May 16, 2007

It's all in the lighting

The very first part in creating a lovely, greener nest is creating warm, good lighting. Nice, warm, cozy light coming from an eclectic mix of vintage and modern lamps will make any house feel more like a home.

There is no need for harsh over-head lighting. Whether you go old or new, start home decor with what illuminates your space.

The floor-to-ceiling, gold, vintage lamp we have to the right of our couch belonged to our old-school Italian, OG-Brooklyn neighbor, Sue, during the 55 years she lived here.

We were very touched when Sue's family gave some of her amazing antiques to us when she passed away. So generous and thoughtful, and rich with history. One of the best pieces Sue passed on to us is the three-tiered gold lamp to the right of the couch. We replaced the inside coil attachment piece and now hopefully, the metal rod and fixtures will last forever. If need be, we can always replace the shades. The rare, really neato lamp provides the most lovely yellow hue at three different levels.

The wooden lamp, my dad hand-carved himself, and is one of my very favorite things that I own. I have had it in my room since I was a little girl. It got a little tattered on the move to Brooklyn, so we replaced the old, white shade with this deep red one. The darker shade warms up the light that the all-natural, handmade lamp provides.

The white lamp came in a pair, and belonged to Will's parents. Will's amazing mom has quite the keen eye, and gave a disclaimer attached to the lamps due to the floral design on them. With style on her mind and free stuff on ours, Will and I gladly accepted the recycled lamp and turned it right on around hiding the maroon floral design. You'd never know what lurks behind the simple off-white base. The vintage gold lamp has a leaf-shaped base and was dirt cheap from Ugly Luggage on Bedford here in Brooklyn. They are a great source for antiques with super-low prices and new amazing inventory all the time.

When working with a larger area, like a Brooklyn loft or converted warehouse, use a big, mod over-head chandelier hanging low to create a more intimate space. Domino demonstrates a perfect example in their black and white living rooms gallery.

If your sockets are in tricky places for standing lamps, you can spruce up your old, standard, over-head light fixtures. The steps are listed below, but something to get started on now is the search to find your perfect piece to replace the other one. The Scandinavian Design Center is like a really amazing sculpture exhibit, with each piece providing the perfect glow.

Take your time and have fun finding your new piece to replace the old shade or fixture. Find a piece that reflects your taste and style while providing the amount of light you need in that particular room.

Keeping the spaces you want to create in mind, and the visualizing the aesthetic of the room, nook or corner. Picking the replacement can be the best part!

These are some from Rejuvenation that I found on the helpful Eco-friendly Resource page on their stylish site. You can also refer back to the previous Nest egg for some U.K. and Swedish designers offering an array of cool lighting solutions.

This Art Deco Opal Shade is one of my favs. It would look great in a living room or kitchen. It resembles the featured black and white vintage Pyrex piece. We have these paper lanterns in our kitchen with low-energy bulbs in them. All three chords are on one power strip, so when not in use, the entire strip is turned off, preventing wasted energy.

You will need:

1 new lighting fixture
1 small screwdriver (or whatever tool your old shade requires to be removed)
1 sturdy chair or ladder
*klutze-proof step: 2 people ( this is preferable to cut down on the the risk-factor of dropping one or both of the glass pieces.)


-Turn off the lightswitch. (The Duh-factor in this step is medium-to-high, but it's these simple, vital steps that we often forget in our excitement to fung shui the living room lighting system at 2am, that get us into the most trouble.)

-Climb up on a sturdy ladder or chair with someone there to spot you

-Carefully take off the original shade. This sometimes requires unscrewing old, rusty, tiny pieces from a delicate glass shade, so have your tools handy and be ginger with glass fixtures.

-Have your spotter put down the dusty, old, fragile glass piece and hand you the new one. to while you and hand you the new shade.

-Climb down from the ladder and try not not to inhale the dust.

-Wash, dry, pack and store the original if you are renting and need to return the fixtures upon moving out. If you don't have to worry about that, recycle or re-purpose it.

While the bulb is nude, if you will, (duh) turn the switch off, and unscrew your old light bulb. Then replace it with an energy and money-saving compact flourescent light bulb. CFLs are cheap, easy, and last for-freakin'-ever. And the good news is, they are everywhere! Even chain stores like Lowe's have them in the store and on-line RIGHT HERE. Going green is so simple now.


*Turn your old lighting fixture upside-down and make it into a planter. Send in your creative ideas on how to re-purpose an old, unusable lighting fixture into something new and green, and I'll post some of the coolest photographs you send. If the below fixture was yours and was no longer cutting the lighting mustard, you could easily turn it into a mod home for your greenery. It would make a perfect little herb garden.

The most innovative and greenest idea will receive your choice of a free sample set of Enderby Designs note cards or 10% off of your next Enderby order.

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