Don’t misunderstand me. I love the construction process. I enjoy talking about framing: king stud (that’s me!), ledgers, shims and a strong 3/8″  here or there. I welcome discussions about the finer points of board formed concrete. And if you’d like to talk pex vs. copper I’m your person.

But let’s face it, this stuff pales in comparison to the fun that most ordinary humans envision when you tell them you’re building a house. Stainless steel appliances, cool fixtures, Scandinavian furniture and of course a booming sound system. Alas, when you’re building a house there’s often little money left over for this elusive fun stuff. Instead it’s been spent on pex, ledger boards and pea gravel.

Today though, I can at least talk about a few of the cool things we’re doing with lighting.

First, as I’ve written about ad nauseum we have long hallways that will be illuminated by a series of pendant lights. We wanted something a bit raw and unrefined to contrast with much more finished feel that we’ll get from fir paneling and smooth drywall. So after much discussion K and I settled on a series of bare bulbs hung from cloth cords. But as every first-year architect student will tell you, “less is more.” In this case, more means a stripped down fixture can be freaking expensive. Or really cheesy.

Cost is also a definite driver. Something that’s bat-poop cool, but less expensive than you can buy at Ikea? No problem!

One evening a year or two ago we stumbled upon a photo/location site in the UK, the name of which alludes me now. I saved this image though that planted a seed for where we’re now headed.

Behold, the Nud pendant in lime green. We dig these, and at less than $40 each we dig them even more. The only downside? We had to order them from Sweden. That’s OK though, because they arrived four days after we placed the order. Nice. By the way, if you’re reading this at work and want to Google the company’s site rather than click on the link above, I strongly recommend against searching for “Nud Sweden.” Just saying.

If you like this look but don’t feel like you need a celedon/lime green cord to complete yourself as a person, these are more easily sourced from BoConcept. For some reason the lights aren’t on their web site, but give them a call. They have them.

Note the exposed bulb. Very cool, but because there’s no shade the shape and light quality become crucial. Here are a handful of the myriad options we’ve considered.

Halogen PAR bulb: Fantastic light, dimmable and beautiful in its own utilitarian way. You can also get these with a lumen output, or the amount of light the bulb pumps out, high enough to light up a soccer stadium. Not so great on the energy efficiency side of the checklist though. On the other hand, the bulb itself is inexpensive. Say, $8 or so.

Edison: Kickin’ it old skool, yo. Seriously though, there’s a lot to like. From the shape to the visible filament to the light quality, we like these. And we can get them with a silver coating to adjust how they illuminate the hallway. Also very cool. What’s not so cool? Energy inefficiency. Again.

LED: Kind of like the halogen. Crisp, white light, dimmable and cool looking in a futuristic kind of way. Downside is price. The light bulb is more expensive than the fixture. And yeah, yeah I know, it’ll pay for itself because it will last a gillion years and requires a modicum of the power a halogen draws. But it’s still a $50 light bulb.

VU1: I only just heard of this technology, which is actually dated TV tech applied to a light bulb. Great idea though! Not a good candidate for the hanging lamps, but I’m thinking of ordering a few to test out on our can lights. At $20 each they’re priced well, too.

Plumen: Oh, how we do love thee. Plumen, you bestill our hearts. Finally, a cool looking CFL. The only downsides are price ($30 each) and the fact we can’t dim them. Oh, and at 680 lumen output I’m not 100% sure they’ll kick off enough light. Then again, they might. These just became available this week in the US of A. I went ahead and ordered two to check them out. We have lots of options for where we can use them…

More to come on the lighting front. But to foreshadow, here’s our knock-it-out-of-the-park, budget buster, tres cool, can’t wait to install it dining room light.