Light it Up!

So, due to having zero time and zero energy and no exterior electrical outlet and the house feeling like a construction zone and 3/4 of our family being Jewish (in fact, I am counting the dogs), we did not do anything in the way of Christmas decorations this year, outside or inside. Instead, we did the early-stages-of-renovation alternate version where we change up our seasonal lighting scheme by having some electrical work done.

How’s THAT for holiday cheer?  So festive, even if the neighborhood may not realize/notice it. It’s subtle.

houseinsnow

That photo was taken on Saturday night, when we were getting a ludicrous amount of snow in Kingston! Snowy Kingston is so super pretty, and even though we’ve done almost no exterior work (well, half a roof counts I guess, but you can’t see it from this angle…), the house looks beautiful. The house was covered in snow the first time we ever saw it last December (almost a year ago!), and it feels really good to see it this time around looking more and more like a place where people live and a place that people love.

ANYWAY, the point of this photo is the new exterior lights! Look how bright it is!

oldlightporch

Obviously this is a picture of the hole left behind by the old light fixture and not the fixture itself, but I guess at some point in the 70s or 80s, the previous owner had one of these beauties installed here. It was the only exterior light, meaning that the house was pretty under-lit, generally. Aside from being a crappy size and style for the house, the placement of the fixture sort of didn’t make sense and marred an otherwise (potentially) very beautiful entryway.

newporchlight

Yay, new light! Obviously I have to patch up and paint that old hole (ASAP, before creatures colonize it…), and obviously this “fixture” is only temporary until fickle me can find one I really want, but having it centered over the overhang makes everything a million times better. The impetus for doing this right now was that I had to coordinate the electricians to come on the same day as the roofers so that they could run the new electrical from above, while the roof was torn off. Otherwise, they might have had to cut holes in the original tongue-and-groove ceiling, which was not going to fly. Both the roofer and the electrician were skeptical of this Extreme-Contractor-Coordination Plan, but it totally worked because I’m a bossy genius.

This fixture was slightly more presentable when it had a shade, but unfortunately it fell off roughly 5 seconds after I secured it and climbed down from the ladder. Dumb cheap lighting.

BUT THAT’S NOT ALL.

newporchlights

There’s lighting over the porch now! For the first time ever! So exciting!

When it’s dark out, this new lighting goes a loooonggg, long way toward making the house look taken care of, which is really exciting and really important in a neighborhood where that often isn’t the case. I’m also excited for when it gets warmer again and we can chill on the porch under our new lights. These lights are on a dimmer switch, so they’re perfect for lighting up the house or just providing a little ambiance when we’re hanging out on the porch. And who doesn’t love ambiance? Can’t get enough of that ambiance.

The fixtures that are there are just these guys from Lowes (which actually aren’t so bad, especially for the price, if you need something generic that looks historic and whatnot) but I think they’re a bit under-scaled, which bothers me. The original plan was to put a hanging pendant in front of the door and two flush-mount or semi-flushmount fixtures over the porch, but after living with the temporary lighting for a while, I actually think I want to nix the pendant and just have three matching flush/semi-flush-mount fixtures. Greek Revival houses were built to resemble Greek temples, and I think adding a hanging fixture would kind of disrupt the architecture. All the columns and the cornice and the trim details (of which there should only be more when we remove the vinyl siding…) are dramatic enough, so I think all the exterior lighting really has to do is highlight all that stuff.

By the way, given the amount of protection the cornice/fascia provide, the electrician assured me that it wasn’t really necessary to get exterior-grade lighting for here (as long as it’s flush-mount), which is exciting. I still might, just in case, but exterior lighting in general is tough. Like super hard to find anything that isn’t so ugly. Looking at interior options that would look good outside really opens up the options in a huge way.

BUT THAT’S NOT ALL. Stuff happened inside, too!

lightinentry

Remember this, in the entryway? Well. It was the only light source in the entire downstairs hallway. The hallway is over 30 feet long and kind of narrow, and having one teensy sconce trying to light up the whole thing was just not going to cut it.

