice, given that it will be fluorescent light emanating from them?

I'm open to any and all suggestions on this lighting idea, a ceiling idea, etc., etc. Given that little A.J. is taking up a lot of my time lately and preventing frequent posts (he's doing GREAT, by the way), I figure I'll start a discussion. Let the discussion begin! Oh, for reference, here's a Sketchup of my basement "plan"...with bar now included! :)


fred@opc said...

Gosh I wished we lived next to one another... This is the EXACT same problem we're dealing with in our basement (the lighting/ceiling).

We thought about leaving the beams open and putting in track lighting - but I'm concerns that this will look too warehouse-like/industrial. Further, we've got OSB (not floor boards), so if we sprayed it a dark brown, it still isn't uniform.

I personally am not a big fan of the flourescents you showed there. I just can't get over the fact that they are still flourescents! I will say they do look better than the traditional lights.

I like the idea of some type of can light combined with sconces better (this is, in fact, the direction we're heading). I struggle with what type of sconces are the right ones for our space... though.

Anyhow, I've rambled enough - but your post really characterizes our struggle right now.

Jennifer said...

Hmm... I do like the open look. I think you should maybe go with some really neat pendant lights that hang just a tiny bit lower than the beams. Something in a really cool blown glass or pressed tin shade...

You want to do something to DRAW attention to the beams and the cool wood so that people don't think you were just lazy and didn't finish them (and I think flourescent lights of any sort will sort of imply that.. especially the rectangular sort).

Sandy said...

I really like Jennifer's idea!

denise said...

We had fluorescents in our previous finished basement, and to be honest, I hated them. However they were much better when we put warm white bulbs in. Eventually we replaced with can (these were in drop ceiling panels). I think I would like the exposed ceiling look, but I think the fluorescents would make it look more like a work room than an entertainment room. I think Jennifer's idea is good, and fred has some good points. But I think you could find some cool-looking track lights that would give it more of a party-vibe than an industrial one. Anyway, that's my $.02. And I will get those pictures to you of my bar too!