Lighting is such an important way to express yourself in your home. Sort of like the punctuation marks in a great novel it can provide emphasis and subtly and sort of guides your visitor through the home.
I could wax lyrical and at length about the dizzying array of lighting exotica but given I have to start somewhere I am going to start with floor lamps.
Lamps that can draw you to a chair, tell you to pour a glass of wine and pick up the book at the exciting point that you reluctantly put it down. A light to draw out the depths and details of a picture or a mirror. A light that entices someone to travel to a far corner of the room.
For me it was love at first glimpse when I i-spied the vintage 60’s Maison Jansen Bronze palm tree floor light, while stuck at traffic lights on a frantic school run dash down the Essex road. After some negotiation and a deposit exchanged on Islington’s canals- the palm tree made its way home to Muswell Hill. From the depths of the Ghanian embassy in Belgium to the hallway of the Intrepid Hound’s den in North London, this is a lamp with history. It is a beautiful, sculptural object in its own right, but when the light is switched on magic happens. The palm fronds cast beautiful shapes all over the Hallway. As befits such a beauty it is set against the best paper money can buy. House of Hackney’s beautiful Palmeral print in midnight/green. www.houseofhackney.com
I have put it in the hallway because it is just soo beautiful I want to look at it a lot, every day. I also think it sets the tone for the rest of the house and hopefully intrigues and draws visitors into the rest of the house.
I started to investigate the source of my palm beauty and discovered that Maison Jansen was the brainchild of a Dutchman Jean-Henri Jansen. Founded in 1880 in Paris it was considered the first real global design firm.
Maison Jansen liked to incorporate cutting edge trends including the Arts and Crafts movement and Anglo-Japanese style alongside rich opulent traditional designs. It’s clients included royalty, film stars and the glitterati of the day. I feel very lucky to own a bit of its history.
The other main standard lamps in my life hang out in the living room.
The base of one I bought from an auction house. It is an old gas light fitting converted for modern use. I wanted a sort of Downton Abbey/ Opium den feel so I chose an ornate design for the shade, albeit with a simple black/ gold colour combination to keep it modern.
The other floor light is an up-cycled number from a house we bought some ten years ago. It was one of the very few things left/worth keeping from the previous owners but the base was a pretty ugly yellow wood with lots of bangs and scrapes. I sanded it down and spray painted it electric pink. I topped it off with a very traditional, burgundy shade to sort of bring it down from ‘look how crazy and clever I am’ territory.