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This Little Light of Mine

2010 February 3
by Gayle

I have to admit, not only are we dealing with the issues of being a wee space, but The Kitchenette also has incredibly poor lighting. That goes for the whole house, but it’s particularly bad in the kitchen. Plus, it’s particularly problematic in the kitchen, as one frequently needs to see what things look like and cannot perform these activities elsewhere.

It’s not like the guest room, where we just stuck another lamp in there. Or the bathroom, where, when the light fixture shorted out, we stuck a bedside lamp on the toilet tank, put our makeup on in the bedroom (okay, I put my makeup on in the bedroom) and began counting down the days until we move elsewhere.

It’s the kitchen. There is only so much we can do. We did upgrade the under-cabinet light after it broke within weeks of moving in. But that’s just a little fluorescent light, quite far from the stovetop, so it’s not doing a whole lot of good, other than lighting up our dirty dishes.

You might be thinking, “What a whiner! I’ve seen pictures made inside that kitchen, and it’s not so bad!” In fact, this post was inspired by and email from a dear friend who wrote “[t]he lighting in your kitchen must be something to be jealous of.” I very nearly fell off the couch from laughing so hard.

That, Dear Readers, is the magic of photography with tiny tripods, Photoshop, waiting for good light during the day and… well…

Okay. I’ll come clean.

I have been climbing up on a chair and removing the light fixture so I can photograph food by the light of the bare bulbs.

There, I said it. Pitiful.

But those days are basically behind us. Or so it seems.

Just the other day, Future Mr. Kitchenette replaced the evil energy efficient (read: dim, and made moreso by the thick circa 1950s fixture) bulbs with high-wattage traditional light bulbs. The difference was miraculous, hooray! I haven’t had to scale a chair since!

The down sides are a) we’re worried about blowing fuses (er, read: blowing fuses more often. This happens a lot already. Way too much.), b) it’s probably a potential fire hazard and c) there are still a lot of weird shadows cast over the cook top by the head and shoulders of whomever is cooking.

So this is where I appeal to you, Dear Readers. ‘Cause I got nothin’, in spite of spending a lot of time thinking about it (and cursing). What do you do for a dim kitchen?

One Response leave one →
  1. Elijah permalink
    February 3, 2010

    Here's the thing about those "evil energy efficient" light bulbs: they don't use very much power (you may have already surmised this). I'm a big fan of bright bright bright bright lighting. Buy the super high wattage CFLs and you're still only using the energy of a low watt Edison bulb. You can get a CFL that puts out the light of a 100 Watt Edison bulb, but uses less than 25% the energy (i.e. won't blow fuses). Of course, it will take it about 60 seconds to warm up and reach full luminosity (I'm aware that I could have used other words here but that one makes me feel smarter), but surely that's better than replacing fuses and climbing chairs every day…

    This isn't, however, a solution to your problem. Here's what I do:

    I have only one track lighting bar in my kitchen and it is barely sufficient to get the job done. Often I have to decide if I want to see the cutting board or see the stove. I've taken to keeping the lights off while I cook but wearing a blindfold all day so my eyes are used to the darkness in the evenings. It's not a great solution, but I get to look like a cool Zatoichi ripoff while I'm doing it.

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