Decorating & Design

February 28, 2012

Oversized Lanterns

While watching Sunday’s 84th annual Academy Awards (and feeling a little disappointed in the whole shebang, truth be told), I started trolling past awards details on my laptop, basically to remind myself that I tend to be a little disappointed by the Oscars every year. What a curmudgeon I can be!

Two years ago I was disappointed when the award for art direction went to Avatar, considering that the beautiful sets for Sherlock Holmes were also nominated.

Looking back on the set photos of Sherlock Holmes, I can say, “I was right, it should have won”. The whole thing had such a layered, masculine look. It truly felt like Victorian England populated by incredibly clever sleuths like Holmes and villains like Professor Moriarty. Now those were men with lots of interests, and the set designs completely conveyed that fact — old books, stacks of papers, forgotten art objets, collections from a well-travelled life.

My favourite part of the design was the large carriage house lantern in front of 221a Baker Street (address painted on the glass of the lantern). It reminded me so much of the light fixture in Tommy Smythe’s own kitchen (above left), which we showcased in H&H back in 2004. And of course similar to another fixture he painted red for a client’s kitchen which we published in January of this year (above right).

Of course, it doesn’t hurt that I love this look and have wanted an oversized carriage house fixture in my own home for years. Unlike Tommy Smythe and Sara Greenwood (production designer for Sherlock Holmes), I seem to be having a hard time finding the real, authentic lantern. But there are some decent new ones to be had from both Restoration Hardware and Pottery Barn (both above).

And a new colleague here at H&H shared a resource with me that is perhaps even better at giving me that look, Troy Lighting. I love their Brookline fixture (above).

One last key to getting this look: buy an exterior hanging lantern. The size is bigger and the finishes more robust.

For more inspiration, see our Statement Lighting photo gallery.

Photo credits:
1. Sherlock Holmes set, Set Decor Online
2a. House & Home October 2004 issue, photography by Michael Graydon
2b. House & Home January 2012 issue, photography by Angus Fergusson
3. Stockholm Pendant, Restoration Hardware
4. Gothic Lantern, Pottery Barn
5. Brookline Fixture, Troy Lighting