mid century mod outdoor lighting-input needed!!

chicagoerinApril 23, 2014

Hello to all-finishing up a gut rehab on my MCM 1957 Ranch and am totally stuck on outdoor lighting. I have a light on either side of the front door, and either side of garage and post light in front of garage by walk way. I am open to eliminating either the post or the garage lights if they are redundent (and would save some $) if it would look better.

I am totally drawn to this style globe post light but stuck on what lights on the house would compliment them? Also just because I am drawn to it, doesn't mean my feelings will be hurt if the group thinks it's not a great idea..It might look too cheap/they ARE cheap!

For the house, I am drawn to this style:

The house (not stone) is being painted a light gray/tan

Please help..I am totally stuck! Budget is approx $600-1000

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Here's a set with wall lights and a cool post lamp too! Reminds me of FLW's style .....

BTW -- LOVE your home!! :)

Here is a link that might be useful: Bellacor -- Caterham outdoor lighting set

    Bookmark   April 23, 2014 at 9:06AM
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thanks so much, teacats! I DO love those and actually had been eyeing them..would you do the globe post lamp or ditch it all together and use the matching one? I am worried it might look too matchy???

My house was a dump when I bought it..it has been a LONG HAUL..but is finally done (Are we ever really done?)!

Here is a link that might be useful: IKEA Before and After

    Bookmark   April 23, 2014 at 10:04AM
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I do think that the set would look wonderful on your front landscape! :) There are lots of GREAT elements to bring lots of color and texture to your landscaping .... so the set would work well into the mix! :)

And yes ...... I do remember those globe post lamps (and the kids that used to throw stones to break those globes ...... not me ...... of course! just teasing! LOL!) .....

    Bookmark   April 23, 2014 at 10:20AM
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I would consider a darker greige tone for the painted portion of the home. Not sure if your windows are vinyl, but white trim would typically not be used on a MCM ranch home.

Back to the lighting. I would eliminate any surface mounted fixtures & replace all with fixtures that highlight the house and landscape which is quite nice.

I would install simple recessed downlights in your overhang, and place one over the front door and 2 over the garage door.

I would use low voltage well lights to illuminate the sculptural tree in front and the bush near the driveway. Then I'd add accent lighting to the spikey plants. All these items are available inexpensively at your local Lowes or big box store.

If you feel the need to have an ornamental element to replace the post light, I'd consider some type of decorative steel bollard light.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2014 at 10:25AM
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You haven't stated it, but just to make sure - you are NOT interested in using fixtures that would be similar to what would have been on the house originally? Because, all of the fixtures mentioned so far aren't in the style of 1957. I'm not clear, based on the title of your post, what you are looking for.

Also, what is the context of the home in the neighborhood? Similar homes? Wide lots with good space between the homes? Upscale neighborhood?

    Bookmark   April 23, 2014 at 10:44AM
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Thanks guys.. I think I would be interested in something that would have been used in 57. Good point on the vinyl windows.. I hadn't thought of it, but the white doesn't keep with MCM, but I am keeping it..low maintenance. I like to think I am adding "hints" of MCM but mixing current at MCM. Not totally obsessed with having a true MCM home. but would like to do lighting from that era, potentially.

Dreaming-community is very upscale, Dublin, OH, our neighborhood is near the quaint downtown but on the low end of pricepoints for the city. All houses are similar to mine, ranches, same era.
Thanks again guys..keep the idea rolling!

    Bookmark   April 23, 2014 at 11:33AM
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from Lamps Plus -- maybe this kind?

And then switch from the tall lamp -- to a modern sculpture with a simple landscape uplight at that point?

