When Scott and I closed on our condo waaay back in 2007, we were given a teeny, tiny credit to purchase lighting for the home. It had been recently rehabbed, and as the owner’s first occupants, they threw us a bone, so to speak, by allowing us to pick out our very own lighting with a very small budget. At the time, we picked out a few Ikea fixtures here, a flush mount there, and in the living room? A ceiling fan.
Looking back, we wouldn’t purchase many (if any?) of the fixtures we chose 7 years ago, and while we loved what our ceiling fan provided us – cool air! movement! – it wasn’t the most attractive; what ceiling fans are?
And now, here we are again, needing a ceiling fan for this living room. We don’t currently have air conditioning, and we were planning on sticking it out for a summer to see how hot it gets, and so far, we’ve been alright! It’s been a cooler summer than usual, we’ve got a killer cross breeze when we open the front and back windows, but we’ll see. In any case, we still wanted two ceiling fans for now, the other being in the studio.
The problem? Oh, there are many! Here was our wish list for both rooms:
• A white finish with clean lines
• At least 3 fan speeds, with a winter/summer switch
• 52″ wide
• A dimmable light
• A wall switch or remote (no hanging chains!)
• Within reason, price-wise
It didn’t seem that our demands were that nutty, but we quickly realized while searching online stores, Pinterest, and in-person that it was really hard to have it all. If it had a dimmable light and 3 fan speeds, it didn’t come in white. If it covered the first five bases, the price tag was out of reach. If it was white, had 3 fan speeds and was 52″, it didn’t have the option to add a light! Of course aesthetics played a large role, and it turns out there were other checklist items we were mentally adding to the list – a slim down rod, a maximum of 4 blades, sleek, but not too industrial. You know.
Scott, the smarty that he is, suggested we back away from the computer and turn to you, so we asked, where can we find a not-ugly ceiling fan?! You guys had a lot to say! (Thank you!) We hunkered down over your responses, scoured the web a bit more and wound up finding some finalists, some of which had us questioning all of our must-haves all over again (and we found ourselves running in circles more than once [punny!]):
- Casa Vieja Courier // 52″ // $250: First, it doesn’t come in white. I know, then what’s the point? The shape and style had our hearts, and we seriously considered the brushed nickel finish. Even though we’re not a brushed nickel family. But look at those lines!
- Casa Vieja Exclaim // 52″ // $250: Again, no white! Why? The schoolhouse-esque shade is too cute. The cutest, we think.
- Restoration Hardware Riverside Hills // 56″ // $319: It’s slightly larger than our ideal size, but it is quite beautiful! When we first saw it, we felt that it looked right for this style and period of home, but we weren’t ready to give up on the search for white – not just yet.
- Casa Vieja Turbina // 60″ // $260: We loved this one! Yes, it was large, but could we make it work? We were thrilled to see it in a white finish, but! The white finish was the only finish that didn’t have a light kit included! We had the option to add a light kit, however, (and for whatever reason!) that frosted shade and style was not available for white.
- Minka Aire Aluma // 52″ // $280: We really, really liked this one. We think. Do the screw holes look too visible?, we asked. But it fits the bill in every other way!, we said.
In the end? We went with #5, the Aluma! Two of them! It hit all the nails on the head – every. Single. One. (And quite honestly, it was the only one that really fulfilled all of our requirements while, most importantly, not having an enormous price tag. It’s just a ceiling fan, after all!) Our entire goal was to have a fan that blended in with the ceiling and didn’t compete with anything we decide to do with the room. It’s not meant to be a statement piece, but we certainly didn’t want an eyesore.
Of course there was some slight drama (who, us?) during installation, as this one had a wall switch to control both the light and fan independently of each other. We ended up having to run an extra electrical wire through the ceiling to be able to use it properly, for which we hired Harry again (love that guy).
The Aluma is so quiet. So cooling! So invisible! It has a flat white finish that really allows it to blend right into the ceiling, which is very, very nice. We truly love it, and while I wish this was the end of our story, sadly, there’s more to tell.
When it came time to run the necessary electrical for the studio, Harry found armored cable in our ceiling, making it not possible to do so quickly and efficiently. (Downstairs was a different story, as that was all brand new, not armored, and super fast to install!) He recommended that we find a different fan that has a remote, which will allow us to keep all the cabling as-is, and it will be easy enough for us to install the light ourselves (which was our original intent anyway!).
Back to the drawing board.
I did learn something that day, never having through twice about a wall switch vs. a wall remote. When in doubt (and especially with old cabling!), a wall remote is the safer choice, as there’s no hard wiring at the switch plate involved. However, I refused to let this turn into The Great White Fan Search v. 2, so I quickly jumped online and found one that had a remote and hit, again, all the nails on the head: the Minka Aire Concept I. I purchased it before I could think twice, called in the Aluma for a return, and dropped it off at FedEx so I couldn’t change my mind.
If I’m being completely honest, upon purchasing, I do remember thinking, well, I wish the blades weren’t slightly curved. And I wish there were 4 of them. And I wish it wasn’t so glossy. But then I got over it. (Note to self: Just get over it, Kim!) Not to mention, it can get downright chilly in here with this fan on! It’s a great fan! And it only took me 5 minutes to find it! (I suppose the hours of research for the Aluma didn’t hurt, right?)
We don’t want to think about fans again for a long, long time… or at least until we get to the bedroom. We love a ceiling fan in the bedroom, but perhaps that should call for something with more spunk. The opposite of invisible. A little bit of a show-stopper. Ha, that should be another interesting search! (We will see, we will see.)
Lastly, we can’t end this post without thanking you for all of your input. Really, you guys were amazingly helpful! And for those of you that mentioned in the thread that you were on a similar hunt, we hope this helped – even the teeniest, tiniest bit. Man, we feel you.