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Four New Ways to Use a Classic Onion Light Fixture

via Rikki Snyder, Photographer

via Rikki Snyder Photography

Even if you didn’t know it was called an “onion light,” you’ve almost certainly seen it before. Walk through any historic New England neighborhood and you’re bound to see one brightening the door of traditional cape or two. A glass lantern with an encircling metal cage, the onion light often sports a large carrying handle and has a utilitarian, Paul Revere-ish charm about it.

The light was actually created during the early 1800′s as a sturdy portable lantern that hung on the side of a house or barn when not in use. They also became popular in the marine and railroad industries. Early examples didn’t include the wire cage, but it was added to the design to protect the glass globe, or “onion.”

Having “hang-ups” today about its front-door-only stereotype, the beloved onion light has shed convention to take on new lighting roles, both indoors and out.

Here are four ways to showcase traditional onion lights in a new way:

One – Sconces

via Cape Associates, Inc_reviseWall-mounted onion lights, originally designed for outdoor use, make perfect wall sconces in traditional or modern settings. Already a wall-mounted fixture with a backplate, its design naturally lends itself to take on a wall sconce roll indoors without the need for modification.

In comparison to some other lantern styles, Colonial in particular, onion lights tend to be compact and vertically oriented. This makes for an easier installation in areas with tighter constraints, such as a paneled fireplace surround. Also, most onion lights utilize A-base light bulbs, which depending whether the fixture design has a canopied “hat” or not, provides an even, non-directional glow. Many other lantern styles are designed to use C-base candelabra bulbs which alternatively mimic the upward light created by candles.

via Andrea Swan - Swan Architecture

via Andrea Swan – Swan Architecture

Two – Pendant Fixtures

via Pinemar Inc. & T. Keller Donovan.

via Pinemar Inc. & T. Keller Donovan.

The best and most popular application for classic onion lights is as a pendant to provide ambient lighting in a room. Because pendants become visual focal points in a space, the classic onion light design holds up as something worth drawing the eye to.There are several manufacturers who make onion-style pendant lights. Or, you can create your own by having an existing fixture refurbished by a lighting specialist.

Task lighting need not be humdrum shaded fixtures. Pendant onion lights illuminate all the good that goes on in the kitchen below, designed by Pinemar Inc. and T. Keller Donovan. When you’re selecting a chain length, just make sure you have enough clearance between the countertop surface and the bottom of the fixture; 28 to 34 inches is standard.

via Gable Building Corp

via Gable Building Corp

Although subtle, the onion pendant steals the show in Gable Building Corp.’s elegant Boston bathroom. A pendant fixture on a lengthy chain lights a staircase by Whitten Architects, but also aligns with the surrounding windows so you can see it from outside as well. Su Casa Design‘s onion light hung over a dining table is a wonderful low-key chandelier.

Most onion lights are available with a clear, seeded or optical glass globe.The clear glass is the most traditional way to go. Nick Paternostro of Yale Appliance + Lighting adds that seeded glass offers the extra benefit of texture and does not show water spots from rain on any exposed fixtures. Optic glass offers a little more formal look and can create interesting reflection patterns.

Three – Decorative Accessories

Onion lanterns are an unexpected accessory on a shelf or fireplace mantle. Here, a collection of lanterns in a bevy of styles, onion included, make it a memorable space.

via Fray Interiors

via Fray Interiors

Four – Offbeat Uses Outdoors

via Blue Sky Building Co.

via Blue Sky Building Co.

Still a staple on the porch, this onion light fan is cool in more ways than one. An onion light pendant fixture fixed to an arched garden door lights up a stone pathway designed by Timothy Lee Landscape Design.

When you’re selecting a new onion light, decide whether you want your fixture to patina, or darken, or maintain its original pristine appearance.

via Timothy Lee Landscape Design

via Timothy Lee Landscape Design

Most quality onion lights are made of either copper or brass. Some manufacturers offer their metal finishes in their natural, unprotected state, or with an already antiqued finish. Brass will darken and take on a bronze-like appearance, while copper will eventually turn a verdigris, or green color.

Antiqued finishes, whether indoors or out, will continue to darken over time. In contrast, black finishes are typically painted on or powder-coated. As these finishes are added topically, they will eventually flake off to expose the underlying metal, especially if used outdoors.

If you live on or near the coastline, the sea air will speed up the patina process, with noticeable changes in just two or three months. For purposes of durability, brass is recommended for marine locations by both Paternostro and Anna Williams of Barn Light Electric Company.

Prices for onion lights vary greatly, from $50 to around $450. As the adage goes, you get what you pay for. The less expensive fixtures are usually made overseas using lower quality materials.

American-made onion lights are generally constructed of high-quality materials like brass and copper and are worth the investment.

Related Links & Sources:

Barn Electric Light Company

Yale Appliance + Lighting

Sandwich Lantern

Northeast Lantern

 

Picture Perfect: Six Ways to Display Artwork

via Katie Ridder Rooms

via Katie Ridder Rooms

Can’t wait to display that collection of pictures but are hung up on how to hang it? Do you opt for a more conservative, symmetrical route or something more haphazard? Are the pictures all the same size, or do they vary? Do the frames match or are they different? Hang on! Take a look at six different approaches to display artwork:

1-LINEAR  - Pictures are hung in a line –  either horizontally or vertically.  This style emphasizes rhythm and balance.  It works especially well with pieces that are the same size and are framed with the same frame. Kenneth Brown Design‘s dining room example below utilizes a gallery style hanging system to maintain uniformity and adds an industrial edge.

Overlapping frames of two different sizes in Bria Hammel Interiors‘ bedroom design mimics the horizontal thrust of the bed’s headboard.

via Kenneth Brown Design

via Kenneth Brown Design

via Bria Hammel Interiors

via Bria Hammel Interiors

2-GRID - Like the linear approach, the grid configuration also lends itself to artwork of the same size and frame. Pictures can be hung either close together, as in Patrick Sutton & Associates‘ design – or with more breathing room between each frame, like in Alun & Selena Urquhart’s charming coffee station. 

via Alun & Selena Urquhart, photo by Sarah Greenman

via  Sara Greenman, Alun & Selena Urquhart’s TX home

via Patrick Sutton Associates, photo by Erik Kvaslsvik

via Patrick Sutton Associates, photo by Erik Kvaslsvik

3-CLUSTERED - If a freer approach is your preference, consider clustering your artwork in a loosely defined area. Maintaining a consistent distance between the larger pieces and filling voids in with smaller pictures still maintains visual balance without being symmetrical. Kevin Corn Design makes great with horizontal black and white images, all with varying black frames. Meanwhile, ILevel Inc.‘s installation brings together very diverse pieces in a more organic configuration.

via Design*Sponge, Design by Kevin Corn Design

via Design*Sponge, Design by Kevin Corn Design

via ILevel Inc.

via ILevel Inc.

4-SALON STYLE – Salon Style is truly old school.Think of 18th century Academic paintings on display at the Louvre. This bold style is popular again. Salon Style is characterized by a floor to ceiling, wall to wall frenzy of artwork hung tightly together. Sizes differ greatly, as do the frames and artwork itself, although chunky gesso and gilt frames do look great. The effect is one of joyous randomness.

via Design*Sponge, via Clara Zangenberg

via Design*Sponge, via Clara Zangenberg

via Stacy Weiss, photo by Adrienne DeRosa Photography

via Stacy Weiss, photo by Adrienne DeRosa Photography

 5-SHELF – Pictures aren’t hung on the wall, but leaned on an architectural feature, such as a shelf. If you like to change your artwork frequently, aren’t handy with a hammer or have space constraints, this is a good alternative. The shelf approach also offers an added opportunity to layer smaller frames in front of larger ones.

via Roger Hirsch Architects

via Roger Hirsch Architects

via Marcia Prentice Photography

via Marcia Prentice Photography

6-FLOOR – Placing artwork on the floor and leaning it against the wall offers the same flexibility as the shelf approach. However, it does have a calculated romantic casualness about it that, in my opinion, impairs any true informal intent. If you’re not clumsy and are looking for a dramatic display, this may be a good solution. The floor approach doesn’t work on wall to wall carpet; it will unfortunately look like you just moved in.

via anordinarywoman.net

via anordinarywoman.net

via Mark Dodge Design

via Mark Dodge Design

Thank you for viewing!

Related links:

Bria Hammel Interiors

ILevel Inc.

Katie Ridder Rooms

Kenneth Brown Design

Kevin Corn Design

Mark Dodge Design

Marcia Prentice Photography

Patrick Sutton Associates

Roger Hirsch Architects

Sarah Greenman Photography

Stacey Weiss

Suzani Style

source unknownA kaleidoscope of color and pattern, the suzani is a decorative tribal textile from the Central Asian country of Uzbekistan. Made as part of a bride’s dowry, suzanis were traditionally used as decorative wall hangings, bed covers, table cloths, and prayer mats.

Suzani is derived from the Persian word suzan, which means “needle”. They are made on a light-colored cotton or silk base which is heavily embroidered with colored silk thread. Popular motifs include moon roundels, flowers, fruit (typically pomegranates), leaves, and birds. Suzanis are usually made in two or more sections and stitched together to create a finished piece.

Suzani fever has woven its way into our homes and hearts. As a traditional wall hanging, a suzani creates a spectacular alternative to a headboard, such as Paige Morse’s bedroom design shown below. Likewise, suzani bed covers and throws offer an artful bedroom focal point.

Some designers repurpose the textile by cutting it and creating new forms. Suzanis are installed on upholstered seating, like the settee above or as bold throw pillows, as seen in Jessica Helgerson‘s living room design.

