Television in an Historic House

A picture of the Samsung the Fram television with a gold frame from DecoFrames

Choosing a Television for an Historic House

We want to provide the best television for an historic home, but television viewing angles didn’t get much thought in 1883 when the Broughton Street House was built. This post has been updated to include how it all worked out. Pictures at the bottom!

What we would now call the “living room” was a parlor. The parlor’s primary function was receiving guests. It was a formal room where a host would put their finest seating arranged to facilitate conversation. To that end, hosts would orient seating in front of a fireplace for maximum comfort of the guests. In an exceptionally fancy house there would be two parlors: the formal front, and the informal parlor in the middle. An example of this layout would be the beautiful Andrew Low house.

Owners typically closed off back rooms such as the dining room and kitchen behind doors. In a typical Savannah-style townhouse like the Broughton Street House, there are pocket doors that can be pulled shut. For dinner, preparations would occur behind the closed doors while the guests waited in the parlor. Once ready, the hosts would open the pocket doors and present a bountiful table ready for guests.

Times have changed and people expect to be able to turn on a sporting event, check the news, or binge watch a series when the weather isn’t cooperating. We get it it, we do it, too. So here we’ll discuss choosing the best television for this historic home and how we’re making it work. When you come to Historic Downtown Savannah we want you to have everything you need at the Broughton Street House.

Vacation Sometimes Need Televisions – Like Them or Not

The previous owners of the Broughton Street House had deliberately avoided over-emphasizing the television. I respect that decision. It’s difficult to place today’s giant screen televisions in a historic house in a way that doesn’t dominate the room and draw all attention to the television. At the Broughton Street House the rooms are beautiful and multi-purpose. How many times have you sat down in a living room and realized there’s nothing in your field of view except a giant electronic box? You naturally reach for the remote to figure out how to use it. We’re not going to take that route and instead we’re going to put in the best television for a historic home.

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A Well-Lit Home

A Well Lit Home Saves Energy

It’s a minor change, but I’m a big fan of LED lighting. When we purchased the Broughton Street House many of the light fixtures had traditional incandescent bulbs, and some halogen. Incandescent can make a beautiful soft white, so I completely understand the choice, but in the last decade LED has really come into it’s own with bulbs that are either tuned to a specific color temperature, or that are actually tunable by the home owner to reach the specific color temperature you want. We can have a well-lit home that is also very energy efficient!

One of our favorite blogs for interior designs for hosting recommends 2700k lighting, and we definitely agree. Here at our primary residence we’ve switched most bulbs to 2700k LED, with the exception of locations where I’m using open filament LEDs for an antique look. For the Broughton Street House, we’ll be using 2700k, and luckily for us Home Depot sells multi-packs at a very economical price in almost every bulb size.

Replacing Bulbs

Starting at the carriage house, there were 10 overhead canister lights in the kitchen area, living room area, and over the bed. It’s going to be easy to have a well-lit home when there are so many fixtures to work with! There are more in the bathroom, but I actually want to experiment a little further before replacing those because in bathrooms 3000k color temperature is sometimes appropriate to mimic daylight for dressing and makeup application.

For the carriage house we’re just replacing the bulbs , not the can lights themselves. For the main house, especially the kitchen, we may choose to replace the cans for that flat, one-piece look.

The original bulbs were 65W each, and we replaced 10 of them in one shot.
The original bulbs were 65W each , and we replaced 10 of them in one shot.
The new bulbs are the same size, tuned to 2700k, and just under 10 W to operate.

A Well-Lit Home Actually Saves Energy

So we achieved our goal of a well-lit home

, but there’s more. LED lights last longer than incandescent light by far, usually 12,000 hours or more compared to 1,000 hours. So, less maintenance and less waste. Even better, they are more efficient. You might not realize just *how* much more efficient, though. In this case, we replaced 10 65W bulbs that burn out every 1,000 hours with 10 9.5W bulbs that should last 12,000 hours. Using an average Georgia power cost and because Home Depot sells these things in multipacks that bring the cost down to around $2 each, replacing these bulbs pays for itself in about 2 weeks.

Over the course of a year we save roughly $937 based on energy savings and bulb replacements. Not only will the Broughton Street House be well-lit, it will be energy efficient as well!

It’s definitely worth the time to get out the ladder and make the swap. Over the course of the next several months we’ll be replacing all incandescent and halogen bulbs throughout the Broughton Street House. It reduces cost, reduces heat produced by the bulbs, and reduces the maintenance we have to do over time. Most importantly, the Broughton Street House will be well-lit. Energy savings, efficiency, and a better guest experience.