I go on a nightly neighborhood lighting patrol. Sort of.
When our family divvied up the dog duties, I drew the just-before-bed nightly walk. Albus, our 9-year-old cockapoo, gamely trots around the block while I curse the neighborhood porchlights.
Okay, I do not curse the porchlights. But I do wonder how my neighbors would react if I dropped a little note in their mailbox politely requesting that they update their outdoor lighting. I have even considered offering my immediate neighbors new lighting at no charge. Why? Because most porch lights are picked for style, not substance. And, as you can guess from reading other blog posts, most light fixtures are absolutely horrible at… light.
So today, in a continuation of my 1THING: New Build series, I make my choice for better front porch lighting. I considered recessed downlights, but those are best for sweeping the porch floor and I am highly unlikely to ever be found with a broom in my hand after dark. I considered lanterns that hang over the front door, but those are not as ubiquitous as the either-side-of-the-front-door porch lanterns found on nearly every home in my neighborhood.
Porch lanterns or sconces next to the front door go way back in time to when they served a purpose in announcing the location of a home and door and providing the best possible light for 1722. Our forbears had just one option for light: burn something. Since candles rarely burn well upside down, and were rather dim, clear-glass lanterns were the epitome of luxury at a time when glass was expensive.
We are still putting nearly identical lanterns on the fronts of our homes despite three hundred years of progress. There are quite a few technologies of the 1700’s that we are happy to give up (who goes to work on a horse these days?) but apparently outdated lighting is not among them.