A couple of weeks ago we came across a brilliant idea from William & Watson, who rather than being two people is actually a team of creative artists who have some great lighting ideas.
On their site you can find beautiful, handmade, vintage-style filament bulbs and some similarly styled LED bulbs that use 1/10 energy of a traditional light bulb but have a life expectancy approximately 10 times longer. They also sell lamps, bulb holders, ceiling roses and beautiful fabric and metallic cables in a range of colours. The bulbs are all compatible with dimmer switches (which William and Watson also sell) which gets round concerns about them begin too bright, or in the case of the filament bulbs, getting too hot.
So that makes the bulbs beautiful and practical – hard to beat a combination like that – and even better, the site has a blog with some great lighting ideas. Well worth a look to inspire some lightbulb moments!
Many thanks to William & Watson who let us use their lovely photos!
We bought this little thing the other day. It’s called a bottlelight – it’s a cork-sized LED that fits in a bottle to turn it into a light! Remember when people turned wine bottles into lamps and they looked like this?
No? You’re so young! Well, take it from us, it used to be a thing. Anyway, one of the problems was that the lamps had to be plugged into the mains so there was always the issue of how you made a hole in the glass for the cable to pass through. But this little thing just sits in the neck of a bottle and can be recharged using a USB port or charger. So this is what we did:
(Please note – no lampshades this time round!) The bottle used to contain Gingerella ginger ale which is a delicious non-alcoholic drink made with Fair Trade ingredients by Karma Kola. You’re right of course – it did take seconds to make. But we are still pleased with the result! No problems with quick and easy here!
A couple of weeks ago we were lucky enough to go to the Edinburgh Gin Distillery, for a tour and the chance to make a bottle of our very own, customised gin! (You can imagine how excited we were about that, right?) The distillery is in the very centre of Edinburgh but as it’s only been open for a few months, and as they only make small batches of gin (inspired, they say, ‘by the majesty, marvel and mischief of Edinburgh and its inhabitants’) it’s not too well-known yet. It’s also underground and we were inspired by the clever lighting that’s been used – based on the copper pipes of the stills themselves. It’s in keeping with the theme and also gives a lovely glow. Just in case you are not quite sure what a gin still looks like, here is Edinburgh Gin Distillery’s Caledonia still: And here are some examples of the clever lighting. This is a cosy seating area with a freestanding lamp made from copper tubing: Here copper tubing has been used to make a wall lamp that looks like a floor lamp: Two examples of wall lights:
And finally (probably the easiest to copy at home), a light shade made from a perforated copper saucepan:
But enough about the lighting, what about the gin? That’s very good too – and the lovely people there were keen for us to sample it. We tried the Canonball, Spiced Orange, Edinburgh’s Christmas Gin and the three liqueur gins (elderflower, raspberry and rhubarb & ginger). All of them were delicious but the biggest treat was making our own. The base flavours are juniper, coriander, angelica and orris – but then we got to choose the other flavours from a wide array. We chose bitter orange, pink peppercorns and fennel seeds – luckily we had help from the lovely distiller who was able to add just the right amount of each. By the time we’d had a tour of the distillery and a gin and tonic, our bottle was ready. Cheers!
The clocks have gone back, Halloween has been and gone, Bonfire Night is over and the nights are getting dark and cold… a lightbulb moment!
The lack of natural light outside means it’s even more important to have good lighting inside. There are three kinds of lighting: background lighting, lighting for specific tasks and and lighting to highlight the particularly lovely things in your home. It’s important to have good shades for all of them to look good and do their job.
After the lightbulb moment, a moment about lightbulbs. For background lighting, there is a place for the exposed bulb look but it can be quite industrial and not the cosiest on winter evenings. Plus, a gentler light can be kinder, if you know what we’re saying. You don’t need help from good lighting, but we’ll take it happily! Have you noticed how most restaurants use ceiling lights with some kind of diffuser shade? That’s because the softer light makes everyone look better. Really. If your dining companion looks at their best, and they think that you are looking at your best (because you are so happy to be with them) and everything is lit with a warm glow, the scene is set for a great evening.
And here’s another reason for using diffuser shades. If your ambient lighting involves ceiling lights the bulb is likely to be in your sightline when you sit down. There was something quite attractive about the the old-style incandescent bulbs, but they are being phased out (they are already banned in some countries, like Mexico) and replaced with more energy-efficient but frankly unattractive ones, like this fluorescent one:
So a diffuser shade gives a softer light and hides the bulb. Here are some examples. This is the classic diffuser – a disc at the bottom of the shade so that light shines through. This one fits flush to the ceiling with the bulbs at an angle inside so that the light is directed through the sides:
This one is suspended from the ceiling and uses pleated fabric to create the diffused effect:
And this has a smaller fabric diffuser but obscures the bulb with crystal drops to give soft lighting and a bit of sparkle:
So – no need to look at those bulbs anymore. They can just go about their job making us look fabulous in secret!