Hmm….Schoolhouse Light Fixture

As promised, a post not about the baby!

A couple of weeks ago, I came across At Home on the Bay’s DIY schoolhouse light fixture, and I fell in love with it. (And, in fact, with her whole house/blog). She was, in turn, inspired by the lovely but expensive fixtures at Schoolhouse Electric.

I commented that I knew I needed one in my house SOMEWHERE, and I wasn’t kidding. After thinking about it, I remembered that, in fact, my house is filled with ugly boob lights, and all of them need to be replaced! I keep meaning to do a whole blog entry giving a tour of the strange and discordant collection of light fixtures that came with this house. Some of them are great and appear to be pretty high end. Some of them have not been touched since the house was built in the mid-80’s. Anyway, I decided on the fixture in the center hallway downstairs at the first candidate for replacement.

And, then, on that same trip to Home Depot, the night before Abe was born, when we bought shelf brackets, we picked up the same light fixture as in the picture above, for $29.97:

….along with a can of purple spray paint. Nothing else has been done in that hallway. It needs painting, and it needs some art on the walls, and it might just need a custom built shelf for baby toys and books in an unused corner if I can get my husband to build me one. But you have to start somewhere, right?

I opted to leave the oil rubbed bronze finish on the metal part of the light. I taped up the glass with Frog Tape, leaving a 1 1/4 inch stripe all the way around.

Then I took it outside and painted it, doing several light coats. When I took the tape off, it was….less than perfect in a few places, but I decided to pretend that wasn’t happening.

Then Dave hung it up.

….which is when I noticed that my line is slanted. Hmm. Also, I had decided not to do the pretty little silver stripe along either side of the big striped like in At Home on the Bay’s version, but now I’m thinking that might have been a mistake, and I might take it down and do it after all. But I’m afraid it would just accentuate the crookedness of the purple stripe. Also, look–now we need to paint the ceiling where the old fixture was! And that old yellow REALLY doesn’t go with purple (I picked the purple because I like purple with my Nantucket Fog; I haven’t decided yet what color that hallway is going to be. Umm, something else that goes with purple?)

So, anyway. My finished project does not quite live up to my vision. But let’s just compare it to what was there before to make me feel better:

Crookeder, but still better.

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Hmm….Schoolhouse Light Fixture — 21 Comments

  1. I had a heck of a time taping my IKEA pots when I copper leaved them back in December, so I know exactly what you went through. I ended up free-handing my line…

    Still, I would say your new light is a huge improvement! :9

  2. HUGE difference over the boob light. I have four hundred boob lights (not really, but almost) in my house and that is a great solution. I can promise that any attempt at a straight line I would make would look a lot crookeder than that. 🙂

  3. I do not mind the boob lights, as long as they are in a finish I agree with. I disagree strongly with that fancy antique brass thing that was happening with that particular one. I have actually purchased a boob light or three on purpose, and I have no regrets.

    I like the new light. I like the purple! I have purple like that in my hallway too, you know, my purple bench. Grey, and purplish grey, goes with purple, and also with Nantucket Fog. And then you can carry it on into the den…

    • I love your purple bench! My mom says she’s heard you’re supposed to have one black things in every room; maybe we should change it to purple. I was thinking of painting the hallway purple or gray-purple….I’m itching for a purple room, but I don’t really have a place for one; I could get my fix with the hallway.

  4. The first thing I did when I bought my house was swap out all light fixtures for the Schoolhouse ones. I found mine at and Except that I found the globe to be too thin, so I swapped out some of the globes for the fan globe replacement light at Home Depot (for $4). I never thought of doing this with the stripe! What a great idea. Thanks for sharing!

  5. To get level guidelines for taping and painting a globe, stack heavy books on a level smooth surface, high enough to hold a pencil in place at the desired height. Then rotate the glass globe against the pencil all the way around the globe. Using this technique, go ahead and paint the silver stripes slightly overlapping the edges of that crooked purple and that will make the purple stripe appear straight!

  6. …Also, I’d recommend using vinyl tape (e.g. electrical tape) because it has a sharp edge, adheres well, and most importantly, can stretch as needed to follow the guidelines drawn per previous recommendation. Regular masking tape will not stretch so it will follow the level surface of the sloped globe, resulting in a line slanted downward.

    In some cases it might be preferable to wrap the entire globe in contact paper. Then, instead of inserting a pencil between heavy books to mark guidelines for taping, insert an exacto/razor knife (with fresh blades) to cut away the area to be painted.

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