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Staying True to Your Roots

I love my house and its modern lines.  It’s what drew us here.  Although it was built in 1956 and, I’m pretty sure, inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright’s Usonian homes, it also has a lot in common with some of the thoroughly modern homes featured in Dwell magazine.  I love modern ascetic and architecture and, during our time owning this home, we’ve tried to keep within that mindset.  However, during our quest for a ceiling light to replace the atrocity in our master bedroom, we’ve had a difficult time really honing-in on what we want or, more importantly, what our house wants.  J feels the light should be modern and square but I’m not completely sold on that notion.  I’m not sure what I want but the one light we both fell in love with was $4,000 on YLighting and we completely cracked-up over it because you can buy a decent used car for that price.  Plus, as J pointed-out, we do live in a mid-century modest house of 1,330 square feet and anything too grandiose would look ridiculous. Our house is never going to be featured in Dwell.  It’s just not that kind of house.  We live in a neighborhood surrounded by corn fields for pete’s sake. (I’m not knocking corn fields.  I love them. Plus, every other year they’re soy bean fields.)

I did come across a 1960 Progress Lighting Catalog the other day on Mad for Mid-Century.  Oh how I wish that some company would reissue their lighting from the 1950’s and 1960’s.  If Pepsi and Doritos can reissue their old formulas and packaging, why can’t some lighting company reissue some of their mid-century lighting?  There are places like Rejuvenation, but that’s still not what we’re looking for exactly.  I did see these two lights in the 1960 Progress Lighting Catalog that look similar to the one I’m considering from IKEA.
Screen shot 2013-04-15 at 10.30.55 AM
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The Calypso from IKEA.  At least this one would look somewhat period appropriate and I’m still loving the $29.99 price.calypso-ceiling-lamp__25278_PE105169_S4
Just for kicks, go check-out the 1960 Progress Lighting catalog on Mad for Mid-Century and then check-out the current catalog featured on their website (click on the link in the upper left corner of their page).  Personally, I like the lighting in the 1960 book better but that could be because I’m trying to find something for my house.  If I were looking for a light for a new McMansion or greige tract box in the ‘burbs, I might like the new catalog better.  All I can say is that I’ve looked at a lot of lighting in recent weeks and the new Progress catalog looks just like everyone else’s catalog with the exception of a few lights I did think were pretty cool but not at all what I’m looking for.  If any lighting company is reading this, and you haven’t reissued any of your old stuff, I think you’re missing a golden opportunity.  There is a small, but mighty, band of enthusiasts that would snap them up.  If you have reissued some, then let me know because I’m having a devil of a time finding what I really want.  Of course, there’s always the possibility that I’m too picky.  At any rate, I’m trying to stay true to the roots of my home while finding a light upon which we can both agree, that’s not too expensive.  No big deal, right?

About sugarshellandbutterknife

I am a work-at-home mother of two, daughter K who is 16 and son N who is 12. I live in a 1956 mid-mod ranch with my children and the love of my life, J. We're slowly renovating our house on a budget and love all things DIY. I hope to make this a place where frugal-minded folks like myself can exchange ideas, gain inspiration and find encouragement to tackle whatever life throws our way.

7 responses »

  1. First, on a funny, note, I thought this post was going to be about going gray. You know, finding that first gray hair, hence the personal struggle of staying true to one’s ‘roots’. To dye or not to dye, that is the questions. (Maybe that is my personal experience coming through?)

    Anyway, a very thought provoking post. I have a home similar to yours, but some changes were made before I entered the picture back in the 1980’s, so there are not many ‘original’ lighting fixtures in my home.

    I try to let my mid-century, modern home shine through, but I am more of a Craftsman/Colonial style guru.

    That said, I am completely on page with you about your lighting fixture. I know for a fact that many people dislike the ‘old’ fixtures in their mid-century homes and trash them or gift them to such organizations as Goodwill. Maybe you need to start stalking ReStore, Goodwill, yard sales, and the like for original relics that have been tossed aside, simply only because they are ‘out of style’ in the mind of others? I wish you luck.

    • Haha! No, I haven’t started coloring my hair – yet. I found my first grays in high school, as we gingers seem to go gray faster, so no shock there 😉

      There aren’t many original light fixtures in my home either as it had been an estate sale and the sellers ‘updated’ everything before we moved in. We’ve slowly been trying to replace the worst offenders but this one has us stumped, mainly because we spend a lot of time in there I think. We have different ideas on what should go up, i.e. square vs. not.

      I’m not opposed to going vintage but haven’t found anything in that realm, either. Most of the older lights I’ve looked at locally haven’t been mod enough for my house. I think people around here like twee things, even back in the 50’s and 60’s. I’ll keep looking, though. I’m really leaning towards that IKEA light, especially after I found some lights that are of a similar vein in that Progress catalog. I don’t think it would look horrifically out of place.

      I know your house is of the same vintage as mine but I think your style fits it well. I know we’ve talked about it before but I definitely think Craftsman style can live quite harmoniously with mid-mod. In fact, a lot of the Stickley mission furniture would look fab in a modern home with its squared-off clean lines.

  2. Hi Jenny,

    I love your Ikea find, and it’s affordable -not like that $4,000 one (yikes!).

  3. Pingback: Clean Slate | sugarshellandbutterknife

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