I have wanted new exterior lighting for sometime. After all, the existing fixtures have been there for 13 years. It's not that I necessarily "dislike" the fixtures I have. I seriously considered just painting them. Because let's be honest... replacing all 3 fixtures could set me back a tad.
Last Friday I found three pretty ratty fixtures at a garage sale...$5 for all three!!!! Wow...what a deal. And it was exactly what I needed...2 wall mount and a hanging fixture. But they definitely needed some work. So I walked away!
But believe it or not I actually dreamed about the stupid things Saturday morning...so I got up early and went back to the house where they were having the garage sale to see if they were still there....AND THEY WERE!
Of course they were. Seriously, they were pretty ugly.
I think they were originally an antique bronzed finish and someone had sanded the finish off so they were just a grey metal...and seriously dirty. And the glass....major yuk!
I really love the mid century modern style in just about everything. I'm not sure what you would classify these as...not mid-century.... but I really like their "bones." I knew with a little paint, maybe some new glass and a little rewiring, they would be nifty little fixtures!i
The first thing I did was remove all the glass and then removed all the sockets and wiring. They were in pretty bad shape and the worst thing you can do is ignore brittle and charred wiring and electrical sockets. They are easy to replace. Kind of like plumbing,...just take it all to Lowe's and walk around looking stupid...SOMEONE will help you "rebuild" the things you need to replace!
I put all the fixtures in dishwasher....believe it or not it is the easiest way to clean most stuff if it will fit!! After a good cleaning I primed them with auto primer, sanded with steel wool, tack cloth and then painted them with an exterior satin black spray paint!
Then came the challenging part...reinstalling all the electrical elements...sockets, nuts, bolts, wiring....honestly, it wasn't that difficult! Again, just put it all back together just like you took it all apart (taking LOTS of pictures as you dismantle anything is always helpful!)
After it was all back together, it was time to take down the old fixtures and put up the "new."
First rule of any electrical work....MAKE SURE THE POWER IS OFF!
Let me save you a spill off your ladder. ALWAYS assume there will be wasp, spiders and other undesirable critters lurking in holes and crevices. Light boxes are no exception. I found wasp nests and HUGE spiders in all three light boxes after I removed the fixtures. So remove the existing fixtures carefully and always keep wasp spray and spider spray handy!!! Expect a critter or crawler and you won't fall off the ladder from fear (again, I don't tell you things because I THINK it might happen!)
I initially installed the fixtures without glass...because honestly, I kind of knew what I wanted but didn't know where to get it. I checked out a local stained glass store and found EXACTLY what I wanted. A clear glass with little bubbles in it. Not exactly cheap, but considering I didn't pay much for the actual fixtures, it was worth it.
If you notice, I have fallen in love with the new "Edison bulbs" that are all the rage which is why I wanted something clear to show off the bulbs...this "blown glass" look is exactly what I wanted...clear but with a little character.
These bulbs aren't "mid century" but I think they are just soooo cool looking.
But I warn you...they are expensive! Around $9 each so you would probably want to use them sparingly in special places. And I have no idea how they will hold up outside, exposed to the heat and cold. I guess we will see!
But I like the look...and since I don't have a huge amount of money invested in each fixture (new wiring, paint, glass) I won't feel too badly if I decide to switch them out! Probably in another 13 years...