Monday, September 7, 2015

Footprints: balancing travel with ecology

It's been ringing in my brain for years, and finally hit a pitch I can't tune out:

How can I ameliorate 
the minor devastation I wreak 
on this precious Earth?

Devastation may sound like an overstatement, but taking responsibility for how my choices impact the environment is one of my deepest values. Especially because nature is my deepest source of joy in Life.

Sunset on the High Sierra Trail, California. 2015

I've asked myself if carbon offsets are a good practice, or an easy penance that allows me to keep sinning. Is it better to focus on efficiency, waste reduction and living a simpler life? If I donate to one of the many charities that plant trees will my donation really become part of Earth's lungs?

The answer is: YES!

Since moving to Dublin in January my partner and I have traveled a lot, voraciously exploring the continent. It's so close! And the Ryanair flights are so cheap! I've been to Turkey, Scotland, the UK, Belgium, Norway, Iceland, and Denmark thus far. I plan to be in Spain, Germany and the UK again before the year is out, at least. 

In truth, my 2015 mileage doesn't outstrip my 2007 carbon footprint, a year I spent ping ponging from LA to the east coast and Chicago monthly in a national management role. Maybe this year just feels bigger because I'm farther afield, and the pleasure of exploring Northern Europe is just so good!*

In the past I've supported groups that lobby or raise awareness, like the Sierra Club Foundation, Nature Conservancy and Rainforest Alliance. I'm not fiery enough to be a grassroots activist myself, so my approach has been to support a group that operates on a national or international basis. I defer to their expertise and become part of a formidable collective political power working on various environmental causes.  

This year I'm aiming to offset my impact more directly: Finding an efficient and effective carbon offset program engaged in reforestation. The amount of information on the web is daunting, and my fear of making the wrong choice is almost paralyzing.** The types of projects that fall under the offset umbrella range from biogas to providing efficient cookstoves to families in developing countries so they stop hacking down forests. Costs range widely, too. Your per ton cost can be $2.50 or $25.00. A publication by US based points out that offsets are a commodity, and "additional benefits, such as habitat preservation, sustainable development, etc., can increase the price of an offset because these additional benefits increase the quality of the surrounding environment and are generally more marketable."

Knowing that my donations are turned into specific actions is the next best thing to getting my hand dirty volunteering. Offsets in direct proportion to my air travel will be a big step. And I am one of many: what I do is what we do, and I am interested to see conservation become a shared practice. We, collectively, can do better, right?

    Recyling Center in Zheijang province, China. (Reuters/Stringer).

Here are some things I'm doing to live a simpler life and mind my consumption:

  • Public Transit. It turns out train and bus is totally fun. If I do have to rent a car I'm not going solo: road trips are in groups or I rideshare.
  • Biking. For the first time in my adult life I am not sucking petroleum for a daily commute. I sold my car when I left the US. (Yes, it was a Prius.) It feels great to be in a city unarmored.
  • Urban Recycling:  Every town is differently supported, and it's taken a little research to maximize Dublin's system for household waste.***
  • The "Bring Bank". Baffling in a town that consumes more beer than water, I can't recycle glass at home. So I walk glass to the local bottle bank. Turns out I can also bring clothing and textiles. It's not convenient, but I feel good doing it, and it's nice excuse to take a walk.
  • Making my own. Buying raw ingredients to make my own nut butters, dressings and trail snacks rather than defaulting to individually packaged goods means there is far less to recycle.
  • Pausing on Purchasing. Purging my possessions to move countries has helped make me more selective in what I acquire. So has the price of imports to Ireland. Asking how badly I need it, how long I'll use it, or if I can get it used are all good practices.
  • Second-hand. Who doesn't love treasure hunting at a charity shop? I buy second hand goods whenever I can. I've cut that down, too. I haven't bought a new dress or cute shoes just for something "new" to wear every month. 
Train platform, Norway.

There are dozens of tiny things I still do that kind of suck: I drink coffee (and not always Fair Trade organic in my commuter mug). My Pink Lady apples come from a much sunnier country. We have four laptops in my two-person household. The point is progress. I am committed to making a positive impact and foregoing some "conveniences" for the sake of a richer living experience.

I'd love to hear what you're up to in the comments, too.

California apple orchard.

*There are some great carbon calculators on line that will estimate the tonnage of flights, households, and operating a car. Check out or to see what you weigh.

