As I've written previously, I've spent a lot of time sourcing suitable lighting for the extension. It's been a fairly exhaustive search.... I think I've checked pretty much every local and international website or magazine looking for suitable fittings in our price range.

One thing that I will say is that commonly when someone is doing a new build or renovation of their home they do not budget enough for lighting. Lighting is one of those things that gets overlooked completely, or is an afterthought. It's also the thing that usually gets crunched in the budget as it's a final item installed at the end of a project, and usually most people are running out of money and need to make a few savings. But it is, in my opinion, vitally important in giving a space a bit of extra oomph.



With this in mind, I allocated (what I considered to be) a reasonably generous budget for lighting. Some things, like all the lamps I will add to our living area, will come over the next year or so as I find things I like (and can afford - thanks blog commenter Charlotte for your suggestions on the lamps you like from Villaverde - I'm now lusting after them too!), but the main feature pendant lights will mostly be arriving over the next few months. Except for the Dining area.

I have written previously about my difficulties in sourcing a light fitting for this area. I looked at a few things.... all with the idea of something modern to counter the traditional elements of the room (the fireplace, our bits of antique furniture, the slightly more traditional kitchen design I've done). I also wanted to find something that wouldn't block our large painting that is going on the wall behind the dining table. I want the light fitting to complement the space but be individual in its own right.

So the first light fitting that I found was this Kevin O'Reilly Altar light. It was perfect... except that when I priced up the size I needed with the local agent it was $21,000 RRP. Oh dear.



The second light fitting I fell in love with was thanks to Laura at Elsee Blog, who emailed me to suggest that I look at this fitting, by Lindsey Adelman.



And I loved it - the perfect mix of hand made traditional/ modern. But it was $24,000 (in the US, so shipping and local handling extra).

The third thing I looked at was a much more traditional style iron chandelier in a rusted finish from Vaughan in the UK. While it was obviously much more traditional than the others, I thought it could work off the simple detailing I've done in the back extension. But it was around $16,000. Still far too much.



So I started to despair. Then I had an idea - I'd commission a light fitting. I'm not sure why this didn't occur to me before - certainly with a commercial project it is a not uncommon thing to commission pieces (sculpture/ carpet/ fabrics in certain colours/ lighting/ furniture). But domestic projects often don't have the budget for a 'decent' commission. So I tentatively contacted the Jam Factory, whom I wrote about recently when I attended their 40th birthday dinner. After speaking to the head of the glass studio about the proposed fitting, I emailed her some images of what I'd previously looked at, photos of the space, measurements, and most importantly my budget (rather more modest that the other light fittings I'd looked at - actually, a lot more modest).



Luckily they came back to me saying they could do it for what I'd set as a budget, and that they were excited to do it - they really loved the images I'd attached. This week, the head of the Glass Studio and the head of the Metalworks Studio came out to have a look at the room, and have a chat with me about what they were thinking of doing.

Now, if you're interested in doing something similar, one thing to remember is that you are not going to get an exact copy of something you like (this is both unethical, but also insulting to the creative person you are commissioning). So I'm feeling excited to see what they will produce as a design, as we seem to be on the same wavelength.



Additionally, it's working out quite cost effective. If you consider the amount of steps that a light fitting goes through to get to us in Australia (designed by a designer, usually made up in Asia/ Italy or the USA, shipped to the US, UK or Europe, then reshipped to Australia, local trade agent who takes a large percentage, original designer who gets a royalty, wholesaler overseas who gets a large percentage..... it adds up to a lot of extras). Not only does commissioning a piece locally cut out a lot of those elements, but it also means you're keeping local artists employed. All the money is going direct to them, rather than middle men, shipping and handling costs.

So far from being the preserve of the rich or the corporate only, commissioning something for your home can end up being a cost effective solution that also gives you something completely unique.

I'll update on the progress of this process - it's not as quick as ordering something ready made, so we'll likely be installing the light fitting in March/ April. I'll be looking at design drawings and glass shade prototypes just before Christmas. But I'm feeling hopeful that the last piece in the Lighting jigsaw may be finally complete.

