I have a love affair with vintage and antique lighting. And chandeliers. So much so, that we’ve started restoring pieces to sell, because we’ve picked up (hoarded) more light fixtures than our house can hold. I truly believe that nothing makes an old house feel authentic more than lighting. It really is the soul of a room to me. Part of me is sad that our last two houses had NO original lights left in them, but another part of me loves the thrill of finding pieces that are perfect and that make us bothย smile.

You know what didn’t make me smile? The ceiling fan in the front bedroom when we bought the house. In this picture, I hate the ceiling fan the most, the carpet second, and the wallpaper third.

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Ceiling fans are practical. That’s about all they have going for them. Sometimes I have people who sheepishly tell me, “I’m putting a ceiling fan in my bedroom,” because they know I hate them, but I don’t hate them in YOUR house! They are super practical, and I get why people want them, and I won’t shame you if you have one. There are (of course) a zillion ideas on pinterest for making ceiling fans prettier. But my favorite way to make them prettier is to eliminate them.

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Somehow, even changing the walls and painting the ceiling didn’t help. At all.

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You know who liked this ceiling fan? Lady bugs. These shades, apparently, are the most glorious way to die. (Also these have been here forever. I never bothered cleaning these, because I’m a terrible person).

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I’m so excited.

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One of my favorite posts I’ve ever written is “The Twelve Steps of Renovation,” and I’m SO EXCITED that we’re to Number 10!!!

So what’s going up? I found a fantastic light fixture almost two years ago at Madison Street Salvage. I LOVED it. And it came out of a house that was right around the corner from us (which makes me sad for that house, but I’m excited that it gets a new life in ours). A converted gas and electric fixture with six arms – but it had no shades.

Shades for gas and electric fixtures are hard for me, because most of them are etched and lacy and frilly (which is not me at all). Or, they’re cranberry colored – which I actually like, but I just didn’t feel like that would work in the bedroom. Check out what I mean here. Somewhere along the line I sawย some opalescent shades online, and I fell in love. Now, to find six of them! That was really, really hard – and ended up being the splurge for the room. It was just something that I couldn’t compromise on. I found a set of four gas fitters on eBay from an antique lighting store in Cambridge, Mass. I emailed the proprietor and asked him if he would split the set and send me three, and he said no. Doug said, “I know you’re trying to save money, but having an extra shade will be good, in case one of them breaks.” HE IS SO PRACTICAL. So I ordered them. Then I set out to find a set of electric shades. I found them! In Peru!

Peru, Indiana? Nope. Peru the country. Bring it on.

The shades have been sitting protected in another room for quite some time. ย And when I decided to design a wardrobe for the room, I made use of the extra shade we had – by designing a single fixture in the center of the wardrobe!

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I found a great reproduction light at Victorian Lighting Works that really complemented the fixture we had for the center of the room. We decided the shade would be centered on the wardrobe, so the electrical box is offset.

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For the center fixture, we added a ceiling medallion. For the first time in my life, I didn’t hand paint it, or even paint it a different color. It’s staying all white, to be seamless with the ceiling. It feels so weird to do that, but it’s perfect.

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After the medallion went up, the fixture went up. I’m always nervous when I get a fixture that it’s going to be too large, and then I never remember how small things look on 10′ ceilings. It’s a pretty perfect size.

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EEEEK! Squeals of delight.

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Cambridge on the Top, Peru on the Bottom. Thank you, eBay.

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Oh, you’d like the see them lit? Certainly. (I’m like a new parent showing off 1,000 pictures of their new child. And I’m not sorry about it.)

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I love this little pendant way more than I thought I would. It’s so fun!

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There will be an antique dresser between the two wardrobe towers.

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Both together! I’m really so excited. If you couldn’t tell.

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15 comments

  1. I love the pendant light. It’s whimsical in a quirky way and for some reason makes me think of Alice in Wonderland.

  2. Everything is looking so beautiful. Your hard work is definitely paying off. Love the blog. Thanks, so much.

  3. I’ve been following you for awhile, and found Ross, thru your site. Thank you for that and the inspiration for my porch steps. Yours arrived yesterday right on the cover of my copy of This Old House that was in my mailbox ! I only have three concrete rectangular steps and several porch posts in my basement that I bought a few years ago for the very idea of using them for my newel post down the steps and my two steps at the sidewalk. Now I can show what my idea looks like !. ! You just got there first. THE cover of ” This Old House ” ! ! Congratulations big time. P.S. love the fixtures to !

    1. Isn’t Ross the best?!?! Thank you so much for your kind words, and that’s so awesome that you have you have porch posts that you found! I’d love to see how it ends up, and I’m so glad our porch could be helpful. Thank you for your kind words – they mean the world to me!

  4. Amy,
    I love the light fixtures! Can you do a post about onions? Because there are so many things I think I hate, but I fall in love when I see them in your house (wallpaper, gold light fixtures, etc).
    When you restore light fixtures do you ever paint them? I have two antique light fixtures that I want to use, but they’re either really tarnished or are not brass (maybe bronze? I don’t know). I’m trying to decide whether to spray them gold or just clean them up and leave them as is. Figured you’re the best person to ask for advice on this subject.

    1. First, this comment made me laugh! I will commence looking for a good onion recipe post haste. Seriously – that was one of the nicest things anyone’s ever said. And this house has a way of making me fall in love with things I wouldn’t have before, as well!

      For your lights, I would start with cleaning them up. Vinegar works great if something is tarnished, and if you paint them, you’ll want them to be as clean as possible first, anyway. So I’d start with cleaning, and see what you get. You might LOVE what you find. I have painted fixtures before – I try to just love the original finish, but I’ve had times where the light was damaged enough to warrant a painting. Also, if I know it’s a really common fixture (like the spanish crystal chandelier I spray painted ivory for the laundry room!), I don’t worry so much if I paint it because I know there’s not a lot of value there.

      Let me know how it goes! Feel free to email me pictures if you need to along the way!

      1. A word of caution about buying vintage lighting?

        The majority of “antique” gas or gas/electric fixtures available are actually not that old.

        You can tell by the gas valves on each arm. A reproduction fixture will have fake valves. This is easily noticed because, up close, the valve looks fake. You will be able to see that it could never turn off/on, but is rather molded all of one piece. A dead giveaway is on TOP of the valve (or on top of the arm, above the valve). An antique fixture will have what looks like a screw above the valve. A reproduction will be smooth.

        I have purchased “antique” gas or gas/electric fixtures online, and realized the minute I unboxed them that there were from the 1980s or later! Sigh!

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