Monday, March 5, 2012

Flush Mount Ceiling Lights

I should have my head examined.  Why can't I leave well enough alone?  Now I remember why I put up wallpaper.  The walls in this room are a wreck.  A little pattern hides a multitude of sins. 

But I can appreciate the decay.  It sets a mood and I thought I should try to capture it.

But I'm all done stripping the wallpaper.  The room looks like hell.

Can I just thank you for all the "This Old House" votes?  You guys are the best.  Thank you also for all your lighting suggestions.  I guess it wasn't fair to ask you to make recommendations without knowing where I'm going with the room.  Let me show you where my inspiration is coming from.

I recently saw this photo on Katie Rosenfeld's blog Bogle Street.  Katie's a local designer and if you don't know her, you have to check out her work.  She's a wonderful colorist.  Her home is also in this month's Better Homes & Gardens.

Anyway, I really like this living room from Nuevo Estilo magazine.  I know the photo is a few years old but I apparently live under a rock and had never seen it before.  I love anything by Mies van der Rohe and I've always wanted a pair of white Barcelona chairs, paired with a Gustavian chest.  I think they're great here mixed with the Louis chairs, modern coffee table, antique sideboard and ornate gold frames.  Love the shutters and the white floors but it does make it a little cold.

So let's add some drapes and a rug (I'm loving vintage Moroccan rugs lately) and a plant...

Tom Delavan, Traditional Home
...and maybe you've got this room.  

What kind of light would this room have?

Here are some of your suggestions.  I've listed the source and the name or a few keywords underneath in case anyone's dying for one of them.  And then I made up my own name for each one so we can talk about them.

Ballard Designs

The "Star." 

LBC Lighting - Cassini

The "Murano Flower."

Circa Lighting - Basil Flush Mount

The "St. Stephen Quatrefoil."

Installations Antiques - Industrial

The "Industrial Gear." -Maxim 21340DWUB

The "Bubble."

Lowe's - Alan & Roth Flush Mount

The "Lattice Drum."

The "Yellow Jacket."

Shades of Light - Gear

The "Gearhead."

Euro Lighting, Forecast Embarcadero

The "Stuck-Up Drum"

Visual Comfort - Thomas O'Brien Merchant

The "Bell Jar."

I also thought I would check out etsy to see if I could find anything vintage that would work.  Here's a 1930's flush mount light that's really pretty ugly but almost in a good way.  At least it has some authenticity to excuse its gaudiness.

The "Crusty Triplet."

Or how about this Jere-style fixture?  I've been dismayed by the return of brass. My mother had all that cheap brass crap on the wall growing up and now people are paying thousands of dollars for a Jere raindrops sculpture.  I guess I drank the brass kool-aid because I'm starting to like them.

I call this one the "Brutalist."

Ruth, of gin-and-paperwhites fame reminded me that we have to local shops that sell vintage and antique light fixtures.  They both do custom work so I might be able to take a little bit of this and little bit of that and make my own customer creation.  A Frankenfixture.

So, does anything move you?

Could you see any of these lights in that room?  

Pick your top two or three.   I'll do what you say.


  1. 1) Frankenfixture - our 1918 house had an original fixture in a small bedroom that was EXACTLY like that one. If you are going for authentic...

    2) Crusty triplet - same house had a larger version of that one in the front parlor (not the living room).

    Can't give you a third choice. I have terrible taste and know that your room will be lovely whatever you choose.

    Also, if I can repair plaster, so can you. I actually came to enjoy it.

    Get a small bucket of "spackle" and put it on in coats for deep places. (You need to brush out the loose bits first and you need at least three wide putty knives for smoothing and one narrow one for putting it on - also your finger.) then sand until it's smooth enough to suit you.

    I painted rather than wallpapering, but if it was sanded well, it did not show the repair. So much easier than the wallboard in my current home.

    good luck!

  2. Hmmmmm.....there are some good selections there....of course thinking about your space I am slightly partial to the 2 visual comfort ones. If you do decide on those I might be able to get you a hook up on price :). I always love a bell jar.....