I went back and forth a lot on whether or not to keep the sconce, and in the end decided to get rid of it. I know! First of all, it was connected to some pretty old wiring (lots of our wiring is pretty old and there isn’t really anything wrong with it, but it still feels good to replace it whenever it makes sense…), but I also felt like the space wouldn’t really be lacking anything without it. It isn’t original to the house (though it may be original to the house having electricity), its placement was sort of arbitrary, it wasn’t effective…blah blah blah. I still have it in case we want to use it elsewhere!

wallafter

Part of the reason I haven’t really made any headway in the hallway is because I wanted to wait for this electrical work to be done, and I’m glad I did! Look at all those holes! Now I can finally start to patch up and repair the walls, which will be so exciting. It’s going to be a longgg process, but getting this entryway/hallway situation checked off the list is going to be a huge accomplishment. 

ceilingfixtureafter

Yes, this light fixture is also completely terrible, but the fact that it’s THERE and that it WORKS is all I really care about at this moment. It’s centered in the entryway between the front door and the base of the steps. The ceilings are almost 10 feet here, so it definitely needs a big amazing chandelier. It’s going to be soooo good.

backofhalllight

In the back of the hallway (man, these pictures just get scarier and scarier…), we added another light that’s on the same circuit as the one in the front of the hallway. The shade for this one also fell off and shattered into a million pieces (I promise I’m not an idiot; these light fixtures are just really poorly made…), but for now it’s not like it’s even the worst-looking thing in this photo. So.

I think for here, I’ll probably do something pretty small and flush-mount, so as not to compete with the big guy down at the other end of the hallway. Just something that does the job…

upstairslightoldandnew

Then UPSTAIRS, I asked the electricians to move the existing light. It was basically centered over the area at the top of the stairs (in front of the bathroom door), which was annoying for two reasons:

1. The ceilings upstairs are only 8 feet, so putting a chandelier or pendant there would have been tough/impossible.

2. This is the only light source in the upstairs hallway, which meant that the other end of the hallway was super dark.

newupstairslight

Moving the fixture over the stairs solves both of these problems! Now that it’s more central, it lights up the entire space a bit better, and since it’s over the stairs, we have plenty of head-room to hang something way more exciting than that little crappy thing with grapevines etched into it.  I just kind of eye-balled the placement, and if I could do it all over again I might move it 6″-1′ back toward the bathroom, but it’s done now so I’m choosing to think it’s perfect!

cree

Before I end this long, rambling post about things that probably only I could get excited about, I wanted to mention my new(ish)found favorite lightbulb: the Cree bulb. This is a big deal in my life.

FINALLY, FINALLY, FINALLY, there is an energy-efficient bulb that is:

1. Very energy-efficient. It doesn’t even get warm when it’s left on for hours and hours, which is my scientific way of knowing it’s good for the world.

2. Not terrible to look at, like acceptable to put in a regular lamp or anything where it’s still mostly covered. But SO much better looking than a CFL.

3. Dimmable. For real dimmable. Actually dims really nicely.

4. Lasts forever. Package says it will last 20 years. That just seems ridiculous, but I guess we’ll find out.

5. MOST IMPORTANTLY: it gives off nice light! Like actually! OK, it’s still a teensy, tiny bit different than a good ol’ incandescent, but I’m the pickiest person alive and I have zero problem with the kind of light this bulb gives off. I basically can’t stand ANY kind of CLF, halogen, or other types of LED’s, so this is huge. Just make sure you get the SOFT WHITE, not the daylight.

We’ve been using these bulbs wherever we can and they’re really great. At about $12 a pop at Home Depot they aren’t exactly inexpensive, but the idea is that the energy savings over time (and, in theory, not having to buy any new bulbs for a couple decades…) helps them pay for themselves. That math is too complicated for me, but I WILL say that it feels good to FINALLY have found something that’s better for the environment and doesn’t make me want to gouge my eyes out with an icepick.


71 Comments

  1. I seriously love that first photo.

  2. Looking good! I’m curious how you will change the lightbulb in that fixture above the stairs. My father-in-law has a similarly placed light fixture and everyone is restricted from leaving that light on unnecessarily so as to never burn it out.

    • Ha! Our ladder adjusts independently on both sides, which makes it pretty easy to rest on the stairs. Also, since we’ll have a hanging fixture eventually, it might be possible to just set up the ladder in the upstairs hallway and reach over to change the bulb. The hallway is pretty narrow, so it’s not a far reach.

      • You don’t have one of those Little Giants, do you? I’ve always been curious if those are any good…

      • I have another brand that’s basically the same thing. I’ve heard they’re great!! The one gripe I have about mine is that it’s pretty heavy, but I think the Little Giant is lighter to move around.

