Thursday, July 15, 2010

Lights in time

In most of today's houses, lighting fixtures are pretty standard.  Builders buy in bulk in order to save money.  And most builders end up buying the same cheap fixtures no matter what part of the country they're in because it's not about being original, it's about profit margin.

In vintage homes, there is some consistency in lighting fixtures by era, but it wasn't generally about what was cheapest.  It was about what was available and, more importantly, what would add to the home.  Builders had a sense of pride in their work, because their name was on it.  They used the same guys to build the houses from start to finish.  Every one on the job could point out the house to their kids and say "I helped build that." 

With that in mind, let's look at just a couple of different styles of lighting...

This dining area light is (or was) hanging in a foreclosure property that was built in 1952.  It had original tile in the kitchen and baths, built in cabinetry and this cool light.  The house was bought by an investor so there's no telling if the light is still hanging but usually investors will "update" these properties to make them more appealing to the masses.  What they end up with is what I call "flipper beige"...beige walls, slightly darker beige carpet (with "tile in all the right places!"), beige counter tops and stainless steel appliances.  But no character or originality. 

This light is in the stand up shower of another 1952 ranch style home.  This home was also bought by an investor after being a rental for years.  This investor kept all of the original tile in the bathrooms and the built in cabinetry and even replaced the stove with one more fitting to the home. 

Here is another light hanging in the same house as above.  I'm pretty sure it's a reproduction, but I think the investor did a really nice job choosing a fixture that looks like it belongs in this home.

This light is in the foyer of an absolutely gorgeous 1968 ranch that sits on a golf course lot.  I'll be doing an entire post on this home soon as it is as close to original as anything I've ever run across.  In the meantime, here's a small taste...

Now this last light is probably not something you would consider typical.  Of any era.  I found this in a custom built "castle" that was built in 1979.  As you can see, they carried the castle theme to their lighting in this hand carved fixture that hangs in the entry hall.  I'm pretty sure the dust wasn't in the original plan, but you know how castles are...

Obviously that's just a quick look at a few different styles but I thought it was a good start.  As I run across more cool details, I'll be sure and post about them.