**Sites like Charity Navigator shows how much of the donation an organization receives actually go to its stated mission, and help you see if your money is actually where your mouth wants it to be.

***I've annoyed housemates, coworkers and innocent ride-sharers by asking them what they're doing for (or to) the environment. It turns out some people have different priorities. This year I'm working on a more convincing argument as well as on tolerance. 

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Wayfinding: a tour of trailmarkings in eight countries.

We take it for granted that the path will reveal itself as we continue on our way. The exit for the 405 south, the entrance to the supermarket, the blinking person on the sign across the road that beckons us to a safe crossing.

This past August I followed a series of signifiers over 75 km of Norwegian plateau still heavily patched with snow from a hard winter and a very late summer. With the map and compass in my partner’s pocket, I found myself looking ahead, always, for the bright red capital T painted on cairns to confirm the route.
Wayfinding on the Hardanger plateau, Norway.

It was like a game of leapfrog: stood at the edge of a snowfield with one red T just behind me, I’d scan the horizon for the next outcropping the minions of the DNT had tucked into the landscape. Sometimes the red vibrated clearly, especially when the sun was bright behind us. Sometimes the silhouette of artfully arranged rocks was obvious on the ridge. Sometimes I walked forward and scoured the landscape before me, feeling gravity loosen just a bit until I sighted the next marker, and hove my steps to it.

Hiking has long been a part of my life, and this year I’ve had the chance to follow trails in a host of new places. Particularly wet and boggy places, since I’m living in Ireland, and places prone to long-lying snow, since my partner and I have indulged our fascination with the Nordic countries.

Having found my mountain legs in the rocky arid US west the northern European terrain has felt alien at times. The environmental challenges have changed my routine, from the foul weather gear I’ve added to my kit to the measured high-stepping gait I’ve developed to stay balanced on slippery bog grass.

These places also presented me with different conventions of the trail. I had 75 km of Norwegian highlands to muse on the different trail markers I’ve seen. Trail signs have to respond to seasonal changes in weather and terrain, so they tell the hiker about the natural world they’re in. They’re likely to be more elaborate in well-used areas, which says something about how valued the space is to those who use it. They’re also cultural markers: the choices of color, material, and pictures, symbol or word all tell something about the people who’ve put them there and the people who find them.

1. ITALY: 

I found this marker on one of my first hikes abroad, in the Abruzzi region of Italy. It felt comfortably close to my home country, dry and warm like California. Trail markers were low to the ground: no threat of bracken growing over them in the Mediterranean climate. The hills were worn into soft shapes and I could hear bells on the livestock in the distance beyond the trees. I found a few shells and wondered at the age of the hills and distance to the sea. The numbers and letters suggest an interconnected system of trails. (I promise to update the location and trail system when I’m reunited with my journals back in the States).

Near Arles, France.

Outside of Arles we followed this little climber stenciled onto the stones toward a famous mesa where Van Gogh painted. The light of the south of France is as intoxicating as they say and I was driven to tears by the landscape. The jetlag and lack of sleep may also have played a part. Standing in the sun I was bathed in gratitude at being in such an amazing place, and filled with frustration at being so exhausted. At this time I’d yet to try rock climbing. I can only imagine what a day at the crag would be like, followed by a rustic meal and a glass of the local crop.


I have a deep appreciation for the ethos of conservation that is so strong in the western United States, and the way that wildlands are celebrated. My parents took us on summer camping trips in the National Parks as children. We earned junior ranger status for attending ranger talks and making sure camps were litter free. The rusticated Civilian Conservation Corps look is inextricably linked to the outdoors for me. Trail signs in California often express the graphic palette laid out in the 1930s by workers given relief jobs building the National Parks during the depression. The NPS was rolled out just in time to preserve lands that would otherwise be rapidly eaten by industrial concerns and general urban sprawl.

Almost to the peak of San Jacinto in Palm Springs, California.

I have hiked hundreds of miles in California. Ironically, I have few of snapshots of the blazes and small tree badges that dot the High Sierra Trail, a 75 mile trek from Sequoia to Mount Whitney that I completed last fall. The HST shares intersections with the John Muir Trail, and the sign-posted junctions felt like celebrations. Not least was the junction pointing us to Guitar Lake, where we'd camp for a night before finishing the hike by summitting Mount Whitney.

On the HST I'd noticed blazes notched into the bark, rectangles atop each other that to me looked like a letter i. I learned later that a whole language of blazes commonly used in North America indicates turnings, intersections, and the start and finish of a trail. These blazes are soft in the landscape, and done properly, are meant not to harm the flesh of the tree.

