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How To Light Your Home in 8 Steps

Need a little pick-me-up? Adjust your home lighting for a refreshing new attitude.

Home lighting is the foundation of good design.  It’s a powerful element that will influence the flow and ambiance of your home.  Success starts with a plan to help you function in every room.  For cost efficiency, it’s best to develop a lighting plan before construction.  But even if you’re already moved in, we have an 8-Step plan for improvement.

Step 1: Determine Function

A good start point is to decide on your basic needs for each room.  Kitchens need higher light levels for tasks that involve sharp knives and hot flames.  Bedrooms, on the other hand, are usually driven by the need for a relaxed environment to trigger your natural circadian rhythms.

Step 2: Evaluate Natural Light

Next it’s important to evaluate the quality of natural light for each space.  This will be influenced by the north, south, east or west orientation as well as window size. Remember that natural light will change throughout the day, so plan additional lighting based on the time of day each room is typically used. A northern exposure will need more assistance than a sunny southern room. This  is also a good time to plan wall and ceiling colors.  Keep in mind, lighter colors will reflect and bounce light around while deep colors absorb light.   When choosing deep colors be sure to supplement with extra light fixtures.

Step 3: Create A Mood

Envision a mood for each space.  Cozy. Relaxed. Lively. Energizing.  Work with your natural circadian rhythms, increasing light will encourage alertness during the day while lower levels are calming before bedtime.

Light for atmosphere.   Using fixtures with dimmers will add versatility to the plan.  Chandelier lighting can be adjusted after dinner to a soft glow which can then be accented by wall sconces for a nightcap.

Step 4: Plan in Layers

A layered approach offers the most versatility throughout the day.  The ultimate goal is to establish a balance within each room for the best functional comfort level.  Not every room should be the same, variety is what helps create intriguing moods as you move room to room.

Traditionally, designers speak of 3 types of lighting.

Ambient

Task

Accent

Combining these will create beautiful layers of adjustable light that can adapt to your mood.

Step 5. Select Ambient Lighting

To accomplish the perfect plan, start with a base layer of ambient lighting.  Think about the time of day the room is used and the amount of natural light, then place fixtures for even coverage to eliminates dark areas.   This base layer should be uniform with the ability to dim or turn off when accent or task lighting is desired.

Work with Natural Light

Natural Light through floor to ceiling windows

 Dramatic windows lend abundant natural light to this home office.  The central chandelier provides adjustable light levels throughout the day while the desk lamp delivers task light for the desktop.

Multiple Fixtures Balance Coverage

  Often kitchens and lower level spaces don’t have the benefit of natural lighting.  This is where recessed light fixtures are the ideal solution.  By evenly spacing them across the room, a baseline of good lighting is established and you can add task or accent fixtures as needed.

Think Style

Now it’s time to truly express your style.  When not in use fixtures work as artistic sculpture for the room.   Add dimmers to overhead lighting to help you control the brightness as needed.  Take the time to learn about the bulbs that are suitable for each fixture.  LED’s are popular, just watch the color temperature by selecting a warm-white light, (about 2,700-3,000 kelvin)  The LED bulbs noted as “daylight” are most appropriate for garage and workshop spaces.

Step 6. Place Task Lighting

The work surfaces within any room will need a high level of lighting for safety and efficiency.  These can be discreet under cabinet lights or spot lights that focus on the task at hand.  But they don’t have to look utilitarian. Kitchens, baths and laundry spaces can use task lights as another opportunity to express style.

 

Step 7. Add Accent Lighting

So many areas of the home can benefit from the subtle touch of an accent light.  Use this type of lighting to point out a special architectural moment or a cherished piece of artwork.

Accent lighting can also be a stylish means of guidance in otherwise dark areas like the hallway, staircase, or home theater.

Step 8: Stand Back and Review

The bottom line is, how do you want to feel in your home?  Once the main fixtures are in place, add decorative sconces, uplighting, or table top lighting for extra emphasis or utility.

Contact the experts at Lowell Custom Homes to help plan your next new home or remodeling project.

