As one of the oldest cities in Florida, Tampa is home to some of the most beautiful historic neighborhoods in America.  Places like Old Hyde Park  and Seminole Heights   are noted in particular for the craftsman bungalows and mediterranean styles of archticture prevalent in the 1920’s and 1930’s.

I love historic homes and creating lighting designs sensitive to their architectural features is the most fulfilling part of my job.  Yet I am always surprised at the number of dark houses in some of Tampa’s most beautiful neighborhoods.  Take a look at this classic Seminole Heights bungalow and how elegant it looks at night.

Uplit columns on a craftsman style bungalow

One challenge on this design was to light the small dormer windows on the second floor as they were traditionally recessed to keep out sunlight, keeping houses cooler.  As a result, the uplighting creates a harsh shadow from the lower roofline, but by directing a spot from a distance I was able to fill the space with a pool of light, creating a more balanced effect to the entire design.

This Hyde Park home was newly built in a southern colonial style by Bay Harbour Homes of Tampa who wanted to showcase the historic features while the home was on the market.

Uplighting on colonial columns

A very few number of fixtures were required to bring out the most important feature of the house, the two story columns.  Again, note how the window at the top has been lit by a focussed spot.

On the subject of colonial styles, look at this stunning home, and how majestic it looks when the columns are illuminated at night.  First look at the home in the daytime:

Beautiful By Day

And here it is at night:

Majestic At Night

Note the silouetting at the tops of the columns.  You care barely see the detail from a distance in the daytime, but the carefully designed uplighting brings out these features in great detail at night.

My hope is that those who love historic preservation, like myself, will do more to showcase the most beautiful architecture in Tampa with quality outdoor lighting.


Outdoor lighting can provide numerous benefits for private homeowners, but also for public areas managed by homeowners associations, such as entrances, walkways and clubhouses.

An Artfully Illuminated Entrance Is Easy to See and Beautiful

Most importantly, outdoor lighting supports a community’s safety and security efforts. It allows people to see what is around them and where they are going as well as eliminates dark exterior areas where vandals and robbers can easily hide.

Fixtures With Good Design Safely Light Pathways And Provide An Attractive Look

Beyond providing increased safety and security, outdoor lighting offers aesthetic value. Your neighborhood will look beautiful and welcoming 24 hours a day when its entrances, and key exteriors are properly illuminated.  Here is an example below of a community in Polk County which was somewhat remote in a dark area at night.  Not only did we illuminate the entrance, but also the long wall which were bordered with palms.

 An outdoor lighting system that creates a welcoming look, however, doesn’t have to cost a fortune. It can be beautiful, cost effective, and energy efficient.  There are two basic types of lighting systems: line voltage and low voltage. Low voltage lighting allows you to illuminate a structure or area with soft, ambient light while using less energy. A low, 12-volt system produces enough light to accent your buildings, homes, landscaping, and outdoor spaces at a cost 50-60% less energy than a standard 120-volt outdoor lighting system.

Here is a commercial property which is actually using low voltage lighting, saving on energy costs, but still a beautiful effect, drawing attention to the business at night, but without excessive glare.

Commercial Property Using Low Voltage Lighting

In summary, well designed, energy efficient lighting should be a priority for community and homeowner associations, as it increases the aesthetic value that residents enjoy at night, and also makes it safer and more secure, deterring unwanted intruders from dark edges of the property.  Here are a couple more examples of lighting community entrances.


Lighting Design Techniques

Here is a good example of architectural up lighting of columns, on a Florida home I did recently.

Notice how it captures the details of the cornicing, creating shadow effects that you would not see in the daytime.  This is the beauty of nighttime lighting; it brings out colors and features at night that are unique.

Here I’ve taken an are a garden that was otherwise unused at night-time and, with a little down lighting on the pergola it has become an inviting place to enjoy a glass of wine in the evening.

When lighting the architectural feature of a home,  I make sure to include the gabled roof line.   Otherwise you will have the columns standing out with a very dark second story.

For remote areas of a garden I’ve use moonlighting to bring focus on patio sitting areas that sit in remote areas of the garden.

My name is Steve Barthelemy and I am the owner of Outdoor Lighting Perspectives in Tampa.  I took over the business 4 years ago and this company has been lighting homes and landscapes throughout the Tampa Bay area since 1996, with nearly 1,000 lighting systems installed.

I love what we do, which is designing and installing lighting systems that highlight the Tampa landscapes and homes at night; adding beauty, safety and security and creating inviting outdoor spaces.

I’m starting this blog to share some of my experiences as a professional lighting designer, and to share my passion for excellence in lighting design.   Thanks for stopping in and I’m looking forward to getting started!