The Beauty of the Bulb: Light bulb-exposing industrial lighting trend

I love my cfl’s for the sole purpose of saving energy costs, don’t get me wrong…but I hate the light quality that they produce. Therefore I’ve relegated them to use in our reading lights, lamps with patterned shades [to help disguise the light color], and any overhead lights with frosted glass shades.  So with that disclaimer, I launch into a post about bare bulb lighting.  It seems to be everywhere these days, as are edison bulbs.  (Even my mother-in-law has used them in her new guest house!)  And now that we’ve moved into a new apartment with TERRIBLE cheap, brass apartment light fixtures, we’re looking for some relatively inexpensive light fixtures that we can replace these gaudy brass ones with.

Now, I’m sure you’re thinking…why would you replace them?  This isn’t your apartment!  Well…true that.  But we will be living here for quite some time, and when we move we can always put back up the ugly ones and take the new ones with us.  Sooo…with that being said, here are a few of the bulb-exposing fixtures that have caught our eye during our lighting search.

1. Burnside Bulb Pendant from Rejuvenation $112, comes in 12 finishes and different classic cord colors. 2. Blazon Gleam Copper Pendant from Anthropologie $98.  3. Barely There Pendant from Anthropologie $248. 4. Mechanic’s Beacon Pendant – Large Flower from Anthropologie, $148. 5. Defiance Bare Bulb ceiling mount fixture at Schoolhouse Electric, $89. 6.  Clark Flushmount Ceiling Fixture by Wilmette Lighting at Affordable Lamps, $200. It reminds me of this Roost table lamp, but for your ceiling!  7. Clark Modern Pendant Light by Wilmette Lighting at Affordable Lamps, $292.

1.  Wayland Pendant from Schoolhouse Electric, $151 as shown 2.  Porcelain Bare Bulb from any local hardware store, $3.50  3.  Lyon Ceiling Mount fixture from Schoolhouse Electric, $127 as shown 4.  Vintage Pendant Lights from Moon River Chattel, $300

1. Dose of Color Fabric Cord bare bulbs at Anthropologie, $68 (These also look great when used with a lampshade as a hanging pendant over a dining table.  The fabric cord is a great pop of color!)  2.  Roost Berlin Pendant Light from Velocity Art & Design, $163

Soon, you’ll see what we ended up choosing for ourselves and our new apartment!  Hint:  One of these we already owned and brought with us.  A second we chose out of this grouping, and the third wasn’t on here at all.  Haha!  (Everything can’t be bare bulb, y’know!  After all, variety is the spice of life!)

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A new project begins: The powder room

First let me explain something.  My house has a full bath (upstairs) and an old servants “bathroom” downstairs that is actually only a closet with a toilet in it.  NO SINK.  And unfortunately there is no room to expand on either side (it’s blocked in by a stairwell and an exterior brick wall).  Anyways, this weekend I decided I would tackle the half bath by peeling the wallpaper.  It had been painted over several times, so I thought this was going to be difficult…but not so.   (Meanwhile, keep in mind it’s hard to photograph since it’s so small.)

A general idea of what I’m working with.

Here’s what the old wallpaper looked like when I started peeling.

Progress made.  I ended up peeling a lot of wallpaper in no time!  However as I began to keep peeling I realized that the exterior wall was covered by a weird 50’s wallboard that was super soft and not worth painting over.  So I poked a small hole…and then the next thing you know I’d torn all the wall board down and discovered an old exterior doorway that gave me an extra 8″ in depth where I’d be able to create built-in shelves!!  In a space this small…every centimeter counts!

Wow!!  I was thrilled to have found an old doorway!  At the bottom of the pic is the old baseboard.  I’m so thrilled!!  Now I have to either sheetrock or use beadboard to close it in.  (Oh, and install some foam insulation.)  I can’t wait to get you the after pics soon.

Lastly, I did some digging online and found the perfect sink for my teensy little powder room.  It’s only 8″ deep! If you have a teeny, tiny space and are looking for a sink, I can’t recommend this one enough.  It’s from the Whitehaus Jem collection and is so cute in person.  Vintage Tub & Bath had the cheapest price on it, plus free shipping.

Duh! How did I forget to officially post “after” pics of my guest room?!

It’s been almost a hundred years since we actually finished the guest room, but I just realized that I never officially posted the “after” pictures of our work.   (If you like to snoop like me, then you may have already poked around my flickr and seen them, but since 99.9% of you don’t do that…I thought it might be nice to share.)  And because everyone needs a healthy dose of perspective, here are the BEFORE shots:

Pretty bluesy, right?  I mean…those mirrored closet doors made me want to poke an eye out.  (Not to mention one of them had broken glass.)   Anyways…so here is our AFTER shots:

Yes, you are correct our floors are slightly slanted…as is easily visible in shot #2.  Also, here’s the post showing the original inspiration for the guest room makeover.  On a completely un-related note, Nick has decided that whenever someone comes to visit and stays in our guest room he’d take a portrait of that guest(s), and we’d start a portrait collection.  And here’s the first one he did to celebrate our first guest since the room’s overhaul.  (It’s my best friend and soon-to-be maid of honor Ashley.)

And of course, all photo credit for the AFTER shots goes to Nick.   All the BEFORE shots….well those were all mine.  🙂

Guest Room (in progress update)

Reminder.  Here’s how it used to look.