Connect here

or call 262-245-9030

Featured designers

North Shore Nest

Steph Musur Designs

Elizabeth Drake Interiors

Photography by

Shanna Wolf Photography

Victoria McHugh Photography

 

 

 

Remodeling to Make it Yours

The most exciting part of a new home is the opportunity to make it truly yours.  Our homeowners responded to the challenge after purchasing this classic lake front home.   With the help of their designer Phillip Sassano, The Design Coach  this classic beauty received a makeover that put the past 40 years behind.  Each design and remodeling decision honored the traditional aesthetic, then advanced the design with a modern spin to reflect the refreshing attitude of its new homeowners.   Compare these before-and-after pictures to see the dramatic results.   Then follow along to see how the outdoor environment was brought to life.

This home was reimagined and remodeled to fully appreciate and enjoy its lake front location.

 This luxurious property on the Geneva Lake was always impressive, but the new design establishes a more impressive link between the interior and exterior worlds.

First Impressions

A good first impression always says welcome.  We love the symmetry of the main house and how cheerful blue awnings and shutters unite the extensions.  Notice how the walkway to the main entrance has been reconfigured for a clean view of the front elevation.  Painting the exterior brick white was a bold and successful move.  Adding  blue accents nods towards a relaxed Mediterranean point of view.

Door Detail

A stunning new entry door with leaded glass sidelights not only updates, but elevates the style.

Party in the Back

 

While the front elevation maintains a refined character, a walk around back tells a relaxed fun-loving story.

Outdoor Rooms

Aligned perfectly with the coast of Geneva Lake, each of the outdoor spaces has a special purpose, while all offer stunning views.

Outdoor Kitchen

Location is everything when adding an outdoor kitchen.  Here it is positioned perfectly to serve multiple outdoor and indoor dining areas.

Screened In Room

The screened in room offers a protected option with easy flow between indoor and outdoor living spaces.

Pool or Spa Day

No need to decide when using efficient one-piece swimming pool construction and dropping in a spa to the side.

Big Little Details

New windows, awnings, and roof shingles work together to boost energy efficiency for the home

Architectural Elements

New lighting, a spiral staircase and corbels add to the refined elegance of this architecture.

Pop of Color

Colorful accents from the floral landscape to the back door fuse the overall outdoor experience.

Step inside by following this link to see even more of this delightful home remodel.

To see this full home inside and out click here.

Contact the experts at Lowell Custom Homes to help plan your next new home or remodeling project.

Contact us here

or call 262-245-9030

 

Photography by S.Photography/Shanna Wolf

 

Top Home Design Trends for 2022

Several factors influence the direction of home design.   When the predictions from multiple sources agree,  we know we have the winning ideas!  Ultimately, it’s not about trends, but about how people really want to live.   Our trend list includes the ideas that we feel will add value, style and comfort to your home.

Function First

Convenience is critical.  After a year of adapting our homes to serve us in a variety of unforeseen circumstances, most agree to the power of versatility.  Future home design will allow for flexibility while providing a balance between open and private spaces.

Curves Ahead

Curves made a big impression at High Point Furniture Market this year. We see the softened lines as a way to take the hard edge off of furniture and architecture for a more inviting presentation.

Keep It Natural

Natural materials remind us of our connection to the environment.  They are often responsible for beautiful texture in the most eco-friendly way.

Cocktail Hour

From bar carts to dedicated space, we’ve developed a new appreciation for the home bar experience.  In the Geneva Lakes area,  it’s the perfect way to wind down or turn up the fun.

Classic Minimalism

This trend is part of movement to simplify and focus on one artistically designed shape.  The intention is to promote calm and allow space to breath.

 

Working From Home

We’ve learned how to integrate work and homework into our space.   The best solutions involve a quiet space with some privacy as well as ergonomic comfort.

Bold Color Used As A Neutral

Neutrals are here to stay, but we are redefining the category.   A large dose of one bold color can softened the edges of a room and read as a neutral.

Seamless Indoor Outdoor Transitions

We mentioned this trend in last months blog and are happy to see its continued growth.  This Nana window opens up the kitchen to the screened in porch with endless entertaining possibilities.

This beautiful home is brought to you by our delightful homeowners

and

the dedicated team at Lowell Custom Homes!

