Saturday, March 31, 2012


The Light of Our Lives

By day the house is pretty much washed with light except on the darkest of overcast days. But at night we have some interesting lamps and fixtures.

Sunrise putting the shadow of a wood and silk Chinese lantern on the bedroom wall above a mission-style electrified oil lamp next to my side of the bed.

The Chinese lantern itself, a flea market find many years ago

I was given the cast iron art nouveau base of Venus on her scallop shell in partial payment for a design job during my student years in Boston.  The Tiffany lampshade revival was in full swing and the shades were WAY too expensive for my limited means.  So I got a old lampshade frame at a junk shop and bought colored glass, lead and everything else one needs from the Whittemore-Durgin Glass Company and tried my hand at making a shade myself, which didn't turn out too badly!

Another cast iron piece that hangs in our entrance hall.  There was no glass when I found it at a Goodwill in Boston, so it was back to Whittemore-Durgin for opalescent glass this time.  The five bulbs can be turned off separately from the column in the middle that makes a fine night light just by itself.

One day at MIT one of our faculty ran into our design and production building calling to us that hundreds of early 20th century light fixtures were being junked in the renovation of the Kendall Square T Station.  Some were not in good condition, with cracked glass or missing parts due to the haphazard way the demolition was going, and all were encrusted with filth, pigeon droppings, etc.  I managed to get three good ones and spent a great deal of time cleaning them up.   I installed them in my house in Roslindale, Boston and moved them, like so many of my other antique fixtures into the new house here.  The fluted glass of the shade burned out in the picture so this one doesn't look nearly as pretty as it really is.

A circa 1910 Moorish-style pendant found in a York, Maine antique store.

A Moorish Star fixture found at the famous Norton Flea Market south of Boston in the 1970s for $10.  Both it and the one above hang in my studio.

A wall-mounted lantern I built and cut the glass for that's now the reading lamp for a guest bed.

One of two art deco sconces that light the stairwell up to my studio and the guest bedroom. 

A pair of ceramic sconces found at an architectural salvage barn in the upstairs bathroom.  The 1930s  decor grew out of my owning the pedestal sink and medicine chest.  The paint job is mine.

And last but not least, our "famous" c1875 chandelier in the great room that was pulled out of a dumpster by a good friend who founded and runs the chamber opera company for which I design.  He and the music director hoped it would work in one or the other of their condos but at three feet wide and about three and a half feet tall it was way too big.  I was offered it and knew immediately exactly where it would fit perfectly.

Beautiful, Will. I love the art deco influences. Those lamps are all very interesting.
I love all the light fixtures!
Quite an eclectic electric collection! Sorry, I couldn't resist. :)
I was delighted to see these.
I love every single one of these lamps/light fixtures. And your stained-glass and shade-making talents are absolutely brilliant!
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