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04-12-21 | Feature

Illuminating a Legacy

Crazy Critters Cabin
by Landscape Lighting by Gleam Electrical and Lighting Design

The installation of luminaires for the landscaping and residence of this 125-acre property in Camby, Indiana provide elegance, functionality, and security. Gleam Electrical and Lighting Design highlighted key features, creating a bridge of light from one space to another. The subtle ambience allows for the desirable amount of light without the extreme use of light fixtures. A welcoming challenge for the lighting design team was to highlight the attached silo structure on the side of the home. Wanting to evenly illuminate the top of the dome, the team considered the best angles and distance to allow for a 10% beam spread that would reach the dome but not spill onto the adjacent features.
The front gate is the heart of the property and the team felt the need to properly illuminate it to highlight its importance. The gate frame is galvanized steel and black powder coated. Representing a symbol of homestead, the tree is made of thick Corten Steel and the leaves are a galvanized steel with pewter coating. By core drilling into the driveway beneath the gate, lighting was installed just below the surface to evenly light the gate and eliminate glare for vehicles driving through. The gate columns are granite stone blocks from New York mines and add an element of texture. A natural prairie look was intended through the use of various native grasses and trees that do not require irrigation.
The existing aluminum windmill with 12" blades was uplit as a focal point of the property and to provide a bridge of light between the front entry gate and residence. Painted on the windmill's rudder is the family's name for the property, "Crazy Critters Cabin".
An outdoor living space around a custom built 12' wide firepit was defined by lighting the surrounding river birch and conifer trees. Ground luminaires reaching the upper peaks and gables uplight and frame the roof lines. Over 250 lights were incorporated throughout the property including gooseneck fixtures attached to the house.
To provide the rustic, prairie feel desired, 38 6" x 6" x 42" hand crafted Corten Steel bollards made by Gleam were spaced around the home with a custom leaf pattern that ties into the landscape. A combination of cobblestone and other materials, including Unilock pavers, adds texture and interest.
To provide the rustic, prairie feel desired, 38 6" x 6" x 42" hand crafted Corten Steel bollards made by Gleam were spaced around the home with a custom leaf pattern that ties into the landscape. A combination of cobblestone and other materials, including Unilock pavers, adds texture and interest.

When the owners of this modern farmhouse estate in Camby, Indiana were thinking of the overall architecture and landscaping, they didn't want to hire a fixture peddler that would just "throw in" some lights. The owners wanted to hire a professional lighting designer that could envision and create a scenic ambience for each area of their 125-acre property. So, without hesitation, they chose the expertise of Gleam Electrical and Lighting Design.

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The lighting design begins by starting on a collaborative meeting with the owner. Listening to the clients resulted in understanding the passion and desire to build a design that would highlight such a wonderful estate. As the Gleam team listened, they soon realized that this was not for the owners specifically, but for their family. With plans to build houses for their children on the same property, the owners had designed the home to be a place their grandchildren could walk or ride bikes to and enjoy the home's park-like features including a rock-climbing wall and indoor playground, swimming pool, and full-size basketball court. The very heartbeat of family was the motivating factor in each particular area of this project. As lighting designers, Gleam uses lighting to create emotion, and from hearing why the owners built the estate, they had plenty of it. Gleam went to work incorporating the homeowners' passion and love for their family by implementing a night-time display of functional relaxed ambience, but also providing security and elegance. The goal was to illuminate key features of the architecture to expose texture, drama and dimension to each key area.

Wanting to create a design that tells a legacy story, with emotion and feel from beginning to end, the project started with the entryway. With a belief that the front door is the heart of the home, the lighting design team created a grand entrance to the property, highlighting the custom gate featuring a Corten Steel tree as a symbol of the homeowners' family. A challenge with implementing a system that would bring out the beauty and texture of the family tree was that lighting the gate from the side would lose the emotion and create a glare for through vehicles. By core drilling into the driveway, underneath the gate, and running the conduit and wires through, flat luminaires were set just below the surface, achieving an even illumination while being safe for vehicles and snowplows during the winter.

After walking the property, the lighting design team had the idea to light an existing windmill and create a focal point and balance of light from the front entrance to the house. This provided a bridge of light without the need for additional area lighting. Around the home, the desire for subtle lighting was achieved by continuing that bridge of light to key features, highlighting the landscape and architecture. The design team created security and elegance by lighting entry points and plant material from above with recessed lighting. Rock beds and many of the property's trees were lit around the home which allowed for ample visibility without the feeling of excessive light fixtures.

The team's goal when creating a lighting design is to emphasize a project's features and beauty with light dispersement rather than showcase the lighting source. A major accomplishment of this goal was the impressive lighting of the home's silo, an attached three-story guest quarter. This was no small feat but through careful calculations, a hidden luminaire set 30' away in a rock bed was able to light the top of the approximately 40' dome of the silo with a narrow beam spread.

Using light as a barrier, outdoor living spaces were designed around the residence. A gathering space around a fire feature was defined using custom designed and hand cut steel bollards, landscape lighting, and gooseneck fixtures attached to the home. Creating these spaces brings a welcoming outdoor experience for enjoying time together from morning to night.

As seen in LASN magazine, April 2021.

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