Lighting Design: We’re not designing around light bulbs anymore!

 Let There Be LED Light


“We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light.”                                              


Plato said that 2,500 years ago. In 2014 we urge you to shed your fears of innovative lighting solutions and bold light and lamp design; 2014 will be the year of the stylish LED.

hanging  LED overhead light

We are always speccing lights for clients here at Ourso Designs, and lately we have been captivated by the lights over at Lightology.

this one mimics the classic light bulb shape, the LED bulb is actually inside

 We have been encouraging clients to consider LED lights due to their energy efficiency, long lifetimes, and most importantly, their flexibility in design. You will notice that all of the lights we are showcasing in todays blog are radically different designs, and they all use LED lights. At Lightology’s website, you can even order a custom LED soft strip.

in all shapes and sizes

One of the most interesting part of LED lighting is that the design is not focused centrally around the bulb.  The design itself becomes to key feature, while the lights are worked into it.

spinning to infinity

 Some of these lights can be pricy, however. This next one is on sale at $111,995!

a costly mobius strip

a space odyssey oddity

These are just some of the awesome designs from Lightology’s website.  If you haven’t made the jump to LED lighting yet, think about it. The technology is so flexible that you can find a light design that will fit into any floor plan or design scheme you can dream up.

literally flexible


The Future of Light

Lights have been designed around the light source itself for years. This won’t be happening in the future. You can see this fact reflected in the pictures of lamps and overhead lights above: having a large, roundish bulb attached somewhere to the light being designed is no longer necessary. Now the lights fit into the design, not the other way around; function doesn’t have such a stranglehold on form these days, at least when it comes to light design.



hand in hand we march into the future


Dark & Moody

Dark, striking, and compelling, painting your room black is a bold statement.

I see a red shirt and I want to paint it black.

We wear black to formal events, to look refined and put together; why not get that same refined look in your kitchen, bedroom, bathroom, or hallway. Painting a room black seems like a risky design decision, but with the right highlights, accents, and lighting, it can be one of the boldest and interesting ways to color your room. Add an element of mystery, a calming ambiance, and a stylish flair to your house by painting a room black.

the natural wood juxtaposed with black and white brings this hallway together

a dusky writing spot and library

what a kitchen!

Unique Appliances Throughout American History

While researching the evolution of the modern kitchen for our last blog post, we came across a few appliances that did not exactly prove to be the fittest in the struggle for a place in the modern kitchen. Whether these appliances and design concepts proved to be a  dead end trend, or were simply phased out due to more effective models, we found these products and marketing ideas to be an interesting mini-history of how people thought kitchens should look and function in the past.

 All-in-one stove/sink/refrigerator

Obviously, the appeal here is that three appliances have been integrated into one compact unit. But combining water, electricity, and fire all together seems like a disaster. Although I suppose if your stove catches your refrigerator on fire, you could put it out with the water from the sink.

Seriously though, as a person who cooks, it is hard to imagine trying to wash dishes while cooking on the stove. It seems like soapy water would splash into your bacon while bacon grease pops into your clean dishes. I suspect that this is a case of inconvenience masquerading as convenience, like how multitasking can actually slow you down.

all-in-one sink, stove, and refrigerator

 This Electrochef is a pretty cool looking stove. It came out in the 20’s, and though it looks sleek and compact, it weighed 500 pounds! On the right is the oven part of the stove, for warming and baking.

Electrochef stove

A cleaner moon

women of the future will make the moon a cleaner place to live

It’s a little hard to read in the picture but the caption for the ad reads “Women of the future will make the Moon a cleaner place to live”. I love that such an ordinary product, a cleaning liquid, is being advertised with such a “futuristic” motif. Speaking of which…

An idea of the future had by the past

in space the refrigerators will be blue, green, or white

Cabinet refrigerators

The built in cabinet refrigerator is one of my favorite artifacts from the past. I am not sure why it didn’t become popular enough to stick around. I’d guess they were more expensive, and I am sure harder to install (I have installed a microwave that hung above a stove and that was a bit of a pain…hard to imagine picking up a refrigerator and mounting it without several men and at least a days work, but then again I’m not a pro). Maybe there was just too much competition for cabinet space. Maybe it took a special outlet built into the wall. Whatever the reason we don’t all have cabinet refrigerators, just picture never having to crouch to reach into the bottom vegetable drawers.

it just seems so convenient


Check out this old Colston dishwasher.  It takes up a lot of counter space, yet it doesn’t hold many dishes. I do have to come out as a secret dishwasher hater though; as a kid, we didn’t have a dishwasher. I don’t think we got one until I was 15 or 16, and since dishes were my chore, I got used to doing them by hand. Nowadays, even if my apartment has a dishwasher, I still do them by hand (or leave them in the sink for too long).

retro dishwasher

The Kohler electric sink seems like it was way ahead of its time; it came out in the 20’s, and really, for all intents and purposes, it was basically like a modern dishwasher:

electric sink

You can see the third sink on the left is a compartment with a motor underneath that swirls the water around and washes the dishes. The 20’s dishwasher didn’t sell enough units to really catch on, however, and dishwashers didn’t become a household item until 1950 (for the wealthy) and by the 70’s the middle class had largely adopted dishwashers.

jack-in-the-box loading!

 Past Islands

sink island

This sink island is charming, but its lack of counter space for cooking preparation or serving limits its functionality. Decor customization was also limited with this unit, as it came with its cabinetry installed underneath.

5 Essential Kitchen Organization Tips

Keeping your kitchen clean is the first step in organization. When you’re working with a blank slate, defining and implementing an organization plan is much easier and more achievable. Use these tips to get started:

  1. Keep the items you use most often at eye level and within arms reach.
  2. Over the course of the month, keep track of disorganized situations and pileups. Does mail commonly find it’s way to the countertops? Is the pantry always messy? Define the problem areas and create solutions for them on a case-by-case basis.
  3. Use containers or baskets with labels whenever and wherever possible.
  4. Consider utilizing unused space: Hang a pot rack from the ceiling, attach magazine files to the underside of cabinet ceilings — to store spices and grocery bags — or fill a deep drawer with dividers.
  5. Centralize similar items together in cabinets. Assign one for baking equipment, another for mixing bowls, etc.