Bathroom Light


So remember back in November when we did a super quick, super intense, super kick-ass makeover of Max’s childhood bedroom? And we bought that rad 1920s light fixture that totally made the room?

Yeah. Well. I might have omitted some important info that I have now chosen this moment to reveal.

That light was actually one of a PAIR. They were only being sold as a set, but at $150 for both, it wasn’t exactly a huge investment to just go for it even if we only really wanted one.  Surely we could figure out a place to put another gorgeous light fixture, right?

I’ve been down this road before. A few times. Hence this post, where I explain all the times I’ve charmingly rationalizationed and ended up with an absurd lighting hoard that I’m slowly trying to whittle down by just hanging lights all over the place. This strategy is working moderately well, so I’m sticking with it.


But I decided without even that much waffling (look at me! making decisions with ease!) that this light would be awesome in the bathroom, and it totally is. It works for a lot of the same reasons it worked in Max’s bedroom. The small size of the room matches well with the scale of the fixture, making a small-ish light look like a big, substantial, amazing light. Additionally, super dark walls make the white glass pop like BLAM. Chrome-y bits be shiny like WOAH. These are all technical design terms that are helpful to know FYI.


The best thing about the light in the bathroom is that our medicine cabinet is so tall that the light fixture reflects off the mirror and almost gives the illusion that we have TWO great lights. That is, if you’re easily confused by mirrors or otherwise just kind of dumb. Luckily, I am both of these things.


Just check out that glass situation on the bottom! I kind of get lost in how pretty it is sometimes. I know that this art deco style isn’t really in line with the style of the rest of my apartment, but that doesn’t bother me. I always think bathrooms are perfect places to let loose a little bit and make choices that are a little different from the rest of your home. It’s nice to walk into a tiny bathroom and be pleasantly surprised by an element of the space, and I think that’s totally what this fixture does. The DIY’d fixture that was there before was totally cute and fine, but it just wasn’t very interesting or exciting.

Before hanging this fixture, I took the whole thing apart and washed all of the pieces individually in the sink. For the metal bits, I used Barkeeper’s Friend, which made the chrome look absolutely incredible and shiny and new. For the glass, I just used regular dish soap and water, and it was really worth it. Nothing looked that dirty to begin with, but it’s always amazing how a little cleaning can take something to the next level of amazing. I experience the same general revelation whenever I decide to take a shower.

I’ll shut up about the light fixture. It’s beautiful, I’m very happy with it, and I have a very weak spot for art deco and I maybe need more deco pieces in my life.


Max bought some flowers for the bathroom because on Sunday they aired a Beyonce concert on TV and we had a bunch of people over to watch it. So weird because the concert was super short and then this football game broke out and I totally lost interest. At least we had flowers?


In case you follow the central dramas of my relationship as closely as I do, I figure it’s pertinent to note that I HAVE WON THE BATHMAT DEBATE. After about a year with no bathmat, we went several months with this wooden bathmat before it got moldy and smelly and weird and put in the garbage. Max has, historically, hated bathmats and found them to be gross and in poor taste, whereas I associate having no bathmat with, like, lazy douchebag bros who can’t enjoy the finer things in life, such as smelling OK or clothing made of natural fibers or not stepping out of a shower directly onto cold tile.

This war raged for so very long and was so hard-fought and just when I thought I had no life left in me and I would be forced to accept a bathmat-less existence, Max came around. Angels sang. It was all very dramatic and theatrical, as you can imagine.

Ultimately, my victory was hard-won, and I absolutely deserve all the joy that this plush, sufficient-looking bathmat from Target can offer. It really feels great underfoot and it’s nice to finally feel like a civilized human again after this relationship has turned me into such a goddamned monster.

Turns out it’s very washable and dries nicely in the dryer, too. I know this because Linus took the liberty of testing out its wee-wee pad potential right after I took the photos. I always thought Linus was on my side here (more plush surfaces = more places to nap), but I guess the proof is in the piss, as it were.


Little traitorous bastard. Now the internet knows your shame.

ps—you can find my last Design*Sponge post here, if you’re interested: Cleaning Vintage Enamelware
pps—oh, shit, it’s Homies time again. you can vote for me if you want, I won’t stop you or try to get in the way or anything.

