Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Moravian stars

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In the kids’ playroom/study, there is a built in desk with an arched opening above it.  We put our old desktop computer there (and a kitchen chair from the early 90s), and made the space wide enough so that another chair can be pulled up to the desk.  I have done nothing with this space so far, and it is time to start making it feel more like home.  I have plans for a fabric covered homasote bulletin board so the kids can hang their artwork and creations, and I would also like to hang a light from the top of the arch, as it is wired and we have a switch hidden in the shelves to the right of the arch.

I think that a small hanging light fixture would be charming in this space .  What came to mind immediately is a Moravian star fixture; the arch looks a bit like a window, and Moravian stars are traditionally hung in windows or on porches during the Advent season.  A star pendant would add a lovely element of whimsy and beauty that would be perfect for a space where children spend a lot of time. 

Legend has it that the Moravian star originated in Germany at a Moravian school in the 1850s; they were originally made of paper and tradition holds that they were the basis of a geometry lesson. The stars can have any number of points, as long as they are based on polyhedrons.  According to Moravian lore, the Moravian star became a representation of the Star of Bethlehem, and was displayed on the first Sunday of Advent. The star is an outward symbol of the period of waiting and preparation for the celebration of Christmas. Image source.

Pottery Barn used to sell variations on the Moravian star light, but they don’t seem to have them in their line up right now. This is the Olivia star pendant (left, image source).

A more recent offering from Pottery Barn was the Reed star pendant, but it does not appear to be available anymore either.

However, with a bit of digging, I was able to find some good sources for Moravian star lights online.  Mermaid Hut in particular had a large selection of Moravian star lights available (click here for their selection). 

This colorful star from Mermaid Hut caught my eye, although if I go with a Moravian star I will either do the clear glass or the opaque glass.

Circa Lighting sells an opaque moravian star fixture in either 10” or 18” size.  http://www.circalighting.com/details.aspx?pid=798

This Moravian star light seems particularly detailed, because of the number of points. I love the look of the seedy glass. http://shop.moravianbookshop.com/browse.cfm/moravian-star-26-point/4,447.html

I came across quite a few inspirational pictures while searching Moravian star lights; this one is my favorite. The Moravian star usually has more points, and stars with fewer points are often called Stars of Bethlehem.  Either way, this is a light fixture that always catches my eye when I see it.  Normally I associate a star fixture with a whimsical or casual décor, but this hall is elegant and somewhat formal, with its groin vault ceiling, stone floor, and symmetrical furniture arrangement at the end. Yet, the star fixtures look beautiful in the area, relaxing the formality yet still providing a special touch.

The star fixture adds a bit of brightness to the kitchen.  Image source.

A star fixture works beautifully with the curve of the walls in this small nook. Image via Pinterest.

Image via Pinterest.

Image via Pinterest.

Image via Pinterest.

I love the idea of this light fixture in a kids bedroom.  Image via Pinterest.

I am particularly fond of the star shaped canopy where the chain meets the ceiling. Source unknown.

The star provides a dramatic contrast to the dark tones of this room.  Source unknown.

A whimsical light fixture works beautifully in this casual room.

This light fixture works particularly well in pairs. Source unknown.

A seller on etsy makes pretty moravian stars out of recycled cardboard – wouldn’t this make a pretty painting?  http://www.etsy.com/shop/ParkrosePretties

I am heading to Scott’s Antique Market this weekend to see what I can find for the space in the playroom – Moravian star inspired or otherwise! 

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  1. I love this idea! It is fun and makes a statement. Perfect for a kid space.

  2. Such a pretty and fun space for kids! I really like the idea of a bulletin board and a light fixture hanging down.

    Most star fixtures are big, this space looks like the fixture should be small, more pendant like. Circa's small star light is 10", I think that would work.

  3. It is exciting to get a peek at your house. I love the floor color - it looks like natural oak color. Cute space!

  4. Very clever! I also like your idea.

    Great post, sweetie!

    Have a great day!


    Luciane at HomeBunch.com

  5. What a great little and useful niche for your kids. The star fixture would be fun in that space for them and can't wait to see.

  6. Thank you, thank you, thank you! I keep admiring these fixtures in magazines, and didn't know where to get them. Great post.

  7. Lovely stars...

    In our country we have lanterns during the holidays that resemble those stars especially the one from Pottery Barn.

  8. Great idea and fun design element!! I like this idea a lot for the study which looks really cozy and beautiful. .Love all the spectacular examples you showed!!

  9. Love them, especially the larger one in the House Beautiful image. It would be perfect for your desk niche! Please show us your photos when it's done.

  10. anch'io ho un lampadario così, originale fiorentino, lo puoi trovare here: http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-z7yTBB762JQ/TYB1Vkav2UI/AAAAAAAAAzs/s-L_beXYnww/s748/DSCN2862.JPG
    ciao ciao

  11. Holly, I cannot believe you wrote this post! I was just getting ready to do the same post as I am hanging one of these in my back hallway leading to the playroom! I love the look! Great post!