      • also wondering about the ladder. i have an old house with high ceilings & stairway too and need something other than a basic step ladder.

        also, just curious…approx how much did your electrical work cost? i realize there are a lot of factors for service costs like this, but i have some similar work that i need to get done (adding outdoor fixtures and electrical boxes, adding a light at the top of my stairs, etc.) on my 100+ yr old home, so i am trying to figure out a ballpark figure before i get actual bids.

        love your blog and always enjoy reading about your adventures!

      • I don’t know yet! The quote for this work was included as part of an estimate for a bunch of work (some larger repairs need to happen, too…), and I haven’t received an invoice yet. All I can tell you is to just get a few bids and see…it might be less expensive than you think. Or more, haha.

      • UPDATE, @Sarah B! All of the work was about $1200. I think electricians generally bill hourly, and all of this stuff just took a lot longer than anyone hoped…sometimes snaking wires through old plaster walls is pretty easy and sometimes it gets hard. All of this work occurred over the course of I think 4 different sessions and just generally took longer than it looks like it should have! It was all pretty necessary though, so I’m glad we got it done now.

  3. Now you can SEE when you’re patching the entryway (safe nighttime working conditions for the obsessive DIY old-home-owner). This is excellent! And Sara S. asked the exact question that bugged me, in case you put a replacement fixture there that wouldn’t take 20-year Cree bulbs. Your answer was reassuring. Huzzahs all around for the BIG improvement with all these placeholder lights. Lookin’ very cozy with all sorts of curb appeal in wintry Kingston.

  4. I can totally relate. I have a vaulted ceiling and a light that’s about a foot from the door (and the door opens beneath it…about 1′ below)…I have been perplexed over which fixture to use for far too long! Lighting struggle can be so universal.

  5. the photo of the house in snow should be your holiday card this year!
    love all the news about lights … its one of those design elements that takes incredible amounts of time to get what you want = and you do feel like why? but when you get what you want and it works – all the agony is worth it!

  6. Thanks for another post. I never really thought I had interest in structural, electric and so on repairs but I find this fascinating. These little changes are making huge improvements. How is living among all of the construction? Have you or your beau hit a moment of “enough’s enough?” for a week/weekend?

    • I’m glad, Adam! I know this kind of stuff isn’t really what the average home blogger is writing about these days, but I’ve always thought this kind of stuff was interesting (the technical side of renovating an old house, which is a lot different than painting some walls and throwing in some cute furniture!), and it’s all I’ve really got right now! It’ll be a little while before things start looking too pretty…

      Living with all this is…stressful? I don’t know. It’s nothing we weren’t expecting, so it’s exciting when things are happening, but the waiting for contractors (when we have to use them) is tough, and getting stuff done ourselves is slow. I do wish things were happening faster, but it’s OK. We try to put a LOT of time into cleaning up, staying organized, and making sure “finished”/functional spaces like the kitchen and the bedroom stay nice. It helps to try to keep projects limited to only a couple of areas at a time–which is why I haven’t done anything with the drop ceilings yet, for instance!——but there’s still a crazy amount of dust EVERYWHERE regardless. Especially over the past few weeks when we’ve both been really busy, we’ve basically focused all of our attention on cleaning, organizing, and maintaining while we gear up for the next big push of work. I think not putting *too* much pressure on ourselves to get everything done really fast helps to maintain the sanity. We know it’ll take a while! It’s what we signed up for!

  7. Haha. This is great because its the first time I would have done things totally different, which makes it even more interesting to see, how it is going to look like when its done. I would never place a chandelier in the entrance as it is too big, being as tall as I am this will make the hallway at first sight look very narrow, oppressive and not inviting. Chandelliers work for big rooms, as a center mark. For the hallway itself I like halogen spotlights, even though this brings you to a new problem of hiding a transformer. I just love the light and the modern look to it, which also works great for old buildings. All these things are not scientifically proven, just my two cents. All the best, Alex

    • Thanks, Alex. Agree to disagree! I’m not very tall, but I fail to see how hanging a chandelier from a 10 foot ceiling in a 30-foot long space will make it feel oppressive and uninviting, but you’re entitled to your feelings. If by “halogen spotlights” you’re talking about recessed can lighting or track lighting, I think it’s important to bear in mind that this house is 150 years old…I’m not overly concerned with maintaining historical accuracy (if I were, I guess I’d be ripping out all the electrical altogether!), but I do think it’s important to remain sympathetic to the architecture and period of the house. That kind of lighting in an old house sort of screams “bad 90s renovation” to me, which is kind of everything I don’t want! I think it works in specific types of old buildings (like converted warehouse loft types of spaces), but would look awful here. I appreciate your honesty, though.

