I love my new place! I do, I do. BUT, it has come with its share of unusual challenges. Last month, I wrote about the huge column conundrum in my kitchen. I solved that problem and dove head first into the next one: creative lighting solutions. The building I live in was once the RCA record company. Records (remember those?) were pressed here for almost 100 years, but it went vacant in the early 1990s. The building was converted into luxury lofts a decade ago. The only “luxury” that’s missing though is wiring for light switches in the bedrooms and living room. Luckily, the bathrooms, kitchen, and walk-in closets are wired and well lit. So, with an “S” on my chest, I decided that this is a challenge I am happy to tackle on my own.
My guy and I first discussed bringing in an electrician to install cool ceiling lighting, and we got a permit to do so. But, when we couldn’t decide if we’d prefer a ceiling fan instead, I had to take matters into my own hands to keep us from bumping into furniture. Truthfully, because the place has 12ft windows in each room and we are facing a bridge, we get a good deal of light at night. However, I found that to be no reason not to create more functional solutions.
The first was super simple. String lights placed atop our wood dresser provide lovely ambient light when the sun goes down. I also placed a few lamps around the apartment where we read and sip tea.
The next solution was the most creative! Because I studied metalsmithing in graduate school, I look for any opportunity to bring metals into the house and my design work. Therefore, when I saw this cool DIY on The Gathered Home, I was all over it! I did my own remix to it using just a bulb instead of a pendant light, which meant more work. But, I really dig the aesthetic of Edison bulbs and wanted to show one off.
I cut the 10 feet of copper tube by hand and wired it together making my own shape, which was inspired by the original. Hanging anything from 14ft ceilings with an air duct and concrete blocks in the way was not an option. So, I got a flagpole, spray painted it gold, then chopped it to be sure the light fixture hung directly in the center of my dining room table. It came out great. I simply adore it, and it was so fun to do.
My most recent lighting project involved a little upcyling, which is my favorite thing to do! My daughter had three pastel-colored pendant lights that she just never really used. Instead of letting them collect dust on a shelf in her closet, I decided to put them to good use over the kitchen counter. I enjoy sitting at the kitchen counter with my laptop after dinner to get work done online. However, with the lack of direct lighting in the area, it hasn’t really worked out for me…until now.
A fellow designer friend, who knows how much I love to upcycle, contacted me when she came across these large vintage coffee burlap bags in her attic. I gleefully snatched them up, knowing I would find many great ways of utilizing them. Covering my child’s pastel pendant lampshades would be project numero uno. It was really as simple as measuring, cutting, and Mod Podging the burlap onto the pastel light shades, overlapping in the center back and folding the excess over the edges for a clean finish.
The fun part was discovering that the side seams of the coffee bags made awesome decorative detail down the center of the pendant lights! Once the light fixtures were dry and ready to hang the next day, the real work begun: drilling holes into the drop ceiling over the counter to screw in hooks from, which the fixtures would hang. Once done, I was so excited to plug them in, and to enjoy well-lit quiet time with my PC at the kitchen counter for the first time.
Have you had to configure creative ways to solve unusual issues in your living space? I’d love to hear about them! Please leave comments or tweet me @jypsealeather.