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Home Design with Kevin Sharkey

The Mighty Lightbulb

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My triptych vanity mirror.  A gift from Alexis.

1 My triptych vanity mirror. A gift from Alexis.

The replacement bulb for the mirror from The Light Bulb Store.  I love the look of the vintage box.

2 The replacement bulb for the mirror from The Light Bulb Store. I love the look of the vintage box.

Here's what the bulb looks like.  I'd never seen this type before.

3 Here's what the bulb looks like. I'd never seen this type before.

It has a long shape and base contacts on each end.

4 It has a long shape and base contacts on each end.

This is a reproduction of an Edison bulb.  The earliest lightbulbs were hand-blown and had small nubs at the tops that were caused by the removal of glass tubes used to remove air from inside the bulbs.

5 This is a reproduction of an Edison bulb. The earliest lightbulbs were hand-blown and had small nubs at the tops that were caused by the removal of glass tubes used to remove air from inside the bulbs.

A collection of incandescent bulbs from a 2002 story in Living.  I like seeing the filament inside clear bulbs.

6 A collection of incandescent bulbs from a 2002 story in Living. I like seeing the filament inside clear bulbs.

Incandescent bulbs today are formed in molds and the air is removed through the base.

7 Incandescent bulbs today are formed in molds and the air is removed through the base.

Some specialty incandescent bulbs.   Two of my favorites are the one with the reflective coating on the top half that directs light downward and the pink bulb that gives off a warm, soft light that is complimentary to faces.

8 Some specialty incandescent bulbs. Two of my favorites are the one with the reflective coating on the top half that directs light downward and the pink bulb that gives off a warm, soft light that is complimentary to faces.

Compact florescent bulbs are more energy efficient and last longer than incandescent bulbs.  The technology has come a long way since their introduction and their light quality is much better.

9 Compact florescent bulbs are more energy efficient and last longer than incandescent bulbs. The technology has come a long way since their introduction and their light quality is much better.

Halogen bulbs are also long lasting and energy efficient.  All of the recessed lighting in my apartment uses halogen bulbs.

10 Halogen bulbs are also long lasting and energy efficient. All of the recessed lighting in my apartment uses halogen bulbs.

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I love the long shape and look of the filament.

13 I love the long shape and look of the filament.

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Shortly after I finished renovating my bathrooms, my friend Alexis gave me a beautiful, vintage triptych vanity mirror as a gift. I really love it and knew it would look great in my master bathroom. The mirror is European and has a type of light bulb that I had never seen before.

Unfortunately, the bulb broke and I have been trying to find a replacement bulb with no success. I did some research and found an amazing source for all types of light bulbs, The Lightbulb Store.

I contacted them and spoke with Larry Birnbaum, the owner.  I described the broken bulb to him and read off any information on it that I could. Before I even finished the description, Larry knew the bulb exactly and said that he was pretty sure that he had it in stock.  He needed to go into his warehouse to check and said he would call me back. About 15 minutes later, Larry called to confirm that he did have the bulb.  I was thrilled and received it in the mail a few days later.

Larry is passionate about light bulbs and his business and it really shows. His shop, located in South Hackensack, NJ, is open to the public and carries every size, shape, color and function of bulb imaginable.  You can also order online directly from his website. There's also a great history of light and lighting section on the site under "About Incandescents", with interesting facts and images.  If you're searching for hard to find bulbs, be sure to visit the The Lightbulb Store.

This search got me thinking about the power of the lightbulb itself. Here are some of my favorite lighting looks that put the  bulb front and center.

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The simplicity of this lamp is what I'm drawn to, I would love to use this in a bookcase. (anthropologie.com)

1 The simplicity of this lamp is what I'm drawn to, I would love to use this in a bookcase. (anthropologie.com)

The gesture of these pendants remind me of raindrops. (nichemodern.com)

2 The gesture of these pendants remind me of raindrops. (nichemodern.com)

This diamond inspired lightbulb needs no further embellishment. (erictherner.com)

3 This diamond inspired lightbulb needs no further embellishment. (erictherner.com)

The lamp almost serves as a work of art. (brendanravenhill.com)

4 The lamp almost serves as a work of art. (brendanravenhill.com)

This is a more industrial way to showcase a specialty bulb. (anthropologie.com)

5 This is a more industrial way to showcase a specialty bulb. (anthropologie.com)

The mix of industrial and glam are what make this lamp so unique. (rejuvenation.com)

6 The mix of industrial and glam are what make this lamp so unique. (rejuvenation.com)

It's all about the bulb! (restorationhardware.com)

7 It's all about the bulb! (restorationhardware.com)

A beautiful graceful shape. (simonpearce.com)

8 A beautiful graceful shape. (simonpearce.com)

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Comments (2)

  • Another good source for hard to find bulbs is Light Bulb Depot... they have locations all over the place. http://www.lightbulbdepot.com.

  • Kevin,

    great pictures of different lights and their bulbs, but when you were fortunate enough to find the one you wanted order some more for the future and store them away.

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