Blazes commonly used in North American.


I picked up the Baden Powell trail in a suburban neighborhood of West Vancouver. Signage on the sidewalk points you to an address on Panorama Drive to pick up the main trail, and gives you the history of the trail. It was built in 1971 by the Boy Scouts and Girl Guides to mark BC's centennial.

Once amongst the trees a reflective triangular badge dotted the trees, whether standing or fallen. It was much like hiking in the Sierra in California. The trees lent themselves to service. The bright orange badge was always visible in the forest dim, and flashed in the sun. A blue fleur de lis insignia and letters BP kept the builders in mind the whole way.

Walking Deeside, near Aberdeen.

The UK has an extensive system of trails that wend through the countryside, some of which have been in use for hundreds of years. The awesomely named right to roam preserves access to private lands for walking. Coming from California I wince a bit when I see one of these paths. Having long heard outrageous debates about public access to beaches in Malibu I'm given to believe that private property trumps roaming back home, and suspect you might be shot. In the British countryside you’ll come across an odd alley-let snug to the side of someone’s back garden, and yes, you are meant to traipse upon it. I’m sure whomever is enjoying the afternoon sunshine doesn’t want to see my scruffy head bobbing along the fence. Perhaps this is a misperception, and in fact they secretly celebrate my roaming.

On a July holiday weekend I drove from Glasgow to the Isle of Skye. The signs on the roadside pointed up the valley toward the Cuillin ridge. Hiking high was steep and rocky. I hitched up with a pair of German women for an afternoon of high stepping near the Storr. On moors the path underfoot was hard to find at times, with thick heather and bog grasses carpeting the land. I had my first site of the white tufts of bog cotton and the purplish glow of heather on Skye. After repeated hard tracking black mud bares itself in spots, and water catches where the plantlife had been tramped down. So different from the bare dry rock of California, I learned in time to distinguish this muddy track as the path.

Isle of Skye, Scotland.


Most of the time when I'm hiking in the Wicklows it's raining, because that's what Ireland does. Hence I seldom pull out a camera. The shot below, taken on Silsean facing Moanbane, was a rare clear spring day.

A good day out in the Wicklow Mountains, Dublin.

I've encountered postings that mark the boundary of the Wicklow area, and a summit marker on our highest peak, Lugnaquilla (it tops out at 925 meters.) Because the flora is low lying and the bare hills leave nothing hidden, the path will show itself on a good day. But as with most mountains, the high peak can create its own weather. Both times I've hiked Lugnaquilla I've had horrid rain, hail and snow, and the visibility plummeted. That sage advice about carrying a map and compass apply. It would be easy to get lost and caught out in bad weather.


The trek started with one foot ankle deep in seawater. After disembarking the skiff we made a harried dash over seaweed tangling on rocky shore to find the cut upland to the pass. The wind was howling and we knew the visibility – and temperatures – were decreasing at the pass high above Vedileysifjordur. We hurried to get the best of the weather we could. Hunkered into my windproof hood I barely noticed the staves of wood springing up from the boggy terrain. In dry conditions the weather-bleached wood was beautiful. I snapped this one on a hill above our camp in Kerlingarfjöll on a stunning afternoon with glacier vistas and jersey-cow snow plains below.

Trail marker in Kerlingarfjöll , Iceland.

On higher ground ways were marked by massive cairns taller than a man. A guide to the Appalachian Trail notes that “rock cairns can identify a route above treeline and where snow and fog may obscure painted blazes.” These highland routes were used by Icelandic travelers on horse for hundreds of years to make their way through the interior to the annual congress near thingfellir. When we needed to stop we’d often hunker behind the friendly stone hives to block the wind. At times even these dark mounds were swallowed by fog. I was always happy to see them rise out again.


These were not random artful piles of rocks but a nudge to move in a specific direction. The DNT, the Norwegian Trekking Association, has earned their good reputation. In addition to an amazing network of trails for summer hiking and cross country skiing, the DNT maintain a series of mountain huts which are truly blessed outposts when the weather turns foul. In our case, we simply wanted an easy night and the chance to dry our boots after a 20 mile day from our camp just after Stavali to our final hut at Tyssevassbu.

Signposts in Norway point to mountain huts.