  3. Steve, I know...what is is it with brass? just went to a flea market yesterday and all the crap I grew up with is what everyone wants...and oddly enough I'm liking brass again too! It's warm and it goes with everything! Okay...I need to focus...I'm so ADD. My top three: The "bell Jar", The "Brutalist" and maybe that Shades of Light - gear with Edison bulbs.

    I try to stay away from things that everyone from Pottery barn to Target has already the "stuck up drum".

    Your walls have a nice patina about least that's what I'll call it. I wonder if my new old house has that charming patina?

  4. Ok I'm focused on those walls. First things first. Here is your opportunity to think about John Derian's cape cottage. Not the look you're after? Well, you can do anything with those walls!

  5. Interesting. None of your inspiration is me but ... maybe it really is because I love that first picture. All the different periods and styles look wonderful together.

    Lighting...I like the star and the last vintage one.

    Have fun with those walls! I personally like the aged look so I would leave it but I don't think it would "go" with the new look. :)

  6. Quatrefoil, star, or Schoolhouse electric's offering. Resist the lure of all brass, all the time - in about five years, you'll look up with regrets. (This is the hard voice of experience talking, glancing at the ceiling with a deep sigh at her faux bois Design Within Reach masterpiece, all the rage six years ago, dated today...)

  7. Isn't it funny when we "remember" why we did a wall or floor treatment?
    My choices for what it's worth:
    1. The "Murano Flower". I like the nebulous feeling in contrast to the room examples. A nice balance and not hard (glare-wise) on the eyes at night.
    2. The "Industrial Gear" just because of the novelty as well as the glass used in it, very retro feeling.
    3. The "Star" even though I'd hate the glare from the bulb, I love the star part!

  8. my favorite is the last one. but just about any of them would work. how are the prices?

  9. You tricked us, Buster Brown!

    Circa's St. Stephen...

  10. OK - here goes - the bell jar is may favourite with Murano flower a close second. If the walls are in really bad shape, how about a painted anaglypta covering?

  11. Julie,
    You made me good anaglypta. I used some of that in one of my closets and it worked well. It's a possibility. Thanks for mentioning.

  12. My favorites: the bell jar because it seems most in keeping with the style of the house--I'm partial to keeping the fabric of the house unified and then playing with the less permanent decor. BUT my second choice is the Murano flower because it's just so unexpected! A feminine, frilly touch in contrast to the somewhat edgy look of your inspiration pictures. Who says I have to be consistent?

    back to This Old House to vote some more.

  13. I'm not much of a Ballard Designs person but this one caught my eye earlier today and I thought of you, even before I saw your inspiration rooms. They also have a semi-flush mount version.

    Chase Ceiling Mount

  14. Hey Steve,
    Wow, you found some nice fixtures. If you choose one with a bare bulb, it's nice to use an Edison bulb. They are old timey looking and the light they produce is softer than a standard bulb.
    I would love to see a Frankenfixture of your creation. I'm sure it would be fabulous!
    All the best, Ruth

  15. I don't like light fixtures so I'm useless - I just wish the whole ceiling would glow imperceptibly...
    However I'll be interested to see what you pick, good luck!

  16. I love Quatrafoil and Stuck-Up Drum. Both classic. The first photo is gorgeous. I'm sure it's up on Pinterest already. Now I'll read everyone else's favorites!

  17. thankfully i have avoided the brass kool-aid but as soon as i say that i will be embracing it like i invented it.....scary!
    my fav is the first but the one by visual comfort, versus ballard. i have this flush mount and love it, particularly with a thomas edison bulb

    thomas o'brian's is also great.
    ps; i do not work for visual comfort!

  18. OK - my comment keeps disappearing - here is my third try. : )

    I love Quatrefoil best and Stuck-Up Drum is second. They're both very classic. And I love that first photo for some reason (the subtle colors I think.) I'm sure it's up on Pinterest already. Now I'll look to see what everyone else's favorites are!

