Ten Blog Posts I Created For CX Design—A Spectacular Lighting Company


1. Chronicles of Chuck: Welcome to Wichita – Part 1

I have been wondering lately if United Airlines has something against Wichita.

Our CEO, Richard, and I recently took a 36-hour trip to this tiny Kansas town, and in that time United cancelled two of our flights, forcing us to sprint through airports in order to catch all our various improvised connections.

The reason for this, I concluded, must be that United has some sort of beef with Wichita. But what? And why? Why would this mega-corporation be holding such a major grudge against this nice, unassuming dot on their map?


Maybe it’s because they’re chafed by the airport signage requirements.

Or maybe they’re bothered that some of the town’s masons appear to have substance abuse problems.

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Or perhaps they’re just creeped out by Wichita State’s mascot.


Whatever the reason, we know for certain that if United’s executives could find some way (other than their airline) to hustle down to Wichita and meet Greg and Kathy Nott, they would add flights to their Wichita schedule.


Visiting the Notts was well worth our detours through Dallas and Denver. We spent a delightful evening with them and their friends and neighbors celebrating the successful, two-year renovation of their 1930s-era, Kansas-limestone dream house.


One of our favorite features of this house—besides the flat-screen TV by the pool—is that almost every room has at least one of our light fixtures in it.

In the next Chronicle, I’ll reveal all the other amazing things they did with our lights.

Till then, Stay Radiant!
Employee of the Month, April 1996




Every day we get calls or emails—some with renovation pictures attached—that ask the question, “How do I measure the overall length of my light fixture?”

The answer is that overall length (OAL) is measured from the ceiling to the very bottom of the globe.

The OAL is required when ordering a stem-mounted fixture since the stem is cut to the customer’s specifications. The length of chain-mounted fixtures can be easily changed on site by adding or eliminating links.


What should the OAL be for a light above a dining table?

For an 8-foot ceiling, we recommend a clearance of 32 inches from the bottom of the globe to the tabletop.


For a standard 30-inch table, that means that the fixture will have an OAL of 34 inches.


For every extra foot of ceiling height, we suggest adding an inch or two to the clearance of the globe above the table, so 33-34 inches for a 9-foot ceiling, 34-36 inches for a 10-foot ceiling, etc. The OAL should be calculated accordingly.


What should the OAL be for a light above a kitchen island?

We recommend hanging our lights 72 inches above the floor of most kitchens.


So, for an 8 foot ceiling, the fixture will have an OAL of 24 inches, a 9-foot ceiling, 36 inches, etc.


What if I want my light closer to the ceiling?

For a situation that requires more clearance for a door, like in an entranceway or foyer...


or for foot traffic, like a bedroom or hallway,


or where a light closer to the ceiling is more appropriate, like in a bedroom, bathroom, or study, we recommend installing a shallow drop or semi-flush fixture.


A good idea
One of the best ways we've found to make sure that your lights will look and feel right is to hang up balloons or cardboard cutouts and view them from around the room. Keep in mind the height of your family. If any of your clan are professional basketball players or Abe Lincoln impersonators, you may want to raise our height recommendations accordingly.

A better idea
Call us (888 431 4242) or email us. We’ve seen and done it all, and we will be glad to help.

The best idea
If you can, visit our Manhattan showroom. You will be able to select the appropriate lighting first-hand, learn how to accurately measure the OAL, and have all your questions answered.

Good luck with your renovation. We look forward to hearing from you!




3. Chronicles of Chuck: High Wire

One of the things our clients love about our lighting line is how easily it can be customized and adapted to solve a specific design challenge. Nothing thrills us more than being presented with a design problem in need of a solution. You want a 25-foot triple ring chandelier? No problem.


That’s exactly what Michelle Koenig of Bruchele Interiors wanted for a new house on the Jersey Shore.

After collaborating closely with Michelle, Richard created the new fixture, and our master installer, Bob, and I trekked to the Shore to install it.


Our client was building a house in the tiny hamlet of Sea Girt, one of the many places that was hit hard by Hurricane Sandy. We were happy to see that boardwalk repairs seemed to be coming along well.


Once we found the house, tucked between the beach and a nature preserve, we knew immediately where we would be installing this leviathan light fixture. It would hang three stories down through a staircase in the middle of this tower.


Twenty-five feet from the top.


We proceeded to lay out all the hardware and wiring.


And the Cristallo hand-blown glass globes. That’s the homeowner, Lynn, in the back.


Then John, the licensed electrician on the site, and owner of some of the world’s most awesome knee pads, installed the canopy.


Here he’s gently hooking up a Maya globe. By the way, remember that long shot of the staircase above? John is sitting on temporary scaffolding at the very top.


