Getting the lighting “right” in the house is sort of a passion of mine. I am a big fan of great built-in lighting. In our old house we owned exactly two lamps because everything else was built-in. In the upstairs bedrooms here we put in recessed can lighting on the room perimeter and set them all on a dimmer – you get great adjustable light coming from many directions so you don’t have harsh shadows. The living room has great lighting already with the cornice and ceiling lights (and of course the Sputnik chandelier.)
The downstairs, however, was a different story. It has built in ceiling lights and the bar has lights, but they provide relatively harsh lighting. There are really awesome features in the bar and the fireplace that I thought would look great with accent lighting, so I thought about the best way to do it and remain compatible with the mid-century feel. Ultimately I landed on flexible LED strip lighting.
After we first moved in, we had our work cut out for us – we originally planned on getting all three bedrooms cleaned and painted, but the house had other plans for us. Sometime in the 1980s my Grandmother and one of my aunts put wallpaper in the master bedroom. This delayed us finishing the master bedroom until not only after we moved in (we stayed in the middle bedroom for the first month), but also after the living room. Mary still gripes about removing the wallpaper.
As of 2011, the living room looked like this:
One of the most talked about features in our house are the Sputnik lights. What is a Sputnik light, you might ask? Why only one of the most quintessentially mid-century light fixtures out there. A Sputnik light is any one of a variety of space-age starburst style fixtures. The atomic age feel was inspired by, as you may guess, the space race from the 1950s and 1960s – the light looked sleek and contemporary with polished metal arms…not unlike a certain Soviet satellite. I don’t know if they acquired that name at the time or if they were retro-named years later, but regardless – a Sputnik chandelier and matching sputnik ceiling lights have been a fixture in this house since its construction. Here is a picture from 1966: