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Sylvestre Construction Inc.
Sylvestre Construction, Inc.
7708 5th Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN 55423
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October 2015

Updating Your Lighting Can Refresh Any Room

With the flip of a switch, lighting sets the mood, directs your attention, and influences the entire atmosphere of the room. Lighting makes a big difference in not only the ambiance but also the energy efficiency of your home.

Did you know there are four kinds of lighting to consider when designing a room? Ambient lighting provides overall illumination and is best when it comes from several sources, including natural light from windows. Task lighting is extra lighting, focused on a specific area to make visual tasks easier. Accent lighting is used to draw attention to certain details within a room, define spaces, focus attention on photos or artwork, and create dramatic effects using the interplay of light and shadow. Decorative lighting is any lighting that adds aesthetic appeal in addition to functional light, with fixtures designed to enhance the personality and beauty of your room. We can help you combine and "layer" these types of lighting to create exactly the ambiance you're hoping for.

Here are some tips for how to refresh the lighting in your home.

Living Room

Lighting your living room is about finding a balance and creating a lighting scheme that's adaptable for all the different activities that happen there. Your ambient lighting should be dimmable, which is now an option even with highly-efficient LED lights. Task lighting, such as a floor lamp or a lamp on a side table will help you with reading or other detail-oriented activities as you sit on the couch. Use lamps with different colored shades or bases to give the room a little extra personality. And accent lighting can highlight your favorite design elements or artwork. The light source itself for accent lighting should seem almost invisible – consider hiding it behind crown molding or above cabinets and bookshelves.

Dining Room

Since most of the activity in the dining room is focused around the table, the obvious choice is a chandelier or pendants over the table. Make sure it's not so large that it overpowers the room or hangs so low that it interferes with conversation across the table. A dimmer is a great choice here so you can adjust the lighting level depending on whether you're having a romantic dinner or using the table for the kids' homework.


The kitchen requires a more complicated and flexible lighting plan because of the diverse uses of the room. Overhead lighting, whether a hanging fixture or recessed lights, will help when doing general cleaning and is also nice when you're entertaining or have helpers in the kitchen. Task lighting, such as under-cabinet fixtures, is great for more detail-oriented chores, like food preparation. A grouping of pendant lights serves dual purposes of providing task lighting and accents for working at an island or dining at a breakfast bar. Accent lights highlight wall decor or the work of your favorite little Van Gogh.


The bedroom typically uses overhead lighting as the main source of light. Task lighting takes the form of small lamps on bedside tables and on dressers. Consider a dimmer switch so you can choose to have the lighting soft or bright. Use accent lighting to show off special mementos or to set off a corner for late-night reading or early morning coffee.


The bathroom should be a well-lit space, and is often overlooked. A pair of sconces generally give appropriate light for most tasks such as shaving and applying make-up, and mirrors reflect the light throughout the space. Chandeliers are being used more often to add an extra touch of elegance. Lights on a dimmer or a dusk-to-dawn automatic night light are easier on the eyes for those late night trips to the bathroom. Additionally, dimming lights in the evening can create a more relaxing, spa-like atmosphere, while bright lights in the morning can help you wake up.

No matter how much time or how many resources you devote to making your home beautiful, if you don't take lighting into consideration, you're missing an important element. If you're remodeling, think about it early in the process and talk to us about how you can have the perfect lighting plan for every room!

Maintenance Tip: Change Your Smoke Alarm Batteries

When you have your clocks "Fall back" for the return of Standard Time, it is also a good time to check and change your smoke alarm batteries. (Do the same when you "Spring forward" too.) Even though more than 95% of homes have smoke alarms, about 25% of fire-related deaths occur annually in homes where smoke alarms are present but not functioning, usually because of missing or dead batteries.

Avalanche Lake, Glacier Park   

What's the Story

Lighting is a very important part of remodeling and is part of every project that we do. We have had a lot of success with LED lighting lately as it becomes less expensive and the light quality improves. We are using very small LED tape lights for kitchen under-cabinet lighting and accent lighting in bathrooms. It is small, has a very nice light and is "somewhat" dimmable. We are also using LED recessed can lights in locations that we typically avoided in years past. These lights are very efficient, do not produce anywhere near the heat of the old recessed cans and sometimes do not even require a can for the installation - they are surface mounted. They also last longer and use far less electricity. As we see the sun setting earlier and earlier, lighting is much more important with dark winter days ahead.

Black Bear visited our cabin one night- Taken from a trail camera at 3:21 AM   

A visit to the CM Russel Museum

Alice and I spent the first week of October in Montana with our first stop at the Charles Russel museum in Great Falls, Montana. We had stopped there on our visit a year ago but didn't spend enough time with his paintings of early Montana and the incredible collection of over 1,000 Northern Plains Indian artifacts such as clothing, regalia, tools, and weapons, as well as works of art highlighting Northern Plains Indian culture. There are 96 drawers that contain pieces of native American life, and we looked in every drawer!

We then traveled to Glacier National Park for some hiking. It was beautiful but the nature viewing was extraordinary. I have included a few shots of some of the animals that we saw.

Our son Peter is getting married the end of October, so things are getting pretty exciting at our house!

4 Bighorn Sheep
There are 4 bighorn sheep in this photo. Can you find them? (Click to zoom in on photo)
Rocky Mountain Goat family.   Wow! That close to a goat!

John Sylvestre

Until next month,

John Sylvestre

Phone: 612-861-0188

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