Monday, April 4, 2016

A Farmhouse Chandelier Makeover

Ok, so I'm sure you can tell from the title what today's post is going to be about.....a makeover story.....about a chandelier.....a dreamy farmhouse my chandelier.

So since you already know what it's about, I won't keep you in suspense.

Let's just cut to the chase and show it to you.

Ain't it purdy?!?

Do you want to know how much it cost me?  $100?  Too high.  $75?  Nope.  $50?  Keep going.  $25?  Still too high.  $15??  Lower.  $10?!?  Even lower.  $5?!?!?!  Almost there.  $4???  Yep!!  You got it, a budget breaking, whoppin' total of FOUR dollars!!  Can you believe that?!?

It didn't always look like that though.  It started off looking like this.

But I'm getting ahead of myself.  Let's back up a couple of years and I'll share a story, a two year story about the search for a chandelier.

When we moved into this house the family room was connected to the kitchen, carpet and all.  Yuck!  But I had always dreamed of a big kitchen and dining room being all connected.  I envisioned a big farmhouse table with a farmhouse style lighting fixture above it, etc etc.  So we turned what was the family room into our dining room so that it would be connected to the kitchen.  I didn't have the big farmhouse table (and still don't) and for the time being we just put in a really basic ceiling fan from Walmart. But I always had the dream of a better lighting fixture in the back of my mind.  

So for two years I've casually searched at yard sales and thrift stores for the perfect find.  
I've researched online to see what styles "spoke to me."  I scoured Pinterest for farmhouse chandeliers and lighting fixtures.  What I discovered was this; the style of farmhouse lighting that seems to be popular right now is basically anything and everything repurposed.  While I do like the occasional one that has been upcycled, most of them seem hokey to me.  Like somebody was just trying to get more pins on Pinterest or more visits to their blog because they added an LED touch light to a car engine, hung it from some strands of jute twine, and called it a chandelier.  I know that's a bit extreme, but that's how some of them seem to me.  The other thing I didn't care much for on the repurposed fixtures is that the light output often times seems very minimal and impractical.  We have a large dining room and I would need something with more than one bulb to keep it well lit.  So I determined that I was not really looking to repurpose anything.  The style I kept coming back to time and time again was the more primitive/colonial style of chandeliers.

Something along the lines of these:



But the problem was that those types are always so much more than I'm willing to pay or can even afford to pay.  

There have been a few times that I found something that I thought could work.  One time at Lowes I came across a chandelier that was somewhat similar to this style and it was on clearance.  I stood there and stared at it and debated, but ended up leaving the store without it.  After I got home I kept thinking about it and wishing I had bought it, so the next morning I called Lowes to see if they still had it, but alas, it had just sold....15 minutes before I called.  Wasn't meant to be I guess.

Another time I saw one in a local used furniture store for $40, but I passed it up.  I didn't love it and it didn't have any special story to it, so I let it go.  Yet another time I saw one in a Habitat Restore for $50 that I knew I could repaint and fix up and make it work.  But $50 seemed like a lot of money to me since I was trying to save money for our laundry room makeover as well as saving for the built in shelving unit my brother was going to do for me.  So I passed it up too.

THEN.......the same week my brother came up to start building for me, my parents were also here visiting for the weekend.  Saturday morning my mom and I were just sitting in the living room drinking coffee and chatting when I remembered that a little retirement village just down the road from us was having their community yard sale.  Hubby agreed to keep the kids so Mom and I hopped in the van and drove the mile down the road and did a quick 15 minute pass through their community building where it was being held.  Sitting outside in between a beat up old recliner and some pressed wood cabinets that were falling apart I spied two chandeliers.  And let me tell you...they were UGLY!  I almost didn't even walk over to look closer, but I figured it can't hurt to look so I went over anyways and that's when I found it.

It was so ugly, right??

But....I could see the potential,  because when I moved the sticky nasty chain and the ceiling mount piece that someone had carelessly swiped white paint across, I found this.


A perfectly authentically worn wooden center section.

And once the globes were gone I could see it had great, basic colonial-style lines to it. 

 I knew it would take a lot of work because this thing was NASTY dirty, covered in sticky nicotine and dust and rusty.  

Did you just throw up a little in your mouth? 

