2014 Residential Lighting Award

Chicago Suburban Estate

This project was seen to it’s completion over the course of about a year and required a good collaboration with the landscaper and builder in order to incorperate lighting into the many distinguished features of this home.  Located on a four acre lot in a suburb about 40 miles south of Chicago the opportunity to create a dramatic lighting environment was obvious but there was no shortage of challenges along the way.  In total there was 174 fixtures and 5 transformers required to illuminate this sprawling estate.  It was a blend of both halogen and LED to minimize maintenance and maximize efficiency, using halogen in areas where the additional lumens and tight beam spread of halogen lamps couldn’t be replicated in LED.  Careful attention to any color temperature differences between halogen and LED as well as an awareness during fixture selection made the two work well together and should make for an easy retrofit as LED technology advances.

In the front yard were 8 large columns mounted on pedestals.  4” brass well lights were used at the base of each column to illuminate them individually.  These were installed using a wet coring drill and carefully chiseled out to avoid puncturing the front of the pedestal as the working space was tight and the placement needed to avoid creating any hot spots at the base of the columns.  Leading you to the elevated columns and main entrance are 2 symmetrically curved staircases.  A total of eighteen 12” LED ledge lights were secured to the underside of the concrete cap which supported the concrete railings on each side.  The individual ledge lights were able to accomodate the curvature of the stairs in a way a single light strip provided the maximum light spread possible in the narrow space available between the stairs and the cap.  Both the core drilled well lights and the under ledge lights where sandblasted and powder coated to match the natural concrete color of the pedestal caps and stair ledge which were all sealed to preserve this natural coloring.

Additional core drilled well lights were installed along the driveway near the carport area.  Twelve fixtures were mounted from the roofline to accent peaks, dormers and other roof features, each using a color that matched either the stone facade or slate roof tiles.  RGB LED lights were installed in the fountain at the center of the driveway and cool white LED spot lights enhanced the the look and color of the evergreen trees that ran down the property line adjacent to the front yard.

The side of the home has a limestone staircase which leads to sunken patio area moonlight by a cool white LED spotlight and surrounded by a retaining wall created with massive boulders which was lit from each elevation.

The backyard has a waterfall which spills into a heated body of water illuminated by spot lights mounted on riser and installed on a switch should the light glare prove to be distracting when this pool area is in use.  This water passes under a small bridge lit with a couple surface mounted step light and connects to a larger pool.  Other areas of lighting include a wooded backyard property light, a pool equipment building which doubled as an outdoor kitchen as well as each side of the exterior of the main residence.

It simply isn’t possible to encompass each of the areas described in 4 photographs but hopefully the available photographs will help complete the picture that the written description attempts to portray.  The lighting system is included with the property’s home automation system but I was mindful of the homeowners desire not to complicate the lighting control with too many functions so there was still a need for simple manual switches conveniently located for easy access in areas such as the backyard waterfall and some down lit seating areas.