It’s the last 10%. The detail decisions are what can make a home feel a certain way – and, in our case, we were looking to create a modern home. It’s simple baseboard versus detailed… it can sometimes mean no trim at all. It can be the choice for no window coverings. It can be updating the switches and outlets.
Not only did we need to choose aesthetically nice outlets for our kitchen renovation (we were not keeping the almond 80’s builder versions) but we needed to plan for some slight enhancements. Fortunately for us, we did not need to move appliances and the basic electrical layout could stay the same. We did have an opportunity to add some not-terribly-dificult-to-change cool things to the system though.
We chose Legrand Adorne switches and outlets because they looked modern and more expensive (which they were). We live near the corporate Home Depot and happened to find this product on the shelves of this particular store. We discovered later, that at the time, this was the only Home Depot that carried the brand. Not only did we like the product, but it had some great options and offered a solution for a problem we encountered. (I’ll go into that a bit later.) Sorry if that last statement sounded salesy, I’m just sharing what we chose and are not being prompted or compensated for my statements.
To the left of the sink we have a 3-gang wall plate with a wireless master touch switch, a GFCI outlet, and a paddle switch. The paddle switch is wired for a sink disposal (which we don’t currently have) and the outlet is GFCI due to the outlet’s proximity to the sink. The wireless master switch is something that is pretty cool and part of the reason why we chose the Legrand Adorne outlets. This wireless master switch talks to special outlets that receive it’s wireless signal to turn on or off. The outlets themselves need to be wired for electricity, but like in our case, if you are having difficulty getting communications from a switch to an outlet – this is your solution.
We wanted to control the upper cabinet accent lights around three sides of our kitchen. We could relatively easily extend power on each wall in order to have power outlets available for the lights, but we would have a problem controlling them simultaneously without ripping up our ceiling – which, we were not going to do. We were planning all of this long before we started the finish work on the kitchen, btw. This system let the switch talk to and control the three separate outlets wirelessly.
The Adorne series has a bunch of useful options that you can mix to create custom functionality. When planning, we thought it would be nice to have a integrated nightlight in the kitchen. Here, we have a paddle switch for the light over the sink, a GFCI outlet, and a nightlight that automatically turns on in the dark. You can tap the nightlight to adjust the luminosity.
The switch by the pantry was a bit of a challenge. Here, we needed two switches: one for the two-way switch for the main live edge fixture and one for the ceiling light over by the windows. We barely had space for one regular sized wall plate, let alone this double switch. Fortunately, there were “half size” paddle switches that fit in the opening of a single wall plate.
This switch was such a tight fit because we expanded the doorway from the foyer and installed two wide “tall” Ikea cabinets for our pantry – leaving only a tiny space available.
Shooting back in time:
here, you can see the new outlet placement due to our expanded doorway:
Overall, the finished outlets were not only nice to have functionally speaking, but it was also nice to see something clean, finished,…. and well, less hazardous.
I will say that the right-side-up / up-side-down outlet does have a little bit of a draw back: if you have two fat plugs with a ground wire, they may both not fit like they might in a normal outlet. Also, we have AA chargers that function the best when in an upright position – so we should only use the one of the two outlets… though, two chargers wouldn’t fit in a regular outlet at the same time either. I’d say that the advantages – like USB chargers and wireless communications – outweigh the slight inconvenience in this case.