  19. OK - Steve. Something screwy is happening to the comments I leave - it doesn't give me a confirmation so forgive me if you got 3 already!

  20. Maybe there's something wrong with me, but when it comes to lighting, I'm not really liking many of the current styles on the market that everyone else seems to love. I prefer more period pieces, or simple modern designs. I love the rooms you are using as inspiration, but it's funny that one the one shot shows a lamp.

  21. I like the first one...but i have the Basil in my guest room...looks good with the narrow aged brass curtain rod...a little vintage-y but modern.

  22. I am not a big fan of seeing the light bulb although it seems very popular these days. My top two:
    #1 the industrial gear and #2 the St. Stephen Qartrefoil. Both are pretty masculine, interesting, but don't scream "look at me".

  23. Do you HAVE to have an overhead light?
    They are the least flattering of any light source, IMHO.

    If you have to, though, I'd pick something without brass ( it reminds me of the eighties, which reminds me of my oh-so-cool asymmetrical new mom of twins hair cut; thank the universe there is only one photo of that design choice floating around )and without a bare bulb.

    That said, I like the star and the last little one...maybe even the gear light. I'm also loving the look of all white with dark punctuation lately-your room will be grand when all is said and done, I'm certain.

  24. Would you like another cup of Kool-Aid?

    My gut reaction said Murano Flower. Sometimes it's best not to over think and go with your gut. Says me.

    I will go and read what everyone else said now that my choice can no longer be influenced!

  25. P.S. Inspiration image rocks! Bright white walls, aged and refined with a mix of modern. Yes, please.

  26. Hallo Steve!
    Here's another oppinion from germany.
    I'm no fan of ceiling lights at all, but if i have to choose one for this room, i would take the stuck up drum.
    If you love Mies van der Rohe, than this one would fit.
    By the way, your blog is megasuperschick (so we say),
    I love it.

  27. Is it for the center of the room? ANyway I like old fixtures, and I think a frankenfixture would work. I love that crusty triplet!

  28. I'm in love with the murano flowers.

    Serious love.

    Oh and The Quaterfoil is quite handsome.

    Now i want to take down my cheap ceiling fan.

    xo Jane

  29. Steve you received some really nice suggustions without everyone knowing where you wanted to take your room. The walls can be fixed with a lot of patience but personally I would have them re-plastered. I can't wait to see what you do in your room.

    Enjoy your day!

  30. Crusty triplet. Since you're keeping the original hardware, I think the lighting needs to be "original" or at least make sense as having been a period update. My parents have an 1840s farmhouse and the light in the dining room is similar to the triplet, although bigger and a quintuplet. Can't wait to see what you choose! Sarah L.

  31. I like that St Stephen quatrefoil. Actually they're all pretty nice. Your walls look like what's under my living room wallpaper. Our upstairs ceilings are about 6.5' Wanna trade? We have no ceiling lights up there at all.

  32. St. Stephen quatrefoil
    Lattice Drum

  33. I love that last one but I think it might come down to proportions. Will it be big enough? Too short? You might need to see your final choice in the space.

    And seeing that pic with the fig tree makes me want to go get one now!

  34. I like the looks of the gear and the star, though I wonder if the unshaded bulbs might be a bit glaring... perhaps not w/the right bulb.
    As someone mentioned above, the 'patina'd' walls put me in mind of John Derian's gorgeous abode.
    As for giving old patina to new brass... mixed results w/the acetone and vinegar. An improvement, but not exactly what I'd hoped for. The quest continues...

  35. Oops, I see there are two 'gear' fixtures.
    I should have said "The Gearhead."

  36. Miranda,
    Maybe you're off to a good start and the brass will continue to age on its own now that the lacquer is stripped?

  37. I have Forecast Embarcadero and I regret getting it for my space. I've bought an outdoor light fixture that I will be replacing it with. It might work in other spaces but it real life the scale is large and the aluminum rim feels a bit office like. I know you will find the perfect one - I kindof like Star, among others.