Bob courageously joins him, and gingerly hangs a Malina.


With the first ring and globes in place, Bob starts wiring up the second batch.


Carefully lowering it down.


Thankfully Bob and John can now work on more solid ground.


Bob hangs a Nina, Mosque and Raja.


John tells a joke about people changing light bulbs. Bob finds it amusing.


The three rings of the Chandelier are in place.


And after some more wiring magic.




The view from below.


Bob is also a photography phenom. He took a lot of these masterful shots.


And here’s Lynn, the very happy owner.

We had a great Time in Sea Girt. Thanks for the delicious treats Lynn.

We hope that all areas that were affected by Sandy continue to build, thrive and prosper.

Till next time, Stay Radiant!
Coffee IT Specialist




4. Tech Talk

You’ve probably heard a lot of chatter recently about the Federal Government’s “ban” on incandescent light bulbs, those beloved, warm lights that Thomas Edison perfected 130 years ago. You might have heard that we will all be forced to use only those awful, bluish-white swirly florescent bulbs from now on. As it turns out that is not the case.

In 2007, George Bush signed into law the Energy Independence and Security Act. Among other things, it mandated that light bulbs be approximately 25% more efficient than they are now. This doesn’t ban incandescents, but because the standard 100-, 75-, 60-, and 40-watt bulbs we’ve been using for decades could never be that efficient, it will effectively phase them out in the next few years.

Because the law only prohibits the manufacture and importation of inefficient bulbs, stores will be allowed to sell out their inventory. And twenty-two types of incandescents, including appliance lamps, colored lights, “grow” lights, chandelier bulbs, and 3-way bulbs, will be exempt unless they double in price after the law goes into effect. This will keep them from taking market share from the new, more efficient lights.

What does this mean for you and your CX lights? It means that you can sit back, relax, and enjoy your lights for a long time to come because you have plenty of options.

If you happen to own any of our clear-glass Cristallo lights, our recommended bulbs for those lights — 60-watt appliance bulbs and halogen bulbs — are exempt from the law.


If you have an Aqua or Medusa Sprite, we recommend using Edison reproduction filament bulbs, which are also exempt.

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If you own any of our colored Scavo lamps, there are two ways to go. One is actually those swirly Compact Florescent Lights (CFLs). The bluish-white ones work well inside our blue and green globes while the warmer CFLs enhance our warmer colored globes. CFLs have come a long way from their buzzing basement-workshop florescent beginnings. There are versions that replicate a warm incandescent glow and even work with dimmers. They are costly, but they are up to four times more efficient and last up to ten times longer than incandescents, so they are much less expensive overall. Their big drawback is their mercury content. If you use them, please dispose of them properly them at a recycling center.


The other great choice for our Scavos is a halogen bulb, which is another type of incandescent light. Halogens have a longer life, higher light output, greater efficiency, more compact size, and whiter, brighter light than conventional incandescents, and they light our globes beautifully because of their superior light dispersion.


It appears that LED bulbs will be more prevalent in the future. Right now they are too expensive, too hot, have a garish blue-white color, and don’t disperse light well, but they are by far the most efficient form of alternative lighting, and the technological hurdles are quickly being overcome. We expect that someday we will recommend them alongside the all options above.


We at CX Design applaud all these changes. More efficient bulbs are not only good for the environment, they are good for our pocketbooks. And if they help us kick our addiction to foreign oil, they are good for national security as well. We give them a glowing A+.




5. Chronicles of Chuck: A New Pierogi Palace

Veselka, the iconic 24-hour Ukrainian cafe that has been feeding artists, anarchists, poets and partiers in New York City for 57 years has opened a new restaurant called Veselka Bowery on 1st Street between Bowery and 2nd Avenue on a corner appropriately named Extra Place.


This more upscale version of the happy, hippy East Village hangout that for decades has fortified Manhattanites with its trademark pierogi, blintzes and borscht is what owner Tom Birchard calls “Veselka for grown-ups.”


The original Veselka has always been treasured for its downtown charm.


The new Veselka, while even further downtown, retains the homespun Ukranian personality and palette of the original, but in a more uptown package.


The original Veselka has forever tempted us with poppy seed cakes and other homemade delights.


The new Veselka entices us with 75 artisanal versions of vodka, the nectar of Ukrainian hospitality.


It also extends that hospitality by greeting guests at the door with the welcoming glow of our hand-blown Cristallo Glass Pendant lighting.


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Tom and his crew wanted to keep the personality of the traditional Veselka, but make Veselka Bowery more “restaurant than cafe.”