Cabinetry by Geneva Cabinet Company

Photography by Shanna Wolf/S Photography

Contact the experts at Lowell Custom Homes to help plan your next new home or remodeling project.

401 GENEVA NATIONAL AVENUE SO. – LAKE GENEVA, WISCONSIN 53147 – 262.245.9030

Designing the Perfect Entry

A little effort goes a long way when creating a beautiful first impression.  We like to start with curb appeal and carry it on through the entry of your home.  The entry is often passed over with design efforts jumping right into living spaces.  But keep in mind that the entry is highly visible. It is the perfect spot to create a memorable moment for you and your visitors.

Start with the Door

The character of your entry door carries from the exterior to the interior of your home.  It must coordinate with both points of view, so choose wisely.  It should be architecturally compatible with your home design and provide the security and insulation appropriate for your location.

Light the Way

Illuminate this space with options that allow versatility.  A stunning chandelier is always appropriate, then consider adding sconces and even tabletop lighting to allow you to adjust the levels of light according to your needs and mood.

Define with Area Rugs

Add warmth with the texture of area rugs and runners.  They will define the entry and move people in the right direction down the hall.

Include a Statement Piece

One piece can set the stage for the entire home by introducing the style and mood of your rooms.  Keep the entry open and unfussy but don’t be afraid to use a substantial furniture piece when space allows.  A mirror is always nice for allowing last minute touch ups when coming or going.

Provide Seating

This is a small courtesy for guests, especially in the midwest where visitors often come weighed down with boots, coats or umbrellas.  It can be a chair, bench or even a small settee.  All that is required is a place to rest a person or package once entering your home.

 

Share A Bit of Yourself

Make it your own by including bits and pieces of your favorite things.  This is a peek into your personality with favorite collections, art or decor.

Ample Storage

The need for entry storage is a given, and the standard closet provides nicely.  Also consider solutions to expand storage with built-ins or furniture that provides storage drawers.

Don’t Forget Secondary Points of Entry

Don’t neglect the more common entry that you and your family use on a daily basis.  It should be just as appealing as the guest entry, and even more functional with storage for coats, shoes and packages.

For more ideas to add curb appeal of your home check here

and here.

We invite you to stay in touch by signing up for our blog where we cover the latest design ideas and inspirational projects.

(There are not affiliate links and of course we never share your personal information)

 

Traditional Design Is Back!

After two decades of Midcentury modern dominating the design universe, traditional is reemerging as a fresh and time-honored aesthetic.  While design styles always go through cycles, the advantage of traditional is that it’s a classic.  It is often the jumping off point for many other styles, so it blends easily when you are working towards a personally curated look.

Throughout history people are drawn to the familiar for security during uncertain times.  That may be partly responsible for the current resurgence, but there is also a new generation being exposed for the first time to these very livable interiors. Many homeowners were not in the audience to appreciate the classic rooms of Mario Buatta or Sister Parish.  Either way, this design movement is a refreshing way to incorporate planet-friendly elements with vintage and repurposed furnishings.  This is the look that will be known as the New-Traditional or Neo-Traditional for the next decade and beyond.  Sourcing favorites like 1st Dibs can provide unique character for these rooms.

But, just as today’s high waisted jeans are drastically different from 80’s Mom jeans, traditional design has evolved.  We are keeping the comfort and pleasing shapes while lifting the mood with lighter treatments of color, pattern and material.

Elements of the New Traditional or Neo-Traditional Style

Traditional style is timeless and pulls inspiration from the 18th and 19th century.

Architectural details like crown molding, ceiling beams and wood paneling add a determined but comforting mood when applied with a light touch.

Often traditional style will reference European decor in its detailings.   Featured here is one of our favorite homes showing traditional design with a French attitude. Formality can be taken up a notch or calmed down by the choice of furnishings. 

Rooms will often have a beautiful focal point like a stunning fireplace seen above, or even a mantel range hood as show in the kitchen below.

Neo-traditional is certainly not fussy.  In order to keep elements in check there will be a dash of modern with the European viewpoint.  Finely finished pieces can easily co-exist with natural and relaxed materials like linen, bamboo and rush. 

