What’s That Glow About You?

College Street / Little Italy, Design, Rejuvenating the Button Factory

I’m all about mood lighting. Yes, I appreciate one should have task lighting for cooking (I don’t – I just light extra candles), enough wattage by a vanity to put makeup on (not that I ever do), and spot lights for security (instead I hang bags of tar and feathers with a tripcord above my exterior doors – thieves bewarned!). Yuppers, I”ve made a commitment to happily forgo all the sensible bright lights others deem necessary to live by in lieu of an abundance of mood lighting, most of which are on dimmer switches. Call me crazy but at my place come evening I, and every guest, looks ravishing and demure under the soft glowing lights in my home at the expense of being able to see anything clearly. If everyone looks good, they feel good! Which is essential for a sterling reputation as ‘International Host For The Dish And Lame-ish’.

Come check out some of my pieces!

First, nothing makes a style statement like a little bit of vintage. This 60s Danish Modern Teak Cone lamp does nothing but glow. A low wattage light bulb does the trick and voila, the lamp becomes an illuminating objet d’art! I picked this up in Victoria about ten years ago for CAN$95 and brought it home as my second piece of luggage on Air Canada!



Second, mix it up with a little contemporary. I really love these two pieces from Style Garage. One is their Lightstick from the Gus* collection (below). This six-foot-high stainless steel channel leans against a wall to create pleasing ambient light. It can secure to the wall and operates with a footswitch at a cost of CAN$600. The other is their Lightbox, also from the Gus* collection (above). It’s a glowing 18″ cube made from roto-molded plastic that is both a lamp and accent table all in one. I placed mine right inside my linen-ensconced foyer so I have a place to take off my boots during inclement weather. It costs CAN$375.



Third, be daring with one-of-a-kind. This lamp fixture was made by artist Tyler Doumas. It’s a lighting cord with vintage style bulb run up inside a music stand artfully wrapped in wire. The simplicity and effect is genius!



Fourth, go ethereal. When it came time for me to choose a pendant light for my soaring 26 foot high atrium lightwell, I knew I wanted a fixture that was eye-catching, yet not so bling it would steal attention away from the magic of the space. In fact, my overall design intention here at the Button Factory has been to let the architecture sing the melody with the contents being the accompaniment. This Mooi pendant lamp was the perfect solution. It looks like it’s floating, and when I open the skylights with my remote it creates an updraft which causes the lamp to slowly spin and cast a revolving pattern across the atrium walls. I knew on sight it was perfect. It came from LA Design on King Street West for CAN$1600.



Fifth, pair lamps but avoid being too matchey-matchey. My two bedside lamps are dramatically different but compliment each other. They’re both black with a metal finish, share a conical shade and provide enough directional light for reading without setting the room high voltage ablaze. The modern one was from Union Lighting (on sale for a reasonable CAN$95) and the other was made by a best pal Vincent Soto. He took an old damaged plaster candlelabra, smashed the top end to reveal the steel rods and attached a CAN$6 metal clamp lamp from Home Depot. Brilliant, like Vince!



Sixth, how about Art? This amazing photograph by Michael Rae is backlit by a light box. Called “Gus’s Van”, it’s a stunning night image of a van lit by a porch light. Given it’s backlit, at night it becomes an amazing focal point while casting a warm glow in my entertainment space. I adore it!



Finally, don’t forget your outdoors! Lighting the exterior of your home and your garden visually expands the size of your home, creates ambience and enhances your curb appeal, all of which are good for resale value. There are lots of companies which make outdoor lighting, or buy some outdoor floodlights and plug them into an extension cord with a timer. On the mews walkway I share with my neighbours I placed a pair of original factory windows beside my front door and uplit them with a floodlight. In my brickwalled garden, designed by the super talented landscape architect Dan Nuttall, a series of spotlights create a romantic setting ideal for summer evening trysts and holiday tableaus! O la la!



Here are two fantastic local retailers:

Style Garage
78 Ossington Avenue
Toronto, Ontario,


Union Lighting
1491 Castlefield Avenue
Toronto, Ontario
M6M 1Y3


Want to learn more? Here’s my Rejuvenating The Button Factory about the renovation of my unique urban space in Toronto, Canada.

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~ Steven and the urbaneer team


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