Schoolhouse light

>> Wednesday, October 17, 2007

I mentioned to a couple of people that we got a new light for the front room and said it was a "schoolhouse" light and got blank looks. So I thought I'd show some pictures. This is a very traditional style of milk glass light fixture, in this case a semi-flushmount with a brushed nickel base. I thought everyone knew what a schoolhouse light was, but realize now that years of reading Canadian House & Home, Country Living, Domino, Canadian Home & Country, Elle Decor and Style at Home has possibly taught me things not everyone knows.

When did I become so home decor obsessed? I'm not sure. It had some practical applications when we were fixing up our condo in order to sell it, and of course we need to fix up our new home to make it comfortable, but I think you can tell it's gone beyond that. Luckily my girlfriends also seem to be a bit home decor obsessed themselves lately so I don't have to feel too sheepish for wanting to talk about tiles, paint colours and light fixtures all the time. (speaking of tiles we found some white 1" hexagonal floor tiles for our bathroom - I can't wait to install those!!)

Anyway, I love the new schoolhouse light, even to the point where I find myself gazing adoringly at its reflection in my bookcases:
(That and my new vintage golden book Birds)

So this front room is our living/dining room, but it's also working really well as my studio during the day. The computer is to one side in my secretary desk, and the dining table is perfect both for watercolour painting and sewing. You may notice the ironing board in the hallway - very convenient so I can do my cutting and pressing on it as I work on sewing projects. Right now I have my sewing machine out because I'm making a present for Bradley. Speaking of which, are you wondering why all the posts all of a sudden? Well it's an extra-posts-for-the-week-before-your-birthday treat for Bradley. And tomorrow is the big day! That's when I'll show you what I made for him.


This is the old light fixture... just didn't really work with the decor and made the ceilings seem lower than they are, plus Bradley kept bumping his head. Plus environmentally speaking it was using a whopping 480 watts!


Anonymous,  October 17, 2007  

A very happy birthday to Bradley tomorrow! Can't wait to see the surprise gift. The new light looks wonderful.

Karen C October 17, 2007  

Is it still a schoolhouse light if it's flush mounted? Because that's what we have in our living room. Two of 'em. Wouldn't be bad at all, except... they're purple. Ish. They have just a pale shading on the inside... not visible when it's off, but when you turn it on it gives the light a pinkish cast.

It's better now that we replaced the 60-watts with 100-watt-equivalent CFLs. But we've never been able to find compatible replacement globes (the opening is a strange size), so in the twelve years we've lived here, we've just put up with the odd color (of course, we have three or four floor and table lamps that see more use).

Claire Louise Milne October 18, 2007  

Yes, schoolhouse refers to the shape of the glass part.

I often see the shades alone at Home Depot and Rona, even Canadian Tire. But they are probably all a standard size that isn't working for your light.

This site may have something:

Thanks for the comments!

Anonymous,  October 18, 2007  

do you have any favourite places in toronto for vintage lights? next week i am on a light illuminate all of the painting i've done!

Anonymous,  October 18, 2007  

This is a note to Megan:

Two great places to look for vintage lighting fixtures in Toronto are Sam the Chandelier Man on Queen St. W. right near Roncesvalles, and The Door Store on Castlefield. Both places had lots of schoolhouse lights and similar styles.

Or, you can just do what Claire and I did and go to Rona!

Claire Louise Milne October 18, 2007  

Queen West has a few places that have vintage lighting. There's the Roncesvalles antique area Jaimie mentioned - which has lots of other great stores there too.

There's also Queen W just west of Bathurst. Morba has lots of cool mid-century type lighting, I saw lots of great things there recently.

There's also one of my favourite stores, Chatelet which has pretty chandeliers. They have a good website where you can see things they have in stock:

Also there's an antique area on Mont Pleasant, mostly below Eglinton Ave. with around 15 shops within 5 blocks and a few of them seem to have lots of lights.

For more modern/schoolhouse fixtures I recommend Restoration Hardware online (I bought a great little schoolhouse light for our former kitchen there, great quality) and which I haven't tried yet but it looks great!

Anonymous,  October 18, 2007  

thanks claire and jaimie for the great tips! you know, i never knew before today that those were called "schoolhouse lights"!

Karen C October 21, 2007  

All I've seen locally are the smaller sizes (and the really big sizes which probably aren't schoolhouse anymore) and ours seem to be 6" fitters.

Of course, it's probably a moot point now that we've decided to restore our bungalow to bungalowness, and we'll put in some nifty Craftsman-style chandeliers or something. So, um, if anybody *wants* purply-pinky schoolhouse lights, we'll be getting rid of ours...

Patricia October 28, 2007  

I have schoolhouse lights in my 1930s Chicago loft, and they are my favorite part of the whole house! So I understand your love of light fixtures!

Anonymous,  January 04, 2008  

I have the same schoolhouse light fixture (6" fitter)which was accidentally broken!!! I need to replace the shade and it was originally purchased at Rona / building box
I need to replace it and the Rona's in London, Ontario do not carry this fixture anymore. Which Rona in T.O. did you get yours at?

Claire Louise Milne January 04, 2008  

Keele & St. Clair:
110 West Toronto Street
Toronto, ON, M6N 5B7
Phone: 416-766-4664

good luck!

Leisa January 15, 2009  


We must be long lost friends- I was just searching for schoolhouse lighting (beyond schoolhouse electric)- and up popped your blog! My husband and I are building a house... and I'm using small hexagonal tiles in the bathrooms too! Ok- now i'm going to waste time perusing your blog!

Chelseagirl July 23, 2010  

For antique lighting in Toronto, did you try Turn-of-the-century lighting, on Sherbourne? Looks great and I will head there myself soon

Post a Comment

Thank you for your comments!

  © Blogger template Simple n' Sweet by 2009

Back to TOP