CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Things are looking a bit different in the east wing of the state Capitol.
Or, more accurately, things are looking the same.
The state Supreme Court recently completed $40,000 of renovations to its section of the Capitol in an attempt to become more faithful to architect Cass Gilbert's original 1920s designs.
The first things visitors notice are the lights.
Other light fixtures in the Capitol have a slightly cold, greenish look, indicative of the low-power fluorescent bulbs now widely used in homes and office buildings.
But the light outside court administrator Steve Canterbury's first-floor office is decidedly warmer. It casts a more pleasant, yellow glow on the marble walls.
Each of the fixtures has been retrofitted with low-power LED bulbs that use even less electricity than fluorescents.
But Canterbury said LED bulbs -- short for "light-emitting diodes" -- have another key benefit. Unlike fluorescents, LEDs can be tuned to various light "temperatures," going from a very cool, blue light to a very warm, red color.
The LEDs in the Supreme Court's wing of the Capitol have been tuned to match the light emitted from incandescent bulbs in the 1930s, when the structure was built.
To make sure the color was correct, a contractor came to the Capitol with a collection of antique bulbs, screwed them into the light sockets and adjusted the LEDs to match.
"It's a nice emblem of what we could do with the rest of the Capitol," Canterbury said.
The court also has added tiny LED spotlights on top of each lighting fixture to illuminate the ceiling above.
Now, details that have remained hidden by shadow for years are suddenly on full display. Intricate designs and detailed murals of Greek gods populate the ceilings.
"I never noticed Neptune was there before we installed these lights. Now I can see the individual whiskers in his beard," Canterbury said, noting the woodcarvings near the east wing's elevator. "Now you can see those and they look so good."
In addition to his duties at the Supreme Court, Canterbury is a non-voting member of the Capitol Building Commission, a board of the Division of Culture and History charged with overseeing any changes to the Capitol complex.
He's a stickler for historical preservation and a big fan of state capitol architecture, having visited numerous statehouses around the country. Canterbury said West Virginia's Capitol is particularly important, and not only for the Mountain State.
Cass Gilbert was one of the most prominent architects of the early 20th century, arguably the most important designer of the neo-classical style that was so popular in those days.