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Monday, April 9, 2012

the chairdelier

When designing a space I  love the rush of that split-second when you come up with an idea, a design, or a solution for a room and you just know that it's the right one!!    The vintage iron chandelier that I used as a light fixture in the barn mud room was one of those moments for me. 
I've found that going into a new space to decorate I will usually "see" 80% of the finished design (i.e. furniture placement, art, colors)  and the rest comes organically after living in, and with, the room.   The mud room between the barn room and the garage below is small, so I chose lighting that would illuminate the art I had planned for the staircase wall and also illuminate the stairs coming up from the garage below.  Two small lamps in the antique hutch light the path from the top of the stairs into the barn room.  Since the room is used as a pass through space I really only need ambient light, as opposed to "task" lighting.  After using the room for several months I realized that I wanted/needed a bit more light from the window area of the room.  I initially thought of putting a small table there with a lamp on it, but didn't like the idea for two reasons- one it seemed expected and two, it placed the light source a little too high for where I needed/wanted more light. 
It was during this time that I was unpacking unused antiques/accessories from boxes that had been in the attic since we moved here into the new storage room that sits right behind the mud room.   As I made one of my many trips into the storage room to unpack a box I noticed the vintage iron chandelier and then as I walked through the mud room the idea came to me to use the fixture in an unexpected way- not by hanging it, but by sitting it in a chair and wiring it as you would a lamp!  By placing the light on the chair it doesn't line up with the other light sources in the room and it causes your eye to move around the space, making the room feel larger and adding interest.

We purchased the iron chandelier years ago from White Elephant in Dallas.  I had originally wanted to hang it from one of our large trees in our backyard and light it using candles, but that project never happened.  The iron itself is really unusual- it looks like tooled leather!  The fixture was oiled, but I left the finish as I found it- with a little rust coming through.

Since the light fixture would be seen from the top looking down instead of how you usually view a chandelier (from the bottom up), and because the candle holder cups were so large I knew that I would need special candle sleeves for this piece.  I looked to a favorite source,  Lumiere Candles

I found the perfect sleeves in these large diameter solid wax candle sleeves from Lumiere.  These are real wax sleeves (though they do make a "resin" line for higher wattage bulbs) that are custom made to each order.  I have purchased real wax candle sleeves from Lumiere many times and have written about their quality products and good prices on the blog ( here.)  From all the great feedback I get from you, you love them as much as I do!! 
(In case you're new to the blog-  the owners, Paul and Lisa, have kindly offered a 10% off coupon for all my readers!   This is a permanent coupon, with no minimum purchase!  When checking out, simply enter the coupon code : FLOH in the "Coupon" box and then be sure to click "apply coupon" which will re-tally your amount.)

Look at those gorgeous drips!  Since the iron candle holders had an inch lip I specified that the drips stop an inch up from the bottom for clearance.   The sleeves are in "white" which I find works best for my Benjamin Moore White Dove trim paint color ( fyi: Lumiere's "ivory" has more yellow in it).

My very talented electrician (Dan ;) wired the chairdelier (name coined by said electrician;) using thin "chandelier" electrical wire which comes out from the bottom of the piece.  Thin wire holds the electrical wire in place.  This photo gives you a good view of the "tooled leather" look of the iron.

An old chain was added to create the illusion that I just sat a chandelier in a chair which adds a bit of whimsy to the space.

The chairdelier uses my new favorite touch-dimmer (here.) 
This 3-level (low/medium/high) touch dimmer only works on metal lamps.  You simply plug your metal lamp into a small box converter and then touch any metal part of the lamp and the dimmer activates: one tap- low, two taps- medium, and three taps- high.

gotta love the rush!!!


  1. Joan - At first I thought your post title was a typo error :-) Gotta say: your chairdelier is totally original, unexpected, and awesome! Very cool. Love the embossed / cast detailing on the iron arms. Cheers, Loi

    1. Likewise, chairdelier is really a new word to me, but it;s so cool I love how the chairdelier was made it's so brilliant.

  2. PS - I also love your antique corner chair!! Loi

  3. I love a room that has at least one pause for thought. When you spot something and go Hmmm, but it works for some reason it shouldn't. Brilliant!

  4. I've been waiting for this post. What an ingenious idea! I love how it looks, so casual and unplanned. Now I'm trying to think of where I can do that too. So cool! Nancy

  5. Very cool. Love the play on words.

  6. Hi Joan,
    When you first revealed the barn mud room I did not make the connection that this chandelier was actually plugged in! What a delightful idea, so fun and unexpected. I hope you don't mind but I have pinned it!
    I would love it if you visited my blog to take a look at my Easter tablescape which I am so tickled pink about.

  7. I have to say that I get that "rush" when I look at your rooms and the things that you do and the way everything is so perfect. Currently I am working on changing out my bedroom... carpet, paint, furniture. If I could get that "rush" just once when I try to re-do a room I would be tickled....I always seem to be disappointed. I never can get it just right. You are so very gifted. Best regards, wenda scott, maggieandme52@yahoo.com

  8. These candle covers are fantastic! I've been looking for something like this and the prices they offer are VERY reasonable! Thank you so much for this site!
    Blessings, Lorraine

  9. Oh, I so understand what you mean!!! I think I had that moment today when my painter finally understood that I didn't want "chalk" white on the exterior of the house, but a little creamier white (not cream) and he got it.

