Thoughtful Illumination: The Mix Interiors and Circa Lighting collaborate on creating flexibility with light

By Hollie Deese

Photography by Allison Elefante, Ruby and Peach

Scarlett James from The Mix Interiors knows you need more than furniture and fine finishes to make a house a home. Great lighting can help deliver a feeling of warmth and visual comfort.

“We definitely look at it like putting a puzzle together,” James says of selecting fixtures for the house to create a space you love. “Your home has always been a place to nurture your family and friends, but for many of us, it is now our primary place of working and entertaining as well.”

Handling business development in Nashville for Circa Lighting, Gena Dorminey collaborates with designers, builders and architects to make lighting selections—just as she did with James on this home.

“Many design and build professionals see us as an extension of their own staff. We like to become involved in a project as soon as possible because we are able to offer added support and expertise,” Dorminey says. “Lighting is all about layering—from architectural to decorative. You really want to have a variety. When you start from the production and planning stage, you are able to optimize the look, feel and function of your space with lighting.”

James, who is principal designer and owner of The Mix, has worked with Dorminey and Circa Lighting on multiple projects. She loves to pull a few lighting options for each space in a home to see how the fixtures fit together, what the homeowner is drawn to and how, altogether, the lighting can complete the whole aesthetic. She typically draws up a lighting plan in tandem with the furniture and architecture plans.

“For this project, the homeowner wanted her space to feel like a family home—classic, timeless and in keeping with the feel of the neighborhood,” James says.

“Lighting is my favorite part,” she adds. “When we’re drawing the floor and the reflected ceiling plans, we determine what we need for each space and start putting together options. It’s kind of like putting an outfit together, trying different shapes and finishes.”

Different needs for different times of day also are taken into consideration.

“Everything should be on a dimmer,” Dorminey says. “You want your home to be multi-functional and adaptable for how you’re using your space at any given time. Lighting should be adjustable to accommodate entertaining friends on weekends, working during the day or decompressing with your family in the evenings.”

A home that allows easy transitions from work to play to rest is more sought-after than ever before, and lighting is the one design element that can instantly transform a room into any type of space you need it to be.