  12. This will be an excellent design choice! Can't wait to see what you finally locate and hang!!!

  13. Love your blog and pointof view...I'm on my way to Scott's also....I will look for you!
    Bonny Neiman

  14. Hey Holly, At the suggestion of my designer, I'm putting one of these in my little girl's nursery. It's an antiqued silver star. A company out of Memphis called World's Away manufactures and sells them (usually to the trade). They also have an outlet in Memphis called World's Apart that sells them with minor scratches, etc. for a great price. They have different sizes and finishes if anyone is looking!

    Love your blog, used it many times as a reference during our recent kitchen renovation. Congrats on your new home, can't wait to see pictures! Marti

  15. Although I love all of the images, the alcove with the Moravian Star, Mexican retablos and Moroccan table really pulls me --a great embracing spot to chat. Thanks Mary

  16. I have one in my guest room.
    It makes the most delicious shadows.

  17. Love this post! I'm originally from Bethlehem PA (home of those star-loving Moravians) and now on the west coast. I miss seeing these all over the place. Guess what I'm putting on my xmas wish list!

  18. Can't wait to see what you find at Scott's this weekend! I've always tried to make a trip during market week, but never get to it! We have a Moravian star in our rear foyer, and I love it --- we actually got it from a recommended ebay person in Texas.... he has many from which to choose....http://stores.ebay.com/Moravian-Star?_trksid=p4340.l2563

    Good luck, I love the space!

  19. Holly I love the idea of this star hanging over the desk, How fun is that!? Great idea. Thanks for posting all the fun images, loved seeing them, Kathysue

  20. Holly -

    Any chance you can share your wall and trim color/manufacturer?

    Much Thanks,

  21. Hi - thanks for the comments!

    Paint colors are Ben Moore carrington beige on walls, linen white on trim.

  22. Just loved this post and learning something new, thanks so much, love the children's study area with the arched upper, feels perfect.

  23. the examples you have in this post are terrific.
    and in unexpected places as well.
    love that!

  24. Hi Holly, I enjoy your gorgeous posts so much. Do you have a library or bookshelves in your new home? I would love to see your take on bookshelf design and colours.

  25. Lovely post. The image of the dark library is from here: http://www.empirevintage.com.au/thewhitehousedaylesford/ It's designed by Lyn Gardiner, and is a house she owns that she lets out for vacations in Daylesford, Australia.

  26. It's going to be such a great look and one that has the fun aspect kids will love. but is elegant enough for adult taste!

    I put a star fixture over a client's tub a few years back and have wanted one for my own house ever since. I went on the hunt again recently and have several of these images you showed here and really enjoyed seeing so much new inspiration!

  27. I love that light fixture and I think it would be perfect for that little nook!

  28. Saw these at a restaurant recently. They had hung dozens at varying heights and sizes. Couldn't keep my eyes away.

    Thanks for the history lesson.

    Garden & Be Well, XO Tara

  29. I am a huge fan of the Moravian star and was stunned to find out that it originated in Germany since I grew up in New Mexico, where these are used in traditional Spanish/Mexican design. I have a punched tin Moravian star on my sideboard and recently ordered another clear glass one for from Direct from Mexico. It is well-made and was carefully shipped. Plus it's on sale for $86!

  30. those stars are really lovely. i would want to own one of them these days

  31. I love my moravian star in our entry. I had difficulty finding a fixture in a brass finish- finally located one at vaughan. Should you install a clear glass fixture, be aware that the old-fashioned looking light bulbs are fairly low wattage, and you might want more light in a workspace...


  32. The star would also cast such interesting shadows & light in that alcove space!

  33. Hanging Moravian stars during Christmas is not a common practice in our place. I'm going to have this star this Christmas for a change.

  34. Thank you for the wonderful inspiration. I have always loved Moravian stars.

  35. I love the Moravian start pendants and think it's a perfect choice for your charming niche!!

  36. Oh, this is such a wonderful round up, I will surely be pinning several of these. The Moravian star is a lovely fixture, I particularly like the look of them repeated along a long hallway!
    Nancy xo

  37. Would you mind sharing what you did on your hardwood floor finish? I love the way yours looks natural and fresh. Did you carry the light floors throughout the house? Thanks!!

  38. So that's what they are called! They are gorgeous too. I've got this linked to my stars post today as well, for inspiration!

  39. You sent me high-tailing it to Wikipedia. Being Moravian and having grown up in Winston-Salem, I was a little skeptical about the adjective being casually thrown about to describe anything but the traditional 26-point star. Looks like there's a bigger world out there.

  40. I have a victorian brownstone in NYC, I purchased only one but once it arrived I was hooked and now I am adding them all over the hallways and entrances. I was able to find them at directfrommexico.com for a great price. Thank you for the lovely pictures.


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