Let it Shine


Let your light shine. Matthew 5:16.


 I’ve had lighting on my mind lately as we’re honing in on our electrical layout for the farmhouse.  Lighting design for a home is a little more tricky than I thought it’d be.  There’s task, ambient, and source lighting  – each with a different purpose. Depending on the planned use of each space, there are a certain amount of lumens that should be available. What’s a lumen? It’s a basically a unit measurement for quantity of light.
For example, the kitchen needs task lighting over the counter tops so it’s bright enough to do work. Kitchen work space requires more lumens than say a hallway would.
So, to help ourselves organize what we need where, Blaine has developed a spreadsheet for each space in the house. It lists the ideal amount of lumens needed per room, the corresponding number and type of light bulbs, and it also captures the cost per fixture.  It’s easy to find light fixtures which meet the design criteria, however it’s been really difficult for me to find fixtures which meet the criteria …and are pretty to my eye …and which don’t break the bank!
So for the past few months, I’ve been spending a lot of my free time combing the internet and every antique & consignment store in Houston (and the surrounding countryside) in search of the perfect light fixtures.

Surprisingly, Habitat for Humanity Restore has been a great resource for me.
I got a brass picture lamp there for the fraction of its retail price.
I also picked up this brass wall-mounted swing-arm for the den – again for a fraction of retail price.
If you’re a reader from Houston, the ReStore on 249 North is great! The ReStore on 610 South pales in comparison to it.
So far, the kitchen has been the most challenging room to design. We decided against “can lights” for ambient lighting because usually instead of lighting up the ceiling like they are supposed to, they generally end up lighting the floor. And plus they aren’t particularly pretty to look at. (Think Swiss cheese ceiling.)  Instead, we’re planning to do semi-flush mount ceiling fixtures, like these, throughout the kitchen for ambient lighting. For task lighting over the sink and in front of windows, we’ll use the same style fixtures, but they’ll be on longer rods putting the light closer to the work surface. Cabinets will have lighting underneath for additional counter-top task lighting.  And for task lighting over the island, we’re planning to hang a large lantern.
Kitchen island lantern

For the dining room, I haven’t found a main ‘source light’ fixture yet, but it will need to have around 12 quantity 60W candelabra bulbs. It’s been difficult for me to find a large fixture for this space at a decent price!  The search for it continues…Sconces for the dining room, which will flank the built-in wall cabinet, were found deep in the back of a non-air conditioned antique store in Houston at the peak of summer.

Dining room scones hanging inside a sauna-like antique store in Houston
I’m not sure how old they are, the man in the store thought early 1920s. The push button knob is unusual.
I Googled this issue number and didn’t get very far on finding its manufacturer
The haggling was brief as I was ready to get out of the sauna and into some air conditioning. I’m still pleased with the cash deal we got on them, though. With some real wax sleeves and new bulbs, they’ll be perfect.
Similar found here.  
For the small kitchen pantry, we found a simple white enameled fixture at August Antiques in the Heights.
‘Character’ included – chips and rust
I liked the authenticity of it. Actually, we had the reproduction version of this fixture in our shopping cart at Barn Light Electric when I stumbled upon this authentic one! What’s more – this authentic version cost less than the reproduction!  I handed the owner the cash and couldn’t get it in the truck fast enough. 🙂
Swivel mounting head
For the mudroom, we’re planning to keep the space casual and echo the chicken coop outside with three of these task lights over the sink and counter-top.
In the center of the mudroom, today the original gas-converted-to-electric lamp still hangs. I’m not sure if we’ll keep it there or opt for something else. Per design, we’ll need more light than this single bulb provides so we’ll likely change it out.
Original porch-turned-mudroom light fixture still hangs today
The purchase of the house came with a pretty brass 8-light candelabra fixture, which will find a new home in the living room. It’s been hanging out in the den for as long as I can remember.
Big sis
It’s little sister, found at an antiques store in Sturgis, KY, will welcome guests at the front door entry.
Little sis
The downstairs hall will have a pair of light diffusing shaded pendants.
For the upstairs hall and stairway, we’re opting to use several wrought iron wall sconces scattered around as ambient light.
As for the bathrooms, the second floor baths have fixtures purchased and allocated. They’re all nickel finish with white milk glass shades and have somewhat of a timeless clean look.

That’s all the fixtures we have so far for the interior – which amounts to about half of what we’ll need.

For the exterior, the front porch will have several hanging lanterns. On the back porch, we’ll hang ceiling fans and matching casual flush mount pendants.

Our search for more interior fixtures continues, and it’s slow going.  By the time we move in, I have a feeling some bare bulbs will be dangling throughout the house as placeholders until we can find more fixtures to bring home.

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