Design — 06 January 2017
How designers are lighting up life at home

The days when light fixtures were merely functional are long gone. Designers and manufacturers are creating lighting distinctive enough to serve both as a work of art and a room’s focal point. (Oh, yes, and to shed some light). Some resemble jewelry, others echo South Florida’s subtropical lifestyle, all are illuminating.

By Charlyne Varkonyi Schaub

City & Shore Magazine



Clemencia Dumas says her clients wanted a modern look with warmth unlike some contemporary design that can appear cold and sterile. They were looking for elegance and Dumas says the chandeliers played an important role in the design of their Hawks Landing home in Plantation.

The great room was a challenge because of the high ceilings and walls of glass. She took her client shopping to expedite the process, and they decided on an elegant and oversized chandelier with hanging crystals from Crystal Star.

“They wanted something large but not too heavy,” she says. “They wanted glamorous but not too overwhelming. This oversize chandelier has a fun, unique shape.”

The dining room’s chandelier is linear to go well with the long table. It has an interesting drape that makes it appear organic and little chains that hang from it like jewelry. LED lights in the soffit give additional illumination.

The modern kitchen with stainless steel appliances required a contemporary fixture. They selected Corbett Lighting’s Vertigo, in metal with silver leaf finish to echo the appliances.

“People have realized they need to make a statement with their lighting that is hanging over a space,” she says. “When you see something beautiful, it is like putting jewelry on a gown. It adds the finishing touches.”




Cindy West Ray loves to create a “wow factor” with her custom lighting designs. They are distinctive as well as functional.

A perfect example is the lighting in the condo she designed for a snowbird couple and their two children at Trump Tower in Sunny Isles. The husband, who had seen Ray’s work, hired her to design what is known as a “Decorator Ready” project, which means only the kitchen and bathrooms were finished. They only met once; the rest of the discussions and approvals were done digitally.

“He wanted the condo to be contemporary but comfortable, including an area for the children to play,” she says. “The lighting is incredible. Basically everything is related to the beach but is still sophisticated.”

The dining area, open to the kitchen and with ceiling-to-floor windows facing the ocean, cried out for eye-catching fixtures that had some warmth. The solution? She custom designed a fixture with seven different size pendants and oversized straw shades that hung from rope at varying heights.

The ceiling fixture in the great room evokes their beach location with shimmery fabric reminiscent of boat sails in the wind.

But the pièce de résistance is the foyer light fixture made of fishing wire with crystals hanging on hooks. “It took hours to hang this,” she says. “We had to install each piece of crystal on the hooks. One halogen light in the middle lights the crystals.”




The most stunning room in last year’s American Red Cross Show House in West Palm Beach was the dining room. What made it all come together beautifully was the chandelier, the room’s focal point.

Piper Gonzalez says the chandelier was the inspiration piece for her design. Louise Gaskill, a North Carolina lamp designer, created the fixture using orchid pink Murano glass after Gonzalez viewed photographs of several options.

“The design required a thin and long piece of glass,” Gonzalez says. “Because of the layout, I wanted to use a round table.” The glass table and the Lucite chairs enhance rather than distract from the lighting fixture. The upholstery echoes the pink in the chandelier.

“It was a contemporary home with a lot of art deco lines, but I didn’t want it to read like art deco,” she says. “The fireplace was existing but it wasn’t my favorite so I didn’t want to use it as the focal point. In this case, I thought using the chandelier as an art piece would create a better focal point with the fireplace as a subtle background piece.”




Clemencia Dumas
Clemencia Dumas, Elements by Design, 10097 Cleary Blvd., Plantation, 954-320-7584,

Piper Gonzalez
Piper Gonzalez Design, West Palm Beach, 561-635-6623, email

Cindy West Ray Cindy Ray Interiors, 3729 S. Dixie Highway, West Palm Beach, 561-655-7272,


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