Saturday, February 21, 2009

Lightening up '50s Style

(Before: Light in our sunroom, which is currently being used as our bedroom.)

Three of our rooms have this cheesy cheap looking replacement "diffuser" on the ceiling fixture, (or what I call them: a ceiling lamp shade.)
I took a look at the BigBox hardware stores and discovered this was the only kind they offered.

I remember when I was growing up in the 50's every bedroom had a ceiling light with a pretty wavy glass diffuser. Some, like my brother's, even had brown cowboys as a motif that was painted onto the glass.

Sorry, this plain disc shape thing just didn't measure up. The round against the subway tile pattern ceiling tile just didn't work. Nor did the fact that the diffuser failed to cover the light bulbs themselves when view from the doorway.

Totally NOT cool.

What to do...what to do...

Well, thankfully here in SLC, there is a splendid building salvage business known as George's Architectural Salvage store. It is quite an experience. The place smells of feral junk yard cats pee, which is only natural as there are several cats around the property, keeping tabs on everyone as the metropolitan versions the classic junk yard dog

You can get just about anything you can image there. Including lots of pink toilets and sinks and even bathtubs for those of us who have taken the pledge to Save the Pink Bathrooms.

(I shared that link with the young woman who waited on me. She is a TOTAL fan of pink bathrooms and it just pains here to see all the torn out pink bathroom fixtures that people bring in to sell. If anyone reading this needs a pink bathroom fixture, just give them a call!)

Anyway, back to the light shade: I was first drawn to this diffuser, which hangs like a bowl from the light fixture by three chains. Isn't it gorgeous? It would look so great in master bedroom with the coral pink paint that I am thinking about.

Sadly, it was already sold.


There was this lovely blue one. The guest room is to be blue; hmmm....

Trouble is, this is actually a style from the 1930s-40s.

Frankly they are gorgeous style, and each bowl is decorated as nicely as a birthday cake.

It took only a little bit to decide against going with that look though. Too fussy for a mountainside ranch house.

You have to be willing to hunt around a bit.

Get a little bit dusty and dirty...

I did find a pile of diffusers.

A few had chips.

Finally I found the perfect one for our sunroom.

It was dusty and dirty, and had a bit of paint speckle on it from a sloppy ceiling paint job long ago.
Ten dollars later, a dunk in sudsy water and some thumbnail scraping on the paint speckles and I had....

After: I love how the grey painted foliage looks like cut glass!
Isn't that a thrifty way to fool the eye.

I'd really like to have a glass or silver nut to hold the diffuser on.

The other rooms have brass nuts.

(Another small detail to be hunting down.)

The botanical theme works well with the garden view room!

I can't wait to continue the hunt for diffusers for the other two rooms.
The search is on!

Whoo hoo!

(PS: Ebay has TONS of the three chain hanging lights selling for well under ten bucks. One vendor suggested using them as bird feeders. I decided to take a spin on ebay right after I posted this, and guess what I saw? This ADORABLE diffuse with a little girl in pink jumping rope. Yup...I bought it. It was under ten bucks too!)


Anonymous said...

I really like the new diffuser. What a difference from the other one, much brighter.
Mark is out of ICU and moved to a private room today about 11am. It took awhile to settle him, but he seems to be progressing well. Kathy will update for everyone later. He was much more aware today. All's well so far. Keep the prayers coming, I'm sure they have all been heard. Love, mom S.

Sara at Come Away With Me said...

Diffusers! I've never known what to call those things. I remember the old-fashioned ones from childhood days too. The one you selected is perfect and I really thought it was cut glass. Very nice.

Lovella ♥ said...

Jill, for the life of me. .I don't know why people don't read the comments to go with the post.
I was so happy to get an update on Mark from your mil and I agree with Sara, I didn't know that those light covers were called diffusers.
Well, regardless. . .I love your attention to detail to make the house authentic to it's era. Nice job. The diffuser you picked is perfect.

Marie Christopher said...

Those are just right!

I, too am looking for those 1950's light "diffusers" - my mom just always called them light shades. Since the storm (IKE in September), we are replacing lots of things in this old house --- one at a time. I want to get rid of all the ceiling doctor said they are not good!!

Julie said...

What fun! I love the diffusers you chose! and I'm wondering .. the one with the little girl that put away for a future hope?? smile....

I'd love to come shopping with you, Jill .. poking around hoping to find the unexpected treasure for a bargain is the best kind of shopping!

Anonymous said...

That's a great diffuser! The last one is really cute, which room will it be in?

I love architectural salvage stores (some people call 'em junk stores) but you can find some great stuff hidden beneath a layer of dirt.