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'40's lighting fixtures? ___ any ideas? ___anyone?

18 years ago

hello, good morning. If I promise not to be a Drive-by-poster will y'all share any ideas you may have for my old house?

Built: 1941, style: unknown, preference: aiming for a cottage-type look.

I really really lucked out and got a nice solid house at an insanely low price when I was under the gun to move in an impossibly short time period. That said - I have been here 18 months and I'm trying to figure out what I have, and what to do with it.

Living room is an 'L'. Poking around disclosed the smaller end was a bedroom and they took a wall down. Not something I can easily understand but it does make a living room/library combination that could be very appealing if I can someday install a bookcase/room divider both for aesthetics and to hide the scars on wall/ceiling/floor. The son-in-law and I started stripping the wallpaper in the library el because I'd peeked and discovered beadboard underneath. I'll spare you the painful details and post pics on PhotoBucket. We haven't done any refinishing on the walls just peeled/soaked/scrubbed 5 layers of wallpaper off. Pulled up carpet (pee yew!) and (drum-roll please....) it was 4" wide tongue-and-groove clear fir, NEVER FINISHED OR USED, carpeted all these years. We sanded and clear-coated just the one room, it's breath-taking. Now, I am confused as to what to DO about lighting. Do I just stay with table and floor lamps? There are no ceiling fixtures, no sconces. I love the look of either ceiling or sconce lights - but it's a 2-story making it difficult for new ceiling wiring and I don't want to booger up the beadboard walls too much with sconces... besides they would eliminate any tall furniture permanently, right?As for my ideas for 40's styles... I'm not a purist and the house has undergone various 'improvements', some of which were horrible mistakes, some are good, some just OK till the day I find a five gallon bucket of money and can do some projects. I adore Craftsman, and Art Nouveau, but I cringe from anything pretentious in this little house. The breakfast room has a round 50's ugly light, kitchen has a 3' fluorescent shoplight so I can't go wrong no matter what I do. (grin) Will be back in just a bit with photos.


Comments (13)

  • 18 years ago

    The walls are unfinished, they never were finished and there is some face-nailing so I have some work ahead (she states mildly). They were first covered with a cardboard-like stuff printed like wallpaper, then four layers of wallpaper added through the years, then painted white. ...sigh...

    The only place I can think of to add lighting is in the room divider slash bookcases that I'd like to add, maybe right at the top? I'd really like it to throw quite a bit of light... I suppose I could put 3-way bulbs in? Why not. I'd adore sconces - but there's dashed little wall space already!

    'Scuse the books all over the floor. It's only been 9 or 10 months, what's the hurry?

    Here is a link that might be useful: my album - see 'house' folder

  • 18 years ago

    I've got sconces all over because I really missed the look of them from when I was growing up, but you know, I rarely ever turn them on. There's something about the way that they cast light that bothers me. It always seems too dim or too harsh and I don't like the shadows. I don't like little shades on them, either. I've found that I prefer table lamp light to most ceiling lights,too. I wish I could keep a nice table lamp on my dining and kitchen tables instead of the lamp hanging overhead.
    That's my 2 cents on lamps anyway.
    If you do want something on the future divider, you could consider a strip of uplights near the top, or a strip of hooded lights shining down, sort of like the lamps they put over paintings to light them up. I guess it would all depend on what your divider looked like and how your rooms were set up and sized.

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  • 18 years ago

    poke around that ceiling, sometimes those ceiling boxes were covered up for a more'modern look'
    being nosy, i love your garden

  • 18 years ago

    momcat2000, you are certainly welcome to look. Although I have to say I am new to the idea of an online photo album and I started it as a 'practice' album. Hope to have some decent photos by summer.

    kennebunker, thanks so much for your thoughtful ideas. I did get into our local library network online and requested about 24 books. I also trekked on down to the main branch and drug home two armfuls! I'm not having much success yet... maybe when all those requested books start coming in I'll hit some paydirt.

    Thanks especially for the experience on sconces. As I never lived with any I hadn't questioned that they were a good light source, so it seems you're saying they are mostly for charm? Yes, I can imagine.

    Wednesday I was at our local little thrift shop and found a rather nice table lamp... with no shade, darn it. Then just a little further I saw The Perfect Shade. I almost screamed right there in the thrift store. With trembling hands I tried it on the lamp... and it's perfect! It likely was dropped off at the store WITH the lamp, why they seperate them really annoys me but I guess it saves time to price separately as people WILL separate pieces, won't they?

