Can't figure out front door lighting - please help

JamieJuly 18, 2012

The disparate elements include sidelights, the farm-looking storm door, the fan above, the skinny columns, and the outward curving wrought iron railing.

I've looked at wall lights with little bits of twisted iron, like the railings, and hundred of carriage-type lights with curves or planes, similar to what's there now, and whimsical ones like the Triarch brand carries.

The storm door may disappear or be replaced at some point, and we plan to paint a dark red with dark green trim.

Does a particular wall sconce come to mind?

It seems to me that no sconces will work, but I can't see mounting a light above the fan, either.

I've never tried planting a spotlight in the grass and pointing it except at Christmas.

What would you do? Putting up a roof and more columns is not an option. I just need to light the place.

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Yes -- the front doorway does need two wall lanterns -- perhaps something like this?

Your whole doorway (the sidelights and side and top moldings) would be lovely in an antique white -- with your current storm door color ....

Here is a link that might be useful: -- outdoor lantern

    Bookmark   July 18, 2012 at 4:25PM
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Here's another possible lantern choice ....

Look for a pair of larger lanterns to add visual balance to the currently top heavy doorway ....

Here is a link that might be useful: another possible lantern from bellacor

    Bookmark   July 18, 2012 at 4:31PM
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I think you should look for traditional carriage lanterns, but they should be considerably larger that those, and designed so that they sit lower on the wall.

Take a look here for what I mean about scale and position (still not able to get into Flickr).

Here is a link that might be useful: Scale for outdoor lanterns

    Bookmark   July 18, 2012 at 4:59PM
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Annie Deighnaugh

I agree with bronwynsmom...they should be larger lower and wider set.
I like this copper number...

Here is a link that might be useful: quoizel lantern

    Bookmark   July 18, 2012 at 5:34PM
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Annie Deighnaugh

Sorry...for some reason that link didn't take you to the light fixture I was thinking of. This is it.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2012 at 7:23AM
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Bigger light for sure; the top of the light should be even with the top of the door frame; and they need to be farther away from the sidelights by a few inches.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2012 at 9:51AM
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auntie_ellen boston

Looks similar to my house and many houses in my town. Love my light.

Definitely larger (much) and moved out from the side lights. Paint the side lights/trim/fan all one color and the door/storm another.

Here is a link that might be useful: Minka Lavory English Bridle

    Bookmark   July 19, 2012 at 10:26AM
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auntie_ellen boston

As a side note I started my search looking for a new post light that would be large enough (replaced rotted wood post with a composite) and had a set of lights in the set that matched my size/configuration criteria.

If you're keeping the post and/or need other front lights you may want to get from a suite of lights. Good luck - love the house!

    Bookmark   July 19, 2012 at 10:31AM
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I can't thank you enough.

Everybody agrees that sconces are the answer, and that they should be about 2 clapboards tall, or a little taller. Most say to move them out a bit farther, too.

I liked this bargain one before I posted, and the size is ok, but I had no confidence about it. It is big enough. Would you like this lantern on the house.?

    Bookmark   July 19, 2012 at 11:50AM
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Or this pocket lantern?

Do you like this one? It's bigger - a little more than three clapboards tall.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2012 at 12:05PM
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For something completely different - you could remove the lights altogether, like these homes in Dublin. The idea for doors with the skylights is that the light in the entryway is left on and its glow lights up the front door...

Note also how the "column" closest to the door is built out (you could do this) and the railings are "moved" to the outside of the second column, beyond the door moldings (another possibility). [sorry, not explained that well - but a picture is worth a thousand words, so check out these images)

good luck - your house is gorgeous...

Here is a link that might be useful: Dublin Door Ideas

    Bookmark   July 19, 2012 at 2:33PM
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Annie Deighnaugh

The first one doesn't look that colonial to me and the 2nd one is hard to see and just looks dark. Neither of those work IMO.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2012 at 4:44PM
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Unless you are willing to pull off the clapboards and do some rewiring, you really are stuck with the position of the lights. Most lights are attached at the junction box. Get a light where the attachment is at the top of the fixture. This will make it hang lower. Personally I would also get one that bugs and spiders cannot crawl into and make nests.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2012 at 7:55PM
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Also, it looks like your face plate on your old lights is right up against the top clapboard. Any light you pick you need to make sure the area where it connects to the house, is not any bigger, or it will probably not fit. The one shown with the big long back plate won't work on your home unless you are willing to cut (the siding) and mount a face plate.

Don't want to be a downer. But trying to save you the expense of ordering new lights and then finding out they won't fit.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2012 at 8:19PM
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auntie_ellen boston

I find that doing ANY improvement to the house is NEVER simple and always requires something else - usually involving a wait (for a part or person)! Good luck!

    Bookmark   July 19, 2012 at 8:22PM
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Since the OP has a big construction box in front of her home, I am assuming she is just wanting to update the lights without spending a lot of money. If she is wanting to change them herself then she is going to have to make decisions based on what is currently present. She can check with the electrical site, and they might be able to give her an idea of just how much they think this would cost. I do know that the wires have to be enclosed inside the electrical box. She can't just move the lights over somewhat and screw them to the wall. It will probably also require an electrical permit.

If the OP just had the siding put on the home, then I would make them put a face plate, mounting block, trim block (whatever you want to call it) under each of the lights. That is why her current lights have their tail sticking out from the house. If you don't have a perpendicular surface to mount your light, then you are also going to need some kind of light that swivels or hangs freely on a hook.

Here is a link that might be useful: From the Lighting Forum

    Bookmark   July 20, 2012 at 4:48PM
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Oh, wherever things can possibly be complicated or delayed, I'm sure to find them!

I was looking for advice firstly with the right "look".
Once I knew what I "should" be aiming for, I figured I could fudge or approximate it somehow, depending on what the contractor told me/was willing to do.

If nothing else, I now know what I need to aim for.

The black option that I posted above is pretty wide, so I thought that would help give the impression of being wider-mounted, and in fact it's from a line called "Old Sturbridge", which should read traditional/colonial enough for the house.

I also thought I had a better chance of using the existing wire hole to satisfactory effect if I got a down-arm or armless lantern.

But maybe it's too authentic for a revival house and only really works on 1700s saltbox?

The paint is alligatored and we aren't replacing or sanding the siding, so I was going to go with a sort of dark color to try to camoflage the condition. But now I'm rethinking that, in light of Teacat's suggestion that I make the entire surround off-white. I wouldn't want a lot of contrast on the house, so if we do whitish trim we'll go for a lighter colored house.

We did sand (with a palm sander!) a house once. But that one was already down to bare wood in some places. This house has been painted at least once since it started cracking; the alligatoring is now effectively preserved for the long run. We are older and less ambitious now.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2012 at 9:25PM
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Annie Deighnaugh

Seeing the port a pot in front of the house reminds me of a neighbor's house which is a most garish shade of blue. I couldn't place the color until they had some work done on the house and had a port a pot outside for the workers...exactly matching the color of the house. That's it! Port a pot blue!!!

    Bookmark   July 20, 2012 at 11:38PM
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I should have requested a red terlet!

The poor neighbors. I'm sure they're aghast. There's no reason for the toilet to be at the front door.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2012 at 12:36AM
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