BEING CREATIVE IS ABOUT providing solutions as well as beauty, and we are definitely problem solvers,” says Scott Bell, creative director, and lighting liaison at Pettigrew Luxury Furnishings in the Dallas Design District, about just how efficiently the full-service lighting department works.
Part of that confidence comes from the company’s 68-year pedigree as a leading purveyor of traditional, transitional and contemporary luxury furnishings and lighting. But mostly, it’s the skill, wherewithal, experience, and enthusiasm of the 20 or so people (eight in the lighting department alone) who, on a day-to-day basis, bring design concepts to life in the sprawling 25,000-square-foot space.
Predominantly working with the trade—architects, designers, and builders—but also catering to a loyal retail following, the lighting department’s expertise includes everything from designing new custom fixtures to restoring vintage pieces to handling complete installations.
“For years and years, we were dealing primarily with custom European-style chandeliers, and we are still known for that,” shares Bell. “As time went on, this style fell out of favor, but now it’s coming back. In the last few months, people have begun to want very traditional things again. It’s nice that we still have that skill set to draw upon while also innovating new designs that are different and modern.”
Citing a recent example of the Pettigrew team’s ability to apply skill and experience to new and exciting lighting projects, Bell recalls working with a designer who was renovating an English Tudor-style residence and needed to update the look while remaining within the parameters of that style. “Their dilemma was what to do with the lighting to make it new and fresh,” he says with delight. “We came up with some really great pared-down concepts that borrowed a bit from vintage shapes while remaining clean and modern. The result was sculptural and artistic, all LED lights, and with a frame that illuminates from within. Sort of 2001: A Space Odyssey meets Henry Tudor.”
Showing versatility, the lighting team’s skill shines when collaborating on new construction projects and remodels for clients working on their own. “If someone buys a 400-pound fixture, we’ll go look at their house to see if it is set up structurally to accept it before we schedule an install,” says Bell. “Or if a client brings in home plans, we’ll go through them and help specify lighting. What makes us unique in the industry is the number of lines we represent at various price points, as well as offering our own designs and custom abilities. People can find very desirable combinations without going full-tilt custom or add something special to their lighting plan found nowhere else.”
Interior design vignettes encompass the Pettigrew showroom, each depicting one of the seemingly endless possibilities for creating a custom environment, helping clients visualize and express their own style. In addition to multiple lighting ideas, vignettes showcase everything from new upholstery and rugs to furniture and local art—all Pettigrew offerings. “It’s a really fun way to show how things that you might not think go together, but have a similar palette or complementary textures, will actually speak to each other, and how to fold in new things to an existing space,” says Bell. “It’s not necessary to toss everything to make a home fresh.”
Alongside the vignettes, a glassed-in lighting workroom buzzes with activity. There, crystal chandeliers, sconces and other custom fixtures in various stages of design and implementation are meticulously transformed into works of art. “It’s magical. Like with an open kitchen in a gourmet restaurant, people can really see what we do and how proud we are of our craft,” says Bell. “Many clients find fixtures they love in our selection, but they might want a finish or element modification. We have the ability to alter any fixture in-house.”
Moving into 2020, Bell shares enthusiasm for focusing on exclusive lines that can’t be found anywhere else. “There are some great introductions coming out this year, and we’re working with vendors that have not been seen in our region or sometimes in the country,” he says. “As a buyer, I choose things that will go on the showroom floor—lighting, furniture, and accessories. I go on all the buying trips with Dena Didas, our CFO/COO. We talk about things we discover and put ourselves in our clients’ shoes. We always think about what it would be like to live with something that we bring into the showroom.”
Clearly, passion dictates all aspects of the Pettigrew experience.
Linda Hayes is an Aspen, Colorado-based freelance writer specializing in architecture, design and the luxury lifestyle. Her articles have appeared in LUXE, Hawaiian Style, Elle Decor and Mountain Living.