About Daniel Kanter

Hi, I'm Daniel, and I love houses! I'm a serial renovator, DIY-er, and dog-cuddler based in Kingston, New York. Follow along as I bring my 1865 Greek Revival back to life and tackle my 30s to varying degrees of success. Welcome!

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  1. 2.5.13
    Jamie B. said:

    Daaaaamn, that is one SEXY light. What a find.

  2. 2.5.13
    Krysta said:

    Wow, love the bathroom. I’m debating going dark in our small bath and I think this has sold me on it!

  3. 2.5.13
    susan said:

    well, shit yeah I’m voting for you. You realize you won’t ever be able to move from this apartment, right? It is gorgeous. I want you to come to my house and re-do it!

    • 2.5.13
      Daniel said:

      Ha! Thanks, susan! We can still move…light fixtures come down just as easily as they go up! But that’s a longgggg time off. It’s a great apartment for us for so many reasons, so we’re not planning to move anytime soon!

  4. 2.5.13
    Shannon said:

    I love the light!! It looks great in the space!
    Bahahaha Silly Linus!

  5. 2.5.13
    Joanne C said:

    I love this light! Do you know the name/make of this?

    • 2.5.13
      Daniel said:

      Thanks! I think it’s about 80 years old and isn’t marked, but this style of light fixture is pretty emblematic of 1920s Art Deco. I bet if you look around on eBay (maybe craigslist and etsy), you could find similar ones!

  6. 2.5.13
    Ginger said:

    You make me miss my old neighbors SO much. They made my life a little bit shinier and happier and they were never afraid to tell me when I looked like a bag of ass.

    Oh, the light. I covet it. That is all. And now I have to paint my boys’ bathroom black.

  7. 2.5.13

    I *love* that light in your bathroom – and no electrical hacking required for this installation, I see! Kudos for making the bold choice, even if it meant fessing up to your light hoarding shame.

  8. 2.5.13
    Rachel said:

    That light is awesome, especially with the black walls!

  9. 2.5.13
    Samantha said:

    I am totally on your side regarding bathmats. People who don’t use them? They’re probably neanderthals. Also, the rubber-backed furry kind of bathmats are kind of gross. That’s what I have in my apartment, and I resent it deeply.
    Your bathroom is pretty wonderful.

  10. 2.5.13
    Sherry said:

    That lamp is so beautiful and really does look perfect in your bathroom! LMAO the Beyonce concert! She WAS amazing tho!

  11. 2.5.13
    Milly said:

    I love the light, it really stands out in your space! Linus looks totally guilty by the way.

  12. 2.5.13
    Rachel said:

    Without quite knowing why Max dislikes bathmats, perhaps this will help: 2 bathmats! We use one that stays on the floor all the time, and another that we put on top for when we shower and want something actually clean to step onto with our clean feet. When we’re not showering, that bathmat gets draped over the tub (hidden by the shower curtain). This was my husband’s suggestion actually, which is shocking because I am the one that’s usually the biggest ick-a-phobe.

    • 2.5.13
      Daniel said:

      Yes, we hang the bathmat on a towel rod when it isn’t in use! I don’t mind having nothing on the floor most of the time, but when I get out of the shower I want something nice to step on. Hanging it also prevents it from getting moldy or gross-smelling, which is an issue in a bathroom with zero ventilation!

  13. 2.5.13
    nicolezh said:

    Don’t blame Linus- he is a cutie pie after all! One of my cats tends to pee on everything that lies on the the floor. So I can’t have carpets, bathmats, doormats, lost socks or towels on the floor. Oh, and little bathroom litter boxes get also pissed. My other cats loves to scratch walls so I can’t have fancy curtains or wallpaper. And I love both soooo much! Pets over furniture- even it is hard sometimes!

  14. 2.5.13
    el said:

    I’m glad you finally won the bathmat debate – no one should have to put up with stepping out of the shower dripping wet onto tile (especially in the kind of cold weather we’ve been having lately!) My cat unfortunately loves to use my bathmat as a catbed, so it gets furry if I forget to hang it up on the side of the tub.

