Wednesday, December 27, 2006

St. Louis Lights Drive

It's the holidays, and our street looks okay. Almost every house has Christmas lights and we get our share of holiday light's visitors, but our block doesn't have a theme; we all do what we want. Some blocks get serious about Christmas lights; the neighbors must plan all year for their light displays. Some are pretty amazing.

Inside our house, the prior owners left behind some nice things and some not so nice things. One of the least favorites was the flush-mounted, "nipple light" in the dining room ceiling. It's been on our list of items to replace.

Kerri wanted a decorative chandelier, so we've been looking for months, years maybe. Mass produced chandeliers come in literally thousands of designs. And they make such a huge design statement in your home that choosing one is not an easy decision. And now, it's the day before Christmas, and like a good man does, I'm still deciding what to get Kerri.

Matt and I went out, shopping. The stores were mellow on this day before Christmas compared to the craziness on the day after Thanksgiving. Our first stop was the new Lowe's on Loughborough. We arrived the back way, through the neighborhood, off of River Des Peres, or Germania, or whatever it's called through there...

The new Lowe's is very nice. If you enter the back way, through the neighborhood, the access is easy. You avoid traffic, and you park right near the entrance. The store is sparking clean, well-stocked, with friendly, helpful employees. We walked to the lighting department, and saw a few possibilities, but we wanted to check some more. So we drove to the Home Depot on Kingshighway. They had a huge selection.

We found a couple of good possibilities, so we started checking the prices. Everything we liked involved ordering and delivery withing 5 days! That wouldn't work. So back to the car and on to the Lowe's in Kirkwood. Theirs was a much lower selection than the new City Lowe's. So back to South City we went.

We returned to the chandelier we originally liked. (There's a picture of it from Lowe's on-line store at the top of this post.) We bought it. Kerri was thrilled when she unwrapped the box on Christmas morning. But we still didn't know if it was the right choice. We wouldn't know for certain until we could see it hung in the room, and lived with it for a while.

It was installed in time for dinner last nite. To break in the new atmosphere, we made a German meal from an old family recipe out of the leftovers from Christmas dinner.

Sitting at the table, and still deciding whether we liked the new light fixture or not, something dawned on me: the design manages to capture certain aspects of St. Louis! In lighting design terms, they call it "transitional", not modern or traditional. The fixture has a wrought iron-looking infrastructure, with a glass center. Twin oval glass cores are surrounded by a light metal frame with metal branches radiating from the center.

Our neighbor's first reaction was. "Is it antique?"

"No, Lowe's" I responded.

Around us, other blocks go all out for Christmas; ours shines on Halloween. Now, with the lights dimmed on the new chandelier, we get a look that is evokes a St. Louis haunted house. We doubt our house is haunted, but St. Louis is known for having lots of them. During Halloween, our block is definitely haunted, so if we ever have a Halloween party, we'll be ready.

We sat and finished dinner, and agreed, the light would do just fine.

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