      • So do you have a particular “big amazing chandelier” in mind? I mean, if you dare to dream of lighting at any price, what would you put there?
        I agree that it’ll be gorgeous, and a thrilling way to enter the house. Can’t wait to see what you do with it.

      • Ohhhh dear, this is a road I shouldn’t go down! But I DO love Patrick Townsend’s work and the beautiful Orbit Chandelier is kind-of-sort-of something I could maybe dream about owning, so let’s just go with that? (the list could easily be like 30 items long, though. I love lighting!)

      • Hi Daniel! I agree on the spotlights. However, beeing 6 ft 3″ tall, trust me, depending on the chandelier I would always have the feeling to duck going through the entrance, which just doesn’t sound appealing to me. Nevertheless I am pretty sure, that you know your work better than I do! Surprise me! :)

  8. Yay for progress! I love all of the changes and imporovments your making, the house looks really good! (I know it is still in process but all of that potential is amazing!)

    Please please please if you choose not to use that sconce please contact me! I will buy it from you, I may already have the perfect place for it. I have a ton of that color of glass in my place and it would fit right in. My house is 160+ years old and I’ve been slowly but surely fixing some things that people have “upgraded” over the years.

  9. I’m kind of kicking myself that we haven’t thought to do much the same thing, i.e. buy cheap “filler” lighting fixtures so we can get the rewiring we want done without ahving to have that hold up on wall repair, and therefore paint, and therefore a bunch of furniture and textile crap. You know? My husband and I are FAR less handy than you two, but I still feel like we could suck it up and hang some Temporary Sconces so we could get our act together and figure out how to switch out fixtures later on. Sigh. You are my Christmas epiphany. :)

    • Don’t kick yourself! But changing light fixtures (especially with new wiring!) really is INCREDIBLY easy, so having filler lights is a good idea. It’s helpful, too, because with the amount of dust all this stuff is going to kick up, plus the risk of dripping paint or joint compound, it’ll be nice to not have to worry about damaging these lights and just hang the “real” ones when everything is more or less done.

  10. I think everyone with an older home has one of those crappy square flush mount exterior lights somewhere. I don’t know what makes them so appealing, but they’ve been selling them since the 60s i think. I had two, front porch & back porch. The front porch got a new square pendant lantern to match the similar light on our next-door-twin house. I hit my head on it all the time (bungalow porches do not have tall ceilings) but it looks good from the street.

    The back porch light is still a bare bulb because i didn’t want to replace the ugly cover, but can’t find a flush mount that isn’t super ugly. I’m really jealous of the bungalows with wall mount exterior lights because there is a better selection for replacement lights.

    Your new electrical looks great. I need some help with the wiring inside my house but I’m scared to even get a quote because the last time i asked an electrician about a similar overhaul it came to something like $10,000.

    • yep, they’re on the front and back porch of our 1918 rental house, haha. we also haven’t been able to find the light switch for the front ones in the 1.5 years we’ve lived here, and the landlord is no help, sooo… there’s that! I almost wish I was the owner so I could tackle some awesome wiring updates like Daniel :)

  11. This is all wonderful, but what I really want to know is whether the battle of the scented pine cones continued this season? :) That was one of your funniest posts ever.

  12. I found my nice, sturdy, not-oogly exterior porch light (it’s a frosted-glass rectangle sconce, very plain) at lightinguniverse. I was surprised at how cheap their stuff is on sale; it’s worth poking around. I found a Kovacs Cirque ceiling fan for $150 in their sale section.

    Electrical work is my biggest bugaboo. I’m impressed you got so much done so fast! Would you mind, when you get tired of the snow, coming to Texas and bossily organzing my next project for me?

  13. THANK YOU so much for posting about bulbs. I am the pickiest person alive about lighting (my dad and uncle are both designers, and well, it rubbed off) and I cannot stand the incandescent replacements I’ve seen so far, but I totally trust your judgment. I might actually stop hoarding incandescents soon and start replacing them with these!

