In my last post, we toured East Cambridge where I noticed that many of the early-1800s-period homes had chinoiserie light fixtures. Chinoiserie is a french term meaning inspired by Chinese design or reflecting a Chinese influence. The Old China Trade, a name given to an active period of commerce between China and the United States, occurred between 1783 and 1844. So it makes total sense that a Chinese influence might be seen in the fixtures and furnishing of early American homes.

Since I'm doing more of a classic vintage but eclectic look (with a mix of antique pieces) on the interior of the house, I was planning to use a porch light something like this schoolhouse fixture. But after my field trip to East Cambridge, I'm rethinking that idea. Here a few of the fixtures I found that are considered American Traditional but have a distinctive chinoiserie feel.

All of these light fixtures were fun to look for and consider, but I don't think any of them will work for me. First, my house is very petite. it's the smallest Greek Revival I've seen anywhere in the city. My interior ceilings are 7'5" and although I can expect a little more head room out on the porch, I don't think I have enough head room for a pendant.

If I want to have shutters on the front windows, there's no room left over for a wall sconce.

But if I really pimp out the back porch... might be nice to have a light source that isn't overhead.

Another problem is they vary in price from a few hundred dollars each to over $1000 for the top one. I would need three lights: one for the front porch and one for each of the back porches.

I'm on a really tight budget with this project so anywhere I can save money right now is really important.

So now that I've studied the details of these expensive fixtures, I'm better able to look for something cheaper that might express the same feeling. I can always swap them out later when I'm a little more flush with cash.

So I found this ceiling mount fixture which solves the potential head room issue and I think has a little bit of that same chinoiserie feel. I realize I'm compromising here but at $26 each, I'm able to buy three so that all of the exterior fixtures will now match.

I'm happy with this choice. I think these will look appropriate and won't steal the show on the front porch. They'll have a good supporting role.

But don't tell anyone they were so cheap. It'll be our secret.