Selecting lanterns for our New England Home and getting approval from the historic commission

Note: Brass Traditions is a marketing partner of New England Fine Living

When we purchased our home, I knew right away I knew I wanted to have lanterns installed on either side of our front door, but there were several challenges. First we wanted to go with gas lanterns, but we were told the small gas line would most likely have to be an exterior installation due to the way our portico was built. I knew I did not want a pipe to be seen nor did I think our historic district commission would approve it, so I moved on to selecting electrified lanterns. The next hurdle was to find an electrician to take on the job. Working on antique homes can be a challenge and running wires to the exterior of this portico proved to be a challenge in itself. I had several electricians take a look and we were told there was no (easy) access from the basement and they passed on the project. FINALLY, we found an electrician who said he could use a remote/radio transmitted installation, where no wiring was needed, but he said he would be open to trying to run wires first, which was my preference, as long as I knew I would have some holes to patch up if it did not work. I laugh at holes and have no fear of repairing them myself, so I said let’s do it!

New England Home selecting front door lanterns

The next challenge was to find lanterns that would fit the front trim perfectly. From day one, I envisioned rectangular carriage-style lanterns and the hunt began. I drove to local lighting stores and found lanterns that would work, but were not perfect. Finally I decided to look on line. Oh and did I mention…. I was trying to find a New England-based company if possible.

When I happened upon Brass Traditions’s website, ! found just what I was looking for, AND saw they were based out of Connecticut; I knew I found our lanterns! Now, I just needed the approval of our Historic District Commission (HDC).

historic district commission presentation

Now for the fun part. I had to create a presentation for the HDC that would help them visualize what I easily saw in my minds-eye. I needed to not only show them what I would like to order, but where I would place them, and how their size would look on the home.

I ended up creating a quick sketch of how they would appear on the front column then…..

lantern sketch for New England home

I photoshopped two rectangles onto a photo of our home. I figured showing them two different ways was better than one. I did the same process for removing a chimney, adding a fence piece, removing a door, and changing windows. You will see those in past and future posts.

Brass Traditions Lantern

The night of the presentation went smooth and I was able to answer all of the questions including the metal finish, my desire to have seeded glass, even the bulbs I would be using, except for the flicker bulbs I will be adding for Halloween :-).

I ordered my lanterns and patiently waited for them to be made. Since Brass Traditions was a NEFL partner, I decided to drive to their location to pick them up and meet some of the staff I had been working with, but in all other cases, lanterns are shipped to the buyer.

And here they are! Safe and sound in our home. I’m loving the seeded glass. I am using this type of glass in our kitchen remodel as well. More on that later.


The photo below was while the lanterns were patiently waiting for our new electrician to come back and install them. This photo is now being used on Wayfair, which offers this lantern and a few other styles from Brass Traditions.

Oiled Bronze Lantern New England

TA DAH! After a couple of hours of drilling through our home’s post and beam construction and finagling wires around the granite foundation in our basement then up through the framing of the portico, our home finally has sconces for the first time since 1834 (as far as we know).

lanterns on the portico of historic home
oiled bronze lanterns on historic gGreek revival

If you would like further information about our lanterns, please feel free to send me an email or reach out directly to Brass Traditions. Here is their contact us page link.