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A Must-See Designer Project: The Luxury of Self-Expression Through the Use of Natural & Artificial Lighting

A Must-See Designer Project: The Luxury of Self-Expression Through the Use of Natural & Artificial Lighting

HTA Resource Content

The following article highlights a high-design luxury MDU in Austin Texas where control of natural and electric light is used as a way to make the home more inviting, relaxing, invigorating, and unique through the use of Lutron lighting and shading controls and Ketra lighting fixtures.

The Seaholm Waterfront Development in is an adaptive re-use project that merges a piece of Austin, Texas history with modern urban life. Repurposed from a historic, art-deco style power plant into a destination retail and luxury housing complex, the Seaholm Residences capture Austin's unique vibe. At the top of this eclectic building is a penthouse with views of the vibrant downtown skyline on one side, and Austin’s treasured Ladybird Lake on the other. Interior designer Merrill Alley of Urbanspace Interiors selected Lutron lighting, shades, and controls to create a space that is as richly layered as the personality and experiences of the owner who calls this sophisticated unit home.

Design Goals

  1. Reflect the owner's dual-culture upbringing with a design that blends Eastern Zen with provocative, Western   characteristics
  2.  Foster a sense of well-being with light, harmonizing natural daylight and indoor light
  3.  Incorporate the concept of time as a design element to create a dynamic space that changes with its owner’s moods     and preferences
  4.  Highlight unique moments and experiences throughout the home with personalized lighting scenes
“Lutron and Ketra are all about personalization. It allows the homeowners to curate their environment and have these special moments: dial in the light for the artwork, the materials, the moods that they want to create — no matter what time of day.” - Merrill Alley, Principal, Urbanspace

Can fitting out a condo match the personalization that comes with building a custom single-family residence? That was one challenge designers sought to resolve, as the owner’s most recent design experience was building a standalone residence in the suburbs. While floor-to-ceiling windows offered coveted penthouse views, they also meant excess glare and heat gain from the sweltering Texas sun – which would need to be mitigated. Finally, the homeowner wanted the latest home automation technology without any visible system infrastructure— the required system elements would need to be discreetly integrated into the space.

The Solution
Having a client who understood the power of light for transforming space and mood was a spectacular opportunity for the designers to execute a grand vision for each layer of light. Recessed downlights provide general illumination and focused art lighting throughout the space, linear fixtures within ceiling coves provide accent light, and a variety of lamps and slim, linear accent lights offer task lighting for reading, working, and food prep. Layered together, these applications of Ketra lighting fixtures create rich tiers of color and texture, while remaining discreet and harmonious with the overall design. To complete her vision, Alley selected Lutron’s Palladiom shades, Palladiom wall controls and Lutron's HomeWorks control system to automate them. This combination was the perfect solution to not only highlight special materials and control the balance of natural and indoor light, but also to create personalized lighting scenes. 

A Material Transformation
With prior Ketra lighting design experience, Alley was familiar with the light source’s ability to enhance materials and textiles in a way that other lighting fixtures cannot. In the guest shower, the colorful mosaic tile was treated as artwork: recessed linear lighting evenly washes the installation with light, allowing its color and pattern to transform.  

pic:Bathroom_SeaholmPH_Mosaic.jpg pk:398 alt:None

In the living room, velvet statement chairs in a deep purple hue were also transformed by lighting choices, presenting as either a moody almost-black shade or a warm violet, depending on the setting.  

The white marbled primary bathroom perfectly reflects the tonalities of white light with four custom lighting scenes that change the stone’s appearance: A warm, candlelit scene at 1600K* (Kelvin) for relaxation, a “Vanity Evening” scene at 2000K, a “Vanity Day” scene to start the morning at 4200K and “Energize”, a bright, cool white, at 6000K. 

Shaping Natural Light
To solve the window wall challenges, Alley selected motorized Lutron Palladiom shades with Clear Anodized hardware to pair with the rest of the space’s luxe finishes. She opted for a timeless fabric—Basketweave 90 3% opacity in Oyster/Pearl Grey to ensure that the expansive views remain visible even when the shades are down. Scheduled to raise and lower based on where the sun falls throughout the course of the day, Palladiom motorized shades create a comfortable, natural light environment at all times, while protecting valuable furnishings and art from damaging UV rays.

Light that Sets the Mood
Creating a completely custom environment is the ultimate goal of luxury home technology, and no detail was overlooked in making the living experience in this home one of round-the-clock comfort and wellbeing. During daylight hours, Ketra’s Natural Show keeps the homeowner in harmony with the rhythms of natural sunlight. For example, the lighting is calibrated to mimic the rising sunlight at dawn. Enveloping the homeowner in the warm glow of a sunrise, even while inside, is a small touch that transforms an everyday experience like reading the news over morning tea into a simple pleasure.  

With pre-defined settings such as Entertain and Relax, the lighting’s color temperature, intensity, and vibrancy are all dialed exactly to the homeowner’s liking.  For entertaining, warm ambient lighting helps set the mood for an intimate meal, and saturated color accent lights create a festive mood for parties. When it’s time to unwind, the primary bath features a standout elevated soaking tub that becomes a luxurious retreat at the touch of a button. 

Universal Control that's Powerful and Easy 

While Ketra lighting and Palladiom shades offer visual complement to the design, functional components are discreetly contained in the Lutron HomeWorks QSX control system. Changes in lights, shades, and temperature are perfectly orchestrated behind the scenes.  

Control comes in three ways with Lutron systems. First, custom scenes and automated schedules can be pre-set to the owner’s daily routine, changing automatically based on the time of day. Second, the space can be manually changed at the touch of a button on the glass Palladiom wall keypads. Third, in-the-moment adjustments can also be made whether at home or away with the Lutron app. HomeWorks isn’t limited to setting the lights and shades, either. Sound system integration adds music control, creating a fully immersive experience of light and sound on demand.

Lutron and Ketra deliver the luxury of self-expression with beautiful light, intelligent shades, and powerful controls all working together to create harmony between natural and electric light. Custom pre-set lighting scenes delivered via sleek fixtures and discreet controls enrich the appearance of carefully chosen materials and prized personal possessions. This ultimate combination of design and technology enables its occupants to authentically reflect their experiences and who they are as people throughout their entire living space. Lutron and Ketra installation by Service Tech in Cedar Park, TX.

Are you a designer looking to level-up lighting and shades on a luxury project? Our dedicated team of A&D consultants and custom integrators are here to help. Start exploring our endless palette of fabrics, finishes, and luxury residential solutions at

* Degrees in Kelvin is used to define the color temperature of light. Lower numbers (such as 1600K) are very ‘warm’ such as candlelight, whereas higher numbers (such as 6000K) are ‘cool’ white, much like natural light is at mid-day.

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