  38. I always love a clear glass bell jar and the quatrefoil shape is wonderful too.

  39. Well, I don't know if I can help you with YOUR issue Steve, however, thanks for reminding me how much I like the star fixture (#1) for my own hallway!

  40. Hi Steve, sorry I was late to the party with suggestions for your fixture. Have you heard of Rejuvenation? They have a whole section of flush mount fixtures and they also sell refurbushed antiques. their new fixtures are customizable so you can bick the finish, the shade, the bulb, etc. One I like for you is called Grant Court if you check it out be sure to look at all the different choices for shades if you want something snazzier than what they show.[15SHADE]=001SB14

    good luck and I can't wait to see what you choose!

  41. Great room inspiration! As for lighting, I'm partial to the St. Stephen's Quatrefoil and the Stuck-up Drum.

  42. Lattice Drum first choice !! Stuck up Drum next in line !! I am a light fixturaholic !!!

  43. The STAR!!! I have the "bell jar" and it is *ell to keep clean. franki

  44. If your ceiling is low why not do away with a ceiling light? I like the gear head and the star, don't ask me why because I usually hate to look at a bare bulb!
    All our walls are old and uneven and we have used claypaint, which gives a good thick, creamy matt cover. It makes the uneven surface look fine.

  45. the industrial gear for you
    and the bubble for me.

  46. oh my....I have no idea as to which you should use....but I love your inspiration photos!...good luck...smiles

  47. Well I had earlier sent you a link to this one that you had pictured in this post -Maxim 21340DWUB
    The "Bubble."

    So that would be my first pick :-)

  48. I like the Star and the Brutalist as long as you use an Edison multiple filament bulb. They have several interesting sizes and shapes at Restoration Hardware. I also like the St. Stephen Quadrefoil.

  49. With the look you posted as inspiration I intially thought "the bubble" but you might hate it in a year or two so "the stuck up drum" is my pick. Also like the idea of a bare Edison bulb.
    As for the Kool-aid, I didn't like it at first but its actually pretty good. I wish there were some brushed nickel Kool-aid left because I have 3000 sq. feet full of the

  50. 1) I have always loved the Basil Flush Mount.
    2) In this space "The Brutalist" would be a close second.
    3) I am also oddly drawn to the Lowe's fixture! I might need to see that in person, but I like the lines from what I see here.

  51. I like the St. Stephen Quatrefoil, The Lattice Drum and the Bubble. First choice The Bubble by the rooms you chose, they are subdued and elegant and I think this one gives it a little kick. But what do I know, I'm partial to lamplight. Have fun with those walls!

  52. For my house: The Brutalist. But for your house, I kinda love the Yellow Jacket...all fun choices though.

  53. While your second photo is somebody's Hell, the first photo is also somebody's Shabby Chic.

    Your house strikes me as one that would nicely accomodate the "Bell Jar, " but I really like the "Stuck-Up Drum." It has a tailored look that is striking without being distracting, and 25 years from now, it won't look dated.

  54. Mark's comment is funny!! I just don't see you with a "bell jar"- it's just not a Greek revival look, in my very humble opinion;) Do you want old or new? I want old for you and your house;);) We're off to Maine today- I'll take photos if I see anything of interest!

  55. The St. Stephen Quatrefoil "feels like the room" love it!

  56. I cant wait to see what you come up with. The 3 I like, are:

    St. Stephen Quatrefoil
    Lattice Drum

    Not in particular order, but I think they all would be interesting in your room.


  57. The stuck up drum for sure!!!!!! Its clean and uncomplicated and your eye won't go straight to the ceiling. I think it works best in the room you are trying to create.I love your inspiration room but I must say, it doesn't look like it belongs in your house.

  58. I really like the bell jar and the brutalist. Love the quatrefoil but not for your room. Brass has certainly made a comeback. I guess that makes me not very cool because I was always a closet brass fan - as long as it was the good stuff. Your room will be beautiful if you stick with your inspiration images.