79. A taste of second fix

I've installed our first light fitting 

10th July 2015



To be honest, we are miles from second fix. There are walls to plaster and floors to lay and even some plasterboard still to put up, so shiny taps and lovely light fittings are a long way down the to do list. Nonetheless today I fitted a rather special light fitting in a rather unusual place: the middle of our bookshelves.

I bought the fitting a year ago at an antiques fair in a village hall in Dulwich which I dropped into on the spur of the moment. I didn't have much time to spare but I immediately spotted a collection of five lights that combined distressed metal fittings with spun Murano glass, each with an orange accent in the glass. They were piled up and I didn't have a very close look but the price was fair so I just bought them. Only when they were delivered the following week did I find out that three of the lights were actually welded together and so had to be installed as one piece.

This was a problem because the triple-light, which is designed to be recessed in a wall, is actually  too wide to fit between any of our wall studs. So I had to think long and hard about what to do with it. The result is a specially made box that sits in the middle of the upper shelves of our library, to be complemented by the two remaining single lights high on on the walls on either side of this room. These lights will all be on one switch and should provide a subtle ambient light for this room when we don't want the bookcases to be fully illuminated (downlighters on another switch).

As you can see, I have again been using sycamore from the old tree to make some of the shelves in the gallery-level bookcase. So the rocky metal and filigree glass of the lights will be surrounded by the organic movement of the shelves. There's quite a lot going on up there, you might think, but the scale of the double-height library shelves, now fully installed, provide a broad frame for our baroque details.

The glass will have to come out for now. The piles of reclaimed parquet blocks cannot be ignored for much longer. It's time to stand back from clean-shaven carpentry and get properly dirty all over again.





6 comments:

  1. Well - if the dirty sticky parquet gets you down, you can always sit for a few moments in meditation in front of those stunning shelves. And I love the lights! They are so unusual. Murano. One of my favourite places in the world. I don't know why. The light? Whatever. It's in my heart. As are you both and your AMAZING new home. Thea xx

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    1. Thanks Thea, you're right that it helps to have one bit of the interior complete to inspire work on the rest. There are so many bits - but if each gives me a similar pleasure I shall be a happy man.

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  2. Well, I am adoring that library sir. Do you plan on adding a finish to the shelves at all? Are the uprights veneered ply wood?

    Lovely, as always!

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    1. Hi Phill, thanks for your many supportive comments. I was thinking of using Osmo Raw to finish the shelves. It has served me well in the past. But I am open to your greater wisdom on these matters!
      The uprights are currently just the edges of the carcass plywood, butted up. Birch ply. In time I would like to improve on this detail.

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    2. Well the finish completely depends on two things, is it good enough to protect what is there from how it will be used and the look you are going for. Osmo will protect and if you want the 'natural look' (lets face it with planks that pretty why wouldn't you) then I see no issues at all!

      As for the ply. We tend to give our ply wood edges either a coat of satin lacquer to bring out the richness or a 10(ish)mm thick hard wood edging strip. With edging cramps we simply stick them on with PVA (slightly wider than the boards and then plane them down to flush) which you COULD do if your shelves are not permanently fixed....or go for the 'the lipping is gonna be a mil over each side and cap the boards'...then scribe as need be around the shelves...each one. o_0

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    3. Thanks Phill, that's helpful. I think I'm going to use the standard Osmo Polyx Oil for he shelves - I used the Raw for the sycamore veneers on the kitchen cabinets because I wanted to keep the light ripple finish without yellowing but the shelves are full of colour which I want to bring out fully. I think I'll go for the satin lacquer on the ply - not sure I've got the energy to lip all ten carcasses.

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