  15. 2.5.13
    Shauna said:

    I adore you and your design skills and your writing style. Best blog read of my day :) Thank you. (and I almost spit out my lunch when I read “That is, if you’re easily confused by mirrors or otherwise just kind of dumb.” lol)

  16. 2.5.13
    Hannah said:

    Bah my dog Luna does the EXACT same thing when we bring a new floor-based textile into the house. Just once, and only a tiny little one, but every rug in our house has the inevitable Luna christening. You can always tell if a person is the right kind of person if you tell them that when they are standing on a rug in your house and they don’t immediately hop off and give you a dirty look. It’s how I pick my friends, anyway.

  17. 2.5.13
    Anna said:

    Love the light but really covet the shower curtain. Any chance it was a recent purchase and if so, might you share the source? Thanks.

    • 2.5.13
      Daniel said:

      Yes! We custom-ordered it from this Etsy shop in an extra-long version! (it’s the ticking stripe shower curtain.)

    • 2.5.13
      Anna said:

      Thank you SO much. I need an extra-long one too and have been searching to no avail. Many thanks…

  18. 2.5.13
    frances said:

    one of your funniest blogs….the bathroom is pretty much perfection now! that said, you’ll probably find one more thing to awe us again. the flowers are stunning.

  19. 2.5.13
    Lena said:

    Love, love, love it! I think it works great with the shower curtain. And I just love Art deco and I love you mixing it up a little! It just gets better & better!

  20. 2.5.13

    I love the light. LOVE. Not that I would ever break in to your apartment and steal it. I would never ever do that. Ever. Totally not my style.

    Anyway — a question. When you do all this light fixture swapping, don’t you have to turn the power off? Do you have access to your own breaker box? (Ours is sadly trapped in the locked basement).

    • 2.5.13
      Daniel said:

      Yes! Our breaker box is in the kitchen, so it’s safe for us to change our fixtures! I wouldn’t do it if I couldn’t cut the power, though.

      Can you ask your landlord/super for help? Sometimes they’re OK with changing stuff like that, especially if you’re willing to supply the light and it’s nicer than what’s there!

  21. 2.5.13
    BrightonRoxx said:

    You said ‘pop’!! I’m sure you said you’d never say ‘pop’. But I forgive you as I love your home, your writing and your gorgeous dogs. Thanks for making me laugh (you) and go a bit squee (Linus) at the end of a crappy commute home from London.

    • 2.5.13
      Daniel said:

      “Pop” is OK, it’s “pop of color” that I refuse to say! haha. I have to draw the line somewhere with blogger-speak. :)

  22. 2.5.13

    Oooohhhhh I have so much to say about this post. I love it, and really wish that my bathroom were as finished as yours. I just painted the medicine cabinet, but we have so much work to do in there.

    As for your light, I looooooove it in particular and art deco in general. I think that it looks spectacular in the bathroom, reflecting off of the mirror. From the pictures it is hard to get the scale of the bathroom, however. Does the medicine cabinet door hit the light fixture when you open it?

    Regarding the bath mat debate, I agree with Max that they can get disgusting, especially when you have animals. I also agree with you that it is unpleasant to step out of the shower onto something cold and hard. My solution is to put the bath mat on the side of the tub and only take it down when I want to stand on it. It stays much cleaner this way.

    • 2.5.13
      Daniel said:

      Thanks, Jessica! The bathroom is pretty small (not terrible…I think it’s about 6’x7′), but the doors clear the light fixture by a few inches.

      We do the same thing with our bathmat!

    • 2.5.13
      annie said:

      i was wondering the same things about the medicine cabinet hitting the light. i assumed it didn’t because well, that would be silly, but it does look close.
      ever since the max bedroom makeover i’ve been thinking about that lamps! it’s the stuff dreams are made of. i cannot believe you picked up two!

  23. 2.5.13
    Christina said:

    when you post, it makes my week! thank you from Leipzig!

    • 2.5.13
      Daniel said:

      Well, shucks. :)

  24. 2.5.13

    You had me convinced for a second that I missed the Beyonce concert on Sunday, dur.

    Glad to hear you won the bathmat war, everything is looking awesome!

  25. 2.5.13
    Kristen said:

    I love your blog, it’s a must read every day. And DUH. Of course we were all waiting for an outcome of the bathmat war!!! :D

  26. 2.5.13
    Lacey said:

    Not only do I love seeing the projects that you bring to life, but I love the way you write about them. It makes me want to be your in real life friend and die laughing over a cocktail while you regale me with stories about you and Max and Linus!

