Building a new home: lights! camera, and the big chandelier

It’s a funny thing building a home.
(I know I’ve said that before)
But really, it’s such a learning process!  Some things you can anticipate; some you never can.  And often you spend months searching, and researching, and stewing over photos of the perfect tile or flooring or light fixtures.  MONTHS!  And then you finally make a decision and order it (so that it’s ready to be installed on the proper day) and then the stuff just sits there for another few months til someone gets around to it!

On the other hand, you will make some huge decisions spur of the moment—like the design of our fireplace—and it will turn out beautifully and you’ll love it.

You never know how the story will go.

…or when the story will lighten up.

And then one night you’ll happen to drive by the house and notice….
WE. HAVE. LIGHTS my friends!
The electricity is ON.
And the house takes on a new personality.


If you’ve missed my other posts, our family spent the last year building a custom home in the Austin, TX area.
We didn’t physically build it ourselves—we hired a custom builder to do the hard part; we were along for the decision-making ride.

Check out my previous posts documenting the whole process:
We’re building a new home!
Groundbreaking Party
From foundation to frame 
Stucco, shingles, and a pretty paint job 
Sheetrock, paint, and a double-decker deck
We moved!…and an ode to the old house
Tile, Flooring, Countertops, and Color 
Guest Room makeover 
Mosaic Tile and Wallpaper

One of the most surprising moments for me with this whole process was the day these boxes showed up in our garage….which is hard to believe since we’d already experienced many other surprises, like all the wrong windows being delivered and installed, floor tiles being run the wrong direction, tan colored grout with gray tile….

But one afternoon I pulled into the garage and saw these:

It’s hard to tell the size.  But the box on the left is huge!   I really should have taken a picture with the kids standing next to it for size.

Anyway, after inspection I realized  Oh!  They’re the ball light chandeliers I ordered for the entry way and stairwell!  I couldn’t wait to see these in person…..I knew they would be interesting.

And they totally were.

But I guess what surprised me is well, the size.
I ordered what I thought was a small and a “large” ball for the house. But what I thought was going to be the Large, was actually the Small.  Which means that the Large was more like an XXL in our entry way! I worried for days that it was going to be way too huge until it finally went up, and I saw that it actually fits perfectly in the space.  And looks really pretty above the front door.

The smaller orange ball hangs in the stairwell and the two really play off each other, bringing in subtle pops of color and more of that modern-beach-home-craftsman-whatever-my-style-is look.

So the lights are called Coral, by New Zealand designer David Trubridge.   He based this design on the ocean coral he loved as a child.  And when I saw these in a local Austin store I knew they would be one of my “splurge” items for the home.  Funny enough, the design really ties in with the headboard I bought months later for the Guest room.  I love it when design features come together.

These lights come in so many different styles and colors and are really unique! I love how it looks in the gorgeous home from Uraguay:

And the other interesting thing about the lights, is that they’re sort of like a puzzle.

To keep down on shipping costs, the lights are packaged in individual pieces in a very small box.  Then the customer puts it all together with small brads, holding each piece of coral in place.  Crazy right?!

The good news for me is that, since we ordered through the lighting store, they put both balls together for us.  And it only took them 3 days.  Ahh!
Actually, Casey would have loved that challenge.
He loves puzzles.
I however, love shortcuts.
And I loved it when these little pieces turned into a huge ball!

I’m so happy with the character they add to the house, especially since it’s one of the first things you see as you walk in.

They look gorgeous in the morning light when the sun peeks through that very tall 2-story window,

and in the middle of a bright white day.

And ready for this…..

They’re really fun at night!
This is the other unexpected surprise that never really sunk in til the first night we lived here.  They might look a little spooky in these pics, but I promise it’s more subtle in real life.  Both balls glow a light shade and cast interesting shadows.

Since you’re probably wondering…yep.  We’ve already had a toy mishap.   Poor Owen.  He wandered downstairs in tears, nervous to tell me what had happened, and slowly pointed to the light.   And I just had to chuckle—there was Mr. Prickles, stuck in the giant jail of Turquoise.

And in case you also wondered…it was no easy task hanging those lights as well.
Just one dude, climbing a ladder, balancing 20 feet above the ground.

Totally safe, right?
I’m just glad I wasn’t there when he hung the giant blue ball, which is two-stories up in the air.

Those are the joys of having someone else take the risks for you.
I just hope those light bulbs never run out.

Sick of ball lights?
Then here’s some yellow to mix it up.

In the kitchen I selected the Farm Pendants by Young House Love from Shades of Light.  I pretty much love everything about that last sentence.  Seriously, check out all the lights they offer. They’re fantastic! And such reasonable prices. I love that I did NOT have to splurge and still got the look I was going for (btw, check out my lighting board for all sorts of links).

Even in a room full of chaos the yellow pops out.

Of course they look a little better like this.

And that’s a colorful wrap.
Have a good weekend friends!

