I came to Portland by way of Texas, where I was an assistant to an antique dealer / flea marketer. With my passion for old stuff, it was only a matter of time before Rejuvenation became a part of my life. It was actually my former boss who encouraged me to apply at Rejuve.
“They’re right up your alley!” she said. “Plus, you get a free bus pass.”
In 2008 I started as a humble (and happily overwhelmed) sales associate in our Portland store, spending some time moonlighting in our web antiques sales department. Eventually I was promoted to Lighting Lead, and began helping customers and staff in our Portland store grok the ins and outs of our lighting collection.
I’m the resident light bulb nerd, and spend way too much time talking about incandescent, carbon filament, and compact fluorescent lighting. Secretly, my deepest passion is door hardware, both new and old. I have been known to spend far too much time helping a customer get their Door Set of Destiny!
In 2009, our store’s Plumbing Lead, Foley, and I started Tales from Rejuvenation, video shorts about our company and our products.
Two truths and one lie about me:
I was drawn to Portland by friends I made at a comic book convention.
I repaint Hummel figurines to make them look like Portland hipsters.
I collect Robin Hood books and ephemera, and have over 150 books in my collection.
I love all the telltale signs of past inhabitants a building can carry. Taking a close look at the details, you can begin to see the story of how things used to be. Sometimes it can be charming and informative; sometimes it’s a “what the heck were they THINKING?” moment.
The building that houses our Portland store has been configured and reconfigured so many times, it’s filled with doors to nowhere and beams that don’t reinforce much. My favorite is easy to miss: the markings on the wall in our salvage department from where there once were stairs. (You can just barely see the STAIRWAY sign that’s still up there for sentiment’s sake.)
Our customers have made their mark to our showroom over the years, too. The floor is lovingly worn right in front of our hardware boards. It’s clearly been the spot of much contemplation!
The house I live in was built in the 1890s and has seen many changes. At some point the kitchen was reconfigured so that there was a floor register venting hot air right against the wall. Someone had the clever idea to make a built-in pantry right above it… with a foot or so of clearance for the hot air to escape.
I call this space “The Kitty Condo,” because my cats pretty much live there all winter. (As you can see, they move their food bowl to ready snacking.)
Does your home bear the marks of the past, good or bad?
You can faintly see that the socket is threaded… This is called an “uno” socket, and it’s threaded so you can screw on a fabric shade or a shade holder for 2-1/4″ shade. People have been making lights just the way they want them for a long, long time!
Here’s a question we hear in our Portland store about three times a week: Are light bulbs going away?
The answer is Sort of.
Back in 2007, the Energy and Security Act was passed. Its stated goal was
To move the United States toward greater energy independence and security, to increase the production of clean renewable fuels, to protect consumers, to increase the efficiency of products, buildings, and vehicles, to promote research on and deploy greenhouse gas capture and storage options, and to improve the energy performance of the Federal Government, and for other purposes.
But really, its secret goal was to confuse us about what was going to happen to our incandescent light bulbs.
When you turn an incandescent light bulb on, a current runs through the filament, heating it to the point of producing light. Almost 90% of the energy consumed by these bulbs is lost as heat. (That’s why the Easy Bake Oven you had as a kid could cook a cake-like substance using just a bulb!)
While the Energy Act doesn’t explicitly ban incandescent bulbs, it does place restrictions on how much energy a bulb can consume to produce a certain amount of light. Unfortunately, incandescent bulbs can’t really be any more efficient.
Does this mean you have to change out all your light fixtures that take incandescent bulbs? No way. The screw-in base most bulbs use isn’t inefficient on its own. You’ll be able to buy screw-in bulbs for the next hundred years.
The thing to remember is that this is not a blanket ban. You’ll still be able to find lots and lots of incandescent bulbs, including:
What you won’t be able to buy is the bulb we use in 75% of our light fixtures: our friend the A19, seen at the right.
You may remember in an earlier post of mine, I talked about how every lightbulb has a letter and number assigned to it. The letter identifies the shape, and the number identifies the size. The A19 is what we think of when we think “light bulb,” and you probably have dozens in your home right now.
The A19 will be phased out starting with the 100W in 2012. By 2014, 100w to 40W will no longer be available. Bulbs higher than 100W and lower than 40W will still be on the market, as will specialty bulbs in that range like the ones I mentioned above.
The hope is that we will switch to considerably more efficient options like CFLs and LED bulbs. I’m excited about the change, because as people buy more and more energy efficient bulbs, those bulbs will continue improving. Today CFLs are worlds better than they were even five years ago, with superior quality of light and start-up time.
As Jan mentioned in my earlier post, CFLs do contain a small amount of mercury, and have to be disposed of properly. (Some studies estimate that only 25% of CFLs are!) To find out where you can take your light bulbs for recylcing or disposal, visit lamprecycle.org . I’m always shocked by how few people know about this, so if you take a moment to be evangelical about this website resource to your friends and neighbors, you’ll earn serious brownie points with me.
If you’re in the Portland or Seattle (and soon in Los Angeles) area, you can bring your CFLs in to us for disposal, even if you didn’t originally purchase them from us.
Ultimately, don’t fear the bulb ban! When incandescent bulbs were invented over a hundred years ago, overconsumption of energy wasn’t on anyone’s mind. Nowadays it’s not only best for the planet, but best for your wallet. (We saved roughly $1,000 a month in energy costs after switching the lightbulbs in our Portland store to CFLs!) Think about your lighting needs, pick a smart alternative, and you’ll be juuuuuust fine.
Our Salvage department is the heart of our Portland store. There’s nothing quite like finding that perfect bit of old stuff to polish off a project.
Though we mostly work on the reproduction side of the store, Foley and I both love mucking around in salvage — talking about its history, getting excited about finds, and getting our hands dirty. Spend a couple of minutes digging through door sets, windows, and sash weights, and it doesn’t take long to wind up with hands like this:
We made this video so you could poke through the salvage department from the comfort (and cleanliness) of your own home. Enjoy!
While I love talking to customers in our Portland store about our reproduction lighting and hardware, I enjoy the heck out of playing with the old stuff in the Salvage department. There’s nothing quite like seeing something you’ve never seen before, like this cool old sign.
The rotating blades on this Beaver Street Beer sign would have revealed different colors so that you would get different effects when the motor ran at different speeds. (I think if I had consumed a few beers, this sign might have given me trouble with a stomach full of sea food, but perhaps that’s just me…) Take a look at its patent for an idea of how it might have looked in action, back before its color wheel melted (!).
How cool are those deco accents? Our favorite part is the sound it makes when it’s revving up — like a jet engine prepping for take-off!
We also enjoy choosing to read this as ”Sandwiches on Draught.”