Here is a link that might be useful: LP -- outdoor light

    Bookmark   April 23, 2014 at 11:41AM
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These could be cool -- $84, too:

bronze up & down light

This $480 post lamp could be a handsome accompaniment

22 in. bronze post lamp without post

    Bookmark   April 23, 2014 at 11:49AM
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Light the environment. Be aware of the quality of light. Installing landscape lighting will increase the value of your home much more than simply replacing surface mounted light fixtures.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2014 at 1:13PM
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beverly, I suspect that landscape lighting or a major rewiring job, fabulous as they may be, don't fit in erinb007's $600-$1000 budget. But they can always be added down the pike when the finances allow, perhaps in conjunction with some kind of really great garden/walkway redesign.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2014 at 1:36PM
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awm03 What I have proposed is less money than anything proposed so far $19 for a flood light and $28 for a well light. $200 for the transformer and some wire, and that's it. erinb007 can use the electrical supply from the post light. EasyPeasy

    Bookmark   April 23, 2014 at 2:14PM
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beverly, the components aren't expensive, but the labor adds up. I spent $1300 to install two post lamps and two $20 walkway lights, and the wiring was already in place & up to code. The post holes had to be redug and filled with concrete to handle the weightier posts. My guy charges $85 just for the service call, then it took two guys to handle 6 hours of labor, both at $85/hour. Not even sure what the remaining $195 was for. They were going to charge $200 to remove the old lamp posts, but we did that much ourselves.

Relocating & adding house lights involves rewiring and carpentry work too. BTDT -- it's not cheap. And as with any old house, you must make sure the electric box can handle all the upgrades.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2014 at 3:53PM
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well, the good news is we already put in new electrical box, so it can handle anything and I LOVE the idea of landscape lights..those pictures are stunning. Not convinced I can do it and replace the ugly lights on the house for that kind of money. I do love the up/down lights..maybe that is the right answer. would love to do the landscape lighting too, but man, don't know if that is feasible

    Bookmark   April 23, 2014 at 4:08PM
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Well, maybe in the future, erinb. At least that gives you time to plan for landscape changes.

After 18 years, I finally added the landscape lighting I'd been dreaming of! Actually, we'd planned to install it as part of our remodel 6 years ago, but it had to be scrapped, along with many other dreams, for budget reasons. That's home owning for you : )

    Bookmark   April 23, 2014 at 4:38PM
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The house I grew up in had the jelly jar sort of light. They are still available. Some of our neighbors had the colonial lantern which looks like what you have. A few blocks away where the rich were building their custom homes I saw a lot of lighting like Teacat has been showing. Your house does have a hint of prairie style and that first lamp Teacat posted made me think of FLW as well. You could have all the wall sconces match but do something spectacular for the lamp post.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2014 at 5:37PM
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sorry guys, what's FLW? Not sure this light is in line with what you guys are talking about, but I love it..it's expensive but I am thinking about 4 and taking down the post light..

thoughts? going to see if I can find jelly jar lights have no idea what that is..


    Bookmark   April 23, 2014 at 9:12PM
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Ooh, that's terrific. Amazon is selling a slightly smaller one (10 in. x 5 in) for $239. Is that too small do you think?

FLW = Frank Lloyd Wright

Here is a link that might be useful: Ascari small bronze sconce

    Bookmark   April 23, 2014 at 10:06PM
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Maybe a combination of surface mounted fixtures where you already have electrical fixtures currently, and then landscape lighting in addition to add some dimension to your home and boost it's curb appeal.

This fixture below, has the simple lines of MCM and is more modestly priced than those being presented by some of the other posters. From personal experience, I know these have a great quality finish & are easy to relamp. The fixture below is $75, bronze finish, seeded glass. Quite impressive in person.

Don't be frightened off the landscape lighting by some of the comments made here. You might need to call in an electrician to provide a GFI outlet at the base of your post, but the rest of the installation involves running the wires, either buried a few inches underground or simply under your mulch, plugging in the transformer & positioning the lights and connecting them through the wire. It is a very DIY project to those with any skills.

Now I can assure you that some people can turn landscape lighting into a huge project, as can some electricians, but the landscape lighting products I suggested are from Lowes, and if you think it's beyond your skill set, Lowes can give you a price to install if for you. If you are a person who is comfortable with a hammer and a battery operated drill doesn't scare you, this project is very doable.