  14. YOU GOTTA GET A CHANDELIER!

  15. I don’t remember noticing until this post that you’ve the exterior window frames and muntins painted black — or at least they look black — on the downstairs windows to the left side of the front door in that first photo. I like it! It’s nice to have some contrast in trim colors and the black / white contrast seems right for a house of this vintage. Happy New Year, guys!

    • Yes, they’re all black on the exterior! The house actually came that way, and I love it. It’s actually very historically accurate for Greek Revival houses, since the windows were supposed to kind of recede (in the way that Greek temples didn’t have paned windows) instead of stick out as a prominent feature. It’s definitely something I’ll be preserving as we renovate. Thank you for noticing! :)

  16. I just wanted to tell you how truly lovely your house looks in the snow. I’ve been following your ups and downs with interest, and I’d also like to tell you I can’t get over your resilience and sheer industry. You guys are amazing, hang in there because the fun stuff will start soon!

  17. GOUGE your eyes out.

    Sorry, can’t help myself.

  18. I found this light on craigslist in Wichita, KS (where I live) and it reminds mm e of your house.

    http://wichita.craigslist.org/fuo/4233176539.html

  19. Ooh. Awesome. Hope you win today’s Apartment Therapy chandelier giveaway. Meanwhile, I’m so sorry I missed Linus and Mekko’s bar/bat mitzvoth, particularly the part where Linus recited “Today I am a dog….” On a more serious note: You really like the Cree bulb? We sprung for a couple Philips LEDs for our range hood (so amazing!) but I’ve been wanting to try the Cree since it’s so much more, er, cost-effective, to replace some other bulbs in other fixtures. Do you think the 60W equivalent ‘reads’ more brightly than 60W (as our Philips 60W equivalents do)? If so, I’d be tempted to replace a few 75W bulbs with the Cree. I ogle it regularly at our HD.

    BTW, I love the structural posts more, almost, than the rest. I am actually, thanks to you, sometimes sad that when we were moving to VT from BK we didn’t buy the house with the foot of water in the basement. I am, truthfully, probably too creaky for much of your adventure at this point, but I envy you and Max! Thanks for sharing all the deets. Really.

    • Thanks, Judi! And yes, the Cree bulbs are bright…I would say a 60W makes a good replacement for a 100W incandescent. There’s also a 40W option! Try one! Home Depot has a really good return policy, too, so if you hate it you can always take it back. I bought a daylight bulb by accident and they let me return it in an open package and everything.

      • Great! HD it is for some LEDs, then, and thanks! We love love love all our LEDs thus far–IKEA and Philips alike. They remind me of GE Reveal in terms of light clarity. Here in VT we prefer not to yellow that clear northern light at all (it was a shock moving from Brooklyn with its Tuscan light, I can tell you!).

  20. congrats on having new lights, the two in the porch actually look cute even though they are stop-gap. Am sure you will find some vintage goodies to replace them in due course. now that the house looked more lived in, perhaps smashed windows will never happen again! are the exterior lights timed to come on every evening?

    • Just curious why you didn’t thrift something for these fixtures?

      • For a few reasons…I wanted at least the ones over the porch to match, and thrifting two matching fixtures that are the perfect scale and style and suitable for semi-exposed exterior use is probably next to impossible! I kind of just had to panic-buy SOMETHING for the meantime, until I find the right ones! Now that I want them ALL to match, I think I’ll almost certainly be buying new. It would take me 20 years find fixtures that fit the bill secondhand!

    • Funny you should ask! So, we bought a automatic timer switch for the light over the door, and for the LIFE of me (or Max), we cannot get it to program and work correctly. I thought I was just doing something wrong, but either it’s the most poorly designed user-interface on the planet or ours is defective. So in theory, yes. In practice, not yet.

  21. I have tried the LED lights, and while I loved the color, it had a slight hum to it whenever the light was on. I had to take them out because I couldn’t stand it. Does this brand have a noise to it?

    • Huh, that’s so bizarre! We have Cree bulbs ALL over the house (and apartment) now, and I can say with 99.99% certainty that they don’t make any noise. Otherwise I should get my ears checked!

  22. I have a similar ceiling in front of our front door. We have a round fluorescent light there (I translated this, so not sure it is the right word, anyhow) this is so that anybody who is standing in front of the door automaticly gets a halo over his head. Immediately sanctified. And a very nice image when you open the door. I wish Max a wonderful Christmas, (I feel you should split the dogs down the middle.) and I am not entirely sure what Jewish festivities there are at this time of year (Hanuka?), to be honest. Sorry, (I’ll go look into it right now).

