Home Improvement : Concern Specializes in Personalized Lighting

Dan Tyson and Victor Kelmelis think it’s ridiculous to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on a house only to have it come with lighting that was out of date two decades ago.

“A builder will put in elaborate bathrooms and kitchens and 20-foot-high ceilings in the living room but he throws in standard light fixtures that can barely pierce the gloom,” asserts Tyson, co-owner with Kelmelis of Lighting Source Inc., 1651 B 18th St., Santa Monica.

The reason? The same reason that California builders put outdated, one-piece garage doors on their houses--cost. It costs more money to put in a quality sectional garage door like those universally used in the rest of the nation and it costs more money to put in wiring for architectural lighting.

Architectural lighting is a key element in creating ambiance in a home or office, Kelmelis said. He made his point while talking in one of the firm’s two “LiteLabs.” One is for track lighting, the other for recessed.

“As far as we know, this is the only store in Los Angeles open to the general public (as opposed to the decorating trade) that has such elaborate lighting demonstration areas,” Kelmelis added.

Added Tyson: “The goal of functional lighting is to light objects rather than large spaces. You ask ‘what do I want to be lit?’ and you design an installation for a wall, a work of art, reading space or whatever.”

If you can’t go to the store, the two lighting experts will visit a home, store or office with various lights and prescribe the kind of lighting tailored for specific needs.

“What we stress is quality, look and function at below retail prices,” Kelmelis said. “We try to eliminate the guesswork and mystery that has dominated architectural lighting for too long.”

The store has units from more than 200 manufacturers on display and is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Access is from Olympic Boulevard.

There seems to be no end to mail-order woodworking suppliers. The latest to come to my attention is Trend-Lines Inc., 375 Beacham St., Chelsea, Mass. 02150. The firm’s February 64-page catalogue is packed with tools and equipment for woodworkers and other do-it-yourselfers. The price on the cover is $2, but most of these catalogues are really free. This seems to be a worthy addition to your home improvement bookshelf. If I order anything from Trend-Lines, I’ll report in a future column on the service and quality from them.

It’s a lot easier to make changes on paper than it is on already-framed walls. That’s why architects and designers use scale models and drawings. If you can’t draw, the Plan-A-Flex Home Designer floor planning system can give you a professional looking drawing. Available from Procreations Publishing Co., 8129 Earhart Blvd., New Orleans, La. 70118, for $24.95 plus $4 shipping, the system comes with 500 reusable symbols for furniture, fixtures, appliances, windows, doors, computers, etc.--all to quarter-inch scale. The symbols stay firmly in place on the supplied Grid-Board, yet can be easily rearranged.

According to Bud Brimberg of Procreations, the color scheme allows the finished plan to be photocopied with the proper contrast. I showed this kit of parts to a person who enjoys rearranging furniture, walls, buildings, etc. and she was delighted: “It’s just what I need to save my back!”