    I am mulling over the idea of the built-in bookcase/room divider. Does anyone know exactly what those were called, and where to get a good photo/drawing or two?

    As for your over the dining table light bothering you please consider switching it out. Not all overheads are under-efficient or over-efficient. (not all are ugly either) Do you have a dimmer on it? That helps a lot!

  • 18 years ago

    How about custom built lighting boxes with frosted glass tops, you can display your glass ware on top and cast nice ambient light.

    Light boxes are a deco 30's and 40's item.

  • 18 years ago

    o-o-o-ooo! hostaguy, I love it!
    I'm pretty handy with tools too.

  • 18 years ago

    It's only been a couple of weeks since I posted above, and I have learned a couple of key things.
    After exhaustive library reasearch I found I am the dubiously proud owner of a Cape Cod. At first in my ignorance I was mad. "Mad?" you say, yes, angry. Cape Cod? What the ... ? This is The Pacific Northwest. Just my ignorance peeking through again, I usually hide it a little better. So after much more reading on the development of housing THROUGHOUT THE USA, I had a glimmer of understanding. It does indicate a starting point, er place I mean, but it's evolved since then. It would be similar to you may own and wear a crew-neck even if you don't have a crew.

    The second thing I discovered - and then double-checked
    to be sure it wasn't just one author's pet name - is the
    name for a low built-in bookcase that divides two rooms...
    usually the living and dining rooms. I am pondering having
    (or building it myself) one between the living and library
    rooms. It's official name appears to be Colonnade, specifically
    Bookcase Colonnade. Cool! I could find no reference
    to one used in a Cape Cod but we know that won't stop me.

    I have another question if anyone is out there - - - my house would be flat across the front EXCEPT that the 8.5 ft wide breakfast room sticks out three feet. How do you add a porch to a house like that??? The way I think of a porch it would permanently shadow the breakfast room, not too festive, ya know? And if the porch had no roof - what's the point?
    sighhh, GH-

  • 18 years ago

    Check closely in the center of the rooms ... there was a fad for "no ceiling lights" and many homeowners just took the fixtures down and covered the wiring.

    I think your "breakfast nook" may have been a porch - does it make sense with the rest of the architecture?

  • 18 years ago

    lazygardens, I dunno. I did go up in the attic for the very first time since buying this house, and I remembered to wear old clothes, brought a drop-light with a 50' cord, and a flashlight in case I dropped the drop-light. I didn't think to bring the camera. Poop.

    I just can't tell if the porch/breakfast room was added on. I don't know how a roof peak generally looks as it comes into one the oposite direction. There were some jagged boards... seems if the peak was original they'd not have had a problem with trimming it - but if it was an add-on maybe they felt cramped and skipped trimming? Still, dunno. Will take pictures. Link to my album is above, it shows front of house from two angles.

    As for ceiling lights or not, I just don't know. ALL of the downstair ceilings are covered with 12" squares of lightly-textured white stuff that tongue-and-grooves together. Hate to monkey with it as it's in good shape. Hey! When I was in the attic I did find out one thing, all of my ceilings are beadboard under the white squares! ha! Who knew? I wish some of that showed! Hmmmm, that'd be great in the kitchen, give it a real warm feel. I wonder though if it'd let dust filter down? Gag.

    Back to the lighting, hostaguy, is the lightbox sort of an endtable? Surely it's not a center hung fixture? Maybe I'm picturing something way too large? I've been looking at a LOT of light fixtures in the past few days - and I keep being drawn to the Mission and Arts & Crafts styles. I don't see why I can't make something wonderful, perhaps a silhouette cut of copper, mica underneath? Maybe a spray of pine cones? I am still strongly thinking of a colonnade with lighting built-in across the top to throw a glow across the ceilings of both rooms.
    Sigh, so many ideas and life so short.

  • 18 years ago

    Gardeners Hands... a picture of a light box is available on the link below. You could build something like this finish or paint grade plywood.

    Here is a link that might be useful: Light box

  • 18 years ago

    Building the light boxes yourself would allow you to make them any size you want.

    If you're looking for 40's period ceiling fixtures, check out:

    Below is a direct link to 40's style fixtures

    Here is a link that might be useful: Rejuvs 40's fixtures

  • 18 years ago

    Have you ever worked with a Salvage Yard before? It is so much fun to work with them!

    There are quite a few on the internet and they keep their inventory pictures up to date.

    One of my favorite Salvage Yards is noted below and it is in Seattle:

    Here is a link that might be useful: Seattle Salvage

  • 18 years ago

    Try this.

    Here is a link that might be useful: Schoolhouse Electric