Old House Restoration

A real family makes an old house their home...for the 2nd time
The Splendido's renovate, restore and rejuvenate their home with their own hands - all while living in the house
and balancing their family needs...you know...like most families have to do it!

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Twinkle, Twinkle Little...

Up till now I have only posted about the outside of the house. In keeping with my promise from my last entry - here is the first tidbit of inside restoration. I chose to write about this mini-restoration because I had never repaired/converted a light before and am happy and proud of the results.

The first time we walked through the house with our realtor, Glenda Lewis of Coldwell Banker (btw - she also helped us buy, and then 8 years later sell, our first house too), Karen and I noticed a little treasure in the basement. It was a Moravian Star 'light.' I put quotes around 'light' because I really had never seen a set-up like this before. I'm not positive if it was really ever intended to be used as a ceiling fixture.
It was screwed into a light bulb receptacle and was rigged with an old-time adapter that was falling apart. The light was literally dangling from the wires. It was suppose to be fixed in location, but would wobble and sway if you touched it. It was so dirty you could not see through the glass. It goes without saying...it did not work...and needless to say...Karen and I wanted it!...and hoped it would be there if/when we closed. The day we closed I went downstairs and removed this dangerous future beauty from the receptacle. It made me nervous to  have it in the kids playroom. I had plans for the light!

This pretty fluorescent light can be yours just for asking
...really if you want it just leave a comment
Our breakfast nook had a hideous fluorescent light fixture. The type with a metallic plastic square grid diffuser. You know the type you find in a doctor's office or in a school. I can understand it being there since the previous longtime owners utilized the room as a second office. However for us it was a MUST go! In its place I wanted to clean up and repair the Moravian Light and covert it to a hanging chained pendant light.


You can see the holes left by the florescent fixture
and a little bit of the original wallpaper in the nook




It honestly took longer to clean the light than to convert it. I probably spent 2 hours cleaning all the various glass surfaces inside and out. As for the conversion to a pendant lamp - that was simple. I purchased a clear lamp cord, some satin nickel linked chain, a ceiling light canopy and a black light bulb socket at my local hardware store. I spray painted the canopy satin nickel. I then slipped the lamp cord through the top hole of the star and spliced the cord to the socket. I secured the socket into one of the points of the star. The rest of the process of hanging the light was similar to any other light fixture change out. Weaving the cord through the chain, connecting the cord to the wires in the ceiling, attaching the canapy to the ceiling light box, etc. I finished it with a clear bulb. I really do have tons of CFL's in my house - almost every possible light, but this light had to have a clear 60 watts.  The CFL's - even the ones that have a bulb shape - just looked too out of place.

After Picture - Part 1 - Pre Breakfast Nook Renovation

The light has a great old look to it when off, but is in all its glory when you turn on the light. the shadows cast on the walls and ceilings from the light are fantastic.

Original After Picture - Straight chain
Pre Breakfast Nook Renovation - more wallpaper

After Pictures - Part 2 - Post Breakfast Nook Renovation

As part of the Breakfast Nook Renovation I took the light fully apart and used a longer lamp cord and longer chain in order to center the light over the table with a little swooping dip and a simple screw-in hook into the ceiling. I'll probably change the hook with something decorative or older looking when I find what I am looking for.

Moravian Light - How to fix - how to convert to pendant light

What a tease! Sorry but this is the only portion of the breakfast nook renovation you get to see...in this post...at least you can see we repaired the holes in the ceiling, removed the wallpaper and painted! The Breakfast Nook is now complete and waiting to be unveiled so look for more posts in the future.


Prior to us there have been two families that have lived in this house for decades each. This house is still known in the neighborhood as their house. No problem since from all accounts they were a wonderful family, however, hopefully we are working on it becoming the Splendido's House. With that said, one of their sons came by the house with his family to drop off some very old papers (some very cool old facts about the house...I'll share in a future post). He saw the work we were doing in the nook and noticed the light. He was so glad to see the light being used as a main component of the house again. It turns out the light used to be in his grandmother's house originally and then his parents used it in in this house. We still do not know exactly how old the light is, but it is safe to say it is over 50 years old...perhaps much more.
Moravian Light - How to fix - how to convert to pendant light
So cool
I really love the shadows the Moravian Star casts on the ceiling and walls. I was worried it would be annoying when eating at the table, but you really do not notice the shadow effect when sitting below the light.

The nice thing about this little project is I could have bought similar Moravian light online for $100-$500. This one cost under $15 in parts and it doesn't just look old, it really is an antique...and best yet...I did the work myself.

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