For most of our kitchen design, we had a pretty clear idea of what we wanted and a fairly easy time finding what we needed. When it came to lighting, we had a much harder time. We saw some vintage lighting online, but most of it was really expensive or not for sale. The local antique stores, just didn't seem to have what we were looking for either. We visited quite a few lighting stores for new lighting, but nothing jumped out at us. Most of the lighting was boring, ugly or expensive and just not what we were looking for.
We knew we needed to decide on something soon and so our plan was just to get some generic lights, install then and if we ever found something better, replace it later. That all changed when we went to Sturbridge, Ma for the New England Shake-up. This is a 3 day weekender that features live bands in the evenings, but during the day, there is a bit more down time, so we often visit the local antique shops while we are in town. This time we decided to try and find lighting during our visit, we didn't really expect to find anything but figured it wouldn't hurt to try.
We visited a number of shops, but weren't finding much at all. Finally, while I was distracted by vintage shoes, Chris found a large, round lampshade that could be mounted to a generic two or three bulb fixture. We didn't have the fixture yet, but the lampshade was only $14 so we figured if it didn't work out, it wasn't the end of the world. (I can't remember the name of the shop, but it was located here.)
We were pretty excited about our find but we still needed to find a light for the eating area. I had been thinking about pendant lights, but wasn't in love with any that I had seen. What I really wanted was a vintage pull-down light but those are very difficult to find, so I really didn't think we would ever find one. The next day, Chris and I visited the Charlton Antiques and Flea Market. This place is crazy. It is a huge indoor flea market full lots of junk, antiques and vintage items. We walked around for a while, not really finding much. While I was distracted by something else, Chris found an aluminum pull-down light. We couldn't believe it. We weren't sure if it would work and it was full of dents and scratches. But at only $5, it was worth the gamble.
For the main light in the kitchen, we decided to use the glass shade. This shade was perfect for the space. It had a low profile and wouldn't be visually distracting. It also let out plenty of light, which was pretty important to us. We bought a inexpensive 3-bulb light fixture that already came with a glass shade, which we will store in case we need it in the future. I didn't like the brass finial that came with the fixture, so decided to make my own. We already had one of these glass shades in our office, so I took the finial from that one and made a silicone mold of it. Once the mold was ready, I mixed up some resin. I have a few vintage and retro items that are made of jadeite green glass, so I tinted the resin to match those items as closely as possible. I then took a brass finial and suspended that in the resin. Once the resin set, I had a finial that I could use to hold the shade on the fixture.
In the eating area, we wanted to use the pull-down light. We first sent it to Electrical Supply of Milford, to get it checked out and possibly rewired. They had a guy take a look at it and determined that it was safe to use. Once I got it back, my next task was to try to shine it up and remove the dents and scratches. The metal of the shade was pretty pliable, so I was able to work out the dents with my fingers. To remove the scratches, I used wet/dry sandpaper starting with 400 grit and working my way up to 5000. At the very end I polished it to a pretty high shine using Mother's Mag & Aluminum Polish. When we bought the lamp, it did not come with a glass diffuser, so once we figured out the correct size, I ordered one from www.mylampparts.com.
We are pretty happy with our vintage lighting. The main kitchen fixture lets out plenty of light to work by. For the most part we leave the pull down light in the up position, but the pull-down feature is great for changing the light bulbs and showing off to guests.