All The Right Notes

On a bucolic street in Nashville, Lori Paranjape builds a show house to call home.

Homeowners often signal their intent to make a space comfortable with a familiar refrain: “It’s not a show house!” But what if it is? After designing beautiful and comfortable spaces for major names in Nashville and beyond, it was time for Lori Paranjape to test her design theories closer to home. The result is a dream home for her family, brought to life in partnership with all her favorite brands. The Paranjape Project, nestled on a leafy lot in Nashville’s Brentwood suburb, is an ode to the designer’s deep love of process, craft, and detail.

Rather than conforming to a particular design style, Paranjape’s dream home draws upon a range of appealing aesthetics, from California cool to classic colonial. If the exterior is a musical mash-up, the interior plays like a greatest hits album full of clever ideas developed over time. Explore Lori Paranjape's journey of building her dream family home and discover how she seamlessly blends design styles and custom millwork with a thoughtful lighting plan. Read on for more insights from the designer about creating a beautiful and functional space.

“This is a house we designed and built with an eye toward sharing it, but first and foremost, it’s a family home,” the designer says. “I started by asking myself all the same questions I ask my clients: where do we relax, how do we entertain, and how do we want the lighting to impact how the rooms feel?” Given that she was designing with her family in mind, the answers were intuitive and quickly aligned with Paranjape’s golden rule. “Pretty is easy,” she says. “Custom homes should rise to meet the family where they are and how they live." Case in point: the route from the driveway to the kitchen island. A carefully considered layout means Paranjape can drop her exercise clothes in the laundry room, set her tote in a closed cabinet in the mudroom and leave grocery bags in the pantry. That way, by the time she gets to the kitchen, she’s hands free and ready to take a deep breath or tackle whatever the day brings. “It’s about understanding myself and designing a space that takes care of my needs,” she says.

As with any whole-home custom build, a comprehensive lighting plan comes early in the process, and when it was time to select a lighting partner for the project, Paranjape knew who to call. “Visual Comfort is a part of all of our projects,” she says. “There was not a second choice.” Moreover, the attention to detail in the lighting plan not only enhances the home's aesthetic appeal but also creates a warm and inviting atmosphere for both residents and guests. “In every design project, we introduce important pieces of lighting to establish the tone of the home,” she says. Here, superstars – the luxe Collier in the stairwell, for instance – stand out against a chorus of favorites from Kelly Wearstler’s Melange and Ebell series, studded throughout the floorplan for cohesion.

While the designer knew exactly how her home should look and function, when it came to the architectural lighting, she called in the experts: Visual Comfort’s architectural lighting design services team. By layering in wall washers and directional recessed spotlights that draw the eye to specific places (commissioned art in the gallery, custom millwork in the family room), Visual Comfort specialists helped Paranjape to elevate the house even further – and some of their suggestions will shape the designer’s work for clients moving forward. “The toe-kick lighting around the perimeter of the kitchen cabinetry and in the bathrooms is something we’re doing in all of our projects now,” she says. “Architectural lighting isn’t necessarily something you notice, except for how it makes you feel.”

No one knows better than a designer that a whole-home custom build requires thousands of choices. Happily, when it came to this project, the lighting was (as Paranjape puts it) a case of “and,” not “or.” There’s ambient light where you need it to unwind, yet come Sunday afternoon, the lights are on, the music’s playing, and family fills the house, inside and out. Sometimes, a project is bigger than the house it produces, and the Paranjape Project expresses an artful composition that’s seen and felt before the designer even comes through the door. “When I drive up to my house at sunset and see the perfectly lit art in the gallery and the warm glow throughout, it welcomes me home,” she says.

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