  27. 2.5.13
    kelly w said:

    You are on FIRE today, dude. But how come no one ever goons over your medicine cabinet deer? I LOVE YOUR MEDICINE CABINET DEER. *swirling hearts .gif*

    • 2.5.13
      Daniel said:

      Thank you!! Haha. Poor deer used to have antlers but then they broke off, so we put him way up high so you can’t see the top of his head. I always kind of forget it’s up there.

  28. 2.5.13
    Teresa said:

    This certainly is one of the best home design post I ever see/read everywhere in the whole wide web. And I can read in four or five languages. lol
    If I wasn’t already a devoted reader since the very beginning I would become one just about now. :)

  29. 2.5.13
    Nancy said:

    Love love that light fixture.

    ROFL at Linus. What an ADORABLE pic of him. nom nom

  30. 2.5.13
    zola said:

    awwwww…sweet little Linus
    …… although the longer you look at his pic in this post the more he seems to say “I peed and I dont care if the whole world knows”

    • 2.6.13
      Daniel said:

      He is! Or “I’d do it again, you prick.”

      Either way he’s throwing serious shade.

    • 2.6.13
      zola said:


      why does he have one “feather foot” and one not ?

    • 2.7.13
      Daniel said:

      The one on the left is his tail!

  31. 2.5.13
    Juliska said:

    Ok, I am going to buy that bath mat, if there are any left. My old ones can’t be helped even by full-strength bleach, so I might as well be inspired by your good taste and replace them. One ivory, one darker, I think.

    That picture of Linus … I stopped cackling long enough to show it to my boyfriend, explaining that Linus had been a bad little doggie. He looks like a tiny little villain, someone who might hang out with Dr. Evil’s cat.

  32. 2.6.13
    Care said:

    I am absolutely in love with that light! It looks perfect in there – especially the contrast with the paint.
    I just voted – you better win!

  33. 2.6.13
    Rosie said:

    Beautiful lamp! I love your bathroom too and yeah about the bathmat… stepping on cold tile sucks!

  34. 2.6.13
    Cassie said:

    I love what you did with that bathroom – I’m in a rental apartment too, and I’m dying to put dark paint up! One question… when you raised the shower curtain rod, how did you patch the tile? It’s easy enough to do when the rod is just on the wall, but mine (like yours) goes into the tile, and will need to go into the tile again once it’s raised.

    • 2.7.13
      Daniel said:

      I actually didn’t patch the tile yet! We replaced the old rod with a new tension rod, so I didn’t have to drill new holes. I bought a ceramic tile repair epoxy kit thing at the hardware store, but I haven’t gotten around to trying it out yet! I kind of keep forgetting about it…

  35. 2.6.13
    Bonnie said:

    Short Beyonce concert. You crack me up.

  36. 2.6.13
    Adrienne said:

    LOVE LOVE LOVE the light. Also “Chrome-y bits be shiny like WOAH.” is my new favorite sentence you’ve ever written.

  37. 2.6.13
    Emily Lyn said:

    Oh gosh, I was so hoping you were going to say you were selling the spare. I love that light!

  38. 2.6.13

    So relieved that Jessica asked about the door clearing the light! I was trying not to ask.
    You and your ideas and your execution of them are all FABULOUS!

  39. 2.6.13
    kate o. said:

    I remember really liking the light in Max’s old bedroom, but holy hell it looks A-M-A-Z-I-N-G in your bathroom. Would you remind me if you have a window in your bathroom? I recently redid my dungeon of a bathroom in our basement. I went with speckled granite floors, subway tile, a white pedestal sink and toilet, and dark walls. I’m debating painting the ceiling the same color as the walls, but I’m afraid it might get too dark. Thoughts?

    • 2.7.13
      Daniel said:

      Yes, we have a window, although it faces and air shaft, doesn’t open, and the top pane is completely painted over. It’s the worst window ever…we get very very very little natural daylight.

      Without really being able to see the space, I don’t know what would look better! You could always try it out and live with it for a bit. Paint is easy to change!

  40. 2.7.13
    michele said:

    Effing perfection! I am probably old enough to be your mother, but your posts always make me laugh! Please don’t stop writing. (Oh yeah and your design skills are above-average. Plus, your dogs are adorable!) xo from Philly.

