There's An Ingenious Lighting Trick To Keeping This Room Looking Bright, Even At Night

No, it's not the windows.

Martyn Lawrence Bullard Malibu House
ROGER DAVIES

Flipping through the July/August issue of , there's one small detail you may have overlooked. It's easy to do, really, when you're staring at a living room with the kinds of views that real estate agent Chris Cortazzo has in his Malibu home. Here's a refresher, just so you can take it all in:

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Martyn Lawrence Bullard Malibu Living Room
ROGER DAVIES

Chris worked with architect Robbin Hayne and Million Dollar Decorators star Martyn Lawrence Bullard to design the space, which was inspired by Balinese houses. Everything's open, bright, and airy, and there's a real sense that you're tucked away from the chaos of the outside world, thanks to all of the lush greenery outside every window. (The result of $1 million worth of palm trees, Chris said.) Even with all of the plants, you still get plenty of natural light seeping through the windows and sunroof — but on particularly gloomy days, and at night, how do you keep the vibe going? And, how do you achieve that without bulky lights everywhere?

Visual Comfort
Visual Comfort Clodagh Bowery Wall Sconce
Visual Comfort 1800lighting.com $359.00
That's where Martyn comes in. The living room, in particular, gets plenty of nice, soft light — the kind that makes people's skin look luminescent — courtesy of the lantern-like Akari pendant overhead. (Yup, it's designed by Isamu Noguchi.) There's a large table lamp in the corner, taking care of the room's task lighting needs — AKA that moment when you want to curl up on the sofa and binge-read. But, the hidden stroke of genius at play here are those discreet, matte black rectangular bars along the top third of the walls.

These sleek, unassuming black iron sconces — the Clodagh-designed, Bowery 18-inch wall sconce from , in case you're curious — provide just the right ambient lighting to draw your eye up. They give that seagrass-covered ceiling the attention it deserves, and create the sort of "casual glamour" Chris and Martyn wanted the room to have. Gray skies are no match for this setup.

To see the entire house, pick up the July/August issue of CQ.

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