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Whistling Valley Home

Natural light for a northern home
Lake Elmo, Minnesota
Custom Integration


When it comes to building homes in northern latitudes, lighting design becomes critical for both functional tasks and a sense of well-being throughout all seasons. In the case of Whistling Valley, the owners also knew they wanted to be able to set custom lighting scenes at the touch of a button. To pull it all off flawlessly in a beautiful residence in Lake Elmo, Minnesota, integrator NorthStar Home Technologies and the interior design firm turned to Ketra to deliver luxurious, modern lighting that delights in both form and function.


Design Goals

  1. Create a lighting experience that accents all of the architectural elements of the home by incorporating multiple layers of light
  2. Invoke a crisp, high-quality feel throughout the home using clean lines and reduce the need for wall switches
  3. Incorporate a smart lighting system that’s powerful yet easy to use
  4. Automate additional lighting-related elements such as window shades
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While the owners were sold on Ketra right away, their electrician and builder took a bit more convincing. They were initially hesitant due to their unfamiliarity with Ketra's innovative lighting system. Then, as work on the home began, they quickly embraced its wireless capabilities for how much they streamlined installation and allowed for greater personalization and control once installed. The builder was so impressed they decided to use Ketra in another one of their projects - and won the Dream Home Reggie Award at the Dream Home tour for their work.


“Once the team introduced the owners to Ketra, they realized they could add a whole new level to their lighting experience.”

-Chris Hayes, Founder/Owner, NorthStar Home Technologies

The Solution

Northstar developed the architectural light design and layout using a variety of Ketra lamps and luminaires. Once Ketra was selected, it was an easy decision to install an integrated Lutron solution with Triathlon shades and Palladiom keypads, all powered by HomeWorks. To ensure personalized light throughout the home, NorthStar worked with the customer from the beginning to select fixtures that would allow for Ketra to be in as many places as possible. The master suite, whole main floor (including the kitchen and great room), upstairs hallway and basement areas are all Ketra — delivering the bright and clean aesthetic that the homeowners desired.

But lighting intensity and temperature were just the beginning. The upstairs master closet and dressing room features fifteen pre-set scenes that can be changed to see how light at different times of day impacts outfit choices. And in the home theater, Ketra track lighting can create color or be set for ideal watching conditions. For example, the front row of bulbs is set to 20% to avoid glare on the screen itself, and the lamps increase in intensity as you move to the back of the room. 


Project photography by Spacecrafting.


With Lutron and Ketra’s intuitive technologies, NorthStar was able to have the entire house programmed in a single day. The homeowners are delighted by how the lighting changes their space to make rooms feel more dramatic, warmed up, or more inviting, depending on their mood. They’re also very excited to no longer have to close multiple window shades by going from room to room each evening — now the shades go down and the lights come up at the touch of a single button. Finally, as medical professionals, the homeowners are pleased with the sense of well-being that proper lighting can enhance. Even driving by at night, it’s noticeable that something special is going on inside the Whistling Valley residence.

Products used

D4R Retrofit Downlight
S30 Track Luminaire
S30 Lamp
A20 Lamp
N4 Hub

Need more info? Talk to a Specialist