Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Lighting for 1920s bathrooms

Porcelain shower light fixture (cleaned)

I love old bathrooms. The beautiful details never cease to amuse and interest me. I was conflicted about removing the light fixture above, but it scared me, somewhat, and it was one of the violations that the city is requiring we address.

I didn't realize it at the time, but this is a fixture that was designed specifically for use in bathrooms. Note that there are no visible screw holes - the fixture is attached to a mounting bracket in through screws at the base of the socket.

While this may have been the best that was available at the time, I was bothered by the possibility of being electrocuted, especially given my long, awkward arms and 6'8" frame. I've had my eye open for something better, something that would look historically correct, but at the same time be waterproof. Then I came across this fixture, in the Oviatt Building penthouse.

The fixture is simple enough and fits the space well. Finding a similar industrial fixture might be quite easy. I came across this one, from Barn Light Electric, which might do the job, if one removed the cage. I've a feeling, however, that something simpler and cheaper might be found at an industrial hardware store.

Of course, the problem remains that the code specifies a flush-mounted fixture... maybe in 30 years when I redo it again, the inspector will be more lenient.


Bungalow Monster said...

How about using the same original fixture but convert it to low-voltage.

Why S? said...

I went to a party at the Oviatt penthouse a couple of years ago. I so wish I'd taken pictures. It was gorgeous. A preservationist's dream come true.

Jayne said...

That tile in the Oviatt penthouse photo is gorgeous. I'm with Bungalow Monster--could you have the original fixture rewired or modified somehow?