30 comments:

  1. Yay! Everybody wins now and it's so exciting!! I can't wait to see it. I am starting to remember why lighting also is "ignored" bc by that time most people are choiced out and they just can't be bothered anymore or is that just me?? I like the sculptural element of the light you've chosen as well xx

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    1. No, I think you're sort of right - there's so much choice, but none of it 'perfect' for what you've had in mind. Plus it usually needs to go with other fittings elsewhere, which adds a bit of confusion to the whole thing (unless you buy everything from one range, but you know my thoughts on that with fabrics - bland). Fingers crossed it all works out! xx

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    2. CSW - oh 'choiced out" that's a great phrase, that's me with the engagement ring palava, I've looked at halos, art deco style, having something made - head is bursting, think I might end up with a plain boring solitaire which is what I said I'd never go for - but I am indeed " choiced out"

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  2. I cannot believe the price of the light fittings Heidi! Great idea to use the jam factory. Sounds very exciting.

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    1. I have to say that I was shocked at the prices L. - I really thought that you could only go into that sort of price range with crystal! xx

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  3. I think a custom-made piece is so much more wonderful anyway, so I am so excited for you!!!! I cannot believe the prices of the other pieces, to be honest - is it because they are being imported to Australia? It seems crazy-pricey to me, even at the size you required!

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    1. I'm not sure why they're so expensive - they're probably smaller run, more designer items, so that would add to it (the Lindsey Adelman ones are made in New York to order, which in itself adds a lot of cost to anything due to their cost of rent/ etc etc). You can get rip off replica versions of the Kevin O'Reilly altar light, but they're still $3000... and you're getting an approximation with a lot of corners cut (plus, it's entirely unethical due to the design being under copyright). Lighting is also a very bulky item that requires special packaging - so coming to Australia means it adds a lot to the pricing. The third light fitting suffered from that - they told me that it was so large that a large chunk was in shipping from the UK.
      I'm excited to have something original and unique too xx

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    2. Cripes, those prices are shocking. I really loved the first one but can't wait to see what you will end up with, very exciting.

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    3. They are shocking - my husband thought there was something wrong with me for picking such expensive lights out (although as I pointed out you don't know the pricing until you ask with this type of thing...), but I honestly didn't think that a simple looking metal light fitting could cost so much. Now I know....! x

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  4. What a good idea to get it commissioned. I bet it will look great. I hope you share the plans on the blog!
    I'm on the lookout for a table lamp to go on top of a sideboard cabinet which I have ordered for my bedroom (also custom so it won't be ready until early Jan) and kicking myself as I missed a beautiful pair from Vaughan which were being auctioned at Lots Road a few weeks ago. I completely forgot to go down on the Sunday and didn't do an online bid either. But I would say that auction houses are a good route to go down if you have the time - there are some real gems which crop up at Lots Road.
    x

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    1. You can pick up the BEST stuff at Lots Road - I used to work opposite it and would watch everything being loaded and unloaded during the week. Unfortunately the auction houses locally have terrible lighting. Really poor quality 1950's onwards light fittings... not something you'd want in your home. xx

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  5. Heidi
    Congratulations - such a wonderful idea to commission your own light fitting from the Jam Factory! Look forward to seeing a picture of the end result. Truly shocked by the prices of the lights you showed - all wonderful looking but so horrendously expensive. DIL fell in love with very beautiful US outdoor wall light, a lovely beautifully rendered glass pineapple with leaves. She'd dearly love to have one on either side of the front door (her garden is very tropical). But at similar prices to those above, it's out of the question. Must tell her about your solution. But it's on the back burner at moment as there are other priorities.
    About ten years ago in Venice we bought a Murano chandelier for dining room. Probably not your style, but we love it. Pale blue irises and long deep green leaves arched. The fully flowering irises contain the bulbs and there are decorative iris buds above. They ship and pack very well. Quite beautiful and only a fraction of the prices above when purchased in a good glass factory on Murano (but nowadays care needs to be taken as a lot of places sell items as Venetian glass that are actually made in China). A few years ago we bought a wonderful mirror for the dining room with clear barley cane, glass flowers and other curlicues along the frame and an engraved glass border - on another visit to Murano. Very over the top. This time had to pay quite a bit of duty/sales tax when it arrived. But still worth it as I just love it and didn't cost anything like those American light fittings. I once saw a magnificent vintage Baccarat chandelier in a French antique place in Armadale, Melbourne. Stunningly beautiful and they were asking $10,000 (already re-wired and restored) which was probably good value for such a beautiful piece. But it wouldn't fit in my suitcase! Best wishes, Pamela xx

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    1. I think you get excellent bargains with old lighting - it's just that you have to find it first! But that is great value for an antique baccarat chandelier. Love the sound of your lights - it's so lovely to have things in your home that are personal and bring back memories of happy times. I'm hopeful that I'll be able to take the children to the glass studio when they're blowing the shades for our light fitting, so they can watch it being made- It's something they'll always remember and that I think they'll find fascinating as well. xx

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  6. bravo to you for supporting the splendiferous Jam Factory - such a wonderful collective of talented creatives.