Tom ventured into our showroom to see if we could design some pierogi-shaped lights, but as soon as he saw our line, he recognized, from a recent trip to Venice, that our lights were hand-blown Murano glass, and he threw out the pierogi idea, opting to use our lights just as they were.


He fell in love with the idea of a custom Double-Ring chandelier and invited Richard, our “Glass-Master General”, to visit his new space, which was still under construction.


Upon seeing the recessed ceiling above the entrance where the lights were to be installed, Richard realized that a large, low hanging ring chandelier might not be the optimal solution, so he conjured up the notion of a constellation of long-stemmed Cristallo Pendants.


He instructed the design team to create scaled renderings.


And invited Tom back to the showroom to discuss it.


And he loved the idea of a warm, welcoming committee of hand-blown Venetian glass lights guiding hungry patrons into his new place.


In fact, he loved it so much that he decided to put a row of Cristallo Mosque Pendants over the bar.


And he tucked a few bespoke Scavo May Wall Arms into some cozy corners.


Tom was impressed with how much work Richard put into developing a lighting design that would help him realize his vision for his new restaurant.


Which was to incorporate a bit of the old Veselka


into a new, more sophisticated wrapping.


So, when I feel like a bowl of soul-warming, traditional Borscht (which is often), I’ll always head to my favorite Veselka on Second Avenue. But for those times when only Vegetarian Golden Beet Borscht will do, I’m off to Veselka Bowery.


Hope to see you there!

Stay Radiant!
Filing Champion, 2006




6. Chronicles of Chuck: A Touch of Cairo in the Hamptons

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Mona Aboelnaga of K6 Design Studio searched from Southampton to Sagaponack for the perfect spot to build her Long Island dream home.

And after two long years she realized that she was never going to find it.

So she put her considerable design savvy to the task of transforming a flat, empty plot in the hamlet of Water Mill into this beautiful family retreat.


But do not be deceived by the stunning results. Mona speculates that building this home from scratch probably took a few years off her life. She only got through it with the help of “a lot of wine, then scotch, then rum.”


Which is perhaps why she placed her expansive wine room within arm’s reach of the dining table.


Mona, who began her career in the world of finance, finds design much more rewarding and challenging. As she puts it, “People don’t realize that design is more difficult than finance because finance has equations.”


One daunting problem that had no pat solution was where to find lighting fixtures that would not only fit her home’s aesthetic — an elegant look perhaps best described as Middle East Modern — but also stand out in the vast space created by the 23-foot ceilings in her living room and entryway.


After a frustrating search, her Eureka! moment came when she ran across an ad for our Cristallo Chandeliers. She found their grand presence, unique melding of contemporary and Old World design, and extensive collection of glass shapes, including some with Middle Eastern character, to be the perfect solution.

Installing her new lights would be a challenge, especially because quite often, Mona’s appeals to her area craftsmen were met with the phrase “we don’t do that here,” like when she requested 2 1/2-inch thick doors, or levers instead of door knobs, or floor vents made of the same wood as the floors.


But she knew that her vendors’ recalcitrance was due to their concern about her resale value, and she had nothing but high praise for their craftsmenship. Her very competent electricians were no exception.


They built special scaffolding that wouldn’t mar Mona’s walnut floors and installed winches in the ceiling so the large fixtures could be lowered for bulb changes and cleaning.


Once the lights were installed, however, Mona panicked. They didn’t fill the space as she had envisioned because they were too close to the ceiling. She called CX owner, Richard Cleves — or as we like to call him, CX Design’s Fixture First Responder — who talked her down from a high shelf in the wine room and solved the problem by lowering the chandeliers on chains.


The results, we think, speak for themselves. Thank you Mona for inviting us into your beautiful home. We look forward to seeing where else your considerable, equation-free talents take you.

Till next time, Stay Radiant!
Senior Water Cooler Gossip Facilitator




7. Murano By Way of Venice

On our frequent trips to the Murano Glass Factory we stay in Venice. For centuries writers, poets, artists, travelers, and dreamers of all kinds have been seduced by this captivating city, finding inspiration in its labyrinth of Calle, canals and bridges. With every visit to La Serenissima, we feel comfortably at home yet intoxicated with wide-eyed wonder as the city embraces us and carries us away. Here is a visual feast from our most recent trip.


With every corner we turn, there are bridges, bridges and more bridges.


“It is held by some that this word Venetia signifies veni etiam, that is, come again, and again, for however oft you come, you will always see new things, and new beauties.”
Jacopo Sansovino


Traveling along the Fondamenta de la Misericordia.


