Light Bulb Moments

May 16, 2024, by Jo Mann

Light Bulb Moments - Feature Image

These ingenious outdoor lighting techniques from the experts will help you add another dimension to even the very smallest of gardens, creating the illusion of space and a warm and welcoming effect.

If you’ve arranged your garden into different zones, screened challenging boundaries, used a clever paint shade, borrowed views, added focal points and thought hard about paving and pots, there’s still one more element to consider. Lighting can have the most dramatic effect on how your garden is perceived. In addition to boosting safety and security, it’s another tool you can use to make a small garden feel bigger and more welcoming, helping you maximise available space.

Light Bulb Moments
Light Bulb Moments
Light Bulb Moments


A good motivation for lighting a small garden is the positive effect it can have on the view of the garden from indoors. It can soften your home’s interior and contributes to a sense of the garden being a usable extension of the home. Jo Mann, founder and director of Light House Designs ( explains: “Houses with small gardens often have large bifold doors opening onto the garden, and these are usually without a window dressing. At night, without the softness of a window dressing, the glass of these doors becomes a mirror, which makes for quite an unfriendly environment inside the kitchen or drawing room. But if you light the garden, you’ll draw the eye through the reflection and outside. The effect of this is that the inside space feels bigger, and the space outside becomes usable.” Sally Storey, creative director at John Cullen Lighting ( concurs: “A small garden in an urban environment should be considered an extra room and entertainment space. It’s important to light something immediately outside the window – such as the terrace – as this will draw the eye outside and extend the view. To do this, control the light intensity outside so that it is greater than the light within the room. Once the focus of the eye is outside, the rest of the features can be enjoyed and become part of the space. Understanding the levels of internal and external light is essential. For best results, the interior should be slightly dimmed.”

Light Bulb Moments
Light Bulb Moments
Light Bulb Moments


Light makes an impact only when it touches a surface, so once you begin working outside, think about what you want to highlight in the garden. “If your garden is all lawn from start to finish, there might not be much to light, so you may need to look around the edge of the garden or even add elements to illuminate,” Jo suggests. Illuminating only one garden element can bring dramatic results, but it isn’t always effective, or indeed useful. And while it’s important to light the immediate environs of the house, “if you only light the front of the garden, you’ll foreshorten the space”, Jo cautions. Instead, imagine the garden as a stage, with lighting at the front, sides and rear, and look for elements to include in the arrangement, adding them, as Jo suggests, if they are not already there. Good candidates include steps and pots, a multistem tree, a statue, a seating area or pleached trees. Installing lights towards the rear of the garden will give the feeling of enlarging the space but it’s also a good way to create a sense of journey. “You could use a couple of wall lights to light a terrace, a path leading down the lawn, little spike lights in the flower beds to spread light through foliage or up a wall or terrace. At the back of the garden, light what’s there – a building, tree or office. Really, you want to ensure you have enough light in the garden to max out your space effectively,” says Jo. “Decorative wall lights are good for ambient lighting. But, if they’re the only source of light, they can be glaring as the eye is drawn to the light source itself. Reduce glare by dimming the wall light and using a selection of fixtures for infill light, such as spiked uplights for trees and maybe a small floodlight over low-level planting. When selecting spiked lights, it is important that the light source is concealed, usually within a cowl, or baffle, so the effect is maximised without the glare. Another useful tip is to place a spike light in pots or among grasses. This creates a decorative candlelight effect, and helps with the other uplights and floodlights to provide interest on terraces,” says Sally.

Light Bulb Moments
Light Bulb Moments
Light Bulb Moments
Light Bulb Moments


One challenging aspect of small garden design is that everything tends to be on view, with nowhere to hide anything unsightly. There is, however, a small arsenal of lighting tricks and tools to take care of this. “As with indoor lighting, the best outdoor effects are created by layering light,” Sally explains. “The exterior lighting toolbox is also similar to that for interiors, utilising decorative wall lights, uplights and downlights, linear lights and spotlights to highlight planting and features at different levels around the garden.” These can draw the eye away from less desirable elements, or turn concealments such as a screen into a nighttime feature. Creating interest elsewhere, using attractive star lighters in trees, or uplighters in planting for example, means less than beautiful items are overlooked. “You can get such small light fittings that it’s worth doing something in even the smallest garden. Try recessed lights to illuminate a wall or trellis or add lights to pots. Even if it’s just three pots, anything is better than nothing,” encourages Jo.

Light Bulb Moments
Light Bulb Moments
Light Bulb Moments

Good advice

In small gardens or internal courtyards, if there is a high wall nearby, such as the side of the house, then fit a narrow, highly baffled spotlight to focus onto the table. This will be effective for dining and useful for highlighting displays. It needs to be high – two storeys up at least – as you don’t want the light fitting to tilt more than 10-15° from the vertical to avoid glare.” SALLY STOREY Be careful of submerging lights in still areas of water because unless the backdrop is dark slate, the water will look murky. Instead, light the surrounding area so the water becomes a black, reflective surface for nearby plants. That way, you’ll be using lighting to turn the water into a mirror. Lighting water where it comes out from a feature can work well, too.” JO MANN


Constantly exposed to the elements, outdoor lights endure a lot of wear and tear, and weak, leaky threads will ruin the best planned scheme as soon as it rains. The less a light is unscrewed from its fitting the better, so buy the best lights you can afford: Jo recommends LED bulbs, which last longer and need replacing infrequently. Keep in mind the physical implications of a light. Recessed lights will work well in lawns, but they will prove troublesome tucked among deciduous plants that shed foliage. Spike lights, meanwhile, are excellent for shining light through border foliage but they aren’t good in lawns. “Be mindful of glare in a small garden because your eye will be drawn to that spot and find it hard to adjust to other areas,” notes Jo. “Use non-glare fittings where you can – these include snoots, glare guards, and honeycomb lenses.” The ideal wattage for a small city garden is between one and four watts, but brightness varies from brand to brand, so there might be trial and error before you settle on the right strength. The kelvin scale is a measure of the colour temperature for light sources. Opt for lighting around the 2,700K to 3,000K mark for a good, warm, white light. If you have bright security lights, Sally recommends installing an override switch. This will come into its own in the evening, “so that it can be turned off to ensure the remaining garden lighting effects are not destroyed. It can be switched back off again when you go to bed.”