I was thinking in my head that if it were around $5 I would be willing to chance it possibly not even working and also to put in the work necessary to clean it up and transform it.  When I asked about it the man looked at me like I was crazy for wanting it, but told me, "How 'bout $4?"  Big grin...."I'll take it!"  :D

 So I toted it home and had Hubby check the wiring to see if it even worked before I got too excited about it.  It did indeed work so during that week that my brother was building shelves for me, I got busy working on this.

I put on some rubber gloves and took some Krud Kutter (amazing stuff by the way!), a scrubby, and an old toothbrush to it.  Just look at all that nastiness that came off of it!!!  Bleck!!

While I was cleaning it I was thinking that I would need to buy a can of flat black paint to paint the arms and candle holder parts so that it would match the flat black of the middle wooden piece.  Then I remembered that I still had half a can of chalkboard paint left from other projects and that, essentially, it would have a flat black finish.  So I taped off the wooden middle section because I wanted to leave it just as it was and I painted the rest of it with the chalkboard paint.  It worked perfectly.

You can't really tell it in the pictures, but the candle cover pieces were really nasty, too.  They were orange-ish in some spots, I guess from age and the nicotine.  I wasn't sure if I wanted them to have a drippy candle look like some of the primitive/colonial style ones have or if I wanted them to be plain black, so I started by painting them black.

It was MUCH improved, but it was just TOO much black for my taste.  I looked online to see if I could buy the drippy wax looking candle covers and I could have, but I didn't really care for them because they looked SO fake.  I studied them a bit and realized I could recreate (and improve) the look on my own using hot glue and not have to spend any money.
So that's what I did.  I used a glue gun and made the wax drips, then used some white primer paint I had and covered up the black.  Once that was dry I gave them a top coat of ivory paint, which I also already had. 

It needed just a little bit more character so the last step was to add a few touches of Spanish Copper Rub-N-Buff here and there on the edges to give it a bit of an aged look so that it wasn't just plain black.  (Though, honestly, when the lights are on you can't even see the aging details.  It just looks black.)  I already had the Rub-N-Buff so that made the cost of this makeover.....totally FREE! 

If you look closely you can see the aging details around the rim of the candle holder as well as some touches on the ridged part underneath.

And here's how it looks in the dining room.

I absolutely LOVE it!!  
And I love that it has a story all its own.  And I love that I spent so very little on it.  And I love how much character it adds to this room.  Are you getting the idea?  
I love it so much! 

I had to do quite a bit of searching to find a "before" picture that showed how the room looked with the ceiling fan because whenever I took pictures of this room I did my best not to let the fan show because I didn't care for it.  But I did find this cell phone picture from 2 years ago where you can see part of the fan.

It's amazing how much brighter the room is now!  I didn't think going from 4 lights on the fan to 5 lights on the chandelier would make that much of a difference, but I didn't take into account the fact that the light would now be bouncing off the white ceiling instead of just shining down.
It makes a huge difference!

Let's take one more look at the before and after of the transformation, shall we?

The key to having a home you love is to have the patience to wait for the things you love. 
 If you're surrounded by things that have a story or just simply things that "spoke to you" then you'll always enjoy being in the midst of them.  It doesn't matter where you find them, it could be a thrift store or a yard sale, the side of the road, on clearance, or even full price at a huge department store.  Where it comes from doesn't matter, the fact that you love it and you connect with it does.  So be patient when you're looking to fill that empty spot in the corner.  The perfect piece will come along and if you settle for just anything in the meantime you will have wasted your money and ended up with a home you love a little less.


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  1. You my dear are simply amazing. I love ALL of your post!!!

  2. Love. The trick with the hot glue... great job!

  3. Stephanie, oh are the bombdiggity and master crafter of all. I am always like how does she come up with this? Love it, and now I need one. Ha! Hugs, Di

  4. Wow. You did an awesome job. It looks so beautiful and authentic.

  5. WOW girly-Q you did a wonderful job and your dining room is perfect!!!!
    How are the munchkins??? I bet that babygirl is growing like a little weed in the Florida sunshine! Give them all a hug for me, and tell hubby is GREAT for keeping the littles while you went to the sale!
    Hugs to you too and blessings,

  6. You're amazing! But then, I already knew that. �� Awesome job!


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