Here’s the new wall color.  Note that the trim hasn’t been painted yet.  (Although it’s not going to be terribly far from what it is now.)  Also the ceiling has been re-done in this room.   Woohoo!!  Now it’s not super gross looking.

I recognize that it appears basically like off-white in these pics.  And I’ll be honest…it kind of is.  Originally I wanted to do it a wild color, but then I changed my mind.  Oh well.  What can I say?  I can’t wait to finish this room.  Once this is done, I’m planning on doing a photo update on several rooms of the house including the dining room, living room, bathroom, and guest room.   The winter doldrums have had me in their clutches, and I’ve got very few projects done on the house.  But it’s a new year, and I’m trying to motivate again.  Because come spring, I have a whole NEW batch of things to do on the house.

In Progress: Guest Room

First, let me say that I dislike showing photos of my house looking disheveled and ripped apart.  I realize that is part of the draw [for all of us] in reading a house blog, but it’s just that I find it somehow embarrassing as if I’m being caught picking my nose.  You know?  People gawk and stare…but not in that good way.   At any rate, in spite of not feeling as if I have anything great to show, I also feel as if real pictures (meaning warts & all photos) of my house are overdue.  So here you go.

I’ve been furiously trying to work on my guest room in time for my mother to come and visit, but the house seems to be fighting against me.  It’s as if this room just doesn’t want a nice, beautiful paint job…and to be decorated.  I present to you exhibit A.

The walls in this room are just all kinds of frustrating.  First off, they’re plaster… underneath a layer of wallpaper… underneath two layers of paint.  Sounds great, huh?   However, it’s not the painted wallpaper that bothers me, as you might think.  No, the wallpaper is actually the thin paper kind…so the fact that it’s been painted over isn’t that big of a deal.  Besides a few seams that I’m having to cut out and sand over, it’s not that bad.  It’s just that underneath this window I have a slight bit of dampness that has come in from the windowsill and it’s made the old stuff separate from the wall.  Therefore I’ve been scraping and will have to spackle it, sand it smooth….etc etc.  Oh, and did I mention that I’m also struggling to find the perfect shade to paint the walls?  Why is choosing a paint color sometimes the hardest part of the job?  For the record, I think Martha Stewart does a great job with her paint swatch program at Lowes.  (And if you’ve got lots of expendable cash to throw around, I love Farrow & Ball’s paint colors.)

Did I mention that my mom arrives this Friday?  Yeah….guess what is NOT getting done by then?  I’ll probably end up doing as much work as I can this week after work, cleaning up the mess, putting clean sheets on the bed, and calling it a day.  Not exactly how I’d like for her to spend her Thanksgiving in my guest room, but for now it’s going to have to do.  On the bright side, the first time she came to visit I had no working bathroom.

Anyways…to give you an idea of what I hope for it to look like some day in the future, here’s my inspiration images ripped from the pages of various magazines:


Wish me luck as I keep plugging ahead.

Back in the saddle…positive attitude restored + closet update

After my semi-breakdown last evening, I went to work today and had a co-worker send me an instant message telling me that she hears I’m a “home renovator extraordinaire.”   She said that if I had a minute or two, she’d love for me to come to her desk so that I could give her some home decorating advice.

Hmmm….well, first of all I was flattered that someone that I work with (and doesn’t read this blog) gives me credit for such a thing.  Second, I went down to speak with her and it turns out that she’s considering buying a house in my neighborhood and it’s a handyman’s special (to say the least).  After looking at the pictures of her potential project, it gave me A LOT of perspective on my own house as well as my own bellyaching.   I realized that I didn’t have it that bad after all and should probably zip my lip [on the complaining tip].  Anyways, it felt great to be able to chat with her (a first time homeowner) and give her some thoughts on what she was getting herself into, etc.  It reminded me of my freelance gig, and how natural it felt to be helping someone out with these types of questions.

Also, thanks for everyone’s comments giving me moral support.  You know, it’s odd…there are support groups for new mothers, support groups for dieting, and support groups for alcoholics, but there are no support groups for people who are trying to learn how to renovate their old houses!  It seems like a good idea, right?!

Oh…and seeing as how I never posted the pics of my closet mini-facelift, I’ll go ahead and post them now.  Continue reading “Back in the saddle…positive attitude restored + closet update”

OMG…I’ve got renovation fatigue!

I don’t know quite what to say about the renovation work on my house these days.  I’ve got a bathroom that’s still not finished, a guest room that needs wall repair and painting, front windows that need fixing, floors that need sealing, paint that needs removing, curtains that need sewing…and the list goes on.  You name it, and I need to work on it.

Oh my goodness, I think I’m hyperventilating…  (And those are just the projects that I’ve STARTED.  I’m not even going to discuss the ones I haven’t started yet.)

For those of you that live in an old house and are doing renovations, have you ever gotten to that point where you just want to throw your hands up in the air and give up?  Well, I kind of feel that way this weekend.  There is just sooo much to do! Everyday I read all the design blogs and see everyone talking about all the cute things they’re doing in their house, and I look around at the ton of work still left undone… and just feel frustrated.  My expectation of myself is that I should be able to make things look perfect.   I expect perfection of myself and my house.  And so…right now I’m frustrated.

I can’t be the only one out there that’s going through this.  Are any of you feeling the same way?