Why my heart belongs to the Cotswolds

September 20, 2023, by Paula Lester

Arguably our most-loved Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and long at the top of tourists’ must-visit lists, the allure of the Cotswolds is as strong as ever. Paula Lester meets seven people who are lucky enough to call it home

Main photograph by Mark Williamson

WHETHER it’s the collection of pleasing, pale-stoned cottages grouped around the triangular village green at Little Barrington, the stone footbridges that span the River Eye in Lower Slaughter or the way the triple-turreted Broadway Tower rises from one of the highest points in the landscape, the Cotswolds is a many-splendoured place. Celebrated by great writers and poets, such as Hilaire Belloc, who rhapsodised of the Evenlode—‘A lonely river all alone/She lingers in the hills and holds/A hundred little towns of stone/Forgotten in the western wolds’— it is, without doubt, one of the most enchanting regions in Britain. Every time I have had the pleasure of visiting the area—covering some 800 square miles in five counties (Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire, Warwickshire, Wiltshire and Worcestershire), which can be traced on a map from Chipping Campden in the north down to the Regency grandeur of Bath in the south—I’ve pondered why it has remained largely untouched and still draws more than 38 million visitors a year. I can only guess that its perennial allure is due to the appeal of its many small villages and towns, which were mostly constructed for agricultural or mill workers to live in. The great designer William Morris once called Bibury, home to the much-photographed Arlington Row of 17th-century weavers’ cottages that adorn the pages of British passports, ‘the most beautiful village in England’. However, there must also be something in the way that the buff-coloured stone—which ranges from buttery to marmalade-orange hues, depending on where it was quarried from the limestone ridge that underpins the area—helps these now sought-after properties to merge into the surrounding, gently undulating landscape that is so good for grazing sheep on. But don’t take my word for it—here, seven residents explain why the Cotswolds will always be special to them.

Jemma Powell

Creating her own set: actress and artist Jemma Powell in her studio with Maggie

The artist and actress

WHEN we moved to the Cotswolds, all the space here made me feel as if I could breathe again, so, during lockdown, I started painting more and more,’ discloses Jemma Powell, 43, who relocated from north-west London to a wisteria- and pink rose-clad cottage not far from Chipping Norton in 2016. She is known for large, colourful Ivon Hitchensinspired evocations of Cotswolds landscapes, blowsy blooms and scenes from her travels to the Ligurian coast, Portofino, Marrakesh and Africa, but, ‘although I’ve gotten into cityscapes, too, the countryside and Nature are a huge source of inspiration to me,’ she reveals. ‘I began by going out in the garden, picking snowdrops and painting tiny little pictures of flowers that got bigger and bigger.’ Familiar from Alice in Wonderland, Foyle’s War and The Secret Garden, the actressturned-artist and her husband, Jack Savoretti, a husky-voiced Italian musician, were drawn to the area after he played at a series of festivals (including Wilderness at nearby Cornbury Park, see box). ‘Whenever we came here, he’d say “where is this? I love it”, because the stone and the contours remind him of Italy.’ Although Mrs Savoretti grew up in rural East Sussex, she knew the Cotswolds well, as her grandmother was born in Little Tew and she lived close by when at the Oxford School of Drama in Wootton in her early twenties. And so, having tired of London traffic, the couple—who have three children (Connie, 12, Winter, eight, and Celeste, two) and four dogs—went for it. They were renting a thatched cottage in Great Tew when they heard that their now home might soon be up for sale. ‘I showed up with the children, knocked on their door and said: “I gather you might be selling.” They said “yes,” invited me inside and we became friends. It was as if it was meant to be.’ The 19th-century cottage is little changed from when they bought it—Mrs Savoretti loves the way that the kitchen leads on to her bright studio, which doubles as a dining room. ‘I still really love acting, but I feel like art comes more naturally to me,’ she muses. ‘Also, lockdown was a big turning point for me, because, previously, I’d been quite tentative, but, gradually, I became braver and my paintings got bigger and brighter. I also started understanding colour better, whereas, before, I was using quite sad and muted greys. Eventually, I couldn’t contain it and, when we moved here, the painting gates opened. I have to do it every day or I get twitchy. It connects you to the landscape, in that you’re present and noticing what’s around you.’ The success of Mrs Savoretti’s 2022 exhibition—‘Searching for Stillness’ at Cricket Fine Art, the London gallery that represents her work—led to a project with The Tusk Trust (for which she and her husband are ambassadors) that saw her visit Kenya forthcoming exhibition at Thyme in Southrop (pronounced Suth-er-up). ‘The idea behind the show, which is called “The Golden Thread”, is to trace the link between the conservation work going on in Africa and the migration of birds from Thyme to Kenya, showing why we all have a responsibility to help wildlife through the thread that connects us all,’ she explains. ‘I’ve done some big paintings of the Maasai tribe, as they are a perfect example of a community that lives in harmony with its surroundings. It isn’t down to anybody else —we can all do our bit.’ ‘The Golden Thread’ (a collaboration between The Tusk Trust and Cricket Fine Art) is at Thyme, Southrop, Gloucestershire, November 9–January 2024 (

Eye to the future: Adam Henson brings the joy and heartache of farming to the world

The racehorse trainer

WE are so spoiled, because we live amid rolling, beautiful countryside,’ enthuses Charlie Longsdon, another longstanding Cotswolds resident, who has been training National Hunt racehorses from his base at Hull Farm near Chipping Norton for the past 12 years. ‘Everywhere you drive between here and Cheltenham and beyond is incredible countryside and that is the home we know and love. We’re so lucky to live in an area like this—I would not not want to go anywhere else. No other countryside is so beguiling—every village you drive through is picture-postcard worthy.’ Growing up in Southrop—in a house that is now known as The Lodge and forms, coincidentally, part of the Hibbert family’s aforementioned Thyme hotel complex— meant that Mr Longsdon’s bucolic childhood revolved around riding: hunting, eventing and activities with the Vale of the White Horse (VWH) branch of the Pony Club. ‘We always knew that we lived in a charming part of the world, a stone’s throw from the likes of Bibury and Burford, but also lovely towns, such as Stow-on-the-Wold and Moreton-in- Marsh. ‘It was the norm for us, but I do look back and appreciate the fun and freedom we enjoyed—it was the best.’ It was this largely equestrian-focused early life—interspersed with rugby and school at Eton—that led to him becoming a racehorse trainer, says Mr Longsdon, 47. ‘I used to get taken racing by my parents and one of my mother’s great friends, who had horses in training with Nigel Twiston-Davies at Naunton, which fuelled my love of the sport.’ After leaving school, Mr Longsdon worked for Mr Twiston-Davies, Kim Bailey and Nicky Henderson before striking out on his own: ‘The only place I wanted to go was back home. It also helped that my wife (with whom Mr Longsdon has three children: Milly, 13, and twins, Harry and Fred, 11) was local—she’s a Chadlington, near Chipping Norton, girl—so that made the decision much easier.’ For the first three years, Mr Longsdon was based at the Cotswold Stud at Sezincote, near Stow-on-the-Wold, before he was approached by his current landlord, who was looking to diversify his 450-acre farm by converting it into a racing yard. ‘We came to visit and fell in love with the place,’ he recalls. ‘It has such spectacular views over the countryside that it was a no-brainer. Now, we’ve been here for nearly 13 years and trained the best part of 700 winners, so we’ve had a good time. We have 75 stables—which we fill with 60-odd horses—and, when we built our house here 10 years ago, we sited it to make the most of the amazing view across the valley to Great Rollright, the highest village in Oxfordshire.’ Hull Farm Stables, Stratford Road, Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire (01608 645556;

