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Mid-Century Malaise – "SHOW ME PICS" Version

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Saturday
Nov232013

insert your own "how many ____ does it take to screw in a lightbulb" joke.

If you've read my blog, you've probably seen my swell retro Sputnik chandelier lamp in the kitchen. Wellz, when I originally got it, I cheaped out because I didn't want to spend a bunch of bread for the proper chrome-top bulbs. I got around this by getting some "string lamps" at Target which happened to have 25 five-watt bulbs that fit, and they were only $12 (i.e. about 50 cents a bulb, such a deal). Doing a little math, 25 five-watt bulbs gives us 125 watts of light, which is usually enough, but not really. Between the not-bright-enough and my desire for it to look cooler, I finally decided to do it up right and ordered a bunch of chrome-top bulbs (which I managed to find online for about a buck a piece, so not so bad in the end). Here it is before:

and after... BTW, unscrewing/screwing in 25 bulbs is as fun as you think it isn't.

Sexual home magazine shot. If my entire place looked this spiffy, this actually would be a home magazine shot (maybe some day...):

Now the (un)fun part. The mirrory-awesome bulbs are physically slightly larger. which looks a little nicer (I didn't realize this 'til they arrived) but you can only get them in two wattages, 25 or 60 watt. Ideally, I wish they came in something around the 10-15 watt range, but they don't, so I went with the 25 watters. Whipping out Mr. Calculator, that's a rather bright 625 watts total... I was definitely going to need a dimmer (as a side note, imagine if I went with the 60 watt bulbs- a retina-searing 1500 watts!). So... I found me a nice vintage-lookin' Lutron rotary dimmer online (forget about getting this stuff locally in Vegas), which would be this:

Because I already have a three-gang switch on the wall, I wasn't gonna use the plate, and my plan was to mask the metal insert and rattle-can the knob black. What they don't tell you is that the entire thing has a large heat sink that sticks off the wall about a half-inch (the included plate snaps to this). This is all fine and well if it's a single switch on the wall, but makes it totally unusable with a multi switch plate. You end up with this hot mess:

I went off to Home Depot to find something that would fit correctly, but being Home Depot, almost everything they have 1) is white and 2) is designed for the large rectangular cutout used for most modern switches and outlets (i.e., not mine). The only "standard" old-style rotary dimmers they had were rated for 600 watts, and as mentioned, my 25 bulbs come out to 625 watts. So... back to Amazon to find something without big-ass heat sink assembly. In the meantime, we have a really cool looking lamp and ghetto dimmin'.

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