Beyond all visual combinations, the essence is comfort and easy living.

While the details may be finely crafted, the home will always respond to lifestyle demands.

 

We invite you to stay in touch by signing up for our blog where we cover the latest design ideas and inspirational projects.  

(There are not affiliate links and of course we never share your personal information)

Photography by Shanna Wolf/S.Photography

Designing for Comfort

This is the season to prioritize comfort.  The evenings come early, and the morning air can be brutal.  Instead of just hunkering down, it’s the ideal time to celebrate home life with some extra attention to our well-being.  The Danish call this attitude Hygge, we call it the essence of home.

You can heighten the feeling of comfort in small ways or go big with a whole house refresh. Either way, here are some of our favorite ideas to up the cozy-factor this winter.

Natural Materials

Natural and authentic materials help us feel grounded. A stone fireplace, architectural beams, and natural wood tones are soothing.  Even accessories added to your kitchen counter or cocktail table will create a mood.  One of our favorite places for cozy touches is Summer Made in Lake Geneva.

Soft Furnishings

Simple additions go a long way to warm up a room.  Bulky knit throws, area rugs, toss pillows and overstuffed furniture all nurture the spirit. A good place to start your shopping for the Lake Geneva winter vibe is Paper Dolls Home Furnishings.

Warm Color & Texture

Natural colors tend to lean warmer and when combined with the texture of knotty wood paneling, the effect surrounds you in security.

Layering Pattern

Pattern fills a room,  and when layer upon layer is applied the comfort factor rises.  Upholstered headboards and lush layers of bedding compound the visual effect.

Quiet Moments

When everyone is forced to stay close to home, it pays off to have an at-home-retreat.  A quiet place where you can hang a do-not-disturb sign and enjoy a bath, sauna, or favorite chair with a good book.  You’ll love this list of book club favorites.

 

Fireplace Gatherings

Taking the chill off around the fireplace is a time honored tradition.  Arranging comfy furniture in a cluster around the hearth will facilitate warm and friendly conversations.

 

Inviting Spaces

Rooms that are pulled together are always more inviting.  Coordinated by color and designed with good circulation space, people will not hesitate to enter and put their feet up.

Scented Spaces

Engage all of the senses with a fragrance that will enhance memories.  Evergreen, bayberry, zesty orange, and cinnamon will keep you filled with warmth.

 

Embrace Friluftsliv – The Outdoor Extension of Hygge

 

Friluftsliv follows the Danish Hygge trends with the Norwegian cultural concept that promotes “free air life”.   Spending time outdoors during the winter season has been shown to improve physical and mental health and reduce stress.  Even if you’re not up for a long walk, a warm cup of cocoa on your screened porch will do wonders to reduce stress.

 

Daily Rituals

Relying on daily routine can give structure to otherwise endless days.  Light a candle, call a friend, have an afternoon tea  . . .   taking the time to tune into your sense of calm during the winter will provide a sense of balance throughout the season.

 

So, stopping fighting the urge to ward off winter and start working with it to enjoy the warmhearted memories you’re now creating.

 

 

We always love hearing from you and are happy to discuss your personal home projects.  Building a new home or remodeling can be an exciting adventure and our team of experts is available to answer your questions and guide you every step of the way.

262-245-9030

 

There are no affiliated links in any of our posts and we never share your personal information.  You can subscribe to our blog updates with no concerns.

The Future of Home Design Post Covid-19

The comforts of home have never been so appealing!  When uncertainty causes us to feel a little off-balance, our homes provide the security and serenity we need.  The Covid-19 derailment will eventually be resolved, but its valuable lessons have influenced home design for the future.   Our homes are evolving to provide the perfect solutions for a balanced life.  Here are some of our favorite ideas.

Floor Plan Versatility

The intelligence of open concept floorplans has been confirmed by their ability to adapt and be reconfigured.  Areas to work, study or exercise will be nestled into our most active rooms.  When our needs change, the rooms can revert back to their original plan.

