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schoolhouse lights

24 Feb


Baldwin lamp, Rejuvenation, $169
(Similar to the one I grew up with, PS 221, free)

During my childhood, and into my teenage years, my dad commuted every weekday to P.S. 221 in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, where he introduced grade school kids to the world of art. Some of my earliest memories were shaped by this experience — field trips to the Brooklyn Museum, my first glimpse of faculty lounges, and the amazing light fixtures he ‘saved’ from a certain fate as fodder for the trash heap.

It makes him laugh to hear me tell him that schoolhouse lamps are chic again. (But not as much as he laughed when he found out how much I spent on that ‘vintage’ globe I bought my husband for Christmas…)

Three Potato Four via The Estate of Things.

But, apparently, I’ve hit on something. Here’s what I found today on a fantastic blog called The Estate of Things (link above).

Schoolhouse Chic has been emerging for some time now and I thought it was time to take a break from the flurry of images in my head and examine the look. Rising out of this design comes the love for globes, educational charts & maps, chalkboard everything, glass beakers as vases, card catalog storage, schoolhouse lighting, use of letters & numbers and the industrial feel of school desks, stools and chairs.

The image above is from another blog/shop called Three Potato Four (link above). The items featured are inspirational, fun, and, for the most part, available for sale! I debated keeping news of this amazing shop all to myself, but decided against it.

Back to the lamps…

Schoolhouse Lamp roundup, This Old House Magazine, detail @ Schoolhouse Electric Company)

This Old House magazine is an excellent resource for these type of things. In fact, they’ve devoted an entire feature to schoolhouse lamps, some of which are shown above. The varieties of vintage reproduction lamps available today are mind-boggling; to see what I mean, just check out the Schoolhouse Electric Company website. Here are some of my favorite lamps and shades. Just so you know, the fixtures and lamps are mix-and-match.

Union 6 with clear glass shade, $234 for the set

MIT Cage with bulb, $124 (not technically ‘schoolhouse’ but awesome)

Red shade, $62

Vintage blue shade, $62

If you want something truly one-of-a-kind, go to the Etsy shop LampGoods. The owner writes, “For longer than I can remember, I have been creating new items out of vintage objects. Then working in the design field for several years, I’ve come to appreciate unique lighting fixtures.” Each lamp is made by hand with vintage components, and can be either hardwired or made to hang as a pendant. There are so many beautiful lamps available for sale. This is my favorite:

Manchester Vintage Milk Glass Pendant Lamp, LampGoods, $79

The lamp shade is unlike anything I’ve seen before. “The front has a clear, circular design with raised glass, and the sides project outwards with a reeded detail.” I think it’d add a great vintage touch to a colorful, modern room.

Of course, you can always try tag sales, Ebay, or vintage shops online. Austin Modern is one of these, starting as a bricks-and-mortar location, now selling its wares on the internet.

Vintage Flower Sunburst Pendant Lamp, Austin Modern, $95

They’ve rewired this vintage milk glass globe to create a beautiful pendant lamp. According to the listing on their Etsy storefront:

These are created from original vintage globes from the 1930s and 1940s, salvaged from craftsman homes in the Austin area. There is so much great design out there, there is no reason for anyone to have to live with mass produced junk no matter their budget or the size of their living space. Our motto is this: Buy the BEST you can afford, not the most expensive you can find, and you’ll always be happy with your choices!

I second that emotion.