Time at home reinforces how important the right glow can be

By Hollie Deese
Photography by Allison Elefante

The thing about lighting is you can instantly tell when it is good, and you can really tell when it’s bad. And after months at home, we are probably all pretty tuned in to which kind of lighting we have.

Lauren Moore, Evan Millard and Betsy Trabue of Modern Remains design studio love to play off the architecture of a space when considering light and fixtures. For a recent project on West End with Chandelier Development, they turned to new-in-town Circa Lighting to help create just the right vibe, in totally different spaces.

“Lighting and natural light was one element that really drew us to this particular location,” Millard says of the home. “First, being able to celebrate natural light, and then getting a chance to celebrate light from a decorative standpoint as well.”

In the foyer they chose a light fixture to compliment the front door, and the fixture’s shape became the jumping off point for them. They selected an antique chest and layered in a mirror, artwork and plants to create the aesthetic they were after.

“I think lighting, ultimately, affects the way we feel,” Moore says. “When you’re in a space that has great natural light, in the morning it gives you energy and in the evening it has that effect of setting your body with the rhythms of the world.”

And then you come in and add decorative lighting to add to the ambiance. “I think it’s just a nice way to create an interior that evokes emotion,” Moore says.

Millard agrees.

“As designers, we are always looking for ways to incorporate selections of wonderful pieces throughout each of our designs,” he says. “And in this case with Circa Lighting, we really believe in the way that they source, the way that they manufacture and their quality.”

Millard also loves Circa’s source talent and ability to introduce great pieces that are always innovative and forward-thinking as well as functional. In a room they designed right off the kitchen in West End, the fixture selections helped to bounce light around — making that space feel much larger than it really was.

“As we’re all at home more, and especially during this time, I’ve personally realized how important it is to have a gathering space close to the kitchen because I feel like I’m always in the kitchen at home with my kids,” Moore says. “And so thinking about this particular space right there off the kitchen, you could have a cup of tea in the afternoon or kids could be hanging out on the sofa while you’re preparing a meal. It just allows connectivity at home.”

Lighting is also a really easy way to refresh a space, and changing it out has a huge effect on the feel.

Rachel Halverson recently helped the homeowners of a Pfeffer Torode build with design and lighting after originally working with them a decade ago.

“Back then they told me they were going to build their dream house and they would need my help,” she says.

They have two boys and two dogs, so they wanted everything to be super durable. They used all outdoor fabrics, even inside on the sofas in the main room, so it all is easy to clean and stainproof.

“We didn’t sacrifice the design for the functionality of it, which is exciting,” Halverson says.

But lighting, Halverson says, is maybe the most important element of the design.

“I think lighting and paint colors are the two major things that you can do to update your house. The right lighting is so key.”

Of course with so many options it can be hard to choose. If the floorplan is open, Halverson says, it is important to think about the flow of the light fixtures throughout the whole house.

“If you walk in and you see straight through the living room to the kitchen, to the screen porch, and then you’ve got an entry hall, right off the bat you are going to be seeing all those major light fixtures at the same time,” Halverson says. “And so I pick just one that I want to be the showstopper, because I think too many of those is too distracting.”

For the Pfeffer Torode project it was an antique dining room fixture with crystals that became the showstopping piece, and then she built from that.

“I think where people go wrong is when they try to mix too many styles together, and it doesn’t feel like the same house,” she says.

Ultimately, Halverson says your lighting should help your home become the place you want to be, almost a calling card to let people know who you are as soon as they walk in.

“It should be that place that you’re yourself and that when people come over they immediately get who you are,” Halverson says.