Lighting masterclass at a Grand Designs ‘House of the Year’ in Cumbria, England
“On this occasion the client had seen magazines showcasing some of our completed projects,” recalls Tim Burrow, project manager at Majik House, who oversaw the installation at a property that would go on to be handpicked as a finalist as ‘House of the Year’ by TV show Grand Designs in 2016. “They had bought a building plot local to our showroom and had heard about what we had achieved with the lighting and music systems from another client.” And following a showroom visit, the client was sold on what bespoke lighting and control could bring to the property.
A secluded residence situated in a small bustling market town in Cumbria in the north west of England, the home carefully interweaves modernity with classic touches to create a visually stunning space, yet it presented numerous challenges for Majik House when it came to AV integration. “As a new build we were able to start with a blank canvas, but the building featured some very specialist stonework and unique finished that the client wanted us to highlight within the project design,” says Burrow.
At the same time, the homeowner wished to veer away from the ostentatious, meaning the Majik House team had to carefully balance attractive lighting design with not detracting from the building’s striking modern design. “The property is located in a town full of traditional cottages – the design of this building was very unique to the locality therefore property needed to fit in seamlessly with the surrounding area,” explains Burrow.
“A very minimalist approach was taken with all light sources to make them as discrete and invisible as possible to blend with the starkness, and enhance the design in places.”
“A very minimalist approach was taken with all light sources to make them as discrete and invisible as possible to blend with the starkness, and enhance the design in places.” This was not without it challenges. The team carefully planned how to conceal luminaires whilst providing sufficient illumination for the outdoor space which would provide sufficient pathways of light around the building. In total, a team of three installation engineers/programmers and one designers worked hard to perfect the design, which had over 15 revisions to the position of lighting alone.
Indoors, the property’s innovative design meant special consideration of how to position internal fittings within the ceiling design, taking into account the lines and shadow features.
A Control4 panelised lighting system was deployed throughout the property, overseeing control and distribution of audio and video systems across eight different rooms, including a cinema and lounge centred around a large TV. A fully integrated Sonos music system provides added entertainment, distributed via built-in speakers and Control 4 amplification around the home. Burrow notes that Control4 technology was selected over alternatives for its “simplicity and reliability,” and was rigorously tested at the integrator’s showroom ahead of installing it on-site.
All of the lights throughout the property are low voltage LEDs, offering ultra-low consumption to both emphasise the building’s striking architecture and keep the property’s energy usage down.
“Security was also a main priority for the client,” says Burrow. Therefore the integration team installed added lighting on the driveway triggered by anyone entering the main gateway space, as well as motion detectors on the gate which can trigger a silent alarm.
“The project was delivered on time and on budget and exactly to the discerning requests from the client,” concludes Burrow. Since its completion the property has been featured as one of the nominated homes on Channel 4 TV programme Grand Designs’ special ‘House of Year’ series and shortlisted by the Royal British Institute of Architecture.
For the client, AV technology has brought a touch of extra class to a home already celebrated by the design community; “To find such expertise and professionalism on our doorstep was a real blessing. Even with a full design team we were struggling to select lighting and music systems that complemented and enhanced our new home,” comments the client. “When we started to talk to Majik House, everything became much easier and solutions were quickly found. The experience was exemplary.”