Paul Nulty Lighting Design Complete Residential Lighting Project


Nestled on the edge of London’s Hampstead Heath where the home of John Lewis once stood is a recently refurbished home perfect for socialising and relaxing, which integrates a creative yet functional lighting scheme designed by Paul Nulty Lighting Design (PNLD).

The owners purchased the detached house to downsize from their countryside home. Though the couple were moving into a smaller property, they did not want to sacrifice a feeling of generous space. The clients wanted a home for both entertaining and relaxing, complete with a lighting scheme that would open up the space and make it multi-functional.

PNLD was appointed when refurbishment of the property began in March 2012. The lighting design practice has fulfilled the clients’ brief through a mixture of ambient, accent and feature lighting, all delivered within a conservative budget. The lighting’s main goal is to create a bright interior with design practicality, mobility, longevity and maintainability.



Providing overall illumination for each interior space, ambient lighting includes a mix of low-energy LEDs, fluorescent and incandescent lamps. Lighting is predominantly integrated into troughs and niches in the floors and the walls, due to the difficulty of attaching lighting to the concrete ceilings.

“One of the key challenges of the space was the solid (and low) ceilings. We wanted the space to feel bright and airy but there was limited opportunity to locate anything within the soffits. This led us to work in very close collaboration with the architects to integrate lighting within walls, floors and joinery. These small details each add to the overall ambient illumination” explains head of practice Paul Nulty.

Such details include LED lighting incorporated into shelving, walls, under steps and behind mirrors all of which add to the overall composition and boost illuminance levels.


To achieve bright light levels during the day, PNLD incorporated greater artificial lighting in the areas of the house where natural light is more prominent. This paradox ensures lighting levels are balanced and reinforce the natural light, preventing spaces from feeling gloomy. Some incandescent lighting is used in the living and dining areas to create a warmer, domestic atmosphere.


Accent and feature lighting elements are also used throughout the house. A key feature is a bespoke fibre-optic chandelier hung in the main foyer within the barrel vault ceiling. The chandelier is mounted on a winch so that it can be brought down in one piece for easy maintenance. The barrel vault itself is illuminated with a concealed cove detail that gives the appearance of the wall ‘peeling’ away. This cleverly uplights the vault, providing ambient illumination and negating the need for any visible luminaires.


Additionally, an integrated artwork and lighting scheme was installed throughout the ground floor space, complete with a wall-mounted railing to hold paintings as well as spot lights to highlight the owners’ prized art collection.

The master bedroom is divided into three areas by wardrobes that act as partition walls: bedroom, dressing room and bathroom. Angled ceilings give the room a unique, non-traditional look and feel, but posed a challenge in making it difficult to light the room evenly. PNLD developed different lighting schemes for each area which included feature chandeliers, catering the light quality to reinforce the zoning and use of each space, with bright, functional lighting in the bathroom and soft lighting in the bedroom.

Flexibility of light was an important element throughout the house to support the multi-functional use of spaces. PNLD specified a dynamic control system, which allows the client to completely customise lighting in each room.

Nulty continues “Having to work collaboratively with the design team is always pleasing, particularly when it results in a seamless integration of light and architecture. We’ve delivered a solution that is flexible yet intimate, low-energy but of high light quality and we have a very happy client. “

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