Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Let there be (more) light

Our living room is new and improved! I promised pictures, and here they come.

You may remember what the dining room looks like in our house. It has a nice chandelier which is somewhat new but has an Arts & Crafts style, so it matches our house. Better yet, when it's on, you can see your food while you're eating. (This is key, I'm really into function, if you hadn't noticed.)

From the doorway, you can see the front hall. In this photo, Sally t. Dog is demonstrating the beauty of the hallway for you. Again, it has an entirely functional and -bonus- aesthetically pleasing fixture.

Now, the living room had a different arrangement. First, it featured these neo-Colonial sconces, which were probably installed in the 1940's or 1950's, if not before. (Back when it was cool to re-invent the Colonial style, I'd guess, but I'm not up to date on my interior decorating history) The sconces all had to be turned on at the fixture, and they were placed relatively high up on the walls, so I could only reach 2 of the 4. (The professor, at 6 foot 3", could turn them all on, of course.) On a dark winter afternoon, when all 4 of these things were turned on, you could maybe see your hand in front of your face. Knitting dark colors was totally out of the question, and reading anything with fine print was difficult.

We stationed two stick lamps in the room, and that's what gave most of the light for knitting and reading this winter. It was ok, except one of the stick lamps was $8 when we got it at a big box store, and, well, they lacked class. I felt like these crummy lamps screamed "dorm room!"

(Note, all the photos of the sconces shot here were done in the daylight, when the big windows allow you to see them clearly. The sconces themselves are not turned on!)
About two weeks ago, I saw some advertisements in the paper of fixtures on sale. I saw ones that sort of looked like they would match the dining room and hallway fixtures. Next thing I knew, the professor had purchased 4 and found someone to help with the wiring...so that I could theoretically flick one switch and the lights would come on. All last weekend, they were hard at work. In the end?

Only 2 out of the 4 fixtures are on the same switch...but hey,that's 2 lights that I flick with one switch and bingo! They're on. The other two are still turned on with little switches at the fixture. This is because (surprise!) the joists on this side of the house appear to be reinforced with concrete. It is hard to rewire that kind of thing, (a concrete thing) and no one wanted to explore why that concrete was there, so we stuck with the old system.

If one focuses solely on aesthetics, I think these are an improvement. They also offer a bit more light. Sadly, we still are messing with stick lamps as well, but maybe that's because I insist in knitting occasionally with dark colors in the winter time. Maybe the solution is just to go with all white yarns, all the time?

Nah. I'd just spill on it...let's be practical.
For now, though, I am trying to admire what we've got (living room lights) and appreciate all the hard work that went into this switch!

Note: For those in the Winnipeg area, I'm teaching an Introduction to Spinning Class at the Manitoba Craft Museum and Library on Sunday from 12-3pm. If you're interested, give the Museum a call by end of the day on Wednesday! I hear the class is almost full...and I'm looking forward to meeting a lot of brand new spinners! If you sign up, you'll also come home with a spindle and lots of practice wool too...it's part of the class fees.
To everyone else? Let's hear it for the light!

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Blogger Unknown said...

Let there be lots and lots of bright light...I am all about as much light as possible, as clear and bright as possible, and I live with a man who doesn't need so much. Gets interesting sometimes.....Stpeh in NH

March 16, 2010 at 3:35 PM  
Blogger PghCathy said...

I like as much light as possible, too. And if it can be natural light, so much the better. We just turned our clocks ahead...how nice to have light in the sky at 7:30 p.m. Not so nice getting up in the dark, but I like the light at night.

March 16, 2010 at 7:51 PM  
Blogger Willow said...

Yay for lights! I'm a light lover and open my curtains asap every morning. That's why we live at the 35th parallel... (truly)

March 16, 2010 at 8:16 PM  
Blogger Alison said...

I like the new lights! I need a new lamp in my living room, and have been looking for good ideas.


March 17, 2010 at 1:38 PM  
Blogger dianemulholland said...

Oh how I feel for you! I can't stand poor lighting, give me functional any time. It's become fashionable in new homes in Aus to put in dozens of those little halogen bulbs set into the ceiling and I can't stand them! We have two stick lambs in our living room here, and some short wires hanging from the ceiling fitting. Apparantly (one of the joys of living in a 200 yo building) there is no current to the switch, no current to the dangly wires. If we wanted a ceiling fixture we'd have to rip out half the plaster in the flat. Perhaps a London rat ate them... :-)

March 18, 2010 at 4:57 AM  
Blogger AdrieneJ said...

The new lights over the piano are my favourite. :) I also like lots of light; either soft light like yours or natural light. I'm always struggling to figure out the perfect balance in the evenings!

March 18, 2010 at 11:51 AM  
Blogger annmarie said...

Absolutely an improvement! I don't know when those dinky little fake-y candlestick wall fixtures came into style, but it must have been when humans had bigger eyeballs. :o

March 18, 2010 at 7:51 PM  

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