Posted by: Small House Under a Big Sky Homestead | November 27, 2012

Let There be (White) Light

When we first moved to the Small House Under the Big Sky in 2000, I knew that every light fixture in this place was made of a different metal and nothing matched. I assumed it was because an elderly couple last owned this home and had many health challenges so these small details were not on their radar screen.

I also assumed we would eventually replace everything and everything would match. Even though we had this house inspected prior to buying it, I could never have anticipated that number of MAJOR things that would go wrong…and right away. TIP: Old houses are money pits!!

First we had to replace the ancient water heater and I then added a freezer in the laundry room (so I didn’t have to walk the 250+ ft. through deep Michigan snow to the pole barn for the old freezer for a loaf of bread.) Next, within just three months of moving here the septic backed up into our shower (UGLY!) and the entire septic, drain field and all the piping failed and had to be totally replaced. Then the pool pump died and had to be replaced. Che-ching.  Che-ching. And that was just the beginning.

Talking to the sister of the couple who last owned out home for over 10 years she told me, “That’s strange, Vic & Dorothy didn’t have to replace anything when they lived there.” Great. Just our luck.

With all those major things going wrong, the light fixtures stayed on the “want” list and didn’t make it to the “needs” list. For the past twelve years I found myself looking at those mismatched light fixtures and getting angry that there was never enough extra money to replace them.

Then one day while reading The Lettered Cottage I read that Layla spray painted white the shiny gold metal on an inexpensive light fixture. The light bulb in my head went off. I could do that! This past week I spray painted three old light fixtures using white spray paint and now they blend in perfectly with our white ceilings. Now the shiny gold ceiling fixture from the guest bedroom,  the old yellowed one from my bathroom as well as the brass one from the hallway are newly refreshed and bright white.

Shiny brass ceiling fixture just prior to spray painting.

I choose white spray paint because our ceiling and ceiling fans are white. Yes, I know that ceiling fans are “out” as decorators and realtors are replacing them with fancy, hanging pendent lights and old school lights, but since the small house does not have A/C  and we are living on a retirees budget, those fans will be staying.

It’s a small thing to be sure, but in truth it just made my week. This little change just gave me a big “lift,” in part because I have been waiting over 12 years for new fixtures. And because, I’m thrilled that I don’t have to put the old fixtures into the landfill waste stream; one of my major commitments to life.

Renew, recycle and restore.

Now why didn’t I think of this sooner?

Small House / Big Sky Donna



  1. I smiled when I read your post about restoring the light fixtures.
    I have done the same (with exactly the same 80s style gold tone fixuture in my hallway) and also to a handing pendant light over my front entry way. I used a rubbed bronze spray paint. Now they ‘go’ with my other finishes throughout the house!

  2. What’s so funny is that it took me almost 12 years to do this! I’m a slow learner.

    Welcome to the Small House blog! Thanks for reading and following.

    Small House / Big Sky Donna

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