Wednesday, August 4, 2010


Here's a perfect example of how something seemingly simple turns into an educational experience (or a big production, depending on your point of view).

When the house was wired, we made provisions for a light over the front door. A cable was run in the rafters and down in the right spot. We figured we'd find a nice light, put above the door, and there you go. The photo to the left shows the way things look right now, and where we plan to put a light.

Well, it's not that easy. As we're learning, there are a lot of things to keep in mind. First is the weather rating of outdoor lamps. In a harsh environment such as ours, we need a higher 'IP' rating, so that excludes a lot of possibilities. For fire prevention, there's a question if the lamp can be affixed straight onto a wooden house. Plus, we have the electric cable on the exterior, coming down from above. Most lamps are made for a flush mounting, with the wire coming straight out of the wall. We can't do that with an external cable. So how would we mount a lamp? Could we use a spacer of some sort? Would that ruin the look of the installation? And would a spacer invalidate the weather or fire rating?

This doesn't even mention the lamp itself. We wanted something square and modern, which throws light out as well as down. Even given all of those restrictions and issues, we're still spoiled for choice. Typing "modern outdoor lamp" in google returns 2.9 million hits. Restricting our searches to only big providers, there are still literally thousands of potential light fixtures we could buy.

We visited a local lighting store and found one model (the 'Ohio') that seems pretty cool. A problem is that it's made for a flush mount and the manufacturer told us it may not be weatherproofed if mounted out on a spacer. Plus, I'm not too sure about the round globe; I think it's better to keep everything square. There aren't any round bulbs in the Schröder House.

UPDATE: I was mostly right. Gerrit Rietveld's lamp for the house was square, with round tubes. Wonder if I can get one of those with an IP rating of 54??

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The "Quick and Dirty" method would be to build a wooden box thick enough to accommodate an electric box. There ought to be some sort of weatherproof flat conduit to carry that wire down the face of the house to this new box and that would enable the end to be sealed. Of course, Im not familiar with Scandanavian light fixtures, but I suspect they have something similar to this:

This item would screw to the face of the house and the fixture would mount to it. A square or rectangular (keeping with your theme here) wood "trim" piece could then be fabricated to disguise the box and make the fixture appear to be mounted to it as opposed to floating.

Hope that helps!