The Norwegian mountain huts are justly famed. Stocked with basic provisions and dorm lodging, they function on an honor system. Caretakers stay for spells at some of the huts, but payment for day use and amenities are made by filling out a credit card slip with what you used and sliding it into a safe near the door.

We stopped at Tørehytten on our long day to see if we could rustle a cup of coffee, and shared conversation with a Norwegian man who takes up residence in a hut for three weeks every summer. He was as stocked as the pantry with information about the trail and the landscape, and was keen to trade stories about other travelers and hear where they'd been. He gave us a rundown on the trail users: mostly German, lots of Europeans, and very rarely an American. I was the first one he'd met in two years.

When we were on our way he mentioned that the rivers should mostly be passable by snowbridge, and pulled out a guidebook to give us an estimate of the next leg of our hike. There's nothing like local knowledge when you're finding your way.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Customer Service, par excellence.

Never underestimate the power of customer service.

Due to the morphing and merging of SBC (remember them?!) with Yahoo (the dream of the 90s is alive and well) who were then subsumed by AT&T (big fish eat the little ones), which was wholly and completely dwarfed by the total domination of Google, I've been unable to access my blog platform since I arrived in Ireland earlier this year.

Of course, I no longer have an AT&T account, since it was cancelled when I left the US to move to Ireland, and the interweb in its ineluctable genius keeps nudging me towards .ie websites (and really horrid British sitcoms on Netflix, and also I can't download the free iTunes that Starbuck's offers weekly, dammit, and today it was Jose Gonzalez who I just LOVE!)

Luckily I still have records of my account information and, at least for today, an uncharacteristic store of patience. Approximately 57 minutes of that patience were spent with Janine in the Philippines. She was positively tickled to help me sort out my passwords, and I was frankly amazed that at the end of it I once again have access this silly little diary that I so love to ramble in.

So, big thanks to Janine. And welcome to Dublin. It is very good to be here.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

More to the book than its zebra print cover

I am always happy to infuse more adventure into my work, so it was with great pleasure that  I welcomed Steve Jones and Amanda Malson to the Remains Lighting showroom for this year’s Legends of La Cienega event. There is a great backstory to Steve and Amanda's window, which interprets the 2014 theme, Novels Interiors: Storytelling by Design.

Most design aficionados have seen Osa Johnson’s autobiography I Married Adventure, even if they don’t realize it. A bestseller when it was published in 1940, the book recounts Osa and husband Martin’s travels: picture exotic Africa and the South Pacific, headhunters, pygmies and big game animals. The book introduced truly novel countries and customs to the imagination of folks who might not even identify Kenya on a map of darkest Africa. Used as a styling piece and prop in countless interiors and photoshoots over the years, the graphic zebra print cover of early editions of the novel has established it as a design icon in its own right.  

But the plot thickens: Amanda grew up in the small town of Chanute, Kansas, where Osa spent her years prior to marrying adventure and traveling to farflung locales. So to create the window, Amanda tapped friends, relatives and colleagues back home to fill the Legends window with their cherished copies of I Married Adventure. Amanda worked with The Safari Museum in Chanute, which houses artifacts the Johnsons collected on their travels. It might be worth a trip to Kansas to discover more of the story that Osa and Martin Johnson and the legacy of adventure they installed on American bookshelves.

Steve and Amanda's window will be on view through May 16. Please visit us at Remains Lighting, 808 North La Cienega.

See what else is in the window:

See more of Amanda and Steve's work:

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Frisco Rainbow








Four colourful days near my favourite Bay:

1. Lisa Bakamis at the San Francisco Decorator's Showhouse. 
2. Artist Bernadette Franks, represented by Dolby Chadwick in San Francisco. Thank you, Cecilia Sagrera Hill.
3. Heath Ceramics' luscious glazes.
4. Hayes Valley welcome kisses.
5. Test driving the Olli lounger at Heath.
6. HAG Capisco chairs remind vertebrates to sit up straight.
7. Vertebrates at play.
8. PapaLlama prints at Aesthetic Union. Smirk.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Lights of the UK

It's a wonderful thing to be inspired by your work. 

My colleague David Calligeros created a mobile app for a series of annual design conferences that maps out significant or noteworthy light installations in the cities or countries that host the conference. Each pin on the map pops up a photograph and image of the installation, historical or technical notes, and the location of a nearby café or watering hole so you can rest your travel weary feet.

He documented Lights of Copenhagen, Lights of Morocco. I've never been to Copenhagen, so the app was a fun way to imagine the city, and the entries are a fantastic mobile museum for the design inclined.

