Contemporary Light on the Traditional Gentleman's London Residence

An unassuming London mews home glows inside with the help of imaginative lighting!

This gem of a residence is a perfect example of what can be achieved with a simple yet powerful central design concept carried throughout the entire property, and illustrates what imaginative design, rich textures and materials – and creative lighting – can accomplish!

The location is a typical inner-London mews, now gentrified, the area has become highly desirable inner city property, and this particular mews conversion is kitted out with an interior done exactly to the owners' unique tastes taking the traditional themes and motifs of the 'gentleman's London residence' and reworked them into a highly individualistic interior in contemporary style.

Starting at the entrance, the lighting initiates a theme carried consistently throughout the interior, with recessed mains halogen downlights replacing typical area lighting, and providing pools of light focused on golden wood and brick for a warm, welcoming and yet contemporary ambiance. Operation of this multitude of lights is from conveniently placed customized 8-button switchplates of solid metal, specially powder-coated in black at the factory to provide design accents for this highly personal interior.

Separating the living and kitchen areas is a bar with jet black countertop, stainless sink and fittings, and a beautifully crafted mitre-paneled bar front (with a row of concealed pinlights under the skirt panel). The black countertops and matching black switchplates provide dramatic accents to an otherwise mellow scheme of 'wood & lamplight' against cream walls. Multiple downlights and concealed fluorescents provide architectural accents, pools of light for conversation areas, and task lighting as required.

At the rear of the house, a deep rectangular soffit over the rear window-seat in the kitchen houses two inset downlights, providing subtle 'pillars' of light flanking the window. Kitchen counters are also black, with all kitchen fittings and appliances in dramatic black or stainless steel. Rows of recessed downlights in deep soffits around the ceiling perimeter augment the countertop task lighting installed in modernistic triangular sconces beneath the overhead cupboards.

The downstairs living area is decorated with sculptural vases and urns in contemporary ceramics, Stylish square-section wall sconces augment the recessed downlights, providing a selection of warmly glowing wall washes, room lighting and daylight, adjustable as pre-programmed 'scenes' for ideal TV viewing conditions at any time of day or night.

As with every aspect of this exquisitely crafted home, the stairway is superbly and stylishly designed. The stairs are carpeted in classic British-red club-carpeting, with recessed LED lamps inset flush in the baseboards for night safety. Overhead, the usual row of recessed mains halogen downlights provides interesting accents on the otherwise undecorated stairwell wall.

Enviroscene dimmer chassis wall mounted in a London residenceThe large master bedroom features Futronix switchpanels at both sides of the bed provide the ultimate in convenient control of lighting and other automated devices. Adjacent to the master bedroom is the wood-paneled dressing room, with full height shelving for towels and linen. The interestingly complex shape of the room, tucked into the mansard eaves, is dramatized by the stainless rail-mounted row of low voltage halogen lamps providing illumination and towel-drying heat.

A nursery/playroom, adjacent to the master bedroom, is lit by the suffused glow from a skylight, recessed into a deep soffit inset with rows of downlights and sidelights, together providing gentle overall low illumination for sleeping children. Wooden stairs with inset sidelights lead down to the basement that houses a gymnasium equipped with multiple machines, large screen flat TV on the wall, and a shower stall behind frosted glass panels. Numerous inset downlights are dimmable/switchable in sections.

Track lighting dimmer for a London residenceControlling the numerous lights in every single room of this home was a challenge in two ways – the owners did not want to run around switching and adjusting literally hundreds of lamps, and their design scheme demanded a few simple switches as design accents, not banks of gang switches. The solution, of course, was automated lighting controls, customized for this project. The owners selected the Futronix Enviroscene as the central lighting control system, with four Enviroscene ENV805 dimmers installed in an electrical cupboard in the garage.

Futronix LED lighting dimmer for stair lightsBuilding within the envelope of a traditional mews house meant that the floors, ceilings and walls exhibited quirky levels and placement. These were incorporated into the interior theme, providing multiple horizontal and vertical planes for light and shade accents.

In fact, lighting is used rather than decorations to provide interest to this clean urban version of the old concept of a gentleman's panelled library, lounge and drawing room. Instead of linenfold panelling to provide interest, the designers have imaginatively used pure light as their way of providing relief and chiaroscuro to what could easily be plain and boring expanses of flat color.

This glowing jewel of an interior set in an unassuming mews exterior illustrates what can be done with a simple theme carried throughout, an imaginative blend of traditional and contemporary, and the architectural accenting, mood setting and sheer convenience of lighting controls by leading British manufacturer Futronix

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