  1. 1) Cammie

    The blue ball is what I wanted for my entry when we built last summer. Sadly, my budget was minimal by the time I ordered our lighting. Luckily I found something that I love just as much! I’m hoping and praying the lights never run out in my sea-urchin-of-death too. The poor electrician was a little scratched up after installing the light. Thanks for sharing your beautiful house!

  2. 2) Jen

    l love your home! You did a fantastic job!

  3. 3) Tracy

    Oh my gosh, it’s hard to express how much I ADORE those lights! I wanted one so bad for my sons nursery 4 Yeats ago, but it just wasn’t in the budget. They look absolutely stunning in your home. So gorgeous!

  4. These are so cool! Love your style and home.

  5. 5) Allison Hansen

    Oh, sweet friend! It ALL looks so amazing. So proud of you Willards!

  6. Amazing! That shadow play… But also the orange and aqua colors inside really add to the experience!
    Here’s hoping that the bulbs wob’t have to be changed often! 🙂

  7. 7) Jane

    Awesome! I’m from nz and am really familiar with these delish lights. As soon as I saw your blog it made me smile – now I’m completely convinced by your great taste! His jewellery is stunning too.

  8. 8) Sheila Perl

    Thank you for sharing your beautiful new home and your amazing lights!! I just love the shadow play on the walls, they are stunning.
    I also like how you mixed in the aqua backsplash and the yellow lights in your white kitchen..gorgeous!! 🙂
    You have lovely taste.

  9. 9) Julie C

    LOVE! LOVE! LOVE! Dana thanks so much for sharing- my mind is racing right now with ideas of how I can use something similar! Can’t wait to check lighting board-my kitchen is ready for new lighting 🙂

  10. I’m really curious how you got the monkey down…

    • 11) Dana

      It was actually easy to just reach over and grab him….well, for an adult that is. I just held tightly to the banister and didn’t look down 🙂

  11. 12) Leslie

    When I saw this post I knew the lights were by David Trubridge. They are designed and made in Hawkes Bay, New Zealand, where I live! The aesthetic is perfect for your house.

  12. 13) JO

    I LOVE your house! The colors and details are fantastic!

  13. What fun lamps! I hope you are enjoying the fruits of your labor. Thanks for sharing this with us 🙂

  14. 15) Kelly Ooo

    We are just on the finishing end of building our new house from the ground up. And I soooooo wish I was brave like you to use some colour. My plan is to add colour with decor but at the moment, with no furniture inside, our house is 3 colours – white, black and grey :-/

  15. 16) iralee

    i love the lights!!!! they are really cool. the shadows they cast seem creepy to me! lol like something from nightmare before christmas or coraline….. it would probably scare me!!! and how in the world did that toy land in that light?? what are the odds?!?! lol

    • 17) Dana

      haha. Yea, the lights are a little more subtle in real life than they seem in the pics.
      I promise it’s not a Halloween house! 🙂
      As for the toy….well, I think Owen was throwing things from the top floor to the ground, and yep, he landed right in the middle. Of course we’ve had multiple conversations about never throwing anything at the lights, and reminding friends not to do that….which is why I think he was so sad when he accidentally did it. Poor guy. I told him it was okay….and It was actually easy to just reach over and grab him out of the fixture….well, for an adult that is. I just held tightly to the banister and didn’t look down 🙂

  16. Those look awesome! Apparently I’m the only person so far who’s curious enough to ask how you got the toy out of the lamp… 🙂

    • 19) Dana

      It was actually easy to just reach over and grab him….well, for an adult that is. I just held tightly to the banister and didn’t look down 🙂

  17. I love your home! Unbelievably beautiful!

  18. 21) Chrissy

    So…. how did you get Mr. Prickles out of “jail”?

    • 22) Dana

      haha….It was actually easy to just reach over and grab him….well, for an adult that is. I just held tightly to the banister and didn’t look down 🙂

  19. I really really love all the colors and your light choices!

  20. 25) Rebecca

    Gorgeous! I’ve had my eye on that light for a while now. It looks amazing.

  21. Oh how I can relate to you opening thought. We are just moving on to the plumbing, electric is half finished and drywall comes next. Stressing over the finishes and keeping it all in budget while still making the your new home an extension of you and your family is ROUGH!

    It makes my heart happy that you found pieces that are so YOU. Almost all my shopping is done and things are coming together. I hope it all turns out as wonderful as yours has.

  22. 27) Shanna @ Pineapple and Coconut

    I LOVE these lights!! We have been remodeling our home and the main theme is beachy and the aqua coral light is exactly what I want for over our front entry. I think the big one might be TOO big. I am looking online to order since it doesn’t look like there is a local store in Vegas that carries them. Which sizes did you get? I see there is are Coral 400, 800 and 1000 but it doesn’t say the exact dimensions. I will keep looking but was wondering which ones you had exactly ( by the way I bought your beach robe pattern a few years ago and have made a ton for my kids and for gifts for friends so so so cute!!!) Thanks! Shanna

  23. 28) Nicole

    Our movie theater has those same lights in the foyer. I was staring at them going “where have I seen those?” Then I remembered your blog 🙂

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