This attitude has been the basis for much of my interaction with our newly acquired Edwardian four-square. Nothing wrong with the house - just... plain. I suppose that's what happens when you strip a hundred-year-old structure down to the studs and start over. Loses a bit of character, no? So I've made it my mission to add back that which was sacrificed to the drywall gods. Hence the addition of crown moulding, wainscot panel in the dining room, and the ornamental trim in the bedroom and living room. As many of you may already understand, however, the problem with upgrades is they are prone to contagion. Once you make a substantial improvement, it can make everything around it look out of place. And with that, I submit for your approval... [drumroll]... [and here you will note I am calling upon my undergraduate education in history and french to effectuate a witty allusion]...
L'Affaire du Lustre (trans. The Chandelier Escapade)
|Silk waiting to get sewn.|
|The pantone fiesta, aka the living room.|
|Elysee by Bernardaud. Gilt pattern over sky blue background. Uses a solid sky blue charger.|
And that's when it hit me. Could it really be that simple? Seized with this flash of genius, I bolted over to the china cabinet and removed one of our solid blue chargers. I dashed into the other room, returned with my basket of acrylic paints and started mixing madly. A few minutes later I had about a teaspoon of paint roughly the same color as the plate. A light coat on the room's leeward wall confirmed my happy suspicion: Yes! It works!
So I dashed off to the Home Depot, returned with a gallon of paint matched to my self-rendered sample, and had the room completely coated before the afternoon was through. I was really delighted with the result, but my joy was unfortunately somewhat short lived. Changing the wall color had made the room look so bright and coordinated that the plain iron chandelier above the dining table now looked like an impish little black spider spinning its way down from the ceiling. It had to go.
|The former chandelier. Yuck.|
|Crystorama's Delilah chandelier. Right concept, wrong everything else.|
|Elysian Fields chandelier by Progress Lighting, co-branded as Thomasville.|
A few weeks beforehand, I received my long-awaited silk shipment only to discover that my first choice shade of teal was out of stock and that the manufacturer had been so thoughtful as so send instead what he considered a very close substitute. It was, in fact, quite close. And very pretty. But it simply did not work with the red walls. The shade I had originally chosen was sort of a dull teal with a sage sheen. A pretty neutral tone. The replacement, however, was a vibrant version of the same hue. Needless to say, the juxtaposition was a comic overstatement. So I set about figuring out what color could possibly tone down the ultra-bright curtains. I settled on a monochrome palate and had some paint mixed in a sage-toned blue-green. After painting the room, I just couldn't decide how I felt about it, especially since the dining room was still red. So I decided to just leave it alone for a while.
|The settee (pre-curtain hanging) and its biggest fans, our spoiled kitties.|
|Silk pillows. Center is curtain fabric embellished with leftover crystals from my wedding dress|
The chandelier arrived about 3 days later, and I quickly set about planning its makeover. I used the assembly diagram to plot out where I wanted to place the prisms and how many of each size and style I would need. The final count was 192, a quantity which I split among almond and french pendalogue shaped drops in sizes ranging from 1.5" to 2.5".
|Almond prism (above)|
While I was waiting for the crystals to arrive, I worked on changing the finish to antique gold. The original finish was a dark bronze (called brandy by the manufacturer) so I simply painted the entire frame with oil based gold leaf paint and then added some antiquing glaze and gold sheet leaf to highlight the carved features. Mr. Delta and I had picked up a large ceiling medallion on sale at a home improvement store a few months beforehand, so we applied that to the ceiling before getting Howard (our handyman) to hang the fixture. I probably could have done it myself, but I noticed when I was taking down the old fixture that the mounting box was slightly dislodged from the stud, so I called Howard to fix the problem and he was nice enough to go ahead and hang the new chandelier while he was up there.
|Room view with new paint and chandelier.|
The prisms arrived shortly thereafter, and so did the mini-magnets, which I had chosen, after much consternation, as the means of affixing the prisms to the chandelier base. In other words, I do not weld. I'm crafty, but I'm not Flashdance crafty.
|Neodymium ring magnets. Tiny!!|
I chose 3/16" diameter by 1/8" thick neodymium ring magnets, which have about 1 pound of holding power under ideal conditions. Although the prisms only weigh a few ounces each, I found this size to be the absolute minimum because the magnets had to stick to concave and convex surfaces on the chandelier base. Affixing the prism to the magnet proved to be the trickiest part of this exploit. Soldering proved impossible because the heat demagnetized the magnets and there was not enough surface area connection between the magnet and the prism pin to use glue. I finally ended up making little half centimeter loops of fine wire and hooking them through the top of the magnet. It took me about a day and a half to prepare all of the prisms and add them to the base. The worst part was trying to keep the prisms fingerprint and debris free. Harder than you might think even with plastic gloves. In the end I think all of the hard work paid off. It really is exactly what I envisioned in the room, and for less than the alternative would have cost.
|Room view taken from entry to living room|
I'm relatively happy with the look. I was even able to accessorize with this adorable 1920's cherub clock that I found in an antique store in Atlanta for $22. Kind of my favorite part of the whole room.
|There's my clock! Also, flowers. One of my better attempts at amateur florism, probably.|
Until later -----