Stately moldings, wood floors, big windows, nine-foot ceilings, and a variety of pests: some of the splendid features that come standard in New York City pre-war apartments. But those charms tend to come with some trade-offs. It’s hard to tell in the photos, but our floors are conspicuously slanted and none of our windows are quite square. The transom windows above the doors are long gone. Sometimes the exposed pipes get disconcertingly hot. But if loving our apartment demands loving all of our apartment, I suppose we can look past the flaws. Hey, if we ever literally lose our marbles, we’ll know which corner to find them in. Thanks, gravity.
Our lighting is something I both love and hate. When we first saw the apartment, we got ourselves all worked up thinking that the light fixtures in my bedroom and the living room were original, or at least the original electric ones (the building is old enough that the original fixtures might have been gas). Then I went through a phase of thinking they were some kind of bad 70s replicas. Now I really don’t know. More than one person has walked into the apartment and immediately asked “are you going to change out the lights?” But fuck the haters, I think they’re interesting. In any case, I’m not sure what to do with them.
When I first moved in, they looked like this. I’m all about sustainability, but I just refuse to accept those exposed CFL bulbs, and the frosted incandescents are just wrong. I know, I’m all sorts of evil, single-handedly causing global warming, but they’re ugly. I’ll use them in the lamps.
So that’s the first challenge, the bulbs. Ideally, I’d have fancy moody bulbs like this:
But I don’t live in a swanky restaurant or a haunted mansion, nor am I about to spend a small fortune on lightbulbs. So in an effort to add a mod spin on the old fixtures, I replaced all of the bulbs with clear round incandescents. A big improvement, but I can’t shake the feeling that they’re not right either.
Also, the flaky gold paint just isn’t my style. I was the first person to actually take down the lights before painting the ceilings in a long time, so the edges are also adorned in various shades of white-ish paint.
So I took the one in my bedroom down, gave it some attention with a wire bush, and spray-painted it the same Rustoleum matte black as the door hardware, figuring it’ll be super-duper easy to just take them down and repaint them gold when we move.
I don’t even dislike the black, but I still feel like I’m missing something here. I’m not constitutionally against silver spray paint, but I have a feeling it would look tacky in this application. High-gloss black seems sort of dramatic glitzy-glam, for lack of a better explanation. Sometimes I think white is the answer, but that just doesn’t seem right either. Or am I crazy and the black-paint-clear-round-bulb-combo is a winner? Consequently, I’ve been holding off on doing the living room light until I have some sort of epiphany, but I’m losing faith that it’ll happen. That, and I can’t put it back without a second set of hands (coming soon!).
The suggestion box is open, don’t be shy.