In Search of Illumination

It ain't me babe. And it also ain't anywhere close to Arts & Crafts.

It ain’t me babe. And it also ain’t anywhere close to Arts & Crafts.

100 percent gen-u-ine plastic (though to be fair the glass shade isn't bad...and I get out of fixing the plaster until I find the right fixture).

100 percent gen-u-ine plastic (though to be fair the glass shade isn’t bad…and I get out of fixing the plaster until I find the right fixture).

I have Pappy Van Winkle tastes but a Four Roses budget. Many of the light fixtures in my house – with the notable exceptions of two lovely contemporary chandeliers made by a local artist – were acquired on what must have been Old Crow tastes. There’s lots of plastic – though a couple “higher-end” fixtures are pot metal.

I can’t paint the hallways until I’ve replaced the wall sconces…and I can’t replace the wall sconces until I talk myself into something less than what I want on the lighting front…or pony up for the good stuff.

Rejuvenation’s Cascade Double Sconce is playing the siren’s song…loudly. I might have to start sippin’ on Evan Williams (the watered-down, uber-cheap version from the grocery store) for a few months.*

The worst offender (and not only the electrified portion). One of us will have to go -- unlike Oscar Wilde, it's not going to be me.

The most egregious offender (and not only the electrified portion). One of us will have to go — unlike Oscar Wilde, it’s not going to be me. But first, I have to make a replacement cabinet.

* No way will I resort to that…but I will crack open the backstock of holiday bottles instead of buying more. I think I’ll survive.

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About fitz

Woodworker, writer, editor, teacher, ailurophile, Shakespearean. Will write for air-dried walnut.
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21 Responses to In Search of Illumination

  1. Having tasted all the aforementioned beverages I’m quite sure you’ll survive with the Jack in silver, George Dickle white or crown in the end. It’ll just take time. I’ve been in the “Anything brown and cheap will do” pockets. I do appreciate your taste in your home decore . Just hang in there Fritz and take a step at a time.

  2. Dave Reedy says:

    How about going to Wooden Nickel and seeing if they have something contemporary with the house. If necessary, rebuilding a fixture is no problem. Jefferson was on sale at the Party Source a few say ago.

    • fitz says:

      I suspect an original at the WN will be far pricier than a repro from Rejuvenation (unless it needs rewiring, which I can do). But I’m headed there and across the river on Saturday to check out the Florence Antique Mall and Covington Re-Use Center … with a possible stop at the party source 😉

  3. Steve Branam says:

    Frank Lloyd Wright would see a lot of opportunities to make light fixtures 🙂

    • fitz says:

      No doubt…and he’d get to it right after building three or more bookcases so he could unpack the rest of the boxes, tearing out some walls and rebuilding a staircase 🙂 (Oh, and remodeling the bathroom.)

    • Mark says:

      This is the option I’d go with. I think you did say somewhere that they were going to carry you out of this place no?

  4. i say live with what you have and work on it fixture by fixture. you can’t replace them all at the same time or do all the work at the same time, so pick a spot and start there. i’d probably start with the most public area and then work my way into the house. it took me 9 years before i replaced our dining room fixture. and i’m finally getting around to updating some other lighting this summer. it only took 10+ years 🙂

  5. Sean McCurdy says:

    Sounds like a good article for PWM, both on A&C lighting and/or on making simple jigs to speed up making multiple copies…

  6. Sean McCurdy says:

    Oh, and while I’m thinking about it, perhaps a word of caution that the thicker mica sheets really don’t let that much light through. I have a 300 Watt chandelier that isn’t as bright as an unshaded 60 Watt bulb. But it looks really pretty lit up!

  7. Ain’t nothin wrong with Four Roses. Though, I haven’t been lucky enough to taste Pappy.

  8. toolnut says:

    Pony up for the good stuff. Cheap lights that look nice can be a fire hazard (personal experience speaking) and you’re going to look at them everyday and be reminded that they aren’t what you really want until one day you go out and pony up for what you really wanted which now costs quite a bit more than when you originally priced them so you really dont save anything and just create more work for yourself. (more personal experience). Look at it this way, you wouldn’t buy a cheaply made tool would you?

    • fitz says:

      You’re right, of course. I made that mistake in the last place. The shower hardware got my goat every day (I went with chrome instead of nickel because it was $180 cheaper).

  9. Finding expensive lighting is easy. Finding quality lighting, whether it is moderately priced or overly priced, is close to impossible. We’ve been staring at the same 80’s shiny brass ceiling lamp in the dining room for 8 years now because we can’t find something to replace it that is a quality product.

    Don’t let the high prices at the restorative hardware stores fool you into believing it is a quality product; it’s the same cheap pot metal you can buy at the box stores for 1/4 the price.

    • fitz says:

      I hear you, but I’ve bought a fair amount of cabinet hardware from Rejuvenation and one small light, and have been impressed with the quality in the past — though as I’ve written elsewhere, I liked spending my money there a lot more when it was family owned and offered stellar customer service (before Williams-Sonoma bought it). That said, online reviews since they were bought are less-than-stellar. Hmm…maybe Orion Henderson could start making fixtures…

      • Dave Reedy says:

        Don’t forget the Antique Mall on Rt 4 in Fairfield. Not close to the party source though.

        • fitz says:

          I was there after work on Tuesday. Nada. Trying to decide if I want to make the trip to Waynesville and/or Lebanon. Or Louisville for Joe Ley.

          • Dave Reedy says:

            I don’t think Waynesville or Lebanon will prove fruitful. There’s a multi-building antique mall east of Springfield at US 40 and I 70. There’s also the “Springfield Antique Show Extravaganza” at the Clark County Fairgrounds in September US 41 and I 70. I’m not familiar with Joe Ley.

  10. Pete says:

    Still, I’d do the major renovation first and look for replacements on those rainy days in between.

    I’m certain there is a demolition specialist in your area. Check them out… Otherwise you are on the right track with Antique/Junk stores.

  11. Mike says:

    Since the topic is illumination and the style is Arts and Crafts, check these folks out:
    http://www.arroyo-craftsman.com/index.aspx
    We’ve bought a few for our home that we just sold. They make amazing stuff.

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