Taking up David’s game, I like to document remarkable lights I see when I’m traveling. This summer I spent a month in the UK. I'm not quite as tech savvy, but here are my Lights of Scotland and England. 

World Heritage status should have prepared me, but still I was blown away by Bath. The Roman ruins, the Circus, the River Avon, the fashion museum. The fashion museum? Yes. Housed in the Assembly Rooms, which are a traditionalist's dream, the Museum of Costume surveys dress over hundreds of years. In addition to the corsets and crinolines you can try on in the basement, there is elaborate plasterwork, layers of painted decoration, and banks of lofty windows to enjoy upstairs.

A trio of crystal chandeliers hung in a pretty pale ballroom on the south side of the building. We had acres of dance floor available from which to gaze at the intricate ceiling. After I got up off my back from taking this photo, my mother taught an impromptu class in English country dance, the proper stuff you'd find in an Austen novel. If only we'd had some of those gowns from the basement.

I made a point to return to Glasgow on this trip to steep in nouveau architecture. It was a great counterpoint to Gaudi's work which I saw in Barcelona a few years ago, fleshing out how the style expressed itself in different parts of Europe. 

Rennie Mackintosh was the rose of the Glasgow school. I craned my neck walking through the core of the city to admire the metal flowers ranked below the Art School windows, and the blossoms carved in sandstone at the Lighthouse.

His work is striking because it encompasses every detail of interior and exterior, from facades to furniture, stonework to table service. This simple fixture of woven metal strips was designed for the Willow Tea Rooms. It seems inspired by rustic countryside baskets. The open lattice work creates beautiful organic patterns with the light, a hallmark of a great decorative fixture.

Edinburgh, Scotland's capital, was bursting at the seams with art. Festival season was about to start, and it felt totally normal to have performers on every street playing everything from bagpipes to panpipes to steel saws.

The National Museum in Edinburgh just underwent an incredible makeover, and I spent the better part of a day bouncing around their diverse collections. This monumental bronze lantern in the museum's collection originally hung in a central public space at the Scotsman newspaper building in Edinburgh. It was the heyday of newspapers, a prestigious institution that delivered a world of information, education and sophistication, and the massive light in the advertising hall communicated that stature to the crowds thronging the place.

Thistles never fail to make me smile. I grew up in a Scottish household, which instilled in me a lasting appreciation for all things Scot: tartan and bagpipes, thistles and bland food. Edinburgh Castle was definitely a highlight of the trip: just the views over the walls to the city and the water made it worth the climb up that huge rock. 

The Great Hall at Edinburgh Castle is known for its fine hammer beam ceiling, from which two rows of massive chandeliers hang. The gothic foliage on the arms and the fretwork of the painted lantern body are exceptional. The pale greenish tone contrasts with the serious red of the hall and the somber ceiling, and is a lovely foil to the thistle shields placed between the arms.

Driving through England, I stopped outside of Manchester at a place called Tatton Park. A sprawling acreage, the Egerton family's neoclassical manse is managed by the National Trust, as are Lord Egerton's apartments, the stables, and sundry other outbuildings on the property. Like similar stateside preserves I imagine they constantly totter between dilapidation and resplendent restoration. 

Here were perhaps my favorite lighting moments on the trip. I found this in the stairwell in a back hall at Tatton Park. Imagine one of those spaces in Downton Abbey that links upstairs and downstairs, the servants to those they serve. The brass fitter of the pendant creates a shadowy halo on the ceiling: the best lights harness shadow. And the glass throws chattering golden swirls around that dark.

The morning I visited Tatton Park, I was delighted to see staff at work cleaning the crystal chandeliers in the library. Housing 8,000 books, the library is a perfectly symmetrical room. It could have been a classically trained architect's Rorschach: one side mirrors the other, like the inky plan was drafted then folded in on itself. 

One by one, each crystal is removed from the chandelier, tagged to ensure it's properly ordered, cleaned and polished by hand, then replaced on the frame in its original spot. First one chandelier, then its mate on the other side of the room.

This industrious team reminded me of one of my favorite colleagues, antiques specialist Jenna Major. With a meticulousness that verges on insanity, she restores the antique lights for the Remains Lighting collection. Her work astounds me: not only is her metal artistry amazing, her service for lights is a bit like what animal rescuers do for all those cute little puppies and kitties wandering the streets. She loves these neglected pieces back to good health and ultimately helps them find good homes. 

