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An Artistic Use of Dramatic Lighting

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An Artistic Use of Dramatic Lighting

This 7,500-square-foot Lake Winnebago home nicknamed "The Retreat" is an example of how significant an impact dramatic lighting can have on a home's aesthetic

By James F. McClister and Walker Custom Homes May 24, 2023
An Artistic Use of Dramatic Lighting

With a median listing home price of just under one million dollars, Lake Winnebago in Missouri is no stranger to luxury homes. The premier lake community has benefitted from the recent expansion of the lake, which “made it 50% larger with a state-of-the-art new dam and spillway,” according to the City. The area boasts a combination of rural and upscale living.

So it comes as little surprise that this was the location chosen for one of Walker Custom Homes’ crown jewels. Affectionately referred to as “The Retreat,” this newly built (May 2022) 7,500-square-foot lakefront home represents a crossroads of contemporary charm and dramatic architectural styling.

walker custom home project at Lake Winnebago

walker custom home living room with large fireplace
The Retreat is a 7,500 square foot lakefront property with four bedrooms, four full and two half bathrooms, a 26-foot ceiling in the main room, and a bevy of unique lighting systems on both the interior and exterior.
Image: Walker Custom Homes

Walking through the front door, you are immediately greeted with a 26-foot ceiling in the main living room, along with a soaring 11-foot metal linear fireplace. But it is only when you look down to the floor that you see the first of many striking lighting features that are found throughout the home, defining the unique architectural elements.

On the foyer floor is artistic pathway lighting in the form of 3000K Trulux Canvas LED sheets backlighting quartz from American Lighting. Developed for backlighting semi-transparent architectural features on floors, walls and even countertops, Trulux Canvas LED Sheets are available in 12-inch by 24-inch sheets that can be cut to size at the jobsite to achieve a perfect fit. 

3000K Trulux Canvas LED sheets in a custom home
The 3000K Trulux Canvas LED sheets on the foyer floor include built-in spacers to help lift the material a half-inch off the light sheet for a leveled and diffused effect.
Image: Walker Custom Homes

It’s worth noting that the Trulux Canvas LED Sheets can be ordered in Tunable White, which provides correlated color temperature, or CCT, from 2700K to 6000K, a full spectrum from warm to cool light, making it ideal for custom design. The product provides a 50,000-hour performance and a five-year limited warranty. Each tunable light sheet can deliver up to 900 lumens per square foot. 

Jason Walker, founder and principal of Walker Custom Homes, says that he chose an array of products from American Lighting in order to create a memorable, inspired environment unlike anything else seen in the area. 

unique lighting fixtures used in custom home in lake winnebago
Above are just a few of the overhead lighting fixtures chosen for The Retreat.
Image: Walker Custom Homes

“We used artistic lighting creatively throughout the home to accent many of our unique architectural features in order to both amaze and welcome guests,” said Walker, who in 2008 founded Walker Custom Homes, a full-service home builder based in Lee’s Summit, Missouri, that offers a wide range of customizable services.

One of those unique architectural features is a second-floor floating metal staircase with wood treads. Each 4-inch oak wood tread is routed out for added visual effect and track lighting runs 40-plus feet up through metal tubing. 

under stair lighting in a custom home in lake winnebago
Although an arguably striking feature in and of itself, Walker chose to accentuate the floating staircase with under-stairway step plank lighting in the form of 3000K COB tape lighting, also from American Lighting.
Image: Walker Custom Homes

 The COB tape light features uniform illumination without the need for additional diffused covers or accessories. Its seamless COB design eliminates virtually all LED dotting, which made it an ideal solution for areas with low clearance or reflective surfaces. The tape light’s output ranges from 349 to 460 lumens per foot and is cuttable every 1.97 inches with 16.4-foot maximum run for custom applications. In addition, the tape lights have the flexibility to adjust color temps from 2700K to 6000K, creating millions of color possibilities with greater brightness and overall color saturation to create elegant lighting that caters to different times of the day or various applications.

kitchen and interior lighting in a custom home

under-cabinet lighting in a kitchen in a custom home in lake winnebago
Because of the tape lighting's design and placement, virtually all spot glared was eliminated. 
Image: Walker Custom Homes

There is no shortage of natural light in The Retreat. Still, Walker felt strongly that additional illumination was necessary to spotlight various features throughout the home and create a “true modern lakefront retreat with a cozy, welcoming atmosphere.

walker custom homes windows and natural daylight

walker custom home bedroom with natural lighting

walker custom home with plenty of windows for natural light
While The Retreat features plenty of lighting systems, it also boasts ample natural daylight. There are 132 windows throughout the 7,500-square-foot structure.
Image: Walker Custom Homes

Highlights of other areas of the home where lighting was used creatively to create an idyllic setting include:

  • Canvas lighting was used under quartzite countertops and underneath vanities in all six bathrooms. In the master bath, tape lights were used above the backsplash and in recessed areas within the shower stall.
  • Tape lights were used over the kitchen stove and cabinets, beneath the fireplace pedestal, and throughout the master bedroom (specifically around the bed pedestal and on the ceiling above the bed) to provide added brilliance and drama.

walker custom homes wine room in a custom home in lake winnebago
In the wine room, warm dim downlit technology provides the glow and ambience of traditional incandescent lighting while highlighting the 12-foot-tall custom-built metal wine racks.
Image: Walker Custom Homes

walker custom homes home theater in lake winnebago custom home
Spektrum+, which was used in the home's theater room, offers Bluetooth mesh technology to help further streamline lighting applications throughout the home, making smart lighting control easier.
Image: Walker Custom Homes

  • Voice-controlled Spektrum+ smart lighting products were used throughout the major entertainment areas, including the state-of-the-art theater room and wine room. 
  • Channel lighting with unique build outs was used in the home theater. For added special effect, custom black glass was cut and illuminated to create lighted space in the walls. The lighting includes Spektrum RGB + with tunable CCT tape light to provide the ultimate option in color changing RGB linear LED technology. With RGBTW, consumers have a virtually unlimited RGB palette of color combinations along with the ability to adjust true white light ranging from 2700K up to 6000K. The intense color saturation, transition effects, and fade to white lighting effects delivers limitless color combinations, with a 50,000-hours performance life.

walker custom homes custom bar with back lighting
Backlit walls behind the custom bar are also highlighted with tape lighting.
Image: Walker Custom Homes

The attention to detail was not just reserved for the inside of the home. Just outside the home is an outdoor oasis with a sprawling patio, infinity-edge swimming pool, a custom concrete poolside table, two outdoor fireplaces, a custom hot tub, small basketball court and an outdoor kitchen. To help illuminate the area, draw attention to all these extraordinary features and guide people down the path to a 20X30-foot covered dock, Walker’s team again turned to American Lighting, which supplied LED strip lighting along walkway paths.     

walker custom home exterior backyard
Lighting was used throughout the homes exterior to keep areas and pathways well lit around the clock. 
Image: Walker Custom Homes

“There are many beautiful homes around Lake Winnebago, but I would venture to say that none of them are quite like this one,” said Walker. “A lot of effort and imagination went into making this a distinctive home with features that you just don’t see every day. From the moment you walk through the door, you know this home is different. I credit American Lighting with helping our team to carefully orchestrate illumination to bring out the very best of the home’s many special features and bring this Artisan space together. I am excited that we were able to do so many unique things just with lighting.”

Project: The Retreat 

Builder: Walker Custom Homes

Architect: Viewpoint Residential Design

Location: Lake Winnebago, Mo

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