As we trudge along the dreary path in the month of March, I am reminded of the power of light.  I have complained to you before that Cleveland ranks in the top 10 cities with the most cloud cover in the US.  I think many of you understand how the cold, grey skies pull us down and how a bright sunny day can pull us up.

Similarly, artificial lighting can greatly enhance a mood.  Annie and I love to watch David Tutera create magic in unusual spaces – often enhanced by creative lighting strategies.  If I attend a party or a wedding in a social space, I prefer that the lighting be soft and dim.  Who likes to dance under fluorescent lights?

In the home, with an unlimited budget, I would create a sophisticated look with recessed lighting and indirect lighting.  In the days when I pored over architecture and home design magazines, I loved the looks created by good lighting design.

In fact, if I was 17 again and on the brink of college and a career, I would love to be a lighting designer.  Most of you know that I have a Master’s Degree in Chemical Engineering.  This was a promising field, particularly for bright, young women in the early 80’s.  I pursued it with the idea that I might also enter med school.  I changed my mind about medical school and wasn’t all that crazy about engineering, but there was no turning back.

I began my working life at GE Lighting.  I started in a training program in which I completed my M.S. degree and also worked in various departments.  At the time, GE was doing some very public lighting projects:  the Lincoln Memorial, the Golden Gate bridge, Mount Rushmore and buildings all around the country.  I wanted that job and pursued an assignment in the technical marketing department.  I didn’t get to design anything but I did begin teaching classes in a state-of-the art customer center in which we demonstrated various lighting techniques.  In particular, I taught a fun class about the science of color and light!  My interest was brimming so after my M.S. degree I took classes in Interior Design.  I was eventually pulled back to the engineering departments but given the opportunity to continue teaching customer groups that came through.

Ultimately, a career path in lighting design would have been possible for me to achieve, but it would have been a long road requiring relocation.  As I was building a new life with my husband at the time, I tucked my dream away and sealed it up even tighter with the birth of my oldest son.

I think lighting design would have been an ideal career for me because it combines technical issues with artistic issues.  Perhaps I could have studied interior design or architecture.  It’s not easy to look into the future when you are a young high school student, which is why I empathize with my own children experiencing these decisions.

Even though I admired gorgeous interiors with beautiful lighting, my house did not have creative lighting design.  When we remodeled, we added some recessed lighting in the kitchen and dimmers on many of our lights.  Recessed lighting helps put the focus on the room, not on the fixture or the wires.

I enjoy having parties – and even dinner parties – in which I use soft lighting and candle light.  It helps to create a cozy, intimate environment.

Do you have any creative ways that you use lighting design in your home or workplace?  Share them with me!  If you leave me a comment AND you are a follower, you will be entered in a drawing to win $45 from CSN Stores.   You can choose any item from any of their stores. 

This contest is open to US and Canadian residents and will close on Saturday, March 19th, at 12 Noon EST.   Please be sure I have contact information!