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Rako and bespoke installations create a relaxing haven at Somerset lodge

Bittescombe Lodge & Deer Park, a luxurious 10-bedroom exclusive-use lodge nestled in rural Somerset, embarked on a journey to create a luxurious and intuitive experience for its guests. Rako’s easy to use and adaptable lighting control system was the ideal choice to deliver the ambience the Bittescombe Lodge & Deer Park team wanted to create in each of its architecturally unique en-suite bedrooms.

Tiverton based system integrator, Bespoke Installations SW Ltd, carried out this project, integrating lighting controls, audio-visual systems, surveillance, and heating solutions to meet the client’s requirements for simplicity, functionality, and aesthetic appeal.

“It was absolutely crucial that the lighting control was intuitive for guests staying at Bittescombe Lodge, which is why we selected a system from Rako Controls,” comments Michael Blake of Bespoke Installations. “We chose a hardwired solution for its reliability, reach and greater control.  The Rako system also gave us the ability to link other buildings within the overall property.”

Rako supplied custom engraved keypads featuring labels such as ‘breakfast,’ ‘cocktails,’ ‘sunset,’ and ‘dinner’ which ensured a user-friendly experience. Staff also appreciate the ability to control large areas with a single button, enhancing efficiency during daily operations.

“This was a key feature and an important requirement for the client within the Old Cow Shed area of the lodge,” continues Michael. “We set up a cinema room with each source, such as Sky Q, being a single button on a custom engraved Rako keypad. It means the staff can easily and quickly set the system for the guests.”

Additionally, the Rako system facilitated a ‘goodnight’ setting, dimming communal areas for guests while ensuring external safety lighting remained active for a brief duration during the staff’s nightly lockup routine.

LED strips were strategically used throughout the lodge, with shadow gaps to highlight architectural features like stonework and timber panelling. High CRI (colour rendering index) lamps have been installed to ensure the artwork displayed in the property is shown in its truest form. Custom installed LED warm-white strips were also incorporated into the main staircase for a beautiful finish. These were made to the client’s design locally and Bespoke Installations went to the workshops to install the LEDs before site delivery to ensure that everything went as smoothly as possible.

The lodge also features a bar, which was made to the client’s own design with timber and glass shelving. Again, Bespoke Installations incorporated LED strips into the shelves and around the curved bar area to give a soft, yet relaxing feel to the space.

Michael continues, “attention to detail was extremely important for this project so we turned to local trades to have custom-made curved aluminium strips on which to mount the LED strip for the curved areas. This is imperative as without it the strips will overheat, and their life is dramatically shortened. Having them made locally saved time and money too.”

Local artist Bob Crooks designed and crafted magnificent blown-glass lighting ‘shades’ that were installed in the rear hallway and dining room, they deliver an absolutely beautiful effect on the surroundings.

There were also challenges involved with this project as Michael explains, “ELV lighting is a strict requirement in swimming pools, and so we were tasked with coming up with a solution so that the client could still have traditional wall lights but still comply with electrical regulations. We modified some traditional wall lights with IP67 LED strip running at 24 volts wired back to the plant room dimming equipment. The result is beautiful and unique, whilst also meeting the requirement to keep things within electrical regulations.”

Bespoke Installations also installed Gallo speakers, powered by Sonos, as well as Proficient and SpeakerCraft wall or ceiling speakers. A high-speed fibre Wi-Fi system is installed across the property, with UPS battery backup of the core network and failover to Starlink so that loss of connectivity is almost impossible at this secluded hideaway. They also installed a front projection system in the Old Cow Shed with 5.2 sound for cinematic night-time entertainment. Every room has TV and soundbar with Freeview reception, and the Old Cow Shed, Club and Gym have Sky Q.

Michael concludes, “I have used Rako previously and what I appreciate about the company is their support. As a UK manufacturer with a UK based support team, I know they are there whenever I need them. I also know the team, which gives me confidence in using their products. This particular project has been great to work on and the client is delighted with the end result.”