When we were remodeling our 161-year-old kitchen, we wanted to keep as much of the old world charm as possible without sacrificing the modern conveniences.
So we picked out a very large and deep white porcelain farmer’s sink. We had custom cabinets built to match the original douglas fir cabinets in our adjoining butler’s pantry. And we decided to refurbish an original jelly cabinet rather than ripping it out even though that would have opened up the space more and given us more options for counter space and work flow.
But one thing I wasn’t willing to sacrifice was good lighting. I vowed my days of stumbling around the countertops in the shadows cast from a lighting fixture in the center of the ceiling were over. So I started to sketch out where I thought it made the most sense to install recessed lights.
My wife, Patricia, pointed out that recessed lights were a modern convenience and would probably look out of place. She asked if there was another answer. And a lightbulb went off in my head: how about period sconces instead?
I had already bought some period sconces from a company called, Rejuvenation, for a bathroom makeover and was happy with the quality and service. So I started looking through their online catalogue, which is organized in several different ways, including by time period. It wasn’t easy and was time-consuming, but I did have fun following these steps:
- I first looked at sconces that were in styles in keeping with the period of my home.
- After finding a few sconces I liked, I carefully checked their dimensions to make sure they would fit the scale of the room. When you look at light fixtures online or in a catalogue it’s often hard to determine their actual size and you want to be sure the light won’t be too big or too small for the room.
- I then looked at all the available glass shade options. Changing shades can change the entire appearance of a sconce.
- And finally, I made sure that the four sconces (with three different styles) I chose to hang over the kitchen counters worked well together.
Note: The most important thing to keep in mind is to choose lights that you like the most and fit in with the style of your room. Don’t be locked into picking a lighting fixture just because it was the style at the time your house was built.
The lights work great, provide task lighting just where I need it, and work as good as any recessed lights but with lots more style and integrity.
(Photos by Mark Micheli)
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