Four months ago, it was furniture. Three months ago, exterior colors. Two months ago, bathroom fixtures. Last month, interior colors. Today, it’s lighting. The sheer number of choices involved in this project is just staggering, and we still have three kitchens to go.

And of course no decision is ever final — at every stage of the project it gets reviewed and discussed anew. We intentionally try to limit our choices just for our own sanity — for example, we’ve ruled out any bronze or brass fixtures because this was an ironmaster’s mansion. Even then, the number of chandeliers, pendants, sconces, and table lamps in iron is in the thousands.

Fortunately, Dawn and I have pretty similar tastes. Unfortunately, we don’t trust anyone else. Otherwise we’d just turn this over to an interior designer and be done with it. Instead, we both spend many, many hours combing the Internet looking for the right fixtures at reasonable prices. Did I mention we needed 15 chandeliers?

To compound the problem, period-appropriate lighting is kind of boring. Back then, indoor lighting meant one thing: candles. (You could burn whale blubber, but I’m not going there.) So chandeliers were just candle holders, which is hardly inspiring. (And the elaborate wrought-iron chandeliers just look like giant spiders to me.)