Charlie Longsdon

Trainer Charlie Longsdon walks with chaser Snow Leopardess at Hull Farm, where he fell in love with the spectacular views

The farmer and television presenter

AS the Cotswolds is landlocked, I love the seaside—the west coast of Scotland, particularly the Inner and Outer Hebrides,is breathtaking—but, for me, although it’s a bit of a cliché, there is no place like home,’ declares the self-proclaimed ‘ginger farmer’ and BBC Countryfile presenter Adam Henson, who lives on a farm near Guiting Power in Gloucestershire that’s also home to his Cotswold Farm Park. ‘It’s because of the beautiful rolling hills, that patchwork countryside, with grassland, arable land and mainly deciduous woodland. Those broadleaf woods and the dry-stone walls, the charming Cotswold villages and the amazing array of animals that are part of our living heritage, from the Cotswold sheep that named the area to the Gloucester cattle and the Gloucestershire Old Spot pigs in our fields at the Farm Park.’ As we wander through the bustling Farm Park—which Mr Henson’s father, Joe, established in 1971 to protect rare-breed farm animals—the affable 57 year old is constantly approached by children for selfies, for which he happily obliges, and I learn that there is a pleasing circularity to his life. Born in Cheltenham, Mr Henson was brought up in the farmhouse his parents took on in 1962. After agricultural college at Seale-Hayne in Devon, Mr Henson travelled the world with his now business partner, Duncan Andrews, before returning to help to run the farm. Today, Mr Henson and his wife, Charlie (with whom he has two children, Ella, 25 and Alfie, 21), live in that same tenanted farmhouse. It’s clear that Mr Henson is rightfully proud of the Farm Park, which he has run in partnership with Mr Andrews since he took over the tenancy in 1999. Together, they manage the 1,600-acre estate, including the Farm Park, which is home to more than 50 breeding flocks and herds of British rare-breed farm animals and welcomes 185,000 visitors a year. ‘I’m delighted with what we’ve got and the brilliant team we have here,’ he enthuses. ‘I still see my dad everywhere, which is very emotional, because he was my hero and my mentor.’ However, Mr Henson is not only passionate about rare-breed animals and the future of the countryside. He’s written several books and his latest, Christmas on the Farm, details how farmers look after their livestock during the festivities, the food they produce for our plates and why Christmas can be a time of reflection that isn’t always ‘jolly’. He’s also put his name to a series of podcasts called Keeping On Track that aims to highlight the importance of farmers’ mental health. The project was prompted by the death by suicide of his friend, Michael Keel, a farmer he met when they both applied to be a Countryfile presenter in 2001. ‘The statistics are really troubling,’ he says. ‘I hope people will listen—if we can save one life, it will be worth it.’ Cotswold Farm Park, Guiting Power, Gloucestershire (01451 850307; www.cotswold ‘Christmas on the Farm: Wintry tales from a life spent with animals’ is out on October 26 (£22, Little Brown). The ‘Keeping on Track’ podcast is launched on October 2 (Instagram @keepingontrackpod)

Caryn Hibbert

The hotel and cookery-school complex Thyme, run by Caryn Hibbert (photographed with Angelica) epitomises the Cotswolds, brimful of human zeal and thriving wildlife

The hotelier

FOR Caryn Hibbert, 63, the founder and creative director of Thyme—a hotel, cookery school and spa—in Southrop, near Lechlade, the Cotswolds abounds with ‘proper countryside’. She explains: ‘It’s blessed with amazing natural beauty, incredible history and it’s an exciting place to be now because there are so many people who are respectful of that history, tradition and Nature, but want to make it relevant to the modern world.’ The former London-based obstetrician and gynaecologist moved to the 16th-century manor house 15 years ago, with her husband, Jerry, a retired film director, and their three children (Charlie, 33, chef-director at the hotel’s Ox Barn Restaurant, Tom, 31 and Milly, 29, general manager at Thyme). Mrs Hibbert admits that, although she now adores it, she did not immediately fall in love with the Grade II-listed house: ‘I worried it was too big’. She was (and still is), however, smitten by the exquisite 150-acre estate, including extensive water meadows, an SSSI, that stretches in front of it. ‘The river, the meadows and the wildlife—particularly the birds and the wild orchids—are what took my breath away.’ Indeed, it was Mrs Hibbert’s discovery, after years of British Trust for Ornithology surveys, that many of the warblers that nest in her water meadows have flown there from sub-Saharan Africa—together with the cuckoo—that led to a novel idea for an art exhibition. ‘I was astonished by the discovery,’ she confesses. ‘That’s why I talked to The Tusk Trust and came up with Jemma Powell’s forthcoming ‘The Golden Thread’ exhibition in our Tithe Barn, to highlight the link between our wild spaces and how the little things we do here can make a difference a long way away.’ Mrs Hibbert and her family—notably her late father, Michael, an engineer—took a similarly assiduous approach when acquiring and restoring the collection of barns and buildings that constitute this most special of hotels, which has developed from the original cookery school. ‘If you want to make life difficult for yourself, find some buildings on the edge of a village in the middle of nowhere,’ she says with a smile. ‘It was important to us and my father, who loved the buildings—particularly the soaring spaces within the Ox Barn, which was once used as a skateboard park—to try not to interfere with the fabric of these traditional agricultural buildings.’ Acknowledging that the Cotswolds is still a vibrant, working place is also important to Mrs Hibbert. ‘There’s a romantic vision that these villages were always tranquil, when they really weren’t. They have always been places of work and Southrop’s pavements would have been 6in deep in mud. This is what has kept them alive and is now making them places that people want to stay and make their lives in. I think we love the Cotswolds because it is never boring. It’s a wonderful mix of culture, art and excitement, as well as quiet and calm. It’s got a lot going for it.’ Thyme, Southrop, Lechlade, Gloucestershire (01367 850174;

Jade Holland Cooper

From Pritt stick to power dressing: designer Jade Holland Cooper at her home, Dowdeswell Court

