NEW TIMES How long have you been in the lighting business?
FARRIS I opened the business in 1978. I had a large store at Santa Barbara and High and eventually retired and moved home to Avila Beach. People were calling me so much, asking me for information. I became flattered enough to open another business. It’s just me, and a phone and a fax machine.
NEW TIMES Do you ever find yourself imagining the history behind your antique lighting fixtures and making up stories?
FARRIS Often. Usually, with my background, I can pretty well determine the era within 10 to 12 years of the date of manufacture, and country of origin.
NEW TIMES What’s the oldest antique light fixture you’ve seen come through?
FARRIS I convert a lot of antiques into fixtures—I’ve converted an abacus, a clarinet, a Tibetan prayer wheel. I’ve got a couple of antique Victorian light bulbs, first developed in the 1880s.
NEW TIMES What lighting do you think you look best in?
NEW TIMES Do you know the answer to every “how many does it take to screw in a light bulb” question?
FARRIS Probably yes, over the years.