Here is a link that might be useful: Craftmade Fixture

    Bookmark   April 24, 2014 at 9:02AM
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I'm also redoing exterior lighting of a mid-century home. Mine is an early MCM (1951) split-level:

(The new roof is darker, so it doesn't look as if it's floating into the heavens.)

The house has an interesting story. I am only the second owner. The first owners lived in the house for 56 years and had a decorating tug-of-war the entire time, because one liked modern and the other wanted colonial. The colonial was expressed, among other places, in the interior lighting (huge wrought-iron chandelier in very small dining room) and some of the exterior lighting (twee coach lamps), and I have been decolonializing the interior ever since I bought the house in 2007.

I got a deal on discontinued Kichler outdoor wall lamps. Technically they are coach lamps, too, but not anything like the ones I'm removing:

I'm still looking for one post lamp and one ceiling-mount fixture for in front of the garage doors, but I'm thinking that the existing ones would be OK if they just weren't black, so maybe I will try painting them. The ceiling-mount fixture is plain and, in fact, I could buy it now in a silver finish. Here's the post lamp:

    Bookmark   April 24, 2014 at 5:50PM
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I'm considering these for the front porch of a 1950 house next to the door on a stone wall. Doesn't photograph well, but it's basically a cylindrical wall lamp that throws light upwards, downwards, and outward through those notches. From Costco of all places, only $25. I like it (the silver one at right), but not sure if it's MCM enough....

    Bookmark   April 24, 2014 at 11:09PM
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lee-those are pretty amazing for the money! do you see an offering of a post light? if so, I am sold! thanks

    Bookmark   April 24, 2014 at 11:26PM
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I've struck out on post lights so far.... keep seeing the same things over and over from different manufacturers. This comes close to what I want but not quite there, trying to find cylindrical not round

this one is interesting too, and available in several colors

brighter than I need but it looks like what circa-1953 coffee- or end tables would be if they were reincarnated as a post lamp; I like it.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2014 at 2:25AM
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Beautiful home... I'd like to see how you finished it.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2014 at 2:28AM
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lee, where did you find the first one? it's very interesting to me

    Bookmark   April 25, 2014 at 3:22PM
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1335 Globo from Disano. Intended for commercial use but could work for residential as well if the post is shortened or inset into the ground more.

For some reason, post lamps aimed at the commercial market look more modern than most of those sold at residential-oriented vendors. So much to love here.....

Also this one from Gemini which is supposed to be residential:

and this one from Elgo called Calgary:

    Bookmark   April 25, 2014 at 8:13PM
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the last one available in different heights and sizes btw

    Bookmark   April 25, 2014 at 8:16PM
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We used these (in a couple different sizes) on our mid-century (1958) split level:

This isn't a great shot of the lights, but here are two (a smaller size than pictured above) by our front door. I love the way the fixture recedes and the light pattern is the feature.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2014 at 10:25AM
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I bought some up/down lights similar to yillimuh's off eBay for our 1959 MCM ranch. They were under $200, shipped. The lights are about 15" tall but that might be a bit big for the OP's house. Here's what they look like at night.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2014 at 11:57AM
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The starburst around the doorknob on the yellow door is awesome

So is the simplicity of the featureless door itself

    Bookmark   April 27, 2014 at 1:52PM
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ahh, i love that front door. and the starburst. was the starburst original..where does one find that?

    Bookmark   April 27, 2014 at 2:17PM
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Thanks, Lee and Erin! The doorknob is from Rejuvenation. You can find vintage ones on Ebay, but I took the easy way out and bought new. Once we got in on, I also had to buy the matching adorable starburst doorbell. How could I resist?!

We replaced the door and it was really funny when I was getting quotes. Salespeople kept showing me the fancy doors with leaded glass and sidelights, carvings, etc., and I kept having to explain that no, all I want is a plain, flat door. Nothing fancy, nothing interesting. And no upgraded glass on the sidelights - just plain, flat panes of glass. I got some weird looks!

Here is a link that might be useful: Titan Door Set from Rejuvenation

    Bookmark   April 27, 2014 at 9:07PM
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