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A lighting adventure in Sherborne:

This series of video diaries describes what happened when we moved our home and workplace to a converted coach-house on the edge of the beautiful town of Sherborne in Dorset.

Photos of Sherborne - Featured Images














This photo of Sherborne is courtesy of TripAdvisor

Videos will be added from end-April 2013 at the rate of one per month, to coincide with publication of LIGHTING magazine, where the re-lighting project is to be featured.



Video 1:

After thirteen years of looking out over the rolling Dorset Downs we finally decided to get back in touch with whatever passes for civilisation these days and head for town. But just so we don't lose touch with our rurality, we've found a converted barn on the outskirts of Sherborne, a beautiful abbey town in the north of the county. For some reason it really matters that we're still in-county. A new home a couple of miles up the road in Somerset, would have been too much to bear.

Of course, barns aren't well known for their panoramic windows and this one is no exception. But surely, there should be some light somewhere? I exaggerate only a little. The Coach House was re-built in 1981 and I know that by then there was electricity around, even in Wessex. Let me take you on a brief time-tour of our oh-so-recent lighting past.

Younger readers will struggle with this I know; it's like talking about the planet before it had oxygen. Back in 1981 very few people had heard of low voltage downlighting, the dichroic reflector lamp was being talked about in hushed tones wherever more than two lighting reps gathered together while I was trying to sell this stuff to every interior designer and architect in central London. Mea Culpa Mea MAXIMA Culpa. What else didn't we have? We didn't have much in the way of compact fluorescent lighting and tri-phosphor tubes were still a bit of a mystery. LEDs?? Don't be silly.

The living space at The Coach House enjoys the benefits of two wall lights; quite nice pewter-y sort of brackets fitted with parchment shades well past their use-by date. And theres a clear attempt at some architectural sophistication in the form of concealed fluorescent uplighting tucked behind rough-planed planking inverted pelmets if you know what I mean. Is est totus!

There will be varied reactions to the idea of fluorescent tubes in a living room; some will come from the fundamentalists who can conceive NO situation where fluorescent lighting is permitted in a domestic setting; others will understand the use of the linear source but will pour scorn on the uplighting-in-a-pitched-roof-setting scenario; the fully-connected will say Hang on fluorescent uplighting in 1981? That'll be a collation of unreconstructed halophosphate tubes with dodgy colour rendering and hardly any redeeming features at all. Probably with buzzy-buzzy switch-start control gear. I agree with those last guys what they said.

But we must come to terms with the hard fact that this house has been occupied almost continuously since it was built - by occupants experiencing a distressing collapse in their eyesight and now its our turn. Now did I mention the PAR38 spotlights above the kitchen and dining area? Remember that this is a funky piece of late 1970s architectural design so, naturally, we have two PAR38 spotlights one for each area. We thank our lucky stars that the cooker hood has internal lighting!

So what's to be done? It's a rental property so we can't just start hacking away, though improvements are accepted by the landlord. Hmm. It won't be just about taking away the poor, knackered, obsolete, old stuff. Even with everything switched on there just isn't enough illumination here to read by.  Again, for younger readers: you can still find words printed on paper a material that doesn't come with backlighting. Not yet anyway.


The plan is that I'll report back each month, letting you know what's been planned and what's been done.

The recording, editing and all-round video production malarkey is by Drew Crow Star of Moonstruck Films.

Of course, no designer is able to function without the support of the manufacturing industry that go to the trouble of making such wonderful equipment. 
As the story of the Coach House re-lighting unfolds, we'll talk much more about the lighting equipment that will be used. 
In the meantime, if you'd like a sneak preview at the cast of great characters playing a part in this mini-drama, please click HERE

 Download the published version of this diary entry in the MAY 2013 issue of LIGHTING magazine HERE


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