Saturday, September 25, 2010

Electricity in an old house

My house was built around 1920.  Obviously the need for electricity was very different in those days.  We have two bedrooms upstairs and exactly two electrical outlets, one in each room.  My bedroom... one.  The living room and dining room, they got extravagant, there are two in each room.  We are fortunate, there is one in the bathroom (yes, I only have one bathroom), two in our breakfast room and a whooping four in the kitchen - of which only two are actually for  use on the counter tops.  Thankfully, we now have power strips, or our outlets would look like that scene out of "A Christmas Story"....

We do of course, have ceiling lights, so there is electricity in every room/space.   A couple of our light fixtures are original to the house...

the living room and

the (enclosed) front porch, complete with those Edison style bulbs and yes, I paid $7.95 for each bulb, but we hardly ever turn them on so I figure they'll last for a long, long time.

Other fixtures are old, but not the "good" kind of old.

The main kitchen light, made to not have any kind of cover on it - it also usually takes a couple of flips of the switch to get it to come on, and yes, you can still buy those old round fluorescent bulbs;

the lights (there's a twin) in the back (also enclosed) porch and a similar light over the kitchen sink, functional but not very pretty.

We've worked on replacing other light fixtures as we've found them on eBay, antique stores/shows or our local salvage store (The ReStore).

Two porcelain sconces in the breakfast room (I can see I should have dusted before I took the picture) - eBay;

hallway light - The Restore;

our bedroom light - antique show;

upstairs area - eBay;

my sewing room - The Restore;

The only new light is the dining room chandelier, I thought it said "simple farmhouse" - Lowe's.

Most of the lights were an interesting mix when we moved in.  Mostly just bare bulbs.  The living room light had no "dish" on it we got a replacement on eBay.  The light over the kitchen sink and the two fixtures in the back porch did not have their glass in place, for some reason they were out in the garage.  As you may have noticed, I still need to paint around most of these fixtures since I painted the ceilings before the lights were found.  I also was not the one that painted all over the living room light fixture... but I do need to clean it up.

I would like to replace the kitchen lights with lights I found at Rejuvenation, such as:

this or

even this (last two images from Rejuvenation).

My husband has been working on new power lately, to the barn!  Hope you're all enjoying the weekend.

Chris at Red Gate Farm


  1. New power is much easier than old power!so no wonder he is going to the barn. Those old lights were built to last though...I can't imagine anything made in China now a days lasting that long! That is our main problem building is so hard to find new quality fixtures...all plastic and matter what you pay. One difference a new tract house say in Phoenix they do not install the electricity for an overhead ceiling fan or have to pay extra for an they do have more than one plug...

  2. Hi Chris!!
    Just got all your comments and you are too sweet!!!! We have so much in common!!1
    My daughter is 21 and lives in Seattle and Ty works for the DeVries on NW road.
    I just got back into the AG doll stuff as I saw all the cute Kit things and knew they were for me!!! I love old vintage goodies and hers fit right in!!

    I'm trying to think back on all you wrote, but am now going blank!!!
    I'm off Wiser Lake about you??
    I really want to have chickens next year, but need a coop!!! Do you keep yours in all the time or do you let them out??? We have coyotes at night,so they'd have to be in then, but not sure about the day.

    I had a light just like the first one in my room when I was a girl...memories!! Sounds like you have some challanges there, but are making the best of it!!!

    Glad I got to see the F.C. store, but honestly it wasn't that didn't miss much! but the show is fabulous if you ever get to go!

    Can't wait to read more of your blog!!


  3. I just adore all your old lights, and I love your little cottage.

  4. Dear Chris: I LOVE all the history surrounding your home. It is absolutely charming as is all your original, old lights! You must sometimes feel like you're living in a 'time warp', being taken back to a much simplier, slower paced lifestyle. Beam me back Scotty! Hope you enjoy the remainder of your weekend.

  5. We used to own a 1921 Craftsman Bungalow and lived in it for 13 years, so I'm very familiar with the old electical wiring. Seeing all of your old light fixture is like going through a time warp... lol! I love the one with the old Edison style light bulbs... very cute!
    Have a great day!
    ~ Jo :)

  6. Hello Chris!
    What a great house but I know what you mean about old houses not having enough plug-ins. When we moved to our old farm cottage it was the same or two plugs in each room but our ceiling fixtures were old ceiling fans. My hubby added 24 plug-in's to the house and re-wired everthing although we still have the bathroom and back porch/laundry room to tear apart and re-wire. Some of the original lighting fixtures were in the barn when it burned last month...such a shame. I LOVE the new fixtures you've added and look forward to seeing what you purchase next. You're doing a wonderful job of keeping the old farmhouse charm! I hope you're having a wonderful Sunday.
    Maura :)

  7. I always love reading your posts. I grew up in an old farmhouse and we never had enough outlets. I'm in an older house now and it's still the same problem...not enough outlets! I love how you are keeping the charm of your farmhouse. I love the fixtures you have acquired.
    Have a great week!


Please, feel free to leave a comment... it really makes my day! Chris