It’s hard to believe, but Circa Lighting has been a fixture on upper King Street for over 13 years now. Who hasn’t rounded the corner of King and John streets in the evening and not stopped to enjoy the sparkling, warm lights that glow within. While Circa Lighting is a Charleston staple, the store has some exciting new endeavors that are making this bright boutique accessible to the rest of the country, as well as more of the Lowcountry.
For the past two years, Circa has been partnering with local builders to provide lighting packages that enhance every room in the house. From chandeliers in the dining room to task lighting for garages and laundry rooms, Circa has expanded its line to include all the lighting a homeowner wants for a luxurious look and needs for a functional home. “We’re not just the little boutique for dining room fixtures anymore,” says designer Dominque Verona. “We’ve still got beautiful statement pieces, but we also have more options and lower-cost fixtures for auxiliary rooms.”
As part of this business model, the store offers additional services for builders and interior designers, such as design consultation, receiving, delivery and even installation that comes with lightbulbs. “Working with builders in this way streamlines their process,” Verona says. “Their client meets with us, and we help them select fixtures they love while staying within their construction budget.”
The designers at Circa Lighting are also well versed in the subtleties of Charleston and barrier island houses. “Every project is so different. We get to work with clients from all over. Being local, we know that a Kiawah house is different than a Sullivan’s Island house, and different than a historic renovation downtown,” she says.
Last year Circa Lighting partnered with Novella Homes for a show house event on Daniel Island. It was a chance for Novella to show off its home and for Circa to show off its expertise. “The right lighting just enhances great craftsmanship,” Verona says. “It can highlight architectural details, such as exposed beams or detailed ceilings, the kinds of things builders take pride in. We want to keep partnering with local builders and interior designers so we can help them really show off their finished product.”
To help the store cater to builders and interior designers, Circa Lighting recently merged with Generation Brands, the largest and most diverse lighting enterprise in the industry. In addition to Visual Comfort, Circa Lighting has new lines from Generation, featuring products from Feiss, Ambiance, LBL, TECH Lighting, Sea Gull Lighting and Monte Carlo. “We’re able to offer fixtures with better quality of light, longer lasting LED bulbs, track and cable lighting, LED strips for under cabinets and more. The selection just gets better every season,” Verona says.
Circa Lighting still glows and delights on an evening stroll up King Street, and the store still has all of the gorgeous on-trend lighting you love to dream about. While there are plenty of traditional and contemporary styles from which to choose, new trends are particularly interesting right now and worth a browse. Natural materials, textures and ceramics are making a foray into lighting trends, as are glass globes and exposed bulbs. “These days people are more daring, more playful with their lighting,” Verona says. “They want things that are modern but can also go bohemian or transitional. Fixtures are softer and more feminine than the industrial trend. We’re seeing warm metals, such as rose gold and brass, and natural accents, such as alabaster and quartz.”
While most of us think of Circa Lighting as a Charleston icon, word has gotten out to the rest of the country about our hometown boutique. Circa now has showrooms in Atlanta; Chicago; Greenwich, Connecticut; Houston; Savannah, Georgia; and Washington, D.C. The company just opened its largest store in Manhattan, on Lexington Avenue, and is soon to open an even larger showroom in San Francisco. For Circa Lighting, the future certainly looks bright.
Robin Howard is a full-time freelance writer in Charleston. See more of her work at robinhowardwrites.com.