I'm not sure what it is that makes a gas lantern so incredibly warm and wonderful, but the thought of a copper gas lamp on the front of our home simply makes my heart sing. There are different examples of gas lights on homes all over our area and we love the way they look regardless of the age or style of the home.

We've long thought about replacing the small electric front light on our house with a gas lantern but always felt it wouldn't provide enough light for the entryway. However, once we added French doors to the front of the house and a light in the vestibule the option of adding a gas lantern became a realistic one since it isn't the only source of light on the front of our house.

If you've been to New Orleans, you're probably aware of the iconic gas lights that adorn the walkways, alleys, courtyards, porches, and fronts of homes throughout the city. They're so prevalent that a specific style of gas lantern has been dubbed the "French Quarter" due to it's frequent appearance in that area over all other styles.

Last weekend while we were in New Orleans we made a stop in one of our favorite shops on Royal Street with the intent of taking the first step towards this major curb appeal transformation. Situated among the great antique stores and along side "Cafe Beignet" sits a specialty lighting shop called Bevolo Lights.

You may already be familiar with this name as their products were featured on the New Orleans episodes of This Old House several years ago. They've been custom fabricating copper gas and electric lights for a variety of applications for over 65 years, and we frequently see the small "Bevolo" name plate at the bottom of many of the lights around Old Town Alexandria.

When you walk into the shop you are immediately taken by the massive array of fixtures on display.

From small to large, simple to ornate, there's a light to match just about any style of home you can imagine, and they can custom tailor to your specific needs if one on the floor doesn't fit your fancy.

The store itself is in an old building with brick walls that opens onto a small courtyard area that the main store space flows into.

In addition to the custom copper fixtures, a mix of antique and custom chandeliers hang randomly from the ceiling.

The rear rooms of the store house other antiques collected by the shop's owner and are mixed in with other styles of lighting available from the store.

For example, these utilitarian shades sit above a back room's doorway. I love these simple copper shades and can imagine they'd look great lighting an intimate backyard space.

While I wandered around the store taking photographs of the beautiful fixtures...

...Wendy started talking with one of Bevolo's designers, Jennifer. Wendy told her a little about our home, its style, and what we were looking to do with the front light. Jennifer had some great input and started showing Wendy some of the various options and styles that might work for our home.

I've always been partial to the traditional four sided "French Quarter" lamp, but she showed us several others that might work quite well for the age and size of our home.

One very interesting style is a slight variation on a more traditional look. It's a six sided version of the four sided fixture that we see quite often. I do like the look, quite a bit actually, but worry the additional shape of the lamp may be too decorative or complex for the relatively simple facade of our modest home.

The various options associated with the selection of a final lamp are nearly overwhelming. From lamp style to bracket to size, it's no wonder why Bevolo offers their design service when purchasing a lamp. After all, these are all hand made copper lights, made to order for each specific customer, so they want to get it right the first time.

We're very excited about the possibility of changing out our undersized front light for a gas lamp. We have quite a few steps ahead of us before we reach that point, that's for sure. Beyond selection of the lamp's size and style, we'll need to get approval for the alteration from the Board of Architectural Review, permits for running a new gas line off of our existing manifold, and work with a contractor to run the new gas line up through the wall. It won't be an inexpensive endeavor nor a simple one, but we've taken the first step towards a new light, and that feels very nice. We've already been in touch with Jennifer since we arrived home and can't wait to get moving on this (yet another) project!

What do you think of our various options? I'm sure we'll do additional posts as we move through the project where we'll ask you all to weigh in on your favorite styles for our house. But are you leaning towards a more traditional look, something more decorative like the six sided look, or something taller, thinner, and more square? Would love to hear your opinion.

Comments 13

Comments

1/16/2013 at 3:33 PM
I love that store. Alan was less than keen on going in because we obviously weren't going to purchase anything. Instead we hit up the Apothecary museum (so much fun). I'd vote for the traditional style. Why change perfection?
Alex
1/16/2013
Well, the next time you're there it's worth stopping it. They have a lot of cool stuff. We have a local apothecary museum here in Old Town. It's the old local apothecary that was around nearly 200 years ago. It looks like something out of Harry Potter.

Thanks for the input, can't argue with your logic.
1/16/2013 at 4:19 PM
Gorgeous! Love the idea for your home. Hope to be able to visit Bevolo one day!
Alex
1/16/2013
Thanks, it's been in the back of our mind for a very long time. Always a dream to have a gas lamp.
Cheryl
1/16/2013 at 6:10 PM
I'd be taking a lot of walks and taking pictures of all the lights on similar houses. And maybe buying a similar 6 sided electric light and holding it up by the door and taking a picture - then returning it!

Personally I prefer the 6 sided one - very similar to the commonly used 4 sided one but just enough different to set you apart from the crowd.
Alex
1/16/2013
Good idea. We might need to do a whole "Gas light round up" post and we can lay them all out. There are a whole lot of cool ones around town.
1/17/2013 at 4:01 AM
Keep a full chamberpot or better still a stout iron horseshoe handy at the window up above, in case some filthy animal sneaks up in the night and tries to make off with it.

P.S. If you use the horse shoe run a cord through one of the nail holes so you can pull it back inside and blame everything on some passing hackster.
Alex
1/17/2013
I love the chamber pot/horseshoe idea. Will need to look into that! :-)
1/17/2013 at 8:48 AM
That would be the perfect finishing touch for the front of your house! If our house was a little older, we would have some gas lighting as well, but in Baltimore, residential gas lighting was pretty much a thing of the past by the 1910s except for the street lights.

After what happened with your downspout, you might want to think about electrifying the copper when you put it up! :)
Wendy
1/19/2013
Electrifying the copper...I think you're onto something there! :-)
Melissa
1/18/2013 at 9:27 PM
I bought a house here in New Orleans in a historic district (the Irish Channel) last year. I love my little Creole Cottage, but I am sad sometimes that it is not the correct style for all the fancy things that are available for renovating the Victorian homes here in New Orleans. Even with access to all that gorgeousness it would not be appropriate on my home..and the HDLC would bust me! They will make you remove anything deemed not appropriate, or they have the power to fine you and put a lien on your home until you pay the fines. We pretend to take our historic accuracy seriously her in NOLA!
Wendy
1/19/2013
Wow, HDLC sounds like they mean business! Your Creole Cottage sounds absolutely charming, Melissa. And what a wonderful location!
11/23/2016 at 6:57 AM

Great choice I love it, I would love to visit new orleans

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