Case study: Mid-Century Townhouse Lighting

23 / 04 / 2020

Having worked with us on a previous project, when the client bought a four bedroom terrace house, they instantly came to John Cullen for the lighting.  Situated in a quiet location in Kensington, the client was keen to show off their key pieces they had collected over the years from around the world which meant something to them. Art was also important for them and they worked with the interior designer Woolf Interior Architecture and Design to fit it seamlessly into the scheme.

The client’s brief was for a subtle scheme which had pockets of luxury to fit within their budget. It was designed to be both practical and yet add elements of fun as well as to show off the client’s key objects. Working closely with the interior designer, Verity Woolfe, a scheme was designed to compliment the mid-century style and neutral pallet and to enhance the textures and accents throughout.

The key design challenges for Associate Designer Sian Parsons on starting the project where that there were no architectural details and the rooms had relatively with low ceilings.  To overcome this, Sian concentrated on lighting the luxury finishes and joinery adding extra lighting to architectural details where possible.

white marble kitchen with day to night lighting

Working with Nicholas Anthony Kitchens and the contractor KBR Limited, Sian cleverly integrated lighting into the kitchen. During the day a combination of Square Double downlights and Polespring downlights provide task light and washes light down the front of the cabinets.  A practical LED strip lights down the splashback for intermediate light.  As the cool white and grey kitchen was at one end of an open plan living and dining space, warm 2400K Contour LED strip was selected to add warmth at night so it was not stark in the open plan space. The addition of an integrated slot shelf on island added an extra level for intermediate softness at night. Sian felt the addition of a decorative fitting would add an extra level of interest.  The client sourced their own which creates a soft lighting effect at night without the downlights.

kitchen slot, splash back and decorative light details

At the opposite end of the first floor sitting room, low glare Polespring downlights light the art and the centre of the coffee table.  Floor standing and table lamps were added to create a cosy scene and add task light.

cosy seating area in open plan living room

On the ground floor carefully positioned downlights light up the art and objects.  For the shallow shelves, it was decided to back and uplight each shelf thus ensuring there was no glare from all viewing angles. This creates a lovely silhouette effect to key pieces that the client had purchased during their travels.

back lit shelving with TV screen

For the master bedroom an elements of fun was added by backlighting the headboard in addition to the Cama reading lights and decorative table lamps.

master bedroom with back lit bedhead

Stairs run through the four floors of the property so continuity of lighting design was key.  All rooms led off the stairs and the ceilings were sloped so options for lighting were limited.  Sian selected very low glare Lucca 30 to graze light over every other stair tread.  At the top of the house a detail was created around the skylight to conceal a Contour LED strip to avoid wall lights and add further interest.

stair and skylight lighting detail

Extra details were added in the hall and funky designed cloakroom with back lit mirrors.

Lighting for this mid-century townhouse did not just enhance the material and interior but all were hidden from view.  During the day you weren’t aware of the lighting, but at night the lighting created something much more fun to be enjoyed by the client and their guests.