Northwest Renovation Magazine

A Home Improvement Magazine

Next time you need a new sconce or dome light, try thinking outside the (big) box (store). Anybody can buy those lights! You want something different. You didn’t realize it before, but you do. You want something old. Something used, refurbished, re-wired.

And I’m here to help you! While new is good, and it certainly has its place (new underwear comes to mind), it can lack character. And there’s also the danger of new being homogenous. Homogenized milk is good. Homogenized light fixtures are not. They are — what’s that word? Oh yeah, boring. Turning to the old stuff will personalize your space, and it’s easier on the environment.

Where’s the downside? For many, the downside is the search, the shopping. Where do you find these old lights? Garage sales? Your mom’s attic? You bet, plus there are physical storefronts in town available for browsing by those of you who like an out-and-about shopping fix. And let’s not forget the Internet. There is endless cool stuff to buy online. So get ready. Take a look around your house and find your most despised light. It’s probably in the entryway. The light guests see first is usually the ugliest. Murphy’s Law!

Check out this Ebay store; I browse it regularly and want just about everything listed: Stay on top of this one: and one day you will see the perfect light at the perfect price for your hard-to-light spot. That’s my plan for the entryway. It’s good to have a plan.

In town, I have a few favorites. Let’s start with antique stores. Monticello Antiques, Portland, OR is large and it has a wide variety of lights, with a constantly changing inventory. With this one, please don’t limit yourself to lights; wander around and take a mental inventory. Next time you need a set of kitchen canisters, this is a good place to start. Grab your favorite person for shopping an afternoon away and check out

Visit Old Portland Hardware. They just moved into a new location (visit their site for new address) and I have not yet checked it out. This is intentional, as this place has irresistible goods. Way too much Old Portland inventory is now in my house.

Don’t forget the classic, Rejuvenation Hardware.

I wasn’t joking about the garage sales and your mom’s attic. And please don’t forget your cupboards and attic. A ceiling-mounted light can morph into an individualized piece by removing the store-bought globe and mounting any number of things over the bulb: a birdcage, a colander, flower pots, car parts… Bottom line: you don’t need to have generic lights. Now, start looking around with your creative glasses on. Forget that boring new stuff!

Ranchel is an accountant who offsets the practicality of her day job with extravagant and outrageous remodeling projects, often involving massive amounts of scrap metal. Check out her adventures at her blog

Resources for Salvaged House Parts:

Hippo Hardware
1040 E Burnside
Portland, OR 97214

McGee Salvage
Reclaimed Hardwood Flooring
Portland, OR

Old Portland Hardware & Architectural
700 NE 22nd Avenue
Portland, OR 97232

Rejuvenation House Parts
1100 SE Grand Avenue
Portland, OR 97214

Salvage Works
2030 N Willis Blvd.,
Portland, OR 97217

The ReBuilding Center
3625 North Mississippi Avenue
Portland, OR 97227

Gorge Rebuild-it Center
995 Tucker Road
Hood River, OR 97031

Portland Metro ReStore
Multiple locations visit their website for a location near you in Oregon and SW Washington

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