  41. 2.7.13
    mariane said:

    I love your light, and love how the ridges complement the stripes on your shower curtain. You have such an eye for design, I can’t wait to see what you are choose for a career, writer, designer, you seem to have so much charisma, you need your tv show! Also, I feel bad how when you post about disagreements with Max (like over bath mats or pine cones and smelly stuff) we all gang up on him!! You need to let him do a guest post so he can complain about your weirdness ( I am sure you have your dark secrets!!). Linus face is adorable he just convey : I know I did wrong but I don’t care cause you can’t help yourself but love me unconditionaly, what can I say, I’m adorable!

  42. 2.7.13
    Caitlin said:

    You’re a constant reminder that you can do a lot with a little, design-wise. This post came at a particularly good time, since I am about to tackle my own ancient, gross bathroom with a makeover. (Main feature: 3 layers of increasingly gross floor tile and a giant hole in the ceiling from a water leak two winters ago. SEXAY.) I don’t have any money to knock down one wall, gut it and start over like I REALLY want. I don’t even have the cash to hire a guy to throw a Molotov cocktail in there for me, so I predict a lot of paint, patching plaster, new lights and cursing. That’s my long-winded, oddly personal way of saying your blog is a real inspiration. I found you through Door Sixteen and I mayyyy feverishly refresh my feeds to check for your new posts.
    But not like a stalker. At least not the creepy kind.

    • 2.8.13
      Daniel said:

      Hey thanks, Caitlin! Good luck with the bathroom—you can do it!! It’s amazing what that kind of stuff will do to a space…you’ll feel SO MUCH BETTER when it’s done!

      And please start blogging again!

  43. 2.7.13
    April C. said:

    I love, love, love your blog. I laugh out loud every time I read a new post. Your ideas are so clever, realistic, and inspirational. I voted for you in the Homies. Good luck!

  44. 2.7.13
    Stephanie said:

    Seriously, WHAT is with dogs and bathmats? My dog does the exact same thing within hours of putting down a fresh bathmat. I’m on your side though; not only is the cloth soft and nice, it’s washable :p

  45. 2.7.13
    Sandi said:

    Luuuurve your blog, your writing, your style, and your sense of humor! Reading at work is an issue, because people glare when I laugh spontaneously.

  46. 2.7.13
    Julie said:

    I lurve this bathroom! The fixture is perfect in there. I’m glad you won the bathmat debate, no one’s toes should be subjected to icy cold tile after being dragged out of a hot shower.

    PS: That shower curtain is simple, amazing, and I must have one! Do you mind sharing the source for that piece?

    Thank you!

    • 2.8.13
      Daniel said:

      Thanks, Julie! Yes, I should have mentioned in the post——we ordered the shower curtain custom from the Modern Folk Shop on Etsy because we wanted extra-long. It’s really nice! XL liners are easy to find on amazon.

  47. 2.8.13
    Stefani said:

    Haha, I didn’t realize that bath mat vs. no bath mat was even a debatable topic. I made a similar mistake with purchasing the ol’ wooden bath mat in the hopes of transforming my dark, cavernous bathroom into something like a airy, spa-like retreat. Not only did it not absorb water but it became a petri dish for not one, but THREE different shades/types of mold. Needless to say it got tossed. So, ummm, yeah, holding on to the cotton standby.

  48. 2.8.13
    Andrea R. said:

    OMG! I just found your blog via Design Sponge and I effing love your writing!!!!!! I have never laughed so much reading about design and DIY!!! I feel your pain with Linus. I have a Maltese who thinks my carpeted house is his personal toilet, especially on rainy days!

  49. 2.8.13
    Rose said:

    Plastic animals on the medicine cabinet! I do that, too! Because, yes, bathrooms are where you do some pooping (unless you are a lady, in which we case we just simply send our waste in sweet little gift-wrapped packages to heaven) and they should be fun.

  50. 2.8.13
    Annika said:

    jeeeez that’s a sexy lamp! No wonder you wanted it to move in with you! And seriously, is there are room where an art-deco lamp doesn’t work?? What’s the colour of your ceiling in there, btw? And regarding the bathmat -some people think it’s weird to have white mats in bathrooms or toilets because dirt shows so clearly on them, but come on, the dirt that can occur in bathrooms/toilets is of the kind that I want to me made aware of so I can get rid of it… And on that note, with to cats in the house of whom one is 12 weeks old, all surfaces that doesn’t hide “dirt” is welcome. I’m just happy we finally got the washing machine installed… :) Have a great weekend!

