BY VALERIE BELDEN WILDER
Philmont, NY I Saturday, 7 January 2017
This is the Gill Glass light fixture in my bedroom. Parts were assembled from three different places to complete the fixture.
My sister and I share a mutual love (read obsession) with lighting. Right now we’re working on replacing all the light fixtures in the upstairs apartment of the V house with gorgeous, historically accurate lights.
It all started with the little bedrooms, last summer. There are two of ’em on the east side of the house, wonderful little under-the-eaves bedrooms, the mirror image of each other and joined by a connecting door. The first thing I noticed though, was the light fixtures were all wrong. The north room had a clear, pressed-plastic fixture, and the south room had a black, wrought-iron chandelier. My OCD kicked in immediately. (I mean attention to detail. Attention to detail!)
I casually mentioned to my sister I’d like to see the rooms match each other exactly, right down to the light fixtures. Well, then. She went online and found these blue fixtures. There were three, actually, so now there’s a spare in case the kids get cray and break one.
Here is the type of light fixture we’ve used in the boys’ rooms. Yep, I know there’s still tape over the screws. Have you ever tried holding all this stuff together over your head while balancing on a precarious, too-short step stool? Help!
And then she put together an absolutely smashing fixture for the Winter Bedroom, the one facing west, the one with the pumpkin pine floors and the French door. (It’s the first photo in the blog.) And we know it’s historically accurate, because it’s very similar to the fixture in the downstairs bedroom I had while growing up, which was pink and had baskets of flowers on the sides. (See last photo in the blog.)
Just look at that cobalt blue pendant. Squeeee! You KNOW how I feel about cobalt blue glass, right? And the amethyst crystal bells were discovered at an antique shop we were browsing at the Hudson Winter Walk, attached to a more masculine fixture of the same kind. Apparently, those bells are pretty hard to find, and fixtures like this which are intact can be pretty pricey.
When I wake up in the morning, it’s so fun to stare up at this light, the cool, powdery blue contrasting with the white ceiling. It’s like looking up into heaven, really.
This fixture used to be in the living room, but has been moved to the hallway. The leaf pattern perfectly matches my piece of Scandinavian lace.
This is my living room chandelier. It’s a bit hard to see, but there are a bunch of crystals hanging from the top, too. The bottom crystal looks amazing when the sun shines through it in the afternoon.
Replacing light fixtures and restoring homes is a little bit like solving a good mystery, figuring out what would have been originally used, and then trying to track down more authentic fixtures if things have been replaced. And most of the time, when people modernize their homes, things get very…interesting and mysterious.
And I’ve been enamored with mysteries since I was a kid, devouring Nancy Drew and Trixie Belden and Vicki Barr and Agatha Christie books by the dozens. All while staring up dreamily at this fixture with the flower baskets…
This is the light fixture I had in my bedroom when I was a teenager.
There is a large and strange cabinet in my kitchen, which is over the stairs. Guess what? When I was cleaning it out, I found another fixture just like this one, shoved waaay in the back. It’s slightly chipped around the top, though. Speaking of mysteries, I wonder where it originally hung? As I said, mystery.
This guy has spent his life searching out and restoring antique light fixtures.
And this guy has been selling and restoring lamps since 1979.
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