The fashion designer and entrepreneur

JADE HOLLAND COOPER may have been born and brought up in Suffolk, but the Cotswolds will forever lay claim to her heart, for it was here that she established her eponymous clothing brand, via a teeny 6ft by 6ft stand at Badminton Horse Trials, 15 years ago and where she met and married her husband, Julian Dunkerton. ‘The stand was the size of a Portaloo, which meant that, every time a customer came to try on one of our 30 tweed skirts, my friend and I had to stand outside because we couldn’t all fit at the same time,’ Mrs Dunkerton admits. ‘I’d bought bags and labels that I’d printed out on an A4 printer and Pritt-sticked onto the skirts. I can remember thinking: “This is it then—I’ve got to make this work, because I haven’t got a plan B.”’ It worked—they sold out of skirts on the second day of the trials—and then some, as Mrs Dunkerton, 36, now presides over a £30 million clothing empire, centred on a glitzy boutique at Dunkertons Park just outside Cheltenham, where her husband’s family’s cider is produced. ‘I truly believe that, if you want to achieve something badly enough, you will,’ she emphasises. As we sit on pristine white sofas in her handsome neo-Classical home, Dowdeswell Court, which she shares with Mr Dunkerton—a fellow entrepreneur, co-founder of the global clothing line Superdry—and their two children, Saphaïa, two, and Jamie, nine months, it’s easy to see why this immaculately turned-out woman has been so successful. Beginning with a simple premise—to make country garments more sexy and fitted, through the use of clever British tailoring and quality fabrics, such as Scottish-spun tweed, that she herself would like to wear—Mrs Dunkerton has built a collection of clothing that appeals to a wide age range of women. Indeed, the business is expanding, with a new menswear line being launched next month. She originally came to the Cotswolds at the age of 20 to learn agricultural business management at the Royal Agricultural University, but left early, after going to events such as the Cheltenham Festival and Badminton Horse Trials. ‘I thought there had to be a market for creating clothes that I and others want to wear’. For such an obviously driven person, it was apposite that Mrs Dunkerton first met Julian, 58—who started his clothing brand in similarly humble beginnings via a market stall in Cheltenham—at the Regency town’s elegant boutique hotel No.131, which they now run together. ‘We’re able to share a passion for working in retail and what that takes,’ notes Mrs Dunkerton. The businesswoman’s ultimate goal is to design an every-occasion encompassing collection of garments, so she need never wear any other brand, and she is clear that residing in the Cotswolds is a great source of inspiration. ‘The area epitomises everything that Holland Cooper is about, in that it’s very chic, attractive and full of interesting people— I don’t think there’s any better place to have a home than here. We’re also lucky to live 10 minutes from Cheltenham, because it’s such an eclectic town, and I’m very proud to be based in such a beautiful part of the world.’ Holland Cooper Boutique, Cotswold House,The Barlands, London Road, Charlton Kings, Cheltenham ( No.131, The Promenade, Cheltenham (01242 822939;

Olly Hughes - The British Hound Sports Association

For love of the hounds: BHSA managing director Olly Hughes amid the pack at the VWH kennels

The trail-hunting advocate and former polo player

WHAT makes your heart sing are the rolling hills. Where I live at Somerford Keynes in the Cotswold Water Park area, it’s very flat, so you don’t get the undulations. However, if you’re in the right place in the Cotswolds, you can see for miles,’ declares lifelong Cotswolds resident Oliver Hughes. ‘My mum’s ashes were scattered at Foxcote [the estate where Mr Hughes, 55, grew up near Andoversford, just outside Cheltenham], because she loved it so much. You can’t beat the Cotswolds on a beautiful day. The warmth of that honey-coloured stone in the sunshine is wonderful,’ he eulogises. ‘Then there’s the open countryside, the little villages and all the pubs. As well as great schools, a first-class Royal Agricultural University and good rail connections—Kemble to London is very easy—not to mention great sporting opportunities: racing, polo and, if you want it, trail hunting by the bucketful. If you move here, you won’t need to leave the Cotswolds.’ After such a glowing review, you might be forgiven for thinking that Mr Hughes works for the local tourist board, but the former three-goal professional polo player and deputy CEO of the Hurlingham Polo Association was last year employed as the managing director of the British Hound Sports Association (BHSA). Based on the Bathurst estate near Daglingworth in Cirencester, the organisation—which comprises the Masters of Foxhounds, Basset Hounds, Deerhounds and Minkhounds Associations, as well as the Association of Masters of Harriers and Beagles and the Central Committee of Fell Packs—aims to preserve, protect and promote the future of trail hunting and exempt hunting with hounds. ‘The BHSA was established in July 2022 to bring all of the UK’s 242 hunts under one governing body,’ explains Mr Hughes. ‘Since then, we’ve accredited and licensed all the packs.’ Although he enjoyed a very horsey upbringing, riding, hunting and as a member of the Cotswold Hunt branch of the Pony Club— ‘my mother was fanatical about hunting’— Mr Hughes believes one of the reasons he got the job is because he does not currently hunt (‘I want to, but I don’t have a suitable horse’) and has not, therefore, nailed his colours to the mast of any one pack, but is passionate about preserving the sport and its associated animals: ‘It’s all about the love of the hounds.’ Married to Vicky, a private caterer—with whom he has two children, Isaac, 22 and Jemima, 20—Mr Hughes loved polo as ‘it’s an exhilarating sport that everyone can have a go at’ and is equally passionate about why trail-hunting devotees should join the newly set up BHSA supporters’ club. ‘Whereas, previously, membership of hound associations was restricted to the senior hierarchy of hunts, both past and present, the BHSA supporters’ club is much more wide ranging,’ he observes. ‘Run by George Bowyer, it’s an opportunity for anyone who supports trail hunting, hounds and the hunting community to share their support for it. We currently have about 750–800 members, but we need an awful lot more. If we could get up to 10,000, we’d be able to do some serious good in campaigning for the trail-hunting community. As we’re facing a general election next year, we need to be prepared for everything that the results of that may bring.’ The British Hound Sports Association, Daglingworth, Cirencester, Gloucestershire (

Joanna Mann - Light House Designs

For lighting designer Joanna Mann, her farming background gave her the grit and determination to found her own business

The lighting designer

THE Cotswolds is such a diverse area,’ enthuses Joanna Mann. ‘We’re so lucky to be able to enjoy a wide range of wonderful people who have set up businesses here and are not rushing to London all the time—that’s the root of why I love it.’ Having been raised as a farmer’s daughter —her parents, Charlie and Chipps Mann run an organic enterprise and wedding venue at Oxleaze (‘Slowly does it’, May 10), near Lechlade, together with her siblings, Will and Katie—the look of the landscape pulls on her heartstrings, too. ‘“Cots” means sheep and “wolds” is hills and valleys, so there are many beautiful valleys, such as the Evenlode, Windrush and Leach, right here in Southrop where I live. There are so many quintessential little villages, such as Southrop, within those river valleys, which you can’t really see from any direction, because they sit right down within their place. They’re akin to many others that were built for farming communities, out of the wind, near the rivers. The architecture and the soft, yellow stone gives a very gentle feel.’ It was no accident, either, that, after training as a lighting designer and working for John Cullen Lighting in London—‘it’s intuitive, understanding how light and shadow works in a space’—the 42 year old returned to Gloucestershire in 2010 to set up her own firm, Light House Designs, from the farm office at Oxleaze. ‘I believe I chose to start my own business because I come from a farming background,’ attests Ms Mann. ‘I grew up understanding that work and life were intermingled. Also, if you’re from farming stock, working late or on weekends doesn’t faze you.’ Now, 13 years on, Ms Mann says that, although her business centres on high-end projects—from the restoration of country estates, townhouses and boutique hotels, such as the Old Bank Hotel and Quod Restaurant and Bar in Oxford, to new-builds and chalets—her ‘soul is in the mud and I really enjoy working between the two’. Moving back to her treasured home turf had other life-changing effects, too. She met her husband, Phil Smith—who runs building company Cotswold Property—when he visited her office in search of a lighting designer for a potential client. ‘I didn’t get the job—but I got a husband!’ Ms Mann says with a grin. The couple live in a barn they built on familyowned land in Southrop and have a twoyear-old son, Wilbur. Their businesses occupy separate offices on the family farm, which, in the end, is what it all comes back to. ‘The landscape is a mixture of Cotswold brash, although good for grazing, but a difficult soil to grow anything on. That’s why it’s so exciting to see where farming can go when you’re not forcing it through fertiliser and you can put the land back to its original use, as my family is doing at Oxleaze.’ Light House Designs, Oxleaze Farm, Filkins, Lechlade, Gloucestershire (01367 850069;

A credit for Country Life and issued September 20, 2023.

The rights to the layouts and copy contained therein are held by Country Life magazine exclusively.

Tips for lighting every room in your house

September 20, 2023, by Jennifer Goulding

From minimising glare in living rooms to zoning your kitchen, we asked lighting designers for their best pieces of advice for each room in the house

Even the most ardent of design enthusiasts can find choosing the right lights tricky. After all, wielding a paint chart with aplomb is one thing, but executing an effective lighting scheme is quite another. The temptation is to keep it simple, which is a pity because good lighting elevates, and can even transform a space.

As creative director and co-founder of Porta Romana Andrew Hills explains: ‘Lighting is all about layering. A good lighting scheme is always a blend of architectural lighting, functional lighting and well-positioned decorative lighting that adds character and beauty to the room.’

So be bold! We asked some top lighting designers for their advice for each room in the house, including Luke Thomas, design director at John Cullen Lighting, Jo Mann, founder and design director at Light House Designs, Andrew Molyneux, co-founder of art lighting specialists TM Lighting, and Sally Stephenson, design director at Owl Lighting. Their easy-to-follow tips are the perfect place to start.


Dramatic staircase lighting by John Cullen

  • The lighting in a hallway should be warm, but not overly bright, as guests do not want to feel as if they are under a spotlight. SS
  • Add impact with an overscaled decorative pendant. For drama combine with downlights to spotlight a picture, flowers or other decorative feature. LT
  • To foreshorten a long narrow hallway and add interest, consider lighting the stairs or an object at the far end of your hall. LT
  • For an interesting contrast combine wall lights or recessed downlights that wash light over one wall with floor washers on the opposite wall. LT

Living room

Dean Hearne

  • When lighting living rooms you want a warm, cosy atmosphere. Use directional downlights in the ceiling set around the perimeter of the room to shine light onto walls, paintings or curtains and minimise glare. AM
  • Picture lighting can play a large part in these rooms by introducing a mid-layer of light. ‘LED lights are unquestionably the best option for preserving any piece of art,’ adds Andrew
  • Molyneux. ‘Historically, artworks were lit with halogen and other incandescent light sources, which emit infrared and produce a great deal of heat. This harmful combination is incredibly damaging to oil paintings and works on paper with delicate colour pigments.’
  • Lighting joinery, such as bookshelves, looks lovely and brings a different dimension to a scheme. JM
  • Lamps or floor-standing reading lamps are very important in a living room. Introducing a 5 amp circuit means they can all be switched on and off with a single switch and be dimmable. JM


Paul Massey

  • Thoughtfully positioned recessed downlights are the best place to start. Work out where you need the light to end up, on a worktop say, or over an island, and position the lights overhead. JM
  • Washing the walls with light from a directional downlight immediately softens the room, lights artworks and creates an uplifting feeling. JM
  • Light an overhang with bar stools and add some decorative wall lights or pendants to create an inviting atmosphere. JM
  • Using individual circuits to divide areas provides control over the levels of light rather than a blanket ‘wash’ of light that covers the whole room. JM


  • Bedrooms require minimal lighting: a bright setting for practical purposes and a dim setting for the evening. Make sure there is enough lighting for the cupboards, either set into the joinery or from recessed downlights or spotlights overhead. JM
  • Washing curtains from a directional downlight creates a pleasing, gentle effect. JM
  • Keep circuits to a minimum as you don’t want to spend too long setting ‘scenes’ in a bedroom. JM

Children’s room

Paul Massey

  • If you are adding interesting details to a children’s bedroom, for instance a mural or bold curtain fabric, make sure you light it so it becomes a feature at night. The simplest way to achieve this is with downlights. LT
  • To create a night light with a difference consider adding fibre optics above the bed to create your child’s own starry sky. LT
  • Add an element of colour by lighting recesses with colour-changing LED strips. LT
  • Flexibility is key when lighting children’s bedrooms. Joinery with integrated light is a great tool because you can keep the shelving and just replace what’s on it. LT


Owen Gale

  • Uplights always add a touch of magic to a space. Consider highlighting a stone or tiled wall behind a freestanding bath, or set uplights into a windowsill to illuminate shutters. LT
  • Wall lights on either side of a mirror provide the most shadow-free light to the face (add a downlight over the basin if you require additional lumens). There are some very good mirrors with integrated lighting but be careful of the colour temperature, often they are a very cold white that ruins the ambiance. JM
  • Set small LED lights in the skirting boards circuited on a motion sensor, which turn on when someone enters the bathroom in the middle of the night and turn off after a few minutes. This is both energy-saving and effective – a small amount of light goes a long way at night. SS
  • A bathroom should be bright for tasks, but no one wants to have a relaxing evening bath in bright white light so always make sure the bathroom lighting is dimmable. SS
  • Be mindful of safety. IP-rated fixtures should be used in zones 0, 1 and 2 in a bathroom. Zone 0 is inside the bath or shower itself. Any fitting used there must be low voltage (max 12V) and be rated IP67 or IP68 to be immersion proof. Zone 1 is the area above the bath or shower to a height of 2.25m from the floor. An IP65 rating is recommended. Zone 2 is an area stretching 0.6m outside the perimeter of the bath or wash basin and to a height of 2.25m from the floor. In these zones an IP rating of at least IP44 is required. JM

Phos – Renew

November 2, 2022, by masterSOSlogin

Phos is part of a family group of UK based engineering companies called The Cadisch Group, founded in 1883, spanning five generations.

Our deep understanding of metals has been passed down through generations, successfully demonstrated across multiple industries and sectors, including supply to the world’s most reputable aircraft and automotive brands, the Ministry of Defence and even gaining a Royal warrant.

This manufacturing experience combined with the latest LED technology allows us to create some of the most functional,customisable and beautifully crafted luminaires in the world.

For the past 12 years Phos has employed the principles of a circular economy in their manufacturing processes. They have always given an unlimited duty of care on all the components they manufacture. As a British manufacturer, they are supported by a local community of suppliers of services, components and products, thus reducing their overall carbon footprint. This also enables Phos to reduce delivery times, maintaining better control of their manufacturing process and most importantly, gives them the ability to easily repair or adapt fittings after installation, ensuring they preserve the planet’s vital resources.

