Tuesday, March 1, 2011

DIY Week Post #3--It Takes a Village to Replace a Chandelier

Trash or treasure? Installment #3.
This installment isn't as photogenic. But it is way more dramatic in person.
Melissa at 320 Sycamore inspired this project.

I've hated the light fixture over our table since I picked it out. But my personal mantra is "A decision that can't be made in 20 seconds or less must not be too important." I was wrong. That does come back to bite me occasionally, but not often enough to change it. So I go with it and bandage the big bites on the occasions they warrant it.

This has been bugging me for almost four years.

I've perused Pottery Barn and Ballard Designs for a suitable chandelier-type replacement. But I haven't been able to warrant the expense--anywhere from $200-400, depending on size and manufacturer.
Something like this, $300 from Ballard:
Or like this one, $400 at Pottery Barn:
Or this one, which I found really unusual and cool from Pottery Barn:
But this was an expense I really couldn't justify.  I mean--a light fixture?  Ours was just fine, even though it was too dark and small for the space, and the contractor had hung it wrong and anyone over 5'11" would bonk their head on it since it wasn't centered over the kitchen table and there was no play in the chain.

One day I was reading my favorite blogs when I came across this post of Melissa's, with her $5 entryway update. She found her fixture on Craig's infamous list, so that's the first place I checked.

I wish I had a picture of this chandelier when I first brought it home.  The picture I took--hmm. I have no idea what the camera setting was on, but it wasn't good.  And I had to tweak it a ton in picasa to even get it to show up.  It doesn't look half bad in this shot.  If it had looked like this, I would have left it as it was.  If it had looked like this, it would have set me back way more than $60, that's for sure.
It was only $60. It has ten arms, but it was kinda--lackluster. A boring silver, but in great shape with beautiful lines. I brought it home, set it on the counter in the garage,then couldn't find time to get back to it.

A few weeks later, I got the project bug--last Friday, to be exact.  I decided I really liked the two-tone look, but I didn't want to paint silver.  I wanted it to be metal.  So, going against every fiber of my personality, I spent over an hour taping off all ten bowls, the bottom and top rings, and the brackets around the middle.  It was tedious, to say the least.  And I noticed that I'd broken one of the arms.  Uh-oh.  Brad works magic with epoxy.  That didn't deter me at all.
And here again is another weird picture where you can hardly see anything.  But I wanted to show you my cleverness.  When painting a chandelier (and I painted three that day, FYI), hang it from a basketball hoop.  It was awesome and easy, and it dried perfectly.

Over an hour to tape it off.  Over an hour to remove the tape.  Sigh.  Not my favorite thing.  But I convinced Brad to hang it, to center it over the table, to swag it just so.  I tried to get a picture of what the actual lighting was like in that room. Kinda dark.
It only took Brad a little over an hour and a trip across the street to borrow some electrical tape.  And this is what I got:
Ben wiping off the table, and a light fixture that is so bright when it's on that nothing else can be in the shot.

This is what my kids did when I asked them to move--they started movin' and shakin' but not obeyin'.
This shot above is before I straightened out all the sticks. And the one below is detail of how the taping off worked:
All told, $60 for the fixture and about $10 for tape and spray primer/paint.
I keep telling Brad that I saved him over $200, but he doesn't see it that way for some reason.  What's your opinion?  Trash or treasure?  Would  you have invested the time or just bought it new?
Thanks, Melissa, for the inspiration.


  1. I love it!!!
    Totally awesome. Great job good eye.
    Tell Brad that he just needs to keep hanging the stuff you're doing cuz it all looks great.
    No trash here!

  2. Oh Mother.... you fell for a prime marketing tactic. You didn't save ANYTHING. You spent 60 dollars. Sure that's less than you COULD have spent, but regardless of that fact, you didn't save anything. You never save money by spending it. Unless you're buying government bonds or something.

  3. Another treasure Jen...it looks fantastic! I did the same thing in our foyer after reading Melissa's post! I painted our ugly brass light fixture black and removed the frosted glass...I'm just waiting for my husband to hang it back up so I can get a picture!

  4. I will be excited to see how bright your dining room is now. Good job, again.

  5. Ummm yeah! TOTALLY worth the time and effort. It looks great, and your tape job was STELLAR!

  6. It's just like mine except mine is all black - I did paint the white candle sticks black. I love the two ton!
    And yes you saved a ton. I paid over $300 for it. Eeks don't tell Bret.

  7. you're 3 for 3 - treasure indeed! Love what you did to it - serious talent, my friend!!

  8. My husband came in last night as I was reading this post and started laughing just looking at the title!

  9. Please Jen- come to my house and work your magic. Home decor is so not my strong suit. I love the two tone, and yes it was worth it. Way to be a trendy t-rex!

  10. I think it looks pretty awesome! :) I think it's a treasure. Plus, it makes the room much brighter than it was before!

  11. Fabulous! I love the way you have the two colors...just put it on a dimmer and your set as far as the brightness!
    We bought our last chandy at the Thrift store for $30. It just needed a good cleaning and some lttle shades! So great to get a good deal!

  12. Jen~it is fabulous! I love the 2 tone and love even more that you thought to hang it from a basketball hoop. Truly a mom of boys :)

  13. Treasure! You could not get something with the two tones like that for that price.
    Great great job