With size limitations and (understandable) hesitation to alter hand-embroidered textiles, an alternative of fabric printed with suzani inspired patterns allows for greater design flexibility. Wide-width fabric allows for upholstery of larger furniture pieces such as sofas, chairs and headboards to achieve a similar look.

Colorful and ever so global, suzani style celebrates the beauty of life through traditional pattern. Be bold and check out some favorites below:

via Hillary Thomas Designs

via Hillary Thomas Designs

via Anthopologie, Inge Chair with Vintage Suzani

via Anthopologie, Inge Chair with Vintage Suzani

via Deborah French Designs

via Deborah French Designs

via Jessica Helgerson Interior Design

via Jessica Helgerson Interior Design

via Tara Bussema

via Tara Bussema

via Chr Dauer Architects

via Chr Dauer Architects

via Vani Sayeed Studios

via Vani Sayeed Studios

via Paige Morse, photo by Sarah Greenman

via Paige Morse, photo by Sarah Greenman

via Emily Chalmers, photo by Debi Treolar

via Emily Chalmers, photo by Debi Treolar

via Heydt Designs

via Heydt Designs

via Katie Leede & Co.

via Katie Leede & Co.

via Steven Favreau Design

via Steven Favreau Design

via Garrison Hullinger Interior-Design, rug by Kush Handmade Rugs

via Garrison Hullinger Interior Design, rug by Kush Handmade Rugs

via calicocorners.com, Oh Suzani Fabric Collection

via calicocorners.com, Oh Suzani Fabric Collection

 

via Thibaut, Suzani woven fabric

via Thibaut, Suzani woven fabric

via F. Schumacher & Co., Konya Suzani

via F. Schumacher & Co., Konya Suzani

I couldn’t resist to go out in style…..

via O-Suzani Boot Co.

via O-Suzani Boot Co.

Related links:

Calico Corners

Chr Dauer Architects

Deborah French Designs

Emily Chalmers

F. Schumacher & Co.

Garrison Hullinger Interior Designs

Heydt Designs

Hillary Thomas Designs

Jessica Helgerson Interior Design

Katie Leede & Co.

Kush Handmade Rugs

Paige Morse

O-Suzani Boot Co.

Steven Favreau Design

Tara Bussema

Thibaut

Vani Sayeed Studios

*Marla Mallett sells antique and contemporary suzanis

Radiant Orchid: Pantone’s 2014 Color of the Year

pantone-radiant-orchid-lgn

Global color authority Pantone recently announced Radiant Orchid #18-3224 as Color of the Year 2014. Laying last year’s winner Emerald to rest, Radiant Orchid skips across the color wheel this year from the greens to the purples.

Pantone Radiant Orchid Paint ChipOften described as “magical”, “romantic”, “tender”, “exotic” and “charming”, orchid is also associated with ingenuity. Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute, says of Radiant Orchid, it “encourages expanded creativity and originality, which is increasingly valued in today’s society….An enchanting harmony of fuchsia, purple and pink undertones, Radiant Orchid inspires confidence and emanates great joy, love and health.”

While Radiant Orchid is a beautiful color, it is quite feminine and probably not one to garner wide appeal to the general masses. Unlike 2012’s hit Tangerine Tango, I wouldn’t expect to see the design market overly bathed in hues of orchid. Rather, touches of this intense color as within schemes, such as chairs, pillows, rugs, or painted feature walls will be more likely. However, a few bold designers have more readily embraced this deep, sensual color in full force. Check out a few favorites:

 

via Lisa Mende Design. Benjamin Moore "Mulberry" paint. Design by Lindsey Coral Harper.

via Lisa Mende Design. Benjamin Moore “Mulberry” paint. Design by Lindsey Coral Harper.

"Woods" Wallcovering by Cole & Sons

“Woods” Wallcovering by Cole & Sons

via Von Fitz Design

via Von Fitz Design

"Carmelina Rug" by Suzanne Sharp for The Rug Company

“Carmelina Rug” by Suzanne Sharp for The Rug Company

via apartmenttherapy.com_Design by Skona Hem

via apartmenttherapy.com_Design by Skona Hem

via louisebody.com. "Pavilion Birds" wallpaper.

via louisebody.com. “Pavilion Birds” wallpaper.

"Peacock Chair" by Dror for Cappellini

“Peacock Chair” by Dror for Cappellini

via alwaysunusualdesigns.com

via alwaysunusualdesigns.com

 

via purodeco.com

via purodeco.com

via thedecorlounge.com

via thedecorlounge.com

via primefurnishing.co.uk

via primefurnishing.co.uk

via Nicki Papadopoulos Interiors. Photo by Sarah Dorio.

via Nicki Papadopoulos Interiors. Photo by Sarah Dorio.

"Baikiri Armchair" by Brabbu

“Baikiri Armchair” by Brabbu

via Amanda Nisbet Design

via Amanda Nisbet Design