A Lighting Affair/A Passion for Lighting Ambiance

This picture perfect light fixture by Hubbardton Forge was installed over my clients pool table in the Adirondacks.

Empty a house completely, and three elements remain:  Light, color and a sense of cleanliness.  Any rethinking of the space starts with these basics.  It’s odd that lighting is so often overlooked, since it has the power to radically transform architecture and interiors.  Lighting can make a small area seem spacious and a large one intimate.  It can make walls appear solid or transparent and can even make or break a mood.  Whether you infuse a house with natural light or use artificial, keep this in mind; the ideal house should operate beautifully with natural light during the day and aesthetically pleasing during the evening.  To this day, I can remember one of my college professors said to me, “You can practically redecorate your whole house by just changing the placement of lighting.”  That’s so true.  Did you ever add a lamp or move one to a different spot?  It changes the way you look at that space at night.

Often overlooked by builders and architects is the consideration of placement of lighting in a home.  Not as much the placement of chandeliers and hallway fixtures, as much as the placement of the new bendable track lighting and recessed lighting.

Table withMorror

The lamp added balance to a column console.

Placement of lighting should visually accent, dramatize, enhance, or create.  Accenting a fireplace or wall (spotlights with dimmers), dramatizing a built-in wall unit or piece of furniture, enhancing a painting or piece of art and creating a space normally uninviting with recessed lighting.

whole livingroom

Installed with dimmers, these recessed lights in my clients home added ambiance and additional lighting.

One interesting concept that has taken hold is linear lighting systems.  Applications range from under kitchen cabinets to “toe spaces.”  Toe space lighting; illuminating under steps, lower cabinets, under bathroom vanities that are hung on the wall or even counter top overhangs can act as a night light or the so-called mood lighting.  Recently in Boston, I stayed at a hotel that had created a triple tray ceiling and inset the linear lighting into the middle of the third tray.  Below, three carpets were inserted to form borders and thereby creating the same effect as above.

 Last week, I went to a new client and immediately noticed their kitchen table was offset in the eating area because the builder had installed a chandelier in an awkward spot in the ceiling.  I told them to add recessed lighting in the space thereby eliminating the need to place the kitchen table in one spot.  They did and what a huge difference it made.  You could easily get around the table, a piece of furniture could be added to the wall in the kitchen and you could easily access the door to the deck.  Think outside the norm – You don’t always have to have a chandelier over your kitchen table.  Add a lamp to the kitchen table in the wintertime to give more lighting and ambiance, put a small lamp on the vanity counter in the half bath that you turn on for guests, invite warmth by putting a lamp on the kitchen counter and turning it on with the under cabinet lighting.  I once had a custom farm table made with two holes evenly spaced in the center so my client could use two lamps on the table.  The cord went through the holes in the table to a floor plug below.

Don’t be afraid to be different.  When moving from one home to another, my client brought her wonderful dining room chandeliar with her.  I loved the look of it with her new bed.  So, we had the chandelier installed in the bedroom. Continuing with the circle theme, I had a long shag rug cut into a circle to give the room some warmth.  



My clients dining room fixture from her old house was installed in the Master Bedroom.

bedroom Mirror

Dramatic results happen when stratigically placing a mirror.

Seeking a professional can help you create something that you can’t necessarily see yourself.  Surrounding yourself with inviting comfort is what’s it’s all about.  I spent facetime with a client in Florida yesterday because she said her house lacked “Marcia-nizing.”  She wanted that same feel her home up North had that I did.  My new favorite word……..   

Do you need “Marcia-nizing?”