American-Made Lighting with Vintage Roots for Lakeside Cottage
West Lake Okoboji in northwestern Iowa has been a gathering place for Beth’s family since the late 1890s. For generations, her ancestors spent summers at the 3800-acre, spring-fed lake enjoying the natural beauty of its crystal blue waters.
“My mom took her first steps at the lake and never missed a summer until she passed away in 2018,” Beth relates. “Our current cottage was built by my grandparents in 1961 and, with Mom’s passing, we knew it was time for a top-to-bottom refresh.”
Beth wanted to maintain the classic lake cottage feel as they replaced flooring, windows, and insulation. They repainted every surface inside and out, replaced most of the lighting, and reimagined the function of the floorplan.
“I wanted to bring a lot of color into the house with fabrics, tile, and fixtures,” she explains. “And I wanted all of the new fixtures to be well made so the next renovation won’t be required for another 60 years.” One of the changes in the living area was to exchange the sofa and TV for a large wooden table in front of the old brick fireplace. The family not only eats meals here but enjoys the space for games and puzzles. The overhead lighting needed to be functional for all purposes.
“I knew in my mind what I wanted but had no idea if any company still made anything like it,” Beth explains. “I started searching on Pinterest and was thrilled to find the Cairo Chandelier from Barn Light Electric. The fact that they make exterior lights too was the icing on the cake. We used Barn Light for every new light inside and out.”
Beth customized her new handcrafted chandelier with an Emerald Green finish and black-and-gold cloth cords. The Cairo is also available in a 3-light version and in more than two dozen finish colors.
In the laundry room, Beth added pops of red and blue to the space with a pretty blue fabric to hide the water heater and two Homestead Pendant Lights in Barn Red. This vintage-style pendant features a flared glass shade available in five colors. Beth chose the Clear Ribbed Glass, Barn Red cup, and a red-and-white cloth cord for added color.
“I loved being able to get creative with the color, glass, and cord since they are basically the only decoration in the room,” she notes. “Like a fun pair of earrings!”
For the exterior, Beth changed the outside of the house from a dull gray to a navy blue with pops of red to complement the red brick apron around the bottom of the house. She chose two Austin Wall Sconces for the patio and customized these American-made lights with 10″ shades and a Barn Red finish.
The most personal choice in all of the lighting was the Avalon Single Post Mount Light located at the back entrance to the house. This handcrafted fixture features a 16″ shade with a Barn Red finish. It is affixed to a Galvanized post mount and and an 8-foot, smooth, direct burial pole.
“Before my mom passed away, she said she wanted her ashes at the lake in a prominent place,” Beth says. “I wanted to do something special to honor her request and our family’s history at the lake. We held a ceremony with all the neighbors and buried her ashes as the base of this post mount light when we installed it. That way she’ll always have a light shining on her.”
Photos courtesy of the homeowner