The right light makes all the difference

28 12 2010

The outer shade casts attractive warm indoor light

It’s a beautiful light. And it makes all the difference. This antique leaded and metal slag stained glass chandelier makes me happy! DH found it on eBay and offered the winning bid for it. He rebuilt the fixture and we hung it yesterday afternoon. Literally years of marital discussion has resulted in a solution that we both love. But the journey wasn’t easy.

The clear glass bauble in the center captures our hearts

The original fixture was a hanging white ball placed in such a way that made it difficult to center a dining table beneath it. It illuminated the space but I didn’t care for the quality of light. Every time DH turned it on, I turned it off. I hated it. One day it didn’t light at all, and the reason wasn’t a burned-out bulb.

I tried to ignore the eyesore while DH offered alternatives. He is into eco- and energy-efficient lighting, while I am partial to the old-fashioned and energy-hoggy incandescent types. At nighttime, the whole of our living space is lighted with a seriously eclectic collection of table lamps, from heirlooms to silent auction prizes to Ross store bargains.

DH sometimes forgets that as a trained artist and photographer, I’m sensitive to the quality of light. Quality of light has to do with color, intensity, direction, and diffusion—for example. It’s part of noticing everything that makes up the scene visually. I’m not a perfectionist anymore, but I still try for good design. I’ll try darn hard to omit anything that hurts my eyes, gives me a headache or makes me feel unbalanced!

For a replacement, I envisioned a new Tiffany-style hanging fixture that could be used for both dining and reading. DH wasn’t sure. He wanted Japanese/Mission/Craft, something like that.

I have to confess: studio lighting was not my strong suit in art school. I learned about lighting, but it was a challenge for me to execute it. And obviously, after 25 years, the part of our little dwelling that suffers in design most is how to light the space.

DH, who was now unhappy with the non-working ball fixture, agreed that we could consult with a lighting/interior-design professional to help. We did, they came, and DH was wooed into a modern, high-tech solution. I have to credit him for not purchasing on impulse. It did not matter either how much I liked the solution or not. After looking at the estimates for materials and labor, we understood, sadly, that it simply was not affordable, a fact we both accepted.

I let the idea go. DH went back to “recycled” mode and started searching on eBay. How about this? No. Well then, what about this one? Nuh-uh. Oh, he was patient! Finally he showed me the pictures of a lamp that seemed to “go” with the house. It was old, but in good shape and pretty. It would be a design repeat of a few other pieces of art glass we had. And the caramel, chocolate, and orange in the shade picked up on existing colors in the room. Okay! I said.

And the rest is history.

Copyright 2010 Rebekah Luke



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