Light Fittings Improved

Light fittings, amongst all adornments of houses, are the ones that are hardest to make tasteful. Certainly the vast majority of fittings in lighting shops all over the world are at best "tolerable", and it is rare indeed to find one both beautiful and affordable. Andrew and I held that light fittings came broadly in two categories: "Wild West Lanterns" and "Swedish Flying Saucers". The former includes all the chandelier-style, and worse, the cluster of scantily-clad, candle-shaped light globe types. The latter includes a lot of trash, but also some lovely, modern, usually-Italian designs, and the neater examples of the art-deco style. There were, in Vallejo Street, four of the most ghastly, hurricane-lanternesque type. Here you see the least offensive view of the hall one... even the electric spider had to steel himself before hauling himself up his web back to that one.

Here are the four beasts after the chandelierectomy.

We spent more time shopping for the replacements than we spent installing them. In the end, we purchased at good-old Yardbirds: Noticeably cheaper, and just as tasteful as the alternative places. Some brisk work, with help from Kay and Denis and Meri, and in a couple of hours all was under control. (Thanks also the the marvellous twist-connectors that have here totally replaced the old connectors that require a screwdriver and two hands to release or capture mains wiring.)

The dining room has a great 150W halogen example of the "Swedish Flying Saucer" school.

The rumpus room has two sets of track lights populated with low-voltage halogen lamps of assorted types (flood and spot). Here you can see Kay and Meri under the fitting at the fireplace-end of the room. Nicholai D'Urbano is getting the interrogation treatment from a spot.

These are also worthy of technical mention. Less than $50 bought each kit containing a metre-long track (standard type), a power feed that occupies the standard ceiling footprint (correct spacing of the two 8/32 mounting screws) and three fittings, but not the globes, which you select for application. These cost about $6 each.

Each fitting (the individual swivelling fittings that attach to the track) contains a "solid-state transformer" which is to say a switchmode 32V supply for the low-voltage globe. Extra fittings are available at about $12 plus globe each. Not bad, considering that each contains a switchmode regulator rated at 50W! The track, being a standard thing, can carry any extra fittings you care to add, low voltage or standard. If the technology of light fittings is advancing, why are they still so retrograde in their aesthetic design?