05 August 2010

Follow up to yesterday's question about switch plates

That switch plate and outlet cover post really struck a nerve yesterday. Everybody has an idea about how to deal with them and that's terrific. I love being a clearing house for this kind of information and it adds heft to my belief that there are no right answers. At least no blanket right answers anyway. As the day played out I received  four referrals that are worthy of particular note.

First up is a new offering from a company called Trufig. Trufig makes a variety of minimized-to-disappearing switch plates and outlet covers. Check this out.

Somewhere on this wall of granite is a double light switch next to a double outlet. See it?

I didn't think so. How about now?

Amazing, isn't it? Here's another shot of the same wall from a different perspective.

Look through the rest of Trufig's offerings, you should see how they hide a speaker.

The great Mike Hines from Home Path Products knows a thing or two about home wiring. He recommended that I check out Pass and Larson. I did check out their 1400 flavors and found these beauties.

If you want to be playful and bright against a playful and bright back splash this may just be the solution. Pass and Larson has seemingly endless variations on the theme of switch plates and it's not hard to kill an hour on their site.

The great and powerful Kelly Morisseau recommended that people explore the offerings of Lutron. Lutron sells entire switching systems and their Diva line comes in a mind boggling array of colors.

And finally, my favorite Portland mother of two (how's that for playing it safe?) and kitchen designer to the stars Rachele Harless-Gorsegner, reminded me of a post I wrote in December '08 on plate-less outlets and switches from the Canadian company Bocci.

I don't think that Bocci works with anything other than drywall, but man oh man is it distinctive. Thanks for the reminder Rachele, I'd nearly forgotten about those things. Check out Bocci's website.

So there's my follow up to yesterday's switch plate post. What am I missing? Anybody have anything else to add?


  1. Here is a big question that I asked myself just the other day about power outlets; Why dod they need to be at the bottom of the wall? All that bending and moving furniture around to plug and unplug stuff. If we could find some way to incorporate power outlets into a wall design instead of denying they exist, like the red-headed cousin in your aunt's family full of blonds. Or dealing with power as an afterthought.

    That being said, power outlets are just a fact of our modern life. Until we figure out how to power stuff without the use of cords, outlets are here to stay. Don't hide them; design with them in mind and incorporate them into a design.

  2. Outlets are usually at the bottom of a wall so you can plug in things like vacuum cleaners and TV sets more easily. When there's a counter or a table in a space, then the outlets move up to counter level. It's just how things are. Incorporating power outlets is my favorite way to deal with them and the system from Bocci is easily the most elegant I've ever seen.

  3. Wow, who knew switch plates could be so sophisticated? I'm in love with that wall of granite and the lighted glassware storage, though, perhaps because of the lack of distraction!

  4. I did see Bocci embed some outlets in a wood paneled wall. http://www.stylepark.com/db-images/cms/bocci/img/p285230_488_336-1.jpg Thus, it works in more than just drywall. Doubtful it has enough thickness to be flush with an additional surface beyond the wall, though. I looked for installation instructions but far as I can tell, you can only get them if you buy the product (which comes packaged in a very Apple-like package: https://secure82.inmotionhosting.com/~boccic5/store/products/22-Starter-Kit.html# (click through "see more pictures")

    "my favorite Portland mother of two"

    well played m'dear, well played.

  5. Julie: Until yesterday, I'd never heard of Trufig but I'm glad I know about them now.

    Rachele: You left off "kitchen designer to the stars." That's an interesting image of the Bocci outlet on the paneled wall. Pity you can only get them in white...

  6. Great topic; I've always hated standard switchplates and have long searched for alternatives. So far I've gone with artistic ones: hand-painted, mosaic, decoupaged, handmade glass or ceramic tile, and so forth, to make it a small artistic item on the wall rather than just a utilitarian (and ugly) thing that has to be there. But your posts have enlightened me to new possibilities, and I especially love the clear glass that allows the background to come through. Thanks to you and your readers for all the great info!

  7. It's my pleasure Anna. The Forbes and Lomax solution is still my favorite after all of this is said and done.

  8. "You left off 'kitchen designer to the stars.'"

    I didn't consider that to be within the "playing it safe" part...

  9. Where was I yesterday?! I like them to dissappear. I think table height is a good height but you won't get thousands of builders to change where they put them anytime soon.

  10. Great find Paul!

    I know someone locally---an artist who paints plates to match with any backsplash. When I promoted her business to our clients at first they loved the idea, then later stepped back---I guess it's the cost per plate :)

    Not too sure how much she charges, but could be somewhere between 60-100 bucks per plate.

    I'll check out the Trufig site to find out more.

    Thanks again,

  11. Thanks for all those - they're great!

    (Great and powerful?!? *snorfle* Don't think so. Just hiding behind the curtain over here, sipping my coffee...)

  12. Rachele: You ARE the kitchen designer to the stars, so you're right. That was bold and truthful statement on my part.

    Pam, the key to outlet placements is to get in on the process as early as possible but no later than framing. But then again, if you're using those beauties from Forbes and Lomax placement's not such a big issue.

    Jake: I think you'll find the Trufig stuff at a price point lower than the artist you mentioned. Check back when you do find out though.

    Kelly: Don't sell yourself short.

  13. Those Trufig ones are awesome! Imagine the chagrin of someone walking into the house for the first time and searching for a light switch.

  14. They are one of those things that if you lived with them every day, you'd know exactly where they were. But guests would be absolutely lost. I love that kind of stuff.

  15. Can I marry an outlet? Because I want to run away with the sexy Bocci piece.

  16. I feel the same way about Bocci. I swear they minimize and outlet so much they make a statement about what it is to be an outlet.

  17. The 'Trufig' application is very impressive! Followed your link to 'Pass & Larsen' and lots of eye candy there. I particularly like the idea of no istallation hardware. I do recall the 'Bocci'. Being Canadian and all ... EH, I naturally had it bookmarked.
    Thanks for the linkS Paul. -Brenda-

    P.S: Re my commentS yesterday. Sixty to a Hundred $$$ per custom plate? Mmmm, maybe I shud go into business. When my dtr. sold her first home, she had to use sticky-notes to mark some of the switches for the MLS Agents. Fortunately the person who purchased it, liked the idea/concept as the house was only on the market for two days. :)


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