Last year I undertook my largest interior design project to date: a four storey, Grade II listed Georgian townhouse in picturesque Bloomsbury Square. Quite frankly, this was my dream project—and my first full-scale home remodel. I can’t wait to put my dirty gloves on.
We got to work almost immediately, removing the remains of the previous owner, stripping it back to its bare, ornate Georgian bones. Then, one day shortly after we started working, I got a scary looking letter from an unnamed committee in London asking us to stop all work and that they would be visiting us next week.
I don’t mind telling you I’m bricking it – and it turns out, for good reason. When I opened the door for the charm offensive, the mastermind flashed his business card and said, “Mr. Gallagher, you have the right to remain silent. Anything you say will and can be used against you in court.” You know The rest; we’ve all seen Happy Valley.
I can not believe it. I’m going to get caught in my virgin reno. Just my luck. Fortunately, it turned out to be a (somewhat dramatic) formality, more of a punishment. Their real purpose is to tell us what we cannot do. Not surprisingly, for a Grade II listed home in a conservation area, there are plenty of them.
I started with this long and slightly complicated introduction because of the long list of things we are not allowed to do or change, the one that worries me the most is not being allowed to install ceiling lights or chandelier. I have to admit, I found this more shocking than the thought of being arrested – secretly, I probably enjoyed it.
But when I actually started thinking about it: How many people actually use overhead lights? I know I don’t know. Most of mine don’t even have bulbs – they’re mostly there as dangling dusty objects . Honestly, I think bright overhead lighting is quite possibly the least flattering, least sexy kind of lighting. (Especially the spotlight kind – it really should be illegal now.)
The house lacks ceiling lights, but makes up for it with wall lights, almost every room There are wall lights. Luckily for me, I love wall lights. We all know that ceiling lights can provide an important decorative focal point, and when the light is diffused in the right way, they can brighten up a room. But wall sconces not only bring life to walls, but they really make a room feel like it’s glowing from within – and by moving them around, you can open up endless possibilities for how you can light a room.
Also keep in mind that if you use dimmer, you need dimmable bulbs – choose warmer ones, but not too yellow. Anyone who knows me knows when we talk about light bulbs Knowing that I can’t stand exposed bulbs. However, there are some exceptions. I recently visited friends in New York who installed simple $5 porcelain bulb holders and used those clever mirror bulbs so the light spreads across the walls without blinding you. This is a very inexpensive option if you have a lot of sconces and want a unified light that will work in every room.