More Storage for Self-Sufficiency

When your home becomes an island it’s critical to have provisions on hand.  A walk-in pantry has plenty of space for your latest Costco run while providing an organized space for storage.  Drawer allows for easy sorting and accessibility while open shelving keeps everything in sight.

Zoom Meeting Backdrop

When it’s possible to dedicate space for a home office, consider the acoustics, lighting and a sophisticated impression for video conferencing.

Private Outdoor Space

The popularity of outdoor living space will continue to soar and include luxury features like pools, spas and kitchens. Indoor-outdoor connections will always serves to calm, refresh and satisfy us.

Sanitation Station

While outdoor-to-indoor transitional space has always been desirable, the focus is now on surfaces that are easy to clean and disinfect.

Room for a Workout

You may find that less of a commute to work or school leaves more time for your daily workout.  As a self-care reminder set up a space with you favorite equipment to make it happen naturally.

Your Personal Getaway

When togetherness becomes overrated, create an in-home escape to help you get through the day.  It doesn’t have to be in the traditional sense of a man cave or she shed.    Everyday spaces, like this closet,  can become more inviting and luxurious with a little special treatment.

Nesting Details

Endless hours within your four walls may result in boredom unless you are looking at something beautiful.  There is a renewed interest in design and architecture as we now have more time to thoroughly examine our homes.  Finely crafted details will wrap you up in comfort.

 

Lowell Custom Homes is known for building and remodeling homes with a creative and customized approach.  We invite you to stay in touch by signing up for our blogs where we cover the latest design ideas and inspirational projects!

(There are no affiliated links in any of our posts and we never share your personal information.)

262.245.9030

 

Cabinetry by Geneva Cabinet Company

Photography by S.Photography/Shanna Wolf

Porch Appeal

Front or back, the porch has a timeless charm that encourages relaxation and conversation.  While the architectural appeal is timeless, we find ourselves truly  enamored during the spring and summer months.  Whatever the size of your home, there is always room to incorporate this welcoming respite.

The Entry Porch

This architectural feature will protect your entry from the elements while directing guests to the front door.  It is a familiar option compatible with most home styles while lending a flattering first impression.

The Overhang Alcove

The extension of your roof line will create an intimate niche where you can enjoy the view and unwind.

Feelin’ the Breezeway

Linking spaces with a semi-enclosed area is a structural treat.  It creates a place to catch a breeze without full exposure to the elements.  Furnish with comfortable chairs or your outdoor kitchen equipment.

Wrap-Around Charm

There is not a better spot for an iconic pair of rocking chairs.  Reminiscent of the good old days, the wrap around porch is ideal for escape or entertaining at home.

Protected Paradise

Protected with screening or Plexiglas panels, an Indoor-Outdoor living area creates an easy transition to you outdoor activities.  To see some of our favorite indoor/outdoor spaces click here.

 

Sleeping Porch Arrangements

Popular in the early 20th century before air conditioning became the norm, these semi enclosed areas provided the most comfortable nights sleep.  Now they are nostalgic additions, usually on the second floor, where you can catch a breeze or enjoy a peaceful nap.

Whether you’re looking to add character or expand living space, be sure to consider all of the possibilities a porch has to offer.

 

Lowell Custom Homes is known for building and remodeling homes with a creative and customized approach.  We invite you to stay in touch by signing up for our blogs where we cover the latest design ideas and inspirational projects!

(There are no affiliated links in any of our posts and we never share your personal information.)

262.245.9030

 

Pet Friendly Meets Style at Home

Can you lead a chic and stylish life with pets?  Of course you can! There is no need to give up good looks for durability.  And your efforts will be rewarded with endless love and daily snuggles!

Studies by Mayo Clinic  show that pet ownership and cardiovascular health have a highly positive correlation.  At the very least, our pets offer us hours of entertainment!    Follow these tips for a home that will be comfortable for everyone with two to four legs.

Safe Space

 We love the idea of this beautiful dutch door that allows fresh air flow while hampering any escape plans for pets (and children).  This is a high interest area with the daily anticipation of Amazon and mail deliveries.   A window near the door, like this transom, will provide a good view and a nice warm spot to sunbath.   Of course, be sure pets are microchipped for an added layer of protection.

