Designer Discourse: Lucy Dearborn of Lucia Design and Lighting

We love to feature companies that supply built environment firms. If you're an architect, interior designer or design-build contractor in Greater Boston, you've seen Lucia Lighting in the Best of Boston Home features by Boston Magazine. Lucia Lighting & Design was created in 2005 to bring a design-oriented lighting store to the North Shore of Massachusetts. 

It was the brainchild of Lucy Dearborn, a lighting design expert and entrepreneur, and David Solimine, Jr., a businessman, and real estate developer. The Lynn, Massachusetts store serves designers, homeowners, architects, builders, and contractors.

The 8,000-square-foot showroom is a restored mansion. Customers can have a coffee in the kitchen while they look at task lighting, they can sit at a patio table to learn about landscape lighting, or they can walk through a room full of illuminated chandeliers.

“We’re in this big old house that shows every kind of room and every kind of environment that you can imagine,” Dearborn said. “We thought it would be a fun place for people to come look and get inspired.”

In the latest Designer Discourse, we introduce you to owner Lucy Dearborn, who shares her personal style, her observations about trends and more. 

Q: Why is lighting so important to a home?

A: Without lighting there really isn’t anything, if you think about it. If you spent money on a rug and a painting and beautiful furniture, but you shut the lights off you don’t really have anything.

Obviously chandeliers are meant to be beautiful in their environment, but architectural lighting in particular, is to highlight the other beautiful things, like art, furniture, rugs and details. To us, lighting is everything.

Q: What’s trendy right now in lighting?

A: LED, of course, because it’s so efficient and it offers so many opportunities to do different kinds of lighting. And I think lighting fixtures are back. For a while you were seeing all sorts of architectural and recessed lighting with not many fixtures, but I think that designers and architects are reworking decorative lighting back into their repertoire.

Q: What’s out? 

A: Huge recessed lights are out - like the big 6-inch holes in the ceiling. They’ve gotten smaller. Things that are out are never out for long, except the big recessed lights.

Q: How is your home decorated - what’s the style? 

A: It’s sort of an eclectic mix. I tend to be a little bit more transitional. My husband is a little more traditional. So we sort of work hard to mix the two. I have happy colors and not a lot of stuff. I try to have a few nice things.

My house is beautifully lit. We have everything from beautiful, old, traditional Tiffany lamps to beautiful, modern Hubbardton Forge wall sconces. I like the mix. 

Q: What are the mistakes you see people making with lighting?

A: The big thing that I see is people doing one layer of light. Good lighting really requires lots of layers of lighting. People say, ‘Well, I’m going to use this one kind of fixture or this one source of light.’ Any lighting designer will tell you that is a mistake in almost any room.

Q: When a customer comes to you and they need help with lighting but have no idea what they want, how do you help them?

A: Most importantly, we ask them how they live. What are they going to be doing in the space? Are they using the space for one thing now but would like to improve the use of that space and use it more often or in a different way?

We really get to know our customers. We try to understand their lifestyle, whether they have kids doing homework at the kitchen table or their kitchen table is simply for having a glass of wine when they get home from work. Those are very different tasks, so we need to make sure we’re asking the nitty gritty questions. 

Q: What keeps you busy when you’re not working?

A: My family, my husband, my dog. I have a mom that I travel with and a nephew that I spend a lot of time with. I also like spending time with my coworkers.

I’m a homebody. I like to be home when I’m not working because I work a lot, like most business owners do. I like to watch movies. I like the creativity of cooking. I try to have fun with my house.

And I do like traveling, but I don’t get to do it as often as I wish. My mom and I just got back from Ireland.

Q: Where will you travel next?

A: I would like to see the United States. I’ve never been to the Grand Canyon. Savannah, Georgia is on my list. Chicago is on my list.

Thanks for reading - to learn more about Lucy, follow this link to her website.

Michael ConwayComment