    As for your creativity...I am bowled over. What a fun and interesting idea. You've illuminated the mudroom and our imaginations!

    xoxo Elizabeth

  10. Joan, I love your and Dan's sense of humor and the bit of whimsy you've added with the chairdelier. And I truly wish I had a chandelier that I could use those large candle sleeves on because they look fantastic.

  11. Nice tooled leather patina on the chandelier. But a bit confused by your statement about the chain creating the illusion that you just sat a chandelier in a chair. Seems to me you did sit a chandelier in a chair on purpose to added whimsy to the space. Which is an interesting choice to obtain the ambient light you wanted.


  12. Imogene- sorry for the confusion... I simply meant that if you were to see a typical working (i.e. electrified) chandelier you would see the electrical wire woven through the chain, and because you don't see that in the fixture one might assume I had just placed a chandelier in the chair, but the fact that it "is" electrified is the surprise. Hope that helps!

  13. This is just brilliant! I LOVE it! And tell Dan I like the term chairdelier too:):) The tooled leather look is awesome. XO, Pinky

  14. Gorgeous Chairdelier!!! I love the chair also...this little room is beautiful! :) donna

  15. Brilliant and original!!!!


  16. Love it! Good thinking! Now, to find that store White Elephant, here in Dallas!

  17. Kristel- they are on Riverfront Ave (which used to be Industrial Ave) in Dallas. Here's the link...
    Tell Kay Ross (the owner) hi for us if you get there!

  18. I like it that we can all relate to the excitement of getting a brain storm of an idea..... and then making it happen, well that is a rush for sure.

    I think the chairdelier fits the space really well, and it's very clever of your in-house electrician to coin the phrase.

  19. You're an amazing pair! It totally fits you and the house!

  20. Hi Joan,
    I to decorate in a similar fashion. I will have a space or a spot on the wall and find the perfect chair, mirror, or dish for it. And think how perfectly it fits. How it was almost made for the spot. However I didn't plan for it but it always fits like a glove. And it can be anything. Furniture or a nick knack. That's what I love about playing house! The excitement I get when about to fall asleep and some plan materializes in my drowsy brain and the next day I might be moving a mirror or a console or get something in the mail from eBay that fits perfectly in a spot! I love your house and style. You seem like a kindred spirit!
    Yours, Joseph.

  21. Joan, I'm always amazed at your creative ideas and attention to detail. What a unique idea, and perfectly executed!

  22. First, your blog is wonderful and your home absolutely stunning. You are clearly very talented and I would love to see some of your other design projects if that's possible?
    Re: the chandelier on chair - both are independently lovely pieces but to me this feels too contrived. My grandmother in law lives in a very old home and this type of "unexpected" combination is the norm at her house, but it's the result of a hundred or more years of stuff on stuff and a 91 year old who would find something like this functional and who would not be bothered to fix it. The fact that it was very thought out in a clearly new and perfect space makes it seem a little too intentionally quirky.
    I would never have commented on this if it weren't for this post but since you are inviting comments... It's one SMALL detail though in an otherwise pretty perfect home.

  23. Your chairdelier is beautiful and unique and sure makes a great conversation piece for this beautiful space. I like the candle sleeves. Very nice! Pamela

  24. Your chairdelier is beautiful and its purpose and placement is sheer genius Joan!

    Your choice appropriately puts a whole new spin on the idioms 'the light bulb went on' and 'thinking outside the box...es.' :)

  25. Love the "chairdelier" and those big sleeves are wonderful- thanks for sharing the link and the coupon!!!


    p.s. Anon Seriously?? Joan graciously opens her whole home to us and the only time you are compelled to leave a comment you want to tell her the "one" thing that you don't agree with? Geez, what an a-hole. Why don't you send Joan photos of your house and we can all see if we like every single thing in it.

  26. Joan,
    This is so brilliant...as one commenter said, "pause for thought"...kinda love that. It's so beautiful and I love that you left the iron as is...with a little wear and tear. I'm also thrilled to actually know where to get solid wax candle sleeves. I've heard about these and need them for a pair of old lamps, but never really knew where to find them. I love the chair, the way you want to illuminate your space in just the perfect way...it must make you so happy every time you pass by.

  27. I love this -- it looks great!

  28. You are so clever, Joan! Love the chair. Love the chandelier. Love the chairdelier! And, leave it to you to know exactly the right place to find candle sleeves :)

  29. Anon,
    As I said, I love Joan's blog and her home and would love to hire her to decorate my home if I could. I don't blog about my home because I'm not a designer, it's not a career I am launching into etc. She posted about the chair, and I posted a response. Is that not allowed on design blogs? I thought it was an exchange of ideas?
    Joan, I didn't mean to be rude in anyway - your home is absolutely STUNNING.

  30. Hee hee - love your 'chairdeliera'!! original and suits your space perfectly! I love the way you amend lighting fixtures to get them right. I've got a new crystal chandelier that I'm going to do a 'Joan' on! It needs an old chain and those candle sleeves (- great to get 10% off!!). Thank you for all the inspiration!


  31. Completely love your house, your taste and your iron chandellier! Blue green is my favourite shades too and have some of it going in on in our house ...dining room and some in the nook and even my Le Creuset dutch oven pots are in the sea foam blue green colour! Small touches of this colour through out the house means complete loveliness to me!
    Your home is a huge inspiration too, I stared at the images of each of your rooms many times! And likely will do again ((: Thank you! Z


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