  23. The house looks amazing in that snowy nightime exterior shot. No one would ever guess that so much work is going on inside. Love these posts about all the “real” work going into your house. Not that the decorating isn’t fun and exciting…this stuff is just eye-opening in a totally different way.

  24. Hi Daniel,
    I too enjoy the home improvement posts, we also just bought an old two family house (ours is only 100 years old but still) we unfortunately have to keep the second unit as a rental at least until we finish with the hundred years worth of renovations. we are currently trying to get a new roof but it keeps snowing, so it might be spring before that happens…
    Also whenever we go out of town we get crazy text messages from our tenants that their heat or hot water is broken it makes life very exciting around here!

    Regarding the few shades that died a quick death just after you hung them, we put up the exact light in our tenants bathroom replacing a broken light/vent combo that “vented” into our attic, the people that owned the house before us where so special, any how we quickly learned that lowes sells replacement glass shades super cheep like five dollars cheep in the next isle, just a thought so you don’t have to live with bare bulbs for too long.

    Also I love the wall sconce you removed so you should defiantly find another place in your home to hang it or better yet feel free to send it up to boston and I will hang it in my house and send you a pic :)
    Best,
    Rachel

    • Thanks, Rachel! Good luck with your renovations!! You’re actually probably better off waiting until spring for the roof, since you’re really not supposed to re-shingle with the temperature is under 45 degrees…it needs to be warmer for the adhesives to cure properly, and you’ll be compromising your manufacturing warranty on the shingles (and possibly insurance claims down the road) if they’re installed outside of the manufacturer-recommended conditions. Just a thought!

      The shades that broke are from Hampton Bay brand lights from Home Depot (the same thing that’s hanging in the entryway…that one didn’t break!), and unfortunately I don’t think they can be replaced!! Instead of securing to the fixture with little screws that hold up the lip at the top of the shade like a normal light, the whole top of the shade is actually molded to sort of screw into the fixture, if that makes sense. Anyway, they’re not a standard part that can easily just be swapped, unfortunately. It’s OK, though…they’re just temporary!

    • Rachel, Us Bostonians are great minds that think alike! I asked him for it too! LOL! Maybe if daniel doesn’t want it we can work out a custody agreement ;-)

  25. I love this post! Question about the entryway light: you said it was terrible. Do you mean you dislike the actual light fixture or the proportion for the room? If you dislike the actual fixture, why not leave it bare like some of the other lights?
    Just curious as we’re deciding whether or not to purchase phase 1 renovation fixtures (any I even remotely like and could live with are well out of price range right now – but bare bulbs are killing me slowly).

  26. What a gorgeous home! And keep the technical posts coming. I love learning about the nitty gritty of home renovation!

  27. New lamps are looking good! You might actually just have inspied me to change those old fixtures in my house, hehe. Keep up the good work, it’s always exiting to read you!

    Oh, and happy holidays. :)

  28. Linus is SO Jewish.

  29. Hey Daniel:
    I love all the work y’all have done to your old house. Also, Done “is” better than Perfect.

  30. I love hearing about this stuff! If I was in your shoes, I’d think that was the BEST Christmas present e.v.e.r. Decorating, Christmas lighting…everybody is writing about that stuff. But this! – this is feel good stuff – Merry Christmas!

  31. Very nice. Agree with decision to get rid of the Arts & Crafts sconce. The shade is probably worth quite a bit. You could sell it.

  32. Yes, Daniel, you are a bossy genius.

    And yes, Daniel, your house is beautiful.

    PS How about a big bunch of mistletoe hanging from the porch light?

  33. awesome! love your home, and nothing like lighting to make a significant difference. just an fyi – not a huge savings, but $1 a bulb can add up if you need many, IKEA has similar, dimmable bulbs for $1 less than home depot. http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/50222555/

    • Thanks, Maria! I wonder how those IKEA bulbs are. The reason I recommended the Cree is that the light is very warm, so they really are comparable to an incandescent in the quality of light they give off. I kind of doubt the IKEA ones are like that, though…from my experiences with IKEA bulbs, they tend to be very cold/blue, which I can’t stand!

