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“Self Portrait In A Brass Switchplate”

“This is what you look like, Mommy,” Sue asserted, handing me the portrait.  And I have to admit I look happy but certifiable.


Something about the eyes is just not right, and in that vein, I have decided to spend some quality time photographing the myriad of light switch plates throughout my new house because I think they are overwhelming and affecting me in some deep existential way.

(In my old house I switched out all almond switch plates to a clean white…it helped me psychologically in such a great way…)

I’ll start with this one because it has a certain design flair.


Please note that the brownish gunk on the “knob” part is not smeared maple syrup but was present when we bought the house and appears to be some sort of tan nail polish or glue.

(Maybe it is varnish?)

This next one has baffled us to no end, but I must say is lovely with the wallpaper sheathing.


Note the care taken to swath the plate in the hot colors  for 1992.  According to the previous owner, this is some light-sensor time switch that cuts the outside lights on and off at appropriate times.  Since we have moved in, however, the lights have remained on 24 hours per day.

Nothing will turn them off.  We even took the batteries out of that white apparatus.


Now for this next one, you might wonder why I would include it.  I mean, everyone has switches like this in their home, right?


Let me first assert that the mathematical possibilities for the various lights and ceiling fans linked to this device appear to be endless.  Turn one switch one way and one section of a ceiling fan turns on with no lights; turn the switch the other way, and some florescent lights begin to shudder in a troubling manner but the fan goes off.  I have personally spent hours trying to understand the complexities of this switch to no avail.

Still, for design and aesthetics, the juxtaposition of the textured plastics and forthright colors makes a certain statement.

Ok, these next two need no commentary:


“Brass is back, baby!”

I have titled this one: “Self Portrait in a Brass Switchplate.”


Nothing trumps the simple beauty of wood:


Gracing Sue’s bathroom, we find this trifecta:


One controls a heat lamp, one a fan, and one a light that can be found, fascinatingly enough, INSIDE the shower.  (It has a plastic cover.)  You can imagine the types of things that happen when all three of these are left on…

My final offering can be found in the master bathroom:


It appears to control some sort of bathroom heat lamp on a timer.  Yet there is no heat lamp to be found in the master bath.  Perhaps it dually controls the heat lamp in Sue’s bathroom?

Do you have any ideas?

On a bigger note, what should I do?

Posted on 26 February '10 by , under Humor/Disconnected Miscellany.

6 Comments to ““Self Portrait In A Brass Switchplate””

#1 Posted by Tari (26.02.10 at 23:44 )

the former owners were really into dimmers, weren’t they? how 70’s of them …
.-= Tari´s last blog ..Catching up on Reading =-.

#2 Posted by mrsbear (27.02.10 at 21:47 )

That’s quite an eclectic mix of switchplates. The previous owners were either delightfully eccentric, or quite possibly deranged. 😉

I’m sure you’ll do the new home justice. Promise you’ll get rid of the brass ones first.
.-= mrsbear´s last blog ..Viruses and Viruses – I Blame the Parents =-.

#3 Posted by Elizabeth (27.02.10 at 22:38 )

You know it’s funny, bear-lady, because the brass ones bother me the most as well. What’s frightening is that I could have continued this study! I’ve got solid black and almond and it just goes on and on!

#4 Posted by Danette (28.02.10 at 19:32 )

That’s a lot of variety :). I especially like the self-portrait.

btw, love Sue’s drawing of you, that is great!
.-= Danette´s last blog ..Wordless Wednesday =-.

#5 Posted by Patty (02.03.10 at 18:55 )

Wow, did you know you would need an advanced degree in electrical engineering just to use your light switches? Perhaps the real estate agent should have mentioned that…

It really makes one wonder at what the previous owners were trying to achieve here. Why such variety? Did they try one type and then think, “Nah, didn’t like that one. We better try a different one in the next room”?
.-= Patty´s last blog ..I’m NOT sorry anymore =-.

#6 Posted by hellokittiemama/MT (03.03.10 at 12:38 )

I think this could be the start of a coffee table book. Or at least, a bathroom reader!