  51. 2.8.13
    Alex said:

    Perhaps cut the bathmat in half? Then, you can step on it when you want to, and Max can never, ever step on it if he doesn’t want to?

  52. 2.8.13

    That light is killer. Love. It!

  53. 2.9.13
    Lisa said:

    Very pretty light, and I feel your pain about the short Beyonce concert.

    Bathmat-wise: Now that you’ve won that battle, how about one of those little mats that sit right in front of the toilet- you know, to catch all the human pee:-) And how about a nice toilet seat cover?
    If you hadn’t already thought of a Valentine’s day present for Max: You’re welcome!

    Seriously though, I like bathmats, but any other unnecessary textiles in bathrooms gives me the creeps. Friends of mine used to live in a place that had carpet in the bathroom. Now that’s vile.

  54. 2.10.13
    Daniel said:

    Whoa, are we the same person? My lamp hoarding goes perhaps a bit further than yours though…I work in set design and use them regularly on shoots, so I keep telling myself that it’s a reasonable habit. Like you, I’ve also recently started digging out goodies I bought a year ago and never got around to styling into my place in Greenpoint. There’s something about a cozy winter in the city and spending more time inside looking out that always makes me feel the need to liven up my habitat. So far for me it’s new (old) brass pin leg lamps, switching out hardware, a fresh coat of paint, and recovering a chair. That was only January–my bf officially thinks I’m a crazy person.

    Just came across your blog and rarely comment, but you and Max are ridiculous and I’m a total sucker for a thrift store romance (and Boerum Hill apartments). Best wishes to you both.

    P.S. Your dresser is so beautiful it is worthy of the pictures-carried-in-wallet treatment. No, seriously. Really. As someone who shops for a living, I know the NYC dresser search is a difficult one; you truly scored.

  55. 2.13.13
    Daphne said:

    I know I’m late to the party here, but I just snorted sparkling yoga bunny detox soda all over my keyboard! I once wrote a complaint to a hotel in Florida that they took away our bathmat one day and never replaced it for rest of holiday (imagine?)

    This blog is what my life has been missing. We have a pit mix too, and I’ve been eyeing up a harris tweed overcoat for her for since the day we took her home. Unfortunately being the podgy, mud collecting dog she is, I can’t justify £200 for one (as invetiably she will need the largest size this chic website produces). She is not their target market. Anyway I digress and realise that relates to another post.


  56. 2.14.13
    Mary Sane said:

    Oh god, I totally feel for you when it comes to the bathmat battle. Me and my boyfriend had huuuge discussions on what color we should pick (well at least we knew that both of us wanted a mat!) for the mat when we first moved in together. We scanned every single store and checked all websites possible… Finally, thank god, we settled for a turquoise (no I don’t know how to spell that) mat. In that moment it felt like anything could happen; pigs would fly and the israeli-palestinia conflict would be solved in the matter of a heartbeat. So yeah, I feel you.

  57. 2.20.13
    Susan said:

    Hey Daniel,
    I was wondering if you’ve ever heard of Krrb

    “Buy your neighbors unwanted stuff with Krrb. You just want a lamp from this yard sale. Not that antique couch, not that pile of warped records, and definitely not that mounted moose head. If only you could see what your neighbors were hocking without having to wade through all this other stuff.Wit h Krrb, you can search individual items people in your neighborhood are trying to get sell, so you’ll never have to wade through unwanted junk at a yard sale or thrift store again. Here’s how it works: when you sign up for Krrb, you provide your location, which is kept anonymous until you want to sell something. It then generates a list of all listings close to you ”“ great stuff your neighbor from around the corner just had sitting in her attic. If you decide to do a little selling of your own, the transaction is seamless: Krrb takes no commission, and since you’re selling to your neighbors you don’t have to shell out for shipping.

    If not, check it out. I think it woudl be right up your alley.


  58. 2.23.13
    annie said:

    i am curious about all of this black paint. will you paint it white when you move out? i’m especially curious about the doors you’ve painted. not that you’re thinking about this now but i am curious! thanks!