Since we hung the drywall, our lighting has been… basic to say the least. Just your regular CFL bulbs in basic white ceramic fixtures. Upgrading them has been on our lists for years.
Finally this month we did it. The Living room got a Tiffany style stained glass fixture to match the other stained glass down there. We got this one on Amazon and it was a straight forward install. In addition to matching the windows, it has hearts all around it.
The kitchen got a a bespoke piece. Siri had the idea of using an antique copper colander as a shade if I could build the rest. Sure can! We ordered some braided wire, a cap for the ceiling and a copper socket. Took a little while to get the height right, but it really makes for a brighter work area on the table below. The little holes of the colander also make cool patterns on the ceiling. We’re still trying to think of a better bulb, preferably lower profile, maybe even a circular florescent tube.
The bedroom was last. We had somehow managed to not break one of the original light fixtures that was in the bedroom when we bought the house 2.5 years ago. These were some of the first parts to come down during demolition and they’ve been moved around the state of Maryland a few times since without breaking. The rugged thing had finally won us over. Its simple, has 2 sockets for bulbs and has a frosted glass cover with white paint on the inside with a pattern radiating out from the center.
Finally I’m getting there. I had slowly worked down from the top of the 3rd floor, down the 2nd floor.. skipped ahead and worked up from the basement last February. I finally burned myself out in March, got back to it in September on the 1st floor, and here I am at the last wall over a year after I started. We had the Thanksgiving 4 day weekend and we were going to use it to finish up these damn bricks.
[We Must Have a “Before” Photo of This Somewhere]
This one was always going to be the hardest. Nearly all the salmon bricks had spalled and were crumbling. Some bricks you could crush in your hand. Pointing was pretty much out of the question as the bricks would crumble faster than the mortar. After the basement, pulling them out and re-laying them seemed like the best method. I started next to the back door. Most of those had been broken in half so I had to replace a bunch. Once I was sure the wall could carry the load without its assistance, I pulled the wood door frame. Hello 6″ wider doorway.
Siri helped a lot. Laying bricks uses considerably more mortar than pointing so keeping me fed with mortar (and food) all weekend was her job.
What’s with the pockets? To top it off we had a special surprise we had picked up when we visited the Moravian Pottery & Tile Works outside Doylestown, PA. H.L. Mencken had incorporated tiles from this factory in his back yard a century earlier and I wanted to incorporate some too. We were not sure how we’d do it when we bought them, but Siri thought it over and decided that we should do a zig-zag going up the stairs with everyone in height order starting with Emi.
From the bottom right we have Emi’s tile with her moon, because cats love the night. Next row up is for Iris. Her tiles is for her zodiac sign of Cancer along with a tree because she love to climb them (and is growing like one). Next row up is Siri’s with her Sagittarius zodiac tile and a heart, because she has so much love to give. Next row up is my Taurus zodiac sign and a goblet of beer, because I love beer. All of this is set in mortar Siri mixed using sand we brought back from the dunes of Liwa in the UAE.
Now it’s time to clean up and dust everything. Christmas is here and I want a clean space for the first time in months.
P.S. This is not the end. There are still bricks hiding behind the stair stringers. I will do these when I pull out the stairs. They’ll need to go quickly because the stairs will be out and that’s something we don’t want stretching out too long.