Decorative Lighting Fixtures Enhance Traditional Design

In this Minneapolis home, the decorative lighting fixtures steal the show. 

04/24/2020
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Interior Design: Wright-Simpkins. Photo: Christian Wright
Interior Design: Wright-Simpkins. Photo: Christian Wright

For a while there, it seemed like traditional design had taken a backseat to stark, clean modern design. It’s fun to see a resurgence of traditional interiors, interpreted in a new way. I had the opportunity to work with Christian Wright, of Wright-Simpkins Inc. on a project in Minneapolis, MN. This space is the best of both worlds. It sports cutting-edge LED technology, along with a smart house system. Yet, the true stars of this project are the incredible decorative fixtures — sconces, pendants, chandeliers and table lamps. They are genuinely the architectural jewelry. They add so much to these spaces, inviting people in with their allure.

Interior Design: Wright-Simpkins. Photo: Christian Wright
Interior Design: Wright-Simpkins. Photo: Christian Wright

The entry foyer (shown above) sets the tone for the rest of the home. Recessed adjustable LED fixtures wash the silvery floral walls, while an eye-catching pendant fixture draws visitors into the space. In the portico beyond, a Venetian glass chandelier adds personality to the what would be considered a pass-through space. Each of these pictures has an inset in the ceiling, ringed with LED linear light. 

Interior Design: Wright-Simpkins. Photo: Christian Wright
Interior Design: Wright-Simpkins. Photo: Christian Wright

The living room (shown above) sports a pair of crown-like pendant fixtures with integrated LED linear lighting. As in the foyer, they’re installed within edge-lit insets on the ceiling. The walls are washed with illumination, emanating from an inset trough that runs the length of the room. The recessed adjustable LED fixtures highlight sculpture and tabletops, while table lamps provide welcoming pools of light.

Interior Design: Wright-Simpkins. Photo: Christian Wright
Interior Design: Wright-Simpkins. Photo: Christian Wright

The media room (shown above) has a very sculptural pendant fixture. It is installed close to the ceiling so that it doesn’t interrupt the view of the television. Another architectural reveal, along the window wall, adds a soft glow of light when the curtains are drawn. Warm-Dim technology allows all the trough lighting throughout the house and to change in color temperature from a 3000 K down to 2150 K, while maintaining and a CRI of 95.

Interior Design: Wright-Simpkins. Photo: Christian Wright
Interior Design: Wright-Simpkins. Photo: Christian Wright

The breakfast nook in the kitchen (shown above) has a French Deco/Mid-Century Modern feel. The wall sconces, with adjustable heads use screw-in dimmable LED bulbs with a color temperature of 2400 K and a CRI of 90. The pendant fixture has a diffuser lens installed at the bottom in order to spread the illumination out and shield the light source from the people that are seated there.

Interior Design: Wright-Simpkins. Photo: Christian Wright
Interior Design: Wright-Simpkins. Photo: Christian Wright

The master bedroom (shown above) uses a variety of light sources to create a cozy environment. The over-scale cast glass pendant provides an overall glow for the room, along with the perimeter LED lighting which is installed within the ceiling inset. The fixture itself uses screw-in dimmable 2400 K, 90 CRI clear bulbs. The candlestick wall sconces use filament flame tip LED bulbs in a matching color temperature. The frosted glass panels allow diffuse natural light becoming during the day. They are edge-lit so that they glow at night.

The whole house is controlled by a Lutron HomeWorks Dimming system. Scenes are set up so that the touch of a button the feeling of a room can change. It can be bright for daytime or it can be dramatic for entertaining.

The entire project was creative collaboration between the owner, the interior designer, the architect, the contractor and the lighting designer. We all work together as a team so that all the components blended seamlessly. The end result is a blend of modern technology and a lux interior that is both sumptuous and fun. Traditional will never be the same.

Randall Whitehead headshot

Randall Whitehead, IALD, is a professional lighting designer and author. His books include "Residential Lighting, A Practical Guide." Whitehead has worked on projects worldwide, appeared on the Discovery Channel, HGTV and CNN, and he is regular guest on Martha Stewart Living Radio. Visit his website www.randallwhitehead.com for more information on books, upcoming seminars and the latest lighting trends.

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