In the Dark, Fixturally Speaking


Back stairs (can’t leave this one on for long, lest I toast the plaster).

I got the old-knob-and-tube electric rewired in February, yet I’m still stumbling in the relative dark. Choosing the “right” lighting fixtures (at an affordable price) seems beyond my skillset.

So I still have installed in three places the bare bulbs my electrician put in almost 10 months ago. Pretty.


The tasteful living room fixture. (This room had no overhead lighting when I bought the place.)

I don’t want them to all be the same, but because you can see simultaneously the fixtures in the front hall, living room and dining room while standing just about anywhere in said three rooms, they have to at least be in casual conversation with one another. I suck at these types of casual conversations.


But hey – until I choose the fixtures, there’s no pressing need to fix & paint the dining room ceiling.

And then there’s the contemporary fixture I rehung in the front hallway, because there, I just couldn’t bear a bare 100-watt bulb. Too gloomy (and the stairs still have no railing…too dangerous to not see where I’m going).


This one would be nice in the right house. Mine is not the right house.

I think I need professional help…on so many levels.

About fitz

Woodworker, writer, editor, teacher, ailurophile, Shakespearean. Will write for air-dried walnut.
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11 Responses to In the Dark, Fixturally Speaking

  1. Do you have an architectural salvage place near you? We have one close to us that has scads of old fixtures and features for not too much money. It would be great if you could get original style fixtures to grace your wonderful home.

  2. nrhiller says:

    Here are my suggestions, each based on my own experience, as well as that of my customers:
    1. As Rusty said, look for old fixtures. Salvage stores are good for this, but the easiest way to go is ebay. (Sometimes etsy, too, has old lights and hardware.) I hate the idea of not supporting local salvage yards, but the search/tag/category logic of the Internet is a boon in cases where you have a general idea of what you’re after, and the single one that happens to be for sale when you’re looking is in an attic in Kokomo. If you do buy old fixtures, I recommend having them rewired for safety (not that you, of all people, need to be told about this).
    2. Rejuvenation Lighting & Hardware. I know that you know the company, and I know that some of their offerings are up there in cost, but I’ve occasionally found exactly the right thing at an affordable price. (Granted, in such cases, affordability sometimes has as much to do with “damn, it’s the only thing I want to live with” than with my actual budget, and I pay off the VISA bill over a few months.)
    3. Schoolhouse Electric. Ditto. (And ignore the annoying twee accessories they’ve decided to add to their product line.)

    • fitz says:

      Have you ordered lighting (or hardware) from Rejuvenation recently? I got the pan light for my study there, and I’ve bought a lot of hardware from them over the years. But on my more recent purchases, since they’ve been bought by a corporation and are no longer family-owned, I’ve found the quality a bit lacking. (Not to mention they discontinued the fixture I’d been hankering after for years.) On the study light, there were some rough welds that made it difficult to mate the pan to the base (had to get out a file) and the metal is flimsier than one I’d bought for the last house.

      I’ve checked Schoolhouse, but I don’t see the “right” living room chandelier there.

      I think I just don’t know what I want…

      • nrhiller says:

        I know what you’re saying, and (not “but”) I have indeed bought fixtures from Rejuvenation lately. The fixtures I bought have been as high in quality as anything I bought from them in past years. One of that company’s strengths is (or at least has been) service; if you’re unhappy with something you can send it back. Still, you can’t go wrong with old stuff, so perhaps keep looking.

  3. Ronald Carl Dennis says:

    What you need is not to be found on Home Advisors, instead try the American Psychiatric Association! I suspect they have an appropriate referral for your needs.

  4. Dale Smith says:

    Fitz, sorry about the dilemma but the walls and ceilings look nice! Seriously, I’ve had good luck with a few fixtures and stair railing hardware from
    Good Luck!

  5. Patrick says:

    You could always say it’s part a design asthetic called “voltaic minimalism”.

  6. Choosing the right light fixture
    is a serious affair
    and therefore is not by any
    to be enterprised
    nor taken in hand
    unadvisedly, lightly, or wantonly,
    but reverently, discreetly, advisedly,
    and in the fear of God.

    So, you know, take your time. You’ll know it when you see it.

  7. Have you considered making your own fixtures?

    After a dilemma much the same as you described, but in my case it was abb existing polished brass and acrylic fixture.

    Now hanging above the entryway and kitchen table are QSWO chandeliers with A&C appropriate mica “glass”

  8. I can’t decide whether the “artist” that made that fixture was having a trip on bad acid or is an escapee from hell who misses the old place. Is that thing actually real or did you photoshop it?
    And I vote for eBay – it may take a long time to find the right piece though.

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