Let Lighting Be Interesting

Lighting is a necessity, but there is no reason it can't be beautiful or unusual or interesting, depending on the setting. Here are some interesting and economical lighting applications.

First, in our case, was a long search for suitable, interesting and practical lighting for the recent expansion of my client's laundry/service porch in the little house in Pasadena. One of the problems we had to overcome was the long pathway from the backyard and garage through the service porch, anticipating the carrying of ladders or other utility objects through the space; and the height of any type of lighting other than recessed, had to be considered. The original light in the service porch was a typical bulb covered by a glass globe of the 1930s, which hung down about six to eight inches from the ceiling. With the new addition, the contractor installed a recessed light, so the inner workings of the two ceiling lights were quite different. This was not a problem for an electrician or a handy husband.

The proper adaptations for the "find" of the day a few months ago at the Rose Bowl, were two old, and a bit rusted, fluted funnel cake pans. These old pans would be a nod to the age of the house in the new space, so it would not feel so brand new. The cake pans cost three dollars apiece, and we were notably thrilled with the idea and cost. Unknown to us until just recently, the very same idea at the HD Buttercup showroom on the west side of Los Angeles. The price was significantly more-to the tune of $175 each! While we were a bit disappointed to find "our" idea used, we were delighted in the "savings".

The light above the kitchen sink was constructed out of a an ordinary kitchen colander, cute, easy and not particularly original, but it feels right in the space.

The next special find, came from an estate sale, where we located three large chess pieces; of the three my daughter wanted the knight, so handsome with his curly mane; next was the king who was particularly handsome, and we decided he would stand tall on a fireplace mantle or hearth. The third and final piece was the rook. I immediately identified him as a perfect lamp base. I knew my clever husband would have no problem drilling a hole in the top and out the side to run a cord, but it was up to me to find all the various pieces-and I did. The lamp is the best of all three pieces, starting off as the most plain and unassuming, it has taken its place of honor on the night stand, no pun intended.

A light can be fashioned out of practically any vessel or container, depending on how much light is needed. The pendant lighting in the back yard has been a terrific hit and so practical, since the shades do not have to be brought in in inclement weather. The next outdoor project will be to cover some very modest and uninteresting jelly jar lights on the exterior of the house. The plan is to fashion covers over the jelly jars to mask their utility and add some interest with more of the punched tin that was used in the outdoor pendant lighting over the patio. While we searched for something suitable, we settled on the modest jelly jars so we could satisfy the city and get a final inspection completed. We knew we could always change them, and they were less than ten dollars each. Adding the covers will disguise them sufficiently and add to the outdoor theme.