And Kimberly saw the new light that she had hung and behold, it was very good.
Since time began, I have wanted a new light in my dining room. Not just a replacement of the pendant light already there, but one that actually sat directly above the dining table. Okay, it wasn’t since time began but it was probably a good 3 years ago and that’s close enough.
The Le Klint 172 style pendant shade I had in here was fine when I bought it way back in 2004 – I’d never seen anything like it before and didn’t realise I’d bought a cheap knock off of a designer product. I’m sure when I spied it in a little lighting boutique in Whistable where I was living back then, it was though the clouds parted and the angels sang (I really need to stop with this biblical slant, don’t I?).
But here it is nearly 10 years later and I see them everywhere and you can get pretty cheap knock off versions virtually anywhere. I think it’s ubiquitousness (what a great word) was what started me feeling like it just wasn’t special enough for the dining room. Plus, it’s plastic folds stored dust like a mofo and every time I took it down for a good clean, I would cringe (which obviously didn’t happen often enough because who wants to have to climb up there and take it down and then plunge it in the tub which was the only way to really get it clean? No one, that’s who.)
So, with my disdain for this light growing month by month, I’ve been on the hunt for a new light fixture for a very very long time. Now, if you have been reading my blog for anything length of time, you’ll know I do like a vintage piece or two. I think they add timelessness, history and depth to a room that you just don’t get when you buy everything new. But could I find a vintage light fixture that I loved? No. No I could not.
Not unlike my search for the perfect bedside tables, there comes a point when you start to realise that perhaps what you’re looking for just doesn’t exist. At least not in the UK anyway. I desperately wanted a huge vintage Sputnik in here or something brassy and glam from the 60’s/70’s. I couldn’t find anything that was even REMOTELY in my budget. If I wanted to pay thousands, I might have found SOMETHING MAYBE. That’s how rare these things are (and thus is the curse of reading too many American blogs, clearly).
A few people suggested buying a chrome Sputnik light fixture (which seem to be more popular here in the UK) and spray painting it gold but I couldn’t find one I really loved in the large size I needed. Purchasing something from the US would have added another 30-50% on to already high prices with shipping, taxes and custom duty and seemed risky without seeing it in person with no feasible option of return if it wasn’t quite right.
Eventually there comes a time when you just have to start looking at other options. And so, I did. And I have to say, I’m pretty damn happy with the compromise. Here’s what I decided on…
It’s the Marteau pendant from Habitat and not only is it deliciously large (a whopping 50cm in diameter) but it was on sale for £112 (well within budget – woohoo!). It’s contemporary in style but that brassy loveliness I craved was there and it’s simplicity appealed to me considering the dining room isn’t exactly the ‘quietest’ room in my home stylistically speaking. I thought the soft lines and subtle glamour of the piece might actually work better than something that was more commanding of attention.
Here’s the sad before when the rose was removed to get to the electrics…
We simply created a new cut-out in the ceiling with a small channel, sat the new wires into the channel and attached a new ceiling rose on top which covered everything up. Just as a side point, I purchased a 50cm ceiling rose and it looked huge when it came in, but now against the expanse of the ceiling, I realise I should have gone with a larger size. Oh well, live and learn.
And here he is (yes, the light is definitely male) looking all regal in the room…
I love that the inside of the pendant is hammered – it reminds me of the Tom Dixon lights and gives it a hand-made feel.
You can really see the difference that moving the location of the light made in the next set of pictures. The light fitting was in the centre of the room but because the dining room sits slightly more to one side, it never looked quite right and used to drive me mad.
The winter sun was dodging in and out of dark clouds whilst taking these photos so apologies for the change in lighting in these pictures…
So, finally FINALLY we have a new light fixture in the dining room. One that was a compromise but a compromise that I’m actually pretty okay about having to make.
Do you ever make compromises in your design and realise it was a pretty good one all along?