  34. Your house looks beautiful in the snowy night.
    I am so excited about those lightbulbs! I detest the CFL bulbs, so I am going to look into these.

  35. Yesterday at the monthly meeting of the county renewable energy committee one of the members told us about the Cree bulb. I wrote down the name so I could remember to check it out next time I am at Menard’s (the Midwest-based equivalent of Lowe’s and Home Depot). Now you show me a photo of it and rave about its performance. Must.Get.Some. (to replace the CFLs in the recessed cans in my office)

  36. Love seeing the nitty-gritty of your home renovation. I really wish HGTV would give you a show.

    PS – I think you need business cards that say “Daniel Kanter, Bossy Genius”.

  37. Funny, as I was reading about the front porch light, I was thinking pendant light + front porch Greek architectural columns = White House front portico

    http://michellepictures.com/2011/12/15/obama-photos-white-house-christmas-decorations/north-front-of-the-white-house-at-christmas/#

    ;)

  38. THANK YOU for posting about light bulbs. I, too, am super picky and spent so much money and time trying to figure out how to make them look ok. one thing I never got used to is the warm-up period of CFLs. I assume LED lights are full brightness right away?

    speaking of evil CFLs, I wish the daylight bulbs would be outlawed. is there anywhere they look good? I am flummoxed by the fact that so many people use them and not seem to notice how cold and depressing they make a room feel.

  39. Hey! I have a kind of random question that doesn’t really have to do with your (gorgeous) dining chairs…
    My husband and I live in Brooklyn and have been toying with the idea of buying a house in the Hudson Valley. We were actually married across the river from Kingston and most of our pre-wedding activities (and hotels) were in Kingston. It’s a beautiful town with super cheap property values and several old homes that need love.
    So- as a gay couple renovating a house in a smallish town with a large conservative population- how do you find Kingston? When we were there for our wedding we didn’t have any real issues with the same sex marriage thing- but living there could be another story. I grew up a few hours west and have had an occasional problem when bringing my husband home with me. What are your thoughts? Have you had any issues or run-ins? Would you recommend Kingston to other young gay couples?

    PS-I LOOOOVE your new home and fantasize about stealing it from you…

    • Hey, Tux! Good question. I’m really pleased to be able to honestly say we’ve had ZERO issues whatsoever. I was actually pretty worried about that when we were deciding to buy the house (we didn’t know too much about Kingston, and only had a couple of acquaintances there at the time…), particularly because we don’t live in what’s considered the best area (basically the border of Uptown and Midtown), but it’s been great. All of our neighbors have been open and friendly and kind (and many of them are also gay)…it’s just been a total non-issue. Like a lot of the Hudson Valley, Kingston has a pretty large gay population——particularly lots of couples who have moved either part-time or full-time from the city——so there’s already a great community there. Anyway, honestly…I feel safer in Kingston than I do in NYC!

      And hey, if you’re serious about looking in Kingston, email me! We can show you buys around and convince you to buy in our neighborhood. :)

      • Amazing! Thanks for the information. We have a lot to think about before we’ll be ready to look at anything, but we’ll definitely be in touch if we do decide to start hunting!

  40. Wow I’m late to this party but I just wandered randomly across this blog. I’m really enjoying reading your adventures. We recently converted our entire house to LEDs. Most of them are the same Crees that you mention or Ikea brand (Crees light well for side firing. Ikea lights well for up or down firing). LEDs are great but most manufacturers recommend that they not be used inverted or in fully enclosed fixtures because the electronics in the base of the bulb are what heat up and eventually fail. That said we use led bulbs in our enclosed fixtures that we don’t keep on for extended amounts of time. In the enclosed fixtures that we do leave on frequently such as our dining room we use liquid cooled LED light bulbs (yes you heard me right). Here’s a link if you’re interested.

    http://www.switchlightingco.com/index.shtml

    One last bit of advice before I stop geeking out. LED bulbs usually come with a temperature rating on the packaging. 2700k is commonly considered close to incandescent (yellow-ish) light. As the temperature value gets higher the bluer the light becomes.

    I hope this information helps. Right now my wife is rolling her eyes at me as she wonders “How can he talk about LED light bulbs so much?”

    • Thanks, Brad! That’s interesting about the enclosed fixtures——I’ve never heard that! We only have a couple of enclosed fixtures in the house but I’ll be interested to see how those bulbs last in comparison to others…so far they seem fine, but it’s only been a few months.

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