“There is something so different in Venice from any other place in the world, that you leave at once all accustomed habits and everyday sights to enter an enchanted garden.”
Mary Shelley


“The light here is in fact a mighty magician… Sea and sky seem to meet half-way, to blend their tones into a soft iridescence, a lustrous compound of wave and cloud and a hundred nameless local reflections, and then to fling the clear tissue against every object of vision.”
–Henry James


“Venice is like eating an entire box of chocolate liqueurs in one go.”
–Truman Capote




8. Blooms and Bulbs

The coming of spring always prompts us to get out and experience the welcome return of warmth and the renewal of life. And, being the compulsively impassioned lighting nuts that we are (it’s a sickness; we admit it), we can’t help but notice that so many of the changes we see in this new season remind us of all the many great things we’ve been working on through the winter. Like the way the sculptural forms of the thawing ice above


look to us just like our new Cristallo 4-Arm Chandelier. (We know, we know; we can’t help ourselves).

And how these hypnotic reflections in a pool


mimic the dancing light inside our Amethyst Raja Pendant.

And how the crystal beauty of raindrops


evokes visions of Jeweltone Rajas.

Even a nectar noshing ant

conjures images for us of our new Topaz Luna Pendant (don’t judge!).


The magical light show in a lively freestone brook

prompts daydreams of Smoke-colored Safinas in a Ring Chandelier.


And a golden bloom


radiates for us in a Topaz May Pendant.

Maybe there’s a cure for this affliction. But we’re not sure we want it.

Wonder what radiant visions summer will bring...




9. What to Consider When Choosing Lighting for Your Home

We get a lot of calls from people who want to create beautiful lighting for their homes but find it a daunting mystery. The first thing we tell them is that just by asking the question they have already avoided the most common mistake: treating lighting as an afterthought. Proper lighting is as crucial to interior design as furnishings, wall coverings, and window treatments. And by following a few basic principals, anyone can design beautiful, inviting lighting.


Since lighting alone can change a room’s mood from warm and intimate


to dramatic and daring, it is important to decide what you want before your renovation starts. This will insure that the proper wiring will be in place to realize your vision. It’s too late once the walls have been put up and paint applied.


The key to a well lit room is to create a balance of different lights. One of the biggest mistakes people make is to put just one light in the middle of the ceiling. This creates a flat wash of light that kills any dynamism.


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An inviting room combines decorative lights, like pendants and chandeliers, with atmospheric lights, like downlights, uplights, table lights, floor lights, spots, and sconces. Notice how the pendants in this kitchen combine with spots, sconces, under-cabinet lights, and natural light to create a soothing atmosphere.


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Leaf through your favorite home magazines. Study how interior designers use all these different lights to create comforting and compelling environments.


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Another key is to install a dimmer with each light. That will insure that your lighting will always create the appropriate mood. mood.


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Our hand-blown Murano glass lights have been used by designers for years to create ideal environments for their clients.


They come in two styles, clear Cristallo

and eight colors of translucent Scavo.

Cristallo glass is a pure crystalline material that casts a lovely glow as well as fanciful refractions on walls and ceilings.


Scavo is known for its beautiful “excavated artifact” texture and its soft, pleasing light.

When designing with Scavo lights, we always recommend that homeowners predominantly use the more subdued colors of ice, amber and amethyst,

reserving the brighter mango, sky, lemon, lime, and aqua shades for children’s rooms and other spaces that require a colorful accent.


Bedrooms should be designed to be relaxing sanctuaries. The right lighting can help achieve that.

Remember, mix different types of lighting to create an overall pleasing effect.


For a bathroom, the soft glow of a pair of Scavo wall fixtures placed astride a mirror casts a flattering light.


A bathroom can be livened up with some strategically placed flush-mount fixtures.


Our pendants and in-line chandeliers are ideal over kitchen islands and counters where friends and family congregate.


They provide the sort of warmth and atmosphere that makes a kitchen one of the most popular gathering places in the home.


Our pendants are also well suited for stairwells. We can custom design any fixture to fit any stairwell.


A multi-arm chandelier makes a spectacular centerpiece over a dining room table.


Lighting design isn’t difficult. Just remember these basic principals, and you will have the kind of home that will melt away your troubles every time you walk in the door.


And don’t hesitate to call us for advice. Better yet, stop by our showroom. We’re glad to help.




10. Ice and Light

Beautiful crystal-like sculptures can be created in various ways. Nature displays this favorite technique every winter.

Another time-honored method involves melting, forming and “freezing” fine sand crystals into the Cristallo glass shapes that form our lights.

These melting and cooling processes create beautiful forms.

In ice…


And in glass.

But while it excites the senses to gaze on these crystalline gems outside.


It warms the soul to again experience them on the inside.

We hope that you have a fun and toasty winter.