In his own words: “No matter how beautiful the design, if the size is wrong, the lantern will not look good.”
For Andrew Medway, the right lighting is essential. It’s also something that he frequently finds is done wrong, and usually the culprit is the size of the light fixture. “It’s critical not only to match the style but also the scale of the project. Large homes require large lighting fixtures,” he says.
Medway co-owns Lanternland in Mesa, which produces handmade copper and brass light fixtures and provides custom lighting, primarily for outdoor spaces. The first step of designing a lighting plan, according to Medway and his colleague Jenifer Tague, is to think about the project as a whole and consider both space and proportions.
Go big. When it comes to outdoor lighting, most people choose fixtures that are too small, Medway says. “Remember that people will be seeing the light fixtures from a distance, such as a street that may be 50 feet away,” he says. For a good perspective on how big a light should be, Medway recommends making a mock-up that’s the size of the fixture to use as a placeholder, then stepping away and seeing how it looks in the space.
Design with needs in mind. “Many homeowners have design challenges that can’t be met by off-the-shelf lighting,” Medway says. These include space limitations for mounting brackets, existing siding, a need to modify the electrical box or local regulations that rule out most off-the-shelf fixtures. This is when custom lighting is the best option. “All of our lanterns are handmade to order for each client,” he says.
Whether you’re looking for standard light fixtures or going with a custom design, Medway offers advice for choosing the right lighting for your home.
One size does not fit all, especially in larger spaces. This homeowner in Paradise Valley was unable to find outdoor lanterns that were large enough to provide both curb appeal and adequate lighting, Medway says. Customizing an existing design proved to be the optimal solution.
“We were able to create an oversized version of one of our standard lanterns that was in proportion with her home and gave it the wow factor she desired,” he says. Medway also recommends looking at surrounding areas at the same time to coordinate the lighting throughout your outdoor space. For this home, Lanternland created a matching two-tiered pendant for the entry as well.
Finding a style you love is also essential, Medway says. “No matter if the client starts with a vague idea, a sketch on a napkin, a picture torn from a magazine or a finished architectural drawing, we work with them to get the look that is just right for their home,” he says. For one homeowner in Moraga, California, this meant fabricating a custom pendant lantern based on a photo she had found online.
“She was building a pergola for her outdoor living space and had her heart set on getting the look she had seen on Houzz,” Medway says. When she wasn’t able to find the pendant, or any information about it, she turned to Lanternland. “We modified the original concept slightly and went with an open bottom to allow easy access to the bulb,” he says.
Many areas have ordinances that limit the amount of light that can be used outdoors at night. “This homeowner in Coronado, California, had a design she liked but could not find what she wanted in a lantern that met the dark-sky outdoor lighting regulations,” Medway says. “We were able to guide her to a lantern style that matched her home and could be modified to meet the requirement.”