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    1. I would love so much from there if budget allowed - world class in my opinion. Plus so many talented designers are alumni and started off there, so it's a great thing to support. xx

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  7. Thanks for the mention Heidi, at the time I recommended that designer, I was somehow under the impression that you were looking in that price range and I thought, Heck, if you've got that kind of money and that aesthetic why not go Lindsey, because in my honest opinion, I like those lights a lot more! HEHEHEHEHEHE!!
    But I am certain that light you are collaborating on will be a stunner!!! It all sounds very exciting. Except the timeline! Can't they have it ready by Christmas.... please? Hehe.
    (Was not shocked at all about the prices of the lighting) There is another lighting brand (name escapes me) that I really like that runs in the 10s of thousands of dollars. Jeffrey Alan Marks used it in the octagon dining room with the upholstered ceiling on Million dollar decorators and is in one of the hallways of the house of windsor. Very yum.

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    1. Ha Laura - no... not in my price range (sadly). If it were, I'd be doing Mintaro slate through the whole extension. Plus a few other things as well!! I think I know the light fitting you mean, from watching the show - it was very nice (and crazily expensive). I wouldn't even torture myself by looking at it! xx

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  8. Great move to have a unique fixture made locally! The idea to see the shades being made is excellent as this fixture will now become a family heirloom they'll cherish too.

    I chose ready made and vintage fixtures for our remodel. Started buying three years before construction and found them on discount - Hubby didn't include the amount in our budget 'cause he didn't "see" their expense. I look like a wise spendthrift :-)

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    1. a Very wise spendthrift Linda! I think it's a great idea to buy bits and pieces before you start a big project, as you don't notice the cost so much.... I'm very happy we bought all sorts of things that have been in storage for a long time - it definitely doesn't feel quite so painful now! xx

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  9. That is fantastic that you are getting a light commissioned. Win win all round for both you who gets something amazing and original and for the artists who are being financially supported in the process. I totally agree with you about lighting, I kind of consider them almost works of art and set aside a bigger chunk of the budget, and all our pendants were actually purchased well before the reno even started. Probably helped that I only had to choose five though as with our dependancy on fans we couldn't put them in every room. Glad to hear there is major progress at your place too, hope you are not going insane without a kitchen though, must be a bit testing! mel x

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    1. It's all a bit testing at the moment Mel - but you've been there done that! The dust factor is the biggest problem - the house feels like such a mess. I love a pendant light fitting, and it was clever of you to separate the lighting cost from the overall budget early on - they do make such a difference to your rooms! xx

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  10. Yay for you!!! I look forward to hearing all about it!

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    1. It'll be a while til it's in, but the wait will be worth it (I hope!) xx

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  11. Lighting is such an important feature that it's worth taking the time to get it right. The ones you featured here are fabulous but to have a unique piece will be even better. The choice of lighting can certainly change the whole mood of the room.

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    1. I 100% agree with you miss b. The various things I chose were all quite different from each other, and would change the feel of the room with each one. But I think the sculptural element will really add something to the space, which was why that once won out in the end. xx

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  12. Oh exciting. Can't wait to see the finished product.

    I think I am like CSW and get "all choiced out" by the end of renovations etc.

    Hope all is well with you.

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    1. I can't wait to see the finished product too T! I'm a bit over it all at the moment, but I keep thinking - only a couple more months and it'll be worth it....! xx

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  13. Cant wait to see it ..I couldn't agree more about patronising local artists

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  14. MOTH here Mrs. AV. Don't worry yourself about spending ya hubby's hard earned dosh at one of those posho light joints. I've got a shed full of 'interesting' stuff in my shed & I could knock you something up that would be a true One Off. I can feel a double page spread in World of Interiors coming on once my amazing creation is up hanging over your swisho kitchen bench.
    All the best mate
    MOTH
    P.S. Mills says hello!

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    1. Haha MOTH - don't you worry, I have a shed full of highly individual, some might call them 'vintage' light fittings of my own. Perhaps you should call past some time and I can offload, um, I mean bestow, these unique pieces on you. I'm sure Millie would LOVE them in your place.....the previous owner was very fond of a statement light! xx

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Architect & Interior Designer. Mother of three. A sometimes Cook, Baker, Reader, Gardener, Fashion Lover, Renovator, Writer of random things in South Australia email me on anadelaidevilla@bigpond.com
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