Transition Zone

Some days are just muddier than others.  Having a transition space with a bench and hooks will help you suit up for every outdoor adventure.  The tile and slab bench are ideal for easy clean up.    Hooks created from novelty hardware hang leashes and jackets so you’re ready to grab-and-go.  The under bench cubbies would be a great place to tuck in a basket of towels and even the water bowl.

Protective Wall Finish

Make the right choice in paint finish.  At times your fur baby will need to just shake-it-off after a walk or bath, that’s when you’ll regret that flat paint.   Choose eggshell or a satin for easy clean surfaces that will resist paw prints and slobber.   Semi-gloss is tempting, but keep in mind that every scare or dent will show.

Pet Friendly Flooring

Hard surfaces are superior for their dirt and oops-resistant qualities.  Stone, ceramic and laminate floors are all good choices.  If you decide on the beauty of natural wood, stick to Oak or Mahogany for hardness.   Be sure to have them sealed with a durable finish to  minimize scratching.  With carpeting or area rugs, use the best quality for your budget.  Nylon and wool have solid reputations for a long life with easy cleaning.  Even the most well-trained pet can have a sick day.  Be prepared with a clean up kit and consider the latest washable indoor-outdoor area rugs.

Durable Fabrics

The smartest choice you can make for furnishings will include high performance fabric.  In this day and age it’s easy with the choices available from reputable companies (Hello Sunbrella).  The possibilities for your home are exciting and endless, like this nubby upholstery from Thibaut Design .  One last tip on fabrics, skip the velvets and chenilles, then match up the color of your pets fur to your upholstery for stress-free maintenance.

 

Kitchens

The kitchen is an appealing exploration zone for our pets.  Prevent mishaps by keeping counters and floors clear of food and breakables.  Some foods are toxic for pets so it’s best to exercise extreme caution when they are in the home.

Bath Time

Depending on the size of your pet, you may undertake their grooming at home.  Smaller dogs do well in a farmhouse sink, but our favorite solution for larger pets is this stainless steel walk in tub from Bath Tubs for Pets. 

Yes You Can Have Nice Things

The secret to style is a durable finish and space for your furry friends to travel through the room with a path about the width of their tail swing.   It’s a good idea to establish a play zone in your home with more open space.  Store favorite toys and initiate play time here so your pets will learn that this is their happy place.

 

We invite you to stay in touch by signing up for our blogs where we cover the latest design ideas and inspirational projects!

(There are no affiliated links in any of our posts and we never share your personal information.)

262.245.9030

 

 

Lowell Wins Houzz 2020!

We are beyond excited to announce that Lowell Custom Homes was awarded the Best Of Houzz 2020.

Just 3% of the 2.5 million home design and building professionals on Houzz receive a Best of Houzz Award each year. This is five years in a row that Lowell has received such special recognition!  We thank all of the participants for choosing our projects!

Here are our most loved and inspirational pictures of the year!

A nostalgic Potting Shed using reclaimed material from Heritage Beam and Board

See the full home here.

An Idyllic Screened in Porch

See the full home here.

This Open and Inviting Living Room

See the full home here.

A Home with Street and Lake Appeal

See the full home here.

A Lakeside Conservatory

See the full home here.

This Nautical Guest Bunk Room

See the full home here.

A Chic & Relaxing Library

See the full home here.

This Kitchen Collaboration with Geneva Cabinet Company

See the full home here.

Finally a Basement Renovation with years of popularity on Houzz.

See the full home here

Follow us on Houzz to view all of our custom home and remodeling projects.  Remember to create Ideabooks where you can save your Lowell favorites!  This is our favorite way to fashion a personal Look Book for inspiration with future design and remodeling projects.

Houzz is the largest residential database in the USA and around the world.  They connect millions of people with ideas and resources for their home projects, large and small.  We love being a part of this network and hope you’ll visit our Houzz portfolio right here.

We invite you to also stay in touch by signing up for our blog where we cover the latest design ideas and inspirational projects!

(of course we never share your personal information)

Building a new home or remodeling can be an exciting adventure and our team of experts is available to answer your questions and guide you every step of the way!

Lowell Custom Homes

262.245.9030