Friday, September 25, 2009

☞ BESPOKE: Harlem Brownstone Lighting

Lighting is a such a personal thing when it comes to updating a brownstone. We will cover the purist approach with tradtional light fixtures in future post but wanted to focus on contemporary lighting for now. Many folks like historic details in their interiors but are bent on brighter, contemporary lighting throughout. In the 1970's it was fluorescent light, move forward to the 1980's and track lighting became the popular model and then came the recessed lighting that has been the trend since the 1990's.

What is the au courant lighting of the new century? We would have to say its the much more refined, pinhole recessed light. The old 90's version of recessed lighting had each fixture at about the size of a beer can while the more elegant update is a third of the width. The top photo shows the most recent renovations at the Plaza Hotel with pinhole recessed lighting. It's a somewhat bare revival of the original prewar space but one can see the subtle quality of the lighting overhead. The lower photo is the more detail sensitive restoration of a Striver's Row house on the market but the lighting is already outdated with the larger can-sized recessed lighting.

Can't keep up? Then we suggest to stick to classic fixtures for they will always stay in style. What are the best choices? Stay tuned for future post.


  1. Very interesting subject as there are so many options now, but the newest and latest will ultimately look dated in time, so I prefer the classic approach that never goes out of style. Also a chandelier is a wonderful addition to a brownstones high ceiling parlor or over a dining table, but not too many chandeliers in a home as like too much jewelry it starts to look tacky.

  2. Agreed! We love chandeliers, but there are so many choices for style, period and even lightbulb and shades variations. We will illuminate the option out there in future post.