Watching them work delighted me. Those chandeliers glistened. It must have been a coup for the Trust. It was a warm, fuzzy moment that made me glad to travel, and glad to know I had good work to come home to.

In vogue in Bath:

The cult of Mackintosh:

Manchester, England, England:

Saturday, April 20, 2013

From Darkness, Light

It’s spring. Buds are breaking on twig tips, fine sprays of grass fringe walkways, and a shifting palette of salt, slate and blue in the foggy mornings lifts to reveal gently sunny afternoons.

With spring comes an itch to move: I’ve been dying to get out of town.

 So it was perfect timing for “Cities within a City,” the first of the Southern California Institute of Classical Architecture’s local tours.

I drove about an hour south of Los Angeles Saturday morning with a fresh iced coffee, and met a host of new and familiar friends at the fountain at Malaga Cove Library in Palos Verdes. A herd of lithe young men were stretching on the grass by the plaza, their bicycles propped nearby.

They would ride the ragged coastline of the Pacific Ocean, hidden from view just beyond the stands of pepper and eucalyptus trees.

The inscrutable sound of peacock cries echoed around the hills.

After a morning tour of the plaza and the public buildings at Malaga Cove, we convened in the courtyard of my friend Steve Shriver’s home out near Portuguese Bend for an intimate al fresco lunch. The home was built by Los Angeles luminary Gordon Kaufman. The Shriver family has lived at The Farmstead, as it’s called, since 1984. A humble set of apartments, they were actually the service buildings of a grand imagined but unrealized Italianate home overlooking the ocean.

Steve is an artist, and this is an artist’s home. Surfboards are propped in the horse stables. The coastal land is settling constantly, revealing fissures and charm in the thick plaster.

One bit of charm the home recently revealed is an age darkened folio that Steve found in the attic: the sheaf contains a set of watercolor renderings of light fixtures that were designed for the home when it was being built in the 1920s.

Steve had mentioned these drawings to me some time ago, knowing my interest in antique lighting. I could not have anticipated my delight in finally seeing them in person.

A precisely metered cursive, penciled almost 100 years ago, captions the drawings. Gentle wrinkles and a wide border naturally frame each drawing.

The watercolor renderings would fit in the palm of your hand. The B.B. Bell Company proposed a series of wrought iron lights for the Levinson Estate, aka The Farmstead. There is little information about B.B. Bell floating in the ether, but they are credited with lighting the Adamson House in Malibu, and Greystone, the Doheny Mansion in the hills not too far from where I live and work in Los Angeles.

The Bell artist handles the bleeding color deftly, revealing the twist in the iron framing, spikes rising like a crown around a glass lantern body, the open mouth of a dragon peering down from a wall bracket.

Charcoal and slate and a cadmium-bright yellow whisper over the graphite, the color illuminating the sketches.

I imagined the bare terraces of the peninsula when it was first being developed in the 1920s, and in turn the Bell designer imagining how his dark, scrolling lanterns would sway in the sea breeze. Wall sconces hanging from elaborate brackets would illuminate the gate posts of the quiet, thick walled villa.

Some of the fixtures were less Mediterranean – simple geometric forms fashioned from sheet metal. The artist mottles the dark colors representing the metal as if anticipating the patina that sea air and salt would bring naturally over time.

To catch the likeness not just of metal, but light, and glass. My heart leapt at these:

The crackling edge of a pale color used to render the glass seems to glint off the page.

When I think about the photographs of our lights that I print by the dozens, I am stunned. (And that’s not at all to diminish the artistry of our in house photographer, Jerome. His detail shots regularly make me catch my breath). But these renderings are one of a kind, and stand as art in their own right, with no need of the artisan-made lights that they conjure.

Sadly, the lights were never made. I wondered if that might be because the main house was never built, but the notes make it clear that they were proposed for the outbuildings. The captions note fixtures for Entry, Lavatory, Service Porch, Outside of Tool Room, Bath Lavatory, Servant’s Hall. Humble spaces to support a grand villa.

And those numbers? 1920s pricing!

Steve does have some beautiful lanterns on the gateposts before his home. And I saw a light on the Villa Francesca just down the road that looked a lot like one drawn for the Farmstead. Villa Francesca is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Whether or not the light is by Bell, I think the spirit lingers here.

Entertain and educate your inner classicist with the Institute of Classical Architecture:

Visit the light side, where this was originally posted: