Turn on the Lights

On Tuesday, Paul’s brother Billy came over to the house for an initial consultation on our electrical plan.  Because of all of the old wiring systems in the walls (some of which, disturbingly, still live), we decided to start fresh and bring it all up to code–especially since we have the walls opened up.  As we were walking through the house, Billy was asking about what fixtures we were going to want in each room.  Well, that was all I needed to hear to give myself permission to start shopping for light fixtures, one of the potential focal points of any given room.

To keep with the “vintage” theme while saving some money, I hit three stores: Building Materials Outlet in Eagan, The ReUse Center in Maplewood, and the Habitat for Humanity ReStore in New Brighton.  Click “more” to see what I managed to snag.

Building Materials Outlet

Even though it isn’t that far from my apartment, I had not yet visited this store.  Building Materials Outlet sells mainly overstocked materials such as doors and windows, so they are new materials but at a discounted price.  I saw a number of floor coverings that I really liked, as well as some neat doors and a couple windows, but no lighting fixtures.  It was a good exploratory visit, and we’ll definitely come back when we’re looking for carpet and doors.  The only downside is that there is a 12% buyers premium on all items, so the price sticker is not what you’ll actually pay. 

The ReUse Center

The ReUse Center is perhaps the best-known reuse store for building materials in the area.  They either get their items via donations or via deconstruction–the process of taking materials out of a house before it is demolished.  Their inventory is quite variable, but I was able to find a couple of items I liked.  First I found this cute hanging lamp with a ceramic shade:


 I really liked the details at the base of the shade, and for $5 I figured that if it didn’t work out I could just sell it on Craigslist. I think it could look cute on the south side of the bedroom, but Paul isn’t too keen on it, so we’ll see.

After finding that lamp, I noticed a row of large, heavy lamps sitting on the floor along the wall.  A fair number of them were huge, but tucked in with them was this little wall lamp:

$20 and very heavy. I think it could be great on the carraige house, or by the side door of the house.

Originally I wasn’t really looking for exterior lighting, but I just felt like it was such a special piece that it was worth buying.  After checking out, it was off to New Brighton.

Habitat for Humanity ReStore

This was another used building material store that I had heard of, but never visited until now.  The ReStore is run by the Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity as a way to raise money for their organization.  Like the ReUse Center, they get their items via donations by homeowners, remodelers, contractors and so on.  Based on my observations while browsing, I’d say the ReStore’s prices are slightly lower than the ReUse Center, and some of their inventory is a bit better.  Anyway, their light fixture section was relatively large, and I found this fixture for  above the bathroom sink:

$5. Not sure if we'll keep the glass shades that are on there now or replace them.

Originally we were leaning toward either an antiqued brass or an oil-rubbed bronze metal finish for most of the house, but then I realized that both the sink faucet and the shower hardware we have are a bright chrome finish, so we better stick with that for the light fixture in the bathroom.  I also got a little bedside floorlamp for $5, but I’m using it in my apartment right now so I didn’t get a photo of it.

We still have a lot of fixtures to go (kitchen lights, stairwell lights, living room, office, etc), but I got a lot of ideas and inspiration on my mini-scavenger hunt.  I’ll keep updating as I find more gems like these.


About Leigh

Born and raised in Rochester, MN, Leigh moved to the Twin Cities in 2004 for college. She stayed, and now works for a south metro city in the recycling department. In February of 2011, she and Paul bought a neglected farm house in the city to start our own urban hobby farm.

Posted on March 28, 2011, in House, Reuse and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Do you want the original light fixture from the dinning room here?

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