Lighting Details: D.I.Y. industrial + vintage chandeliers

Alternative lighting solution in the dining area

Alternative lighting solution in the dining area

Lighting is everything. It creates the right atmosphere, mood, and general ease of vision. In September 2009, incandescent light bulbs and other energy inefficient lamps started to be gradually replaced by more energy efficient lamps in Europe. By switching to more energy efficient lighting products, European households can save energy and contribute to reaching the EU’s climate protection targets. Read more about the phase-out of incandescent light bulbs. In an additional effort to recycle and re-use, I chose to use vintage lighting solutions for several of my room applications.

Dining area light made from old lamp shade structure and other re-used parts

Dining area light made from old lamp shade structure and other re-used parts

Ages ago, I found this old discarded metal lamp shade frame in the trash knowing one day I would find the appropriate use for it. I left it in its rustic state and assembled it together with an electrical kit and added a perforated metal lamp shade cylinder I had from another lamp, and attached it all together with a metal mesh screen I found at a cooking supply shop, painted bronze. The fixture creates a light volume without being too overwhelming. Total cost: approximately €10.

Vintage metal Italian chandelier

Vintage metal Italian chandelier

In the same room, the living room chandelier above was found in a used shop for €28 and left as-is. I liked the coppery finish and how the ornate design contrasts with the dining table lamp above. I found some mini-lamp shades to attach directly to the bulbs to soften the effect (arriving soon).

Wall sconces made from brass and plumbing fittings

Wall sconces made from brass and plumbing fittings

In the bathroom, I planned for two wall sconces to frame an antique mirror I found at another local used shop. To contrast with the frame, I wanted something more industrial, made with brass plumbing fittings. The project turned out to be more complicated than I had expected, after visiting numerous local shops and hearing “no” several times. One thing I found out is that in Italy, only for plumbing parts, they actually use Imperial (American) measuring system — the tubes I found were 1/2″. Read more about measuring systems and how they relate to my jewelry designs.

For the wall attachment, I wanted to use flanges, but they cannot be found in Italy because they are not used here. So, I had them delivered from the U.S. where they can be found at any hardware store. For the glass tube, I had a difficult time sourcing the material. I went to lighting and glass shops and looked online, but was unable to find what I needed.

Finally, my mom happened across 2 frosted vintage drinking glasses at a local antique market and they were perfect, but I needed to get the bottoms cut off by a glass worker with the right tools. Surprisingly, in a town where artisan craft still prevails, it was tricky finding someone who would grind these glasses for me, but finally I found a place to do it: Moleria Locchi, however, it did take a few phone calls and about a month to get it done. Then, based on the diameter of the cut glass, I constructed and soldered 2 brass rings that fit perfectly around the base of the glass and into the base of the fitting. Months later, the electrician finally installed them and they are perfect! They go well with the adapted vintage industrial door I designed. Total cost: approximately €30.

Vintage Italian chandeliers

Vintage Italian chandeliers

I found 2 other vintage Italian chandeliers at a local thrift shop to use in the kitchen and bedroom. You just have to see the potential in these old, outdated lamps. Most Italians, when they re-do their homes, go completely stark modern new and don’t care for these old “granny” styles anymore, but when they are updated and placed in the correct context by mixing the right contemporary style, they can really work. Since the wiring was still good, all I really had to do was paint them. Now they resemble new “glamour” chandeliers that costs hundreds of euros. For the one below, instead of removing each crystal, I simply protected them with tissue paper and used spray paint. Total cost: approximately €12 each.

Spray painting and old chandelier lamp

Spray painting and old chandelier lamp

The installed vintage kitchen chandelier

The installed vintage kitchen chandelier

For the bedroom, I painted over the 1970’s colors to match the grey bedroom. The dark iron color already goes well with the dark wood furniture and metal bed frame. I added a string of vintage crystals to the base to make it more elegant. It will also be getting some mini-lamp shades added to the bulbs.

Vintage updated Italian chandelier in the bedroom

Vintage updated Italian chandelier in the bedroom

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3 thoughts on “Lighting Details: D.I.Y. industrial + vintage chandeliers

  1. Pingback: Gray bedroom design style | At Home in Florence: A Renovation Project

  2. Pingback: New Kitchen Design | At Home in Florence: A Renovation Project

  3. Pingback: Open concept living space | At Home in Florence: A Renovation Project

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