More New Old Lighting

Once you stop looking on Craigslist, it’s hard to stop.  I came across an add for two matching lights from a house built in 1916. The house was in Iowa… about 3 hours away… but I was so interested in the fixtures, I contacted the seller anyways.  It turned out his daughter goes to school only 45 minutes away from us, and was visiting him that weekend.  She brought the fixtures back to school with her, and then we picked them up!



They were very dirty, but cleaned up just fine with a damp cloth. I am not sure what the finish it- silver? Brass? Nickel? I thought about taking them into an antique dealer to find out, but I decided I liked the old patina as-is, and didn’t need to worry about the kind of metal it was, since I wasn’t going to be polishing it.


My husband fell in love with them.  They are nearly 100 years old, but not too fancy, as some light fixtures of the day are.  I love the clean, simple lines of them.  Even better, they put out a ton of light, and instantly made the kitchen and keeping room look like a brighter and happier place to be.



Clearly, my husband took this picture and did not care to put away all of the odds and ends junking up my counter top first…



Another charming thing about these beauties is that each bulb has it’s own switch. A pre-dimmer switch solution, I’m sure.


Out With The NEW… In With The OLD

One of the mysteries of this house is the lighting.  Pretty much 100% of the fixtures are newer, leaving me to wonder what the original lighting (after gas) was in our home.

The “library” had a particularly modern chandelier in it, and was replaced with a craigslist find this weekend.  It was from a 100 year old home a few blocks away.  It was hard for me to decide if I liked it or not.  Victorian light fixtures are not really “in style” today.  Is it ugly?  Is it pretty?  Is it funky?  Is it period appropriate?  Not sure… but now it’s mine.  I think I like it… I might love it.  I’m still trying to decide.  It does give off a lot more light than the previous fixture did, and I certainly appreciate how it lights up the library in the evenings.  The dark is finding us earlier and earlier this time of year, and I look forward to many evenings this winter close to the fire with a book or a board game, under the light of our new old chandelier.


The chandelier we replaced. It was (horribly?) modern and did not give off much light


The craigslist find! Unfortunately, the center light no longer works.


What We’ve Been Up To.

For the last month, we have been trying to do as much painting as possible done to the lower level of our house.  90% of the time is spent scraping, caulking and filling nail holes.  It is amazing how much of the paint just pulls off, all 125 years of paint, down to the bare wood.  After all of that, we sand the siding, brush of the dust and then wash with TSP and then dry.  And then FINALLY we can paint.  It is a lot of work- like SO MUCH WORK that if I start thinking about getting the entire house painted, I get completely overwhelmed.  So we are just doing a small section at a time.  I love the color we have chosen (White Heron by Sherwin Williams) for the lower level.


Scraping the trim around the windows of the turret. This paint was so thick and practically falling off, so we used the infrared paint removing gun to get nearly all of it off. If we hadn’t, the finish would have been really uneven.  At the bottom of this photo you can see where we tore away a loose board, revealing  tons of rotten wood.  This was the same story for the other sides of the turret too, even under the siding.  We dug out the rotten wood, used some epoxy to dry and firm it up and replaced the siding and trim pieces with new.  Of course, we caulked and filled every little crack that was allowing water to get inside and do the damage.

side scraped

A section of the South side of the house, scraped, ready for primer.


A view of the side of the house that we painted last weekend. I can’t wait to add the light grey to the shakes, but that will have to wait until next year, I’m afraid.

The other thing we have been busy with is applying for a Deadwood Fund Grant.  Deadwood, SD is a historic town where lots of Wild West mischief happened.  Here is a description of the purpose of the grant and the origination of the funds:

“The Deadwood Fund program is funded by a portion of the gambling revenue generated
in Deadwood, SD. By sharing the Deadwood historic preservation monies, the
Deadwood Fund program enables applicants from throughout the state to extend their
financial resources to preserve important pieces of South Dakota history.”

Because our house is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, we were able to qualify to apply for a grant that would provide matching funds for preservation/restoration projects that we would like to do.  The projects we would like to use grant moneys for are:

1) Replace rotten cedar shake siding on all sides of the house

2) Repair architectural detailing on dormer window and turret (mostly crown moulding near roof line that has rotted due to multiple layers of shingles)

3) Have the entire foundation re-tuck-pointed.

The application was due today and we should hear by January 1 if we are a recipient.  We hope so!

Here are some pictures that show why we chose these projects:

IMG_1561 IMG_1560 IMG_1480 IMG_1355 IMG_1354 IMG_1353

The other great thing is that the hail storm we had in June did a number on our roof, and we will be getting a new one, paid for by insurance!  Hooray!  This is like winning the lottery for us.  The roof is not a cheap one to re-do, due to the steep incline, but getting all of those old shingles off will help to prevent further water damage in the future.

Oh and one more thing!  We began the process of insulating the house last month!  We now have blown-in insulation in all of the walls!  It is hard to believe that for the last 125 years, there has been no insulation to help with temperature control during the brutal South Dakota winters.  Amazing!  Once the shingles are replaced, we will also insulate the attic, for which our energy company will reimburse 60% of the cost.  We will get 20% reimbursement for the walls.

A lot has been done, with even more left to do.  I feel like a little squirrel– scurrying around, trying to get as much done as possible before the cold and snow put a stop to our outdoor improvement efforts.