Phos Logo

RLE (Replaceable Light Engine System)

November 1, 2022, by Lightgrpahix

Since our inception in 1979 we have been repairing and upgrading large and interior focused products. Repairing miniature exterior rated products on the other hand, has been more difficult and previously only involved re-using the bezel, disposing of the rest of the fitting.

To tackle the issue of material waste and circularity on our miniature fitting range, in 2019 we began designing our replaceable light engine solution.

The main challenge during development was ensuring high IP ratings were maintained, as our products are often used in harsh marine settings and over 40 years of experience has gone into our unique method of sealing them against water ingress.

In June 2022, after extensive testing, we launched our exterior rated RLE1 system across 15 products, with this number set to increase imminently. RLE1 joins the existing RLE2 and RLE3 systems, which have been available on our LD42, LD43 and miniature downlight range (LD71DR, LD71M, LD72DR, LD72M) for several years.

The system is an original and innovative design which provides customers with an unlimited ability to repair and upgrade LED fittings at any stage in their lifecycle, renewing them for decades, with minimal material waste as a result.

We are the first manufacturer to implement an innovation of this kind across a miniature range of exterior products, that maintain an IP67 rating.

All the systems are based on a single modular engine insert consisting of the LED and optic, which reduces project lead times and can be easily disassembled at the end of life for recycling.

Physical repairs and upgrades can be conducted onsite, removing the need to return the fitting to us to await repair and halving the shipping emissions associated with this.

Not only can RLE reduce waste at the end of a fitting’s life, but it also reduces waste generated through error, if an incorrect beam angle or colour temperature has been specified on a project.

Samples requests also benefit from reusing the same body and engine insert, simply swapping the optic to test different beam angles or the engine insert if various colour temperatures are required.

Tackling the miniature range is just the start of our RLE initiative and we look forward to continuing its integration across more product groups. With over 90% of our fittings repairable currently and most featuring similar RLE systems, we are swiftly working on the remaining 10%.

Initiative values

  1. Provides lifetime circularity to LightGraphix products
  2. Reduces material waste at different stages of the product lifecycle
  3. Provides customers with the flexibility to alter lit effect before, or at the end of life
  4. Offers the ability for our worldwide partners to stock inserts, reducing shipping emissions
  5. Cost effective replacement solution

Here at Light House Designs are very proud to partner with responsible manufacturers such as those with continued commitment to sustainability and reducing waste with an ethical approach which is aligned with our beliefs and our customers desires to ensure a sustainable future.

RLE Logo
Lightgrpahix Logo

Beautifully lit, for life

August 10, 2022, by Andrew Kilborn

What’s the problem?

The world has pressing environmental and societal problems, like pollution and global warming.

But the problem is much wider than this. We live in an increasingly unstable world caused by extreme inequality, both within individual countries, and, even more starkly, between the developed and developing world.

One important contributor to the problem is the single use of virgin materials.

The role of virgin materials

Most manufactured products use finite virgin materials such as copper or oil.

In developed countries we use virgin materials thoughtlessly. Our rampant single-use consumerism extracts virgin materials from the land and sea, which we then process into single-use products such as takeaway cartons or light fittings, before disposing them in recycling or landfill.

There is a huge environmental cost to this throwaway consumerism. And there is a further cost to developing countries. Virgin materials are scarce. Every time the developed world uses finite virgin materials, we drive up the price, making them less affordable, ultimately restricting the developing world’s ability to progress.

The extraction and processing of virgin materials is increasing inequalities across the world, as well as being perhaps the largest cause of environmental degradation.

How did we get here?

The race to become wealthier and satisfy immediate consumer needs has meant that we, in the developed world, have moved from a repair model to a short-term, throwaway consumer mentality.

We use a product once and then throw it away. This has suited manufacturers as well as consumers. Manufacturers like this linear throwaway manufacturing model as they can sell more products – made cheaply overseas – to consumers who are addicted to cheap sticker prices.

The problem is that the planet and poorer countries are paying the price.

The washing machine example

Consumers will often purchase a new washing machine, for example, based on a low sticker purchase price. Manufacturers then design to that price, producing models that won’t last as long, and aren’t easily repaired. We use the machine for a short period, say two to three years, then dispose of the product into landfill, before buying another equally throwaway replacement.

What is the circular model?

The circular model recognises that we must value virgin materials and not treat them as single-use materials.

In practice this means using less virgin materials when manufacturing products, but more importantly, designing products to last much longer, with spare parts and which are fully repairable.

The aim is that the materials have a longer life and that the materials re-enter the cycle when no longer needed, meaning we use less virgin materials.

In what way are Orluna’s products circular?

All Orluna products are circular:
– Less virgin materials in primary manufacture
– 20-year spare parts and repair
– End-of-life service where we take back fittings, repair and test returned products so that they can go back into standard stock.

We at Light House Designs are very proud to partner with responsible manufacturers such as those with continued commitment to sustainability and creating a circular economy within the lighting industry, this ethical approach is aligned with our beliefs and our customers desires to ensure a sustainable future.

Stop. Look around you…

October 21, 2021, by Guy Kornetzki

Although we have five fantastic senses, we tend to experience our environment mainly through our vision. And there is so much to see: your smartphone, the computer screen you are reading this on, the corridor you walk through, a billboard, a window display you passed, the pavement (watch that poop; why do dog owners not collect that!?), the person you are talking to, your phone (again), watch that cyclist!! (phew), your phone (again??)… our eyes are very busy from the moment we open them in the morning to the time we close them at night. But do you actually look around?? Really observe your surroundings?

For example, when was the last time you observed light?

Look outside – is it day or night? Can you see Sunlight or are the skies overcast? What is the difference in the type of daylight you see? Did you notice that direct sunlight produces strong, sharp shadows whereas overcast daylight produces very soft, diffused, evenly distributed light? That is why we refer to light during the daytime as daylight not just sunlight, because there can still be plenty of light even if the sun is hidden behind clouds.

And if the clouds are scattered, and there is some wind, I highly recommend you take time to look at how the daylight changes over time. How the sunlight morphs from direct (=cloudless/clear) to indirect (=cloud/overcast) and what it does to light as it hits various objects around you, for example trees or buildings or people. Make sure you notice both the light and its close companion, the shadow. Their relationship is the stuff of imagination and storytelling. And remember, this is not a series of finite states, of still pictures, but an ever-changing, constantly evolving action movie you are seeing.

And this is just during the daytime. Between day and night we have the joy of seeing a spectacular display of light that passes through three main stages: Dusk (transition between day to night), Twilight (time between day and night when there is still light outside, but the Sun is below the horizon) and Dawn (transition from night to day). There are also different states of Twilight depending on whether you are in the city, countryside or at sea that defines how dark the environment is. It is very interesting; I encourage you to look it up.

As you can see, daytime illumination offers so much to the willing observer, wait until we look at the magic of human-made, electrical light.

Consider some of the differences between daylight and electric light:

For example, think about illuminance (simply put = the perceived brightness of a space): is the daylight brighter or dimmer than electric light? Do you perceive your street to be bright or dim? What about your car interior – is it bright or dim? Have you ever looked out at night during a cloudless, full moon and marvelled at how bright it seems? It is fascinating to observe how little light we actually need to navigate our surroundings.

How about the colour of light? Daylight is confusingly very cool (blue) by definition (around 6500K CCT), whereas electric light, certainly in domestic environments, is usually perceived as warm (around 2700K CCT or below). Recent research has reiterated for us that the colour of light (or its Spectral Distribution to be precise) does impact our wellbeing, so very broadly speaking we are “energised” by cool white light and “relaxed” by warm white light.

What about direction of light? Where is the electric light coming from: ABOVE (e.g ceiling downlights, spotlights or pendant) SIDES (e.g wall light) or BELOW (e.g in-ground uplight or floor light)? Daylight originates above us, in the sky, though you could also argue that because daylight gets reflected by everything around us, the cumulative effect is omni-directional (=multi-directional). The direction of the light will impact how objects are perceived, and instinctively create a certain mood or perception based on our evolution. For example, uplighting is often dramatic (think campfire or old scary movies) whereas wall lights are typically quite warm and reassuring (because we can see faces more clearly).

Observing the world around us is a key part of what we do at Light House Designs. It guides our choices, informs our decisions, not to mention inspires us. From the dapple effect of sunshine passing through a tree, to the warm glow of a fireplace and the countless stars in the skies. There is so much to see, if we just stop, and look around.

Are you a Control Freak??

September 7, 2021, by Guy Kornetzki

Some people prefer to cruise through life without a care in the world; “don’t sweat the small stuff” they say, “chillax”… whereas others need to have a tight handle on every, single detail of every, single thing. And you? Somewhere along that scale, I imagine.

Lighting control is quite similar – there is a range of options to choose from depending on your preference, budget, the size of the lighting installation and its technical complexity. And yes, it also depends on how much control you want to have: little / some / complete control. So I ask again: are you a control freak?

For simplicity, let us divide lighting control solutions into two main categories: manual and automated.

Largely speaking, manual lighting control will involve a switch that operates lights. It may be a dimmable switch (to increase and decrease the brightness) and it may control more than one light fitting. But that is pretty much the extent of functionality we get – the lights come on and go off. Very simple.

By contrast, an automated lighting control system will have more components including some sort of “brain” which will do most of the control work in the background for us. All we need to do is press a button to recall the settings. Also, simple. The reason for having the “brain” is because there can be a whole lot of things that happen in the background, both relating to lighting as well as integrating with other systems, so the automated lighting control system becomes essential to simplify the operation for us.

There are no hard and fast rules about when to use one lighting control solution verses another, however from our experience you might want to ask yourself the following questions as a guide:

  • Do you want lights to dim in each space or are you happy for just on/off operation?
    • Dimming has many great advantages however there are instances where it may not be necessary.
  • Are there any special lighting features in your project, for example colour-changing or sequencing lights (=two or more lights operating in a pre-defined pattern)?
    • An automated system is likely to optimise such features and make them easier to operate and enjoy.
  • How many lighting circuits are in each space and across the project?
    • Large circuit count often makes manual control cumbersome, ineffective and unsightly. Even 4x lighting circuits in a space may be too much for manual control.
  • How many floors and rooms are there in your project?
    • Large projects often benefit from an automated system because it centralises control. This makes it easier to control multiple spaces (with multiple circuits as above) with a touch of a button, for example being able to turn off all the lights when you leave the house.
  • Do you want certain “smart” options such as to control lighting from a wireless device (like your phone or tablet), incorporate motion detection and astronomical time-clock or for the lighting to interact with other systems?
    • Only an automated system can offer such additional functionality, including integration with other systems such as AV (=audio/visual), security, temperature control etc.

There is a lot to think about, and one solution rarely fits all, so we talk with our clients through their thought process to better understand what is truly needed.

We are often asked for “simple” lighting control, because in truth life is complicated enough sometimes. However, if certain functionality is needed then an automated system may end up being the simple solution because it is the right solution. In our experience, “simple” is sometimes a reaction to a negative experience with an automated control installation in a previous home or workplace. And the root of the negative experience can be varied, for example: over-specifying a system that ends up being too complicated and ill-suited for its purpose; poor setting up during the commissioning period; poor handover – not taking sufficient time to explain and teach the client how to use the system.

The projects we are invited to work on at Light House Designs are a mix of both manual and automated control solutions, and they may not split as obviously as you might expect.

For example, we have some very large private country houses, with multiple floors and rooms including sizeable external spaces which suggest the use of an automated lighting control system. However, some of those are entirely manually controlled. A considered selection of non-dim and dimmed switches are located in particular places to control rooms, corridors, staircases and the exterior lighting.

By contrast, we also have a much smaller, dual-level city project comprising an open-plan living/dining/kitchen, master bedroom with dressing room and bathroom. Such a contained space is unlikely to have a large circuit count and therefore lends itself to a manual system. However, the client asked for an automated control system because of its added benefits.

So, whether you are a control freak or not, hopefully you will not freak-out by lighting control anymore.

About Collaboration

August 15, 2021, by Guy Kornetzki

Once upon a time, there was a boy; he was young and quite a lot shorter than most kids, but he was clever, kind and had lots of friends.

One day a parade came to town and all the people ran to the main road to watch. The boy ran there too, but when he got to the road, he realised he was stuck behind all the taller people and could not see a thing.

So, the boy called his friends and asked them for help; one brought a large basket, another a long rope and the third took them all to his house which had a walled garden with a tall tree right by the main road.

Together they tied one side of the rope to the basket, and the other side they flung across one of the tree’s strong branches. The little boy climbed into the basket, his friends pulled the rope together, and the basket went up the tree. The boy could watch the parade over the fence whilst sitting comfortably in the basket. Later, the friends took turns in the basket, so they all enjoyed watching the parade.

* * *

There are many forms of collaboration all around us; between countries, between companies and of course between individuals. We also know that there are wonderful examples of collaboration in nature too, between animals and even plants.

A construction project is a great example of collaboration; the client wants to build something, but they do not know how, so they contact an architect. The architect designs the shell of the building and in doing so contacts various specialists to collaborate on different aspects of the design, for example; structural engineers, mechanical and electrical engineers etc. The client also wants to design the interiors, so they contact an interior designer. The interior designer considers each space in terms of the walls, the floors and the ceilings as well as the furniture. As part of their design, they contact a lighting designer to design the lighting scheme. The lighting designer will consider the building’s exterior shell and interiors, the furniture, the mood etc and will contact various lighting manufacturers to understand more about their light fittings and what would best suit the project.

All these professionals, and more, are referred to as the design team, and once they have agreed on the design for the building, they contact the construction team.

The main contractor, even if a large and capable company, will contact various sub-contractors to offer specialist building knowledge in various trades that may be required to make the design a reality.

A building site is another excellent example of collaboration: lots of people from different places gathering and bringing their different skills in order to realise the design put together by the designers, who in turn crystallised the vision and dreams of the client. One could not work without the other and even if they could, the result would not be half as good as it is through the contact and collaboration of all these people.

At Light House Designs, we place great value on collaboration; internally we enjoy sharing ideas, suggestions, thoughts and experiences. Externally we value our collaboration with our many partners – designers, architects, engineers, installers, manufacturers and of course our clients. You can see some of them on Our Collaborators’ page on the website. We learn and grow from all these interactions to become better designers and better collaborators.

Why do I need a lighting designer?

July 7, 2021, by Guy Kornetzki

Congratulations, you are starting to work on a construction project. This could be anything – a house, an office building, a shop or a restaurant, and in any case, it is going to be amazing!

Who are you?

You might be a professional, a business owner or a homeowner; you might have a personal investment in the project, or you may be appointed to it by someone else. Regardless, there is going to be a lot that needs to be done in order to make your project a reality. You will need help.

The A-Team

You will need to put together a team to help you realise your project.
For example, you are likely to need a contractor to build your project. They will need to know a vast amount of information about what to build, where to put it, what to make it out of etc so you are going to need a professional team to advise (design) that for you. That is usually an architect or an interior designer depending on the project. In addition, there may be a need for additional input from other professionals regarding planning permission, structural, electrical and mechanical engineering and (if you are lucky) landscape design, audio-visual etc.
You might be thinking – “that sounds like a lot of people to pay, and it all adds up!”. You are right, but in order to do things properly, and only once without having to pay more money for fixing problems, it is worth it. Besides, you may not need all these people all the time.

What about a lighting designer?

“Thanks, I’m already paying all these people, I don’t need another designer. I’ll get one of the people I’m already paying to do this too.”
Sounds reasonable, certainly sounds cheaper, but is it right?? A lighting designer is a specialist profession; it requires the perfect combination of creativity, highly skilled technical knowledge, project management and people skills. There are many factors to consider about how to light a space both qualitative and quantitative, spatial, visual and psychological. There are countless light fittings to consider, each with numerous related components to specify to make it all work.
Therefore, as you are unlikely to get a decorator to design your furniture or a doctor to check your car, why ask an electrical contractor or an architect to design your lighting scheme!?

Good lighting design has many benefits, and a professional, independent lighting designer is the best choice to help you realise them all. It starts with enhancing the space and everything inside it after dark (why buy expensive floors, paints and furniture if they are not lit properly?), but there is so much more to it.


Recent research has shown that light has a profound effect on our bodies. Getting it right has never been so important for our physical and emotional sense of well-being. A professional lighting designer will be up to date on the latest technologies to advise you.

Cost saving: lower your energy bills

It is much more than simply “energy saving bulbs in your cupboard”. A holistic approach that considers fittings, controls and how you use your space can have a real impact on your bill. This is especially true if you have an old property. A professional lighting designer will assess your space, learn your needs and provide expert advice based on a multitude of factors to offer the most suitable solutions.


Your space can be so much more with the right light! Focused and productive, relaxed and cosy, inspirational and meditative, fun and crazy?! All of this and more. It can be achieved with lighting, and we have plenty of ideas for you to choose from.

Working from home

Whether a spare room turned home office or a state-of-the-art back garden GCHQ, the right lighting is essential to get you productive and at the top of your game.

Professional, independent

Years of knowledge and experience are put in service of your project. We call upon many different lighting suppliers across the world to find the most suitable products on a budget that is right for you.


Our initial quote is free-of-charge, so you have an idea of how much our fees are likely to be. On a project, we charge hourly and only for time spent, plus we have different rates for different levels of designer, not a blanket charge. Most importantly we offer a flexible and tailor-made approach to suit your needs.

So why do you need a lighting designer? Because it is the right thing to do for yourself, your project and your investment.

A Light Bulb Moment!

June 10, 2021, by Henry Li

Bulbs, not the kind you plant in the garden but light bulbs or lamps.

With recent climate change legislations announcements hitting the news, the ban on sale of halogen lights is to be enforced by 2023 within the UK, it is now time to understand their alternatives.

The professional lighting industry currently drives LED technology, pushing for better performing lights in terms of energy efficiency and physical lighting attributes. This however does not always immediately transcend down into the consumer market and LED lamps for retro fitting within our homes.

Within the consumer market there are plethora of lighting lamp manufacturers, brands, re-sellers and distributors each with their own specification of LED lamps, and each with pros and cons. The unregulated or standardised market for LED lamps creates a huge variety of lamps in all shapes, sizes, costs and importantly specification, this can often become a minefield in selecting the right lamp for the right job and it is down to the detail.

Here are some key points to look out for on LED lamps:

  • Lamp base & type – Is the lamp GU10, MR16, E27, B22, G9?
    Making sure you have the correct lamp base and lamp type to fit the application. Many a times as lighting designers we have seen E27 PAR lamps, a directional, controlled beam reflector lamp used in decorative shaded light or an E27 GLS lamp, typical an omni globe lamp used within an accent spotlight.
  • Colour temperature – What colour tone of light do you require?
    Measured on the Kelvin scale ranging anywhere between 1500K warm candlelight, through to 6000K+ cool direct sunlight. The colour temperature plays a huge part in the visual aesthetic of an environment. Warmer 2700K – 3000K would typically be used for a cosy home environment, whilst a cooler 4000K could be used in a working environment.
  • Colour rendering – How accurately does the light depict the physical colours of an object or artwork?
    Measured on a colour rendering index (CRI) between 0-100 Ra, with 15 sample colours. Often in many LED products, the R9 value which represents the red value, is lower than desired and hence the light source fails to reproduce red tones. Aim to buy lamps with CRI 90+ with high a R9 value 80+
  • Colour consistency – How many lamps are seen in situ together?
    Not all lamps are created the same, the standard deviation in colour matching (SDCM or MacAdams ellipses) determines the number deviation steps along the black body locus. Even when two lamps state they are 2700K, the ‘colour and appearance’ can differ. Select lamps with a lower number of MacAdams ellipses to minimise the difference.
  • Dimming – Is the light dimmable?
    Not every application requires dimming, but if you are replacing lamps in a circuit that was previously dimmable, you will want to ensure the new LED lamps are also dimmable. A dimmable lighting circuit can help dramatically changing the atmosphere and use of a space. Also benefiting from potential energy savings and prolonged lamp life.
  • Compatible dimming – Will it dim effectively?
    When opting for dimmable lamps, check its compatibility with your existing dimmer control. Older rotary dimmers that worked with traditional lamp sources like halogen, operated with leading edge dimming. Many modern LED lamps will favour trailing edge dimming so ensure your dimmers are up to date. Each lamp manufacturer will use different LEDs, electronic components and drivers so they all perform very differently, always check with the manufacturer or distributor.

For more information on how we can help with your home and commercial environment, please get in touch at, or