Activating Hollywood Regency

Last April, I hung a pair of 1950s Hollywood-Regency-style sconces in the receiving room.


There were two problems however:

  1. There was no electricity TO the sconces.
  2. The sconces clashed with the almost-period-correct gas/electric chandelier.

Right away, I decided to get rid of the chandelier. It was more 1904 than 1894 (oh, the horror) and was, importantly, too fancy for the room which would have originally had a much smaller fixture.

Getting electric to the sconces would prove a bit daunting, as there had never been sconces in the round room.

So things sat.

Until this week.


Because of the cold weather, Justin needed an indoor job for a day. Did I have some work for him. Why, yes, I did. Thus, the two of of worked to wire the receiving room, which had no wiring, not even a working electrical outlet. Here, you can see the hole I made for the electrical box for the north sconce. But…to get a wire to it required the hole at the top of the wall, the adjacent ceiling, and the raceway cut through the ceiling plaster. Oh my. Luckily, I was able to drop a line straight from the top hole to the sconce hole without making MORE holes.


The ceiling on the floor.


The west sconce. A hole in the wall for the sconce, an adjacent hole, and a 1950s hole at the ceiling re-opened to pull new wiring.


On the south wall, I needed a light switch for the sconces. Getting the live wire from the basement breaker panel was amazingly easy: across the basement ceiling, up through a raceway in the telephone closet, through the open ceiling of the foyer, and through old holes in the joists (from a 1950s wiring job). In the receiving room, the large opening in the ceiling (right) was already there. The opening to its left was made by me, and this simply re-opened a patch made, I am guessing, in 1950. The patch was to bring a Romex wire down to an outlet just above the wainscoting (bottom hole). I them made another hole (just above) for the new switch. The old outlet would become a new outlet.


The 1950s holes had been infilled with wire lath, which a hate with a passion, and — no kidding — concrete. Friggin’ concrete!


Well, wanna see the results?

Scroll way down…



























I could have, of course, installed period-correct gas/electric sconces. I could have.

Naw, I couldn’t! The receiving room never had sconces, and to install gas/electric sconces would confuse the historical narrative, and y’all know how I feel about that!

The correct approach would have been to simply find a period-correct, and room-correct, gas/electric ceiling fixture…and no sconces. But I have been looking for the ideal fixture for four years now and have not found a single one. Again, the fixture needs to be of a scale and type ideal for a small reception room. I have been able to find ideal parlor and dining room and bedroom ceiling fixtures, but nothing ideal for the receiving room. So, when I came across the 1950s Hollywood-Regency sconces? I thought: Hey! I’ll go in another direction!

In the parlor is the perfect gas/electric chandelier.

In the library are five 1970s pendants. And nobody mistakes them as being from the Victorian-era. I plan to hang 16 of these in the stairwell (yep, you read that right).

In the dining room is a new-ish crystal chandelier.

In the round bedroom is an almost-period-correct chandelier, and a pair of period-correct gas/electric sconces. When I find a period-correct chandelier, I will switch it for the current one.

In the long bedroom is a 1950s Hollywood-Regency brass and crystal chandelier.

In short, the Cross House will be a mix of period-correct lighting, and obviously not period-correct lighting. But no historical narrative will be harmed in the making of my home.





  1. Aaron Workman on November 28, 2018 at 7:02 pm

    Well done! Truly stunning!

  2. Cindi M on November 28, 2018 at 7:53 pm

    Well, it’s an ill cold day that doesn’t do somebody some good! I confess I couldn’t follow your wiring but certainly enjoy the results.

  3. Sharol on November 28, 2018 at 8:08 pm


  4. San on November 28, 2018 at 9:24 pm

    Ahhh beautiful. Now all you need is a glass of wine and a good book.

  5. Sean on November 29, 2018 at 10:22 am

    Lovely! So are you eliminating the Chandelier entirely, or will you still search for one in the correct scale/era?

  6. E. Thornton Goode, Jr. on November 29, 2018 at 10:36 am

    Ross…..Saw your link on the website below….Yeah. What you’re doing….Been there…Done that. What a huge amount of work. Takes forever. Good luck with it……Yeah….and when I was done, sold the house and the person who bought it….BULLDOZED IT TO THE GROUND….What can I say?…..Thornton

    • Ross on November 30, 2018 at 8:18 am

      OMG, Thornton! I feel your pain! OMG!

  7. Derek Walvoord on November 29, 2018 at 11:26 am

    Well done! And a little extra architectural sleuthing along the way. Always interesting to see what happened in the 1950’s as well. And as for concrete – well, maybe it was just extra hard wall patch (just kidding).

  8. Jackie on November 29, 2018 at 12:07 pm

    The sconces look SO unbelievably much better now that they’re not fighting for your attention with the chandelier!

  9. Barb Sanford on November 29, 2018 at 12:10 pm

    Well, I think you and the Cross House deserve a little Hollywood glamour. The fixtures are beautiful, lovely on their own but even more alluring when lit.

  10. Stewart McLean on November 29, 2018 at 1:26 pm

    Another job well done.

    ?????? as usual, I have questions ??????

    -1. Did you put the wiring through a box in the ceiling? I thought you might have because you may, one day in the far future (or tomorrow), find that perfect, period correct, fixture that MUST GO THERE.
    -2. Are you eventually planning to install outlets in the room. If so, will they go in the baseboards?
    -3. Since the light fixtures are Hollywood Regency, are you thinking of giving the room a full blown Hollywood Regency decor or do the original open doorway, trim, stained glass, and windows preclude that?

    • Ross on November 29, 2018 at 9:15 pm

      Hi, Stewart!

      1) I removed the ceiling box. I adore the sconces and have no wish to remove them.

      2) There is a new wall outlet, just above the wainscoting on the north curve. I will be adding a floor outlet to the west curve.

      3) My plan for the room is to find a set of period-correct seating ideal for a receiving room: A settee, and two small chairs.

      • Jackie on November 30, 2018 at 8:22 am

        What will you do with the beauty that’s currently in there then, Ross? Do you have another place in mind for it, or will you sell it on?

Leave a Reply Cancel Reply

Your email address will NEVER be made public or shared, and you may use a screen name if you wish.