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Publication Date: 2015-05-11

Behind the Design

Studio Visit: Glamorous Lighting from Michelle James in Red Hook

Michelle James, a former fashion stylist and jewelry designer, segued into lighting design when she overhauled her turn-of-the-century Brooklyn brownstone in 2010. Unable to find lighting fixtures to fit her exacting standards, she was inspired to create her own using vintage parts (in homage to the history of the house), which she made in her basement workshop. James recently moved her studio into a high-ceilinged, light-flooded space in Red Hook, where she and her team assemble her one-of-a-kind pieces.


The showroom area of the new Red Hook studio features several fixtures at various stages of development. "I used Benjamin Moore Simply White and Witching Hour on the accent wall. The antique brass Martini Side Table and the Tangier Bronze Stool are from West Elm; the sofa was a gift from a friend."

A weighty chandelier made from a mix of vintage glass globes. SHOP: Brilliant 5 Globe Fixture, Michelle James (price upon request)

Another view of the reception area.

The Brutalist Wall Sconce with hammered antique brass finish. SHOP: The Brutalist Wall Sconce, Michelle James (price upon request)

Tools of the trade on display.

Simple pipe and plywood shelving holds a selection of glass elements sourced on eBay and Etsy.

Left: The Brilliant 5 Cube Glass Fixture with Vintage Glass in situ. Right: Glass globes ready for assembly.

The 9-Arm Fixture with Vintage Glass Jewelry and blackened and natural brass finish components. SHOP: Axis 9 Arm Fixture with Vintage Glass Jewelry, Michelle James (price upon request)

Left: Michelle in her studio. Right: An Art Deco Chrysler Glass Globe Pendant illuminates a hallway. SHOP: Art Deco Chrysler Glass Globe Pendant, Michelle James ($1,350

See more at Michelle James Interior and Lighting Design. Photography via Michelle James.

Text by Julie Carlson


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