Remake a Hanging Lantern

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In our March/April issue, we profiled a group of talented folks that we call “The Fixers,” the people who know how to restore your antique quilt or your grandmother’s china or the vintage electric stove you picked up at Brimfield. While researching the story, I spent an afternoon with Seth Barrett, proprietor of Village Green Renewal, an old-fashioned repair and handyman shop in Brookline Village, Massachusetts. Seth and his team can fix just about anything as long as they don’t need a special license to touch it. His work springs not just from his exceptional technical skills but also from his belief that fixing and preserving old things is better than tossing them away.

I happen to live in Brookline and I’ve been looking forward to being a VGR customer ever since we moved here in September. A recent purchase gave me the perfect excuse and I love the result so much that I thought I’d share it here.

I’ve written before about my fondness for Twin Elm Farm, an antiques store in Peterborough, New Hampshire. The goods are nicely curated and the prices are  reasonable—what more could I want?

A few weeks ago, I purchased this hanging Moravian star lantern from them.

I had been looking for just the right floor lamp for our living room, which has a original dark wood beams and a vaguely Arts-and-Crafts-Meets-Spanish-Revival feel. Everything I saw was either wrong or too expensive.

But this lantern held promise. Only problem was, of course, that it wasn’t a lamp. But I knew Seth could fix it. I brought the lantern in and asked if they might be able to mount it on a base. Seth collects old fixtures, lamps, and decorative items and his assistant assured me that they had something good back in storage.

A few days later, I got a call that the lamp was ready. For $100, they had mounted my inexpensive lantern onto an antique iron base, rewired it to a pedal on/off switch, and given me a completely custom lighting fixture.

The finished lamp

I love how it matches the room’s style and casts beautiful shadows at night.

Here’s a closer look at how they attached it. Because this base doesn’t have a hollow core, they simply wrapped the cord down around the outside. You don’t even see it unless you’re looking for it.

Thanks, Seth!


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