Thursday, July 20, 2017  



Lighting By Design: Painting with Light

By Deb Weissler

If you’re like most of us, you work during the day. Depending on the seasons, you may arrive home after dark or with lingering twilight fading to gray. Even with the long days of summer it isn’t long before evening descends and you are turning on the lights, casting shadows into the various rooms of your home and out into the garden.

Lighting your home and yard is one of those things that you don’t always notice until the lighting is poor and you are trying to perform a task, or the mood created isn’t quite what you envisioned for the space. Then you notice it immediately.


Lighting is one of the key elements that helps make your house a home. Proper lighting enables you to perform tasks easily, makes you feel safer and more comfortable, and allows you to enjoy your home to its full potential. Lighting creates ambiance, aesthetics, and sets the mood in your personal space. With a bewildering array of lighting options on the market today, that’s where a design expert can shed light on your home.

Linda, a native Richmonder and graduate of Longwood College, began her career in the San Francisco Bay area, but came home and opened ‘Lighting By Design’ more than a decade ago,  filling homes, gardens, and one-of-a-kind spaces that stand out from all the rest. More light isn’t necessarily better light and Linda’s background in interior design and lighting design has given her keen insight into what it takes to make your personal space shine.

Whether it’s the perfect front door entrance lantern or lighting for the entire home, Linda’s design expertise guarantees her customers are going to enjoy the lighting for a long, long time.

“I always try to get into the heads of new clients and find out what’s most important to them and how they live,” Linda explains. “I have found through the years that builders and homeowners alike really want their lighting to look good, both from a sales perspective and from pride of ownership.” That’s where a trained lighting expert’s talents can be worth the extra expense.

Linda is quick to point out that one of the biggest mistakes people make is that they buy something they see and when they get it home it just doesn’t mesh with their décor. You can mix some styles successfully but it all has to relate—otherwise you’ll be out shopping for something else that may or may not work.

“Many of the design and DIY shows on TV have made folks more aware of what can be done and give clients ideas they may not have come up with on their own, which is fine,” cautions Linda, but “sometimes those ideas just don’t make sense. Part of my job is to educate the client. You can like a wide variety of styles but you must narrow it down to what fits into your environment. My job is to make it all work together, which takes design, planning, trust, and team work.”

For interior lighting, the kitchen is the No.1 room in the house that requires perfect lighting. A combination of ambient and task lighting—recessed, under-cabinet, and pendants on separate dimmers are key to a successful kitchen design. The kitchen is, after all, the heart of the home; a place family and guests should find warm and inviting.

Linda purchases all kinds of lighting—chandeliers, sconces, recessed, pendants, track lighting, even vintage pieces when she can locate them, from a variety of sources.

“I’m a strong believer in and supporter of local business. As far as I’m concerned, local residents and businesses should buy locally whenever they can and use local designers. It all comes back to you in so many good ways.”

Transitional style is popular at the moment—a blending of traditional with cleaner lines in neutral finishes. “I recently installed a beautiful transitional four foot crystal fixture in a two-story foyer of a Grove Avenue traditional home. Stunning! Folks are starting to get a little more daring when looking for a change.” All of that spells exciting challenges for a designer.

When it comes to exterior lighting, this is one area that is often neglected by both builders and homeowners. More is not better and a little wattage goes a long way. Light pollution is endemic in many areas and the goal is to be subtle and enhancing, not harsh or glaring.

“I use 20 or 35 watt MR16 lamps or 7 watt LED lamps for both up and down lighting,” Linda points out. “I also use lenses and egg crate louvers to control glare. 50 watts are used to illuminate tall trees. Pathway lights lined up like tin soldiers are a no-no. We’re not trying to light up a runway!”

For clients with budgets that can support custom lighting fixtures, Linda has developed her own line of exterior fixtures made in Richmond that have been received with great success. Constructed of copper with solid brass fittings, her custom fixtures weather beautifully.

“If you are going to spend hard earned money on a project, don’t you want the very best products for a reasonable cost?” Linda asks. “Of course there is always a budget of some kind for 98% of my clients. My main concerns, however, are to solve clients’ lighting problems and create a vision of what the space should be like. I love happy clients!”

From small intimate spaces to grand backyard makeovers, no job is too small or too large for this talented designer. A small urban courtyard may require fewer than a dozen lights, with small concealed lights tucked away in the cross members of a gazebo or pergola to create a magical space for entertaining. Pool areas are transformed for evening swims when properly lit by subtle accent lighting.

“I love creating a scene as in a painting. I love the term “painting with light”. And as with all talented artists, Linda tackles each project with panache.

From coast to coast Linda has executed lighting designs for a variety of clientele budgets. One year her work earned her a win in Hadco Lighting’s annual contest where photos of her work were featured in their catalogue. With iPhones and laptops just fingertips away, distance is no longer an issue.

“I am very fortunate to be in a career that not only sustains me but has brought so many fantastic people into my life. It gives me great pleasure to beautify someone’s environment with gorgeous lighting!” Linda’s many satisfied clients will heartily agree.

You can visit ‘Lighting by Design’s display booth at the Design Center of Richmond, 19S Belmont Avenue, Richmond, VA, on Linda’s website at www.lightingbydesignvirginia.com, and on Facebook.