Matt Carpenter, a designer with Busby Cabinets, in Orlando, Fla., worked with the client’s interior designer on this master bathroom. Carpenter designed the custom vanity cabinets. He says that pendant lights work well in this project because sconces would have hurt the integrity of the mosaic tile wall. He points out that pendant lights around a vanity are usually used in contemporary bathroom designs and are “rare in a traditional setting.” In this bathroom, the pendants hang about 10 to 12 inches from the wall so the light hits the center of the 24-inch-deep countertop.
Martha Kerr, vice president, Neil Kelly Co., in Portland, Ore., says that pendant fixtures with colored or diffused glass are not an efficient light source in baths where people shave or apply makeup. Her tips: Pendants should be used with other sources of light — as in this project designed by Neil Kelly Co.’s Janie Boyl — and, ideally, should be placed at eye-level. In a bathroom shared by a 6-foot-4-inch man and 5-foot-2-inch woman, for example, you would use a fixture that has a 12-inch-tall shade. Pendants should hang on either side of a mirror, Kerr says, and be spaced 30 to 36 inches apart.
Ada Pagano, principal of A. Pagano Design, in St. Petersburg, Fla., likes pendant lights because they free up the wall for mirrors and cabinets. Pendants should be part of a layered lighting plan that includes recessed cans, accent lights, and natural light. “Lighting brings all the finishes to life,” Pagano says. Bathrooms require a lot of function in a small area, so she uses linear pendants that are more compact. For this project, since the bathroom is monochromatic, she chose a pendant with a contrasting dark steel finish.
—Nina Patel, senior editor, REMODELING.