Let there be lights: Loving the Hue personal wireless lighting system

“So, do you know how to read anymore?”

I asked Mr. T the question–only half joking–several months ago after noticing his stack of Christmas books, untouched before his September birthday. Always a fan of bestowing books on special occasions, I felt chagrin at having a go-to gift idea disappear. And I really did worry about such a big habit change.

T assured me his literacy was not the problem, but rather my year-before-last bedroom revamp. (The nerve.) In having us abandon our ginormous oak bedroom set, I inadvertently dispensed of our overhead reading lights. And apparently my dainty low-wattage accent lamp replacement was not enough.

Cut to Christmas eve and my surprise at finding a Philips Hue Personal Wireless Lighting kit under the tree. Yes, an uber-nerdy lighting system, controlled by phones and ipads, just for me! The Hue system enables us to create a “lighting environment” with LED lights that can produce just about any color in the spectrum.

Over New Year’s eve and day, Mr. T got up close and personal with our attic space, wiring the lighting system to an extra switch in the bedroom and swimming in fiberglass insulation. It wasn’t pretty or particularly clean, but the result is super cool. Check it out…

I got to start off the fun part with a Dexter-esque ceiling stabbing.
Ceiling hole one of three.
I should have followed Dexter’s lead and covered the bedroom in plastic. Insulation everywhere! Pictured: One of three lighting fixture housing that T placed in the ceiling. And the shade of the insufficient lamp.
The good news? I’m still in love with my paint job.
For each hole, T would crawl up in the attic, place the fixture and futz around with the mountain of insulation. Word to the wise… When messing with fiberglass, wear a good mask!

T’s advice about installing the Hue into ceiling fixtures: “It’s no different than installing other lights. But you still want to install it on a switch, as opposed to controlling it with just the Wifi app. Some people might be tempted to install it without a switch, but it’s nice to be able to do basic control of the lights in case the app is on the fritz or if Philips ever abandons the Hue.”
Ta-da! Regular bright white lighting.
Difficult to capture in a photo, the lighting is actually diffused and pleasant to experience. The app allows you to dial in the level of light intensity, and turn on and off individual lights.
The reading light configuration.
“Sunset.” We have the lights set to gradually come on with our alarms in the morning like sunrise. It doesn’t make me want to get up any easier, however.
We control the Hue with  a simple iPhone app. It may be an indication of my laziness, but it’s pretty fun to turn the lights on and off without getting out of bed! And ditto the thermostat. Stay tuned for a post on last year’s great gadget: The Ecobee Smart Wifi Thermostat.
What household gadgets do you love? Leave a comment or email bluestmuse (at) gmail (dot) com.

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