January 26, 2013

CHANDELIERS 101

CHOOSING THE RIGHT CHANDELIER AND GETTING IT HUNG PROPERLY

Whether you're a traditionalist, modernist or somewhere in between, light over any table is always necessary.
Does that mean you have to have a traditional chandelier, per se?
Hell-to-the-No!

Today, chandeliers have many purposes; whether your using one above a banquet table in a formal dining room, over a small round table in the kitchen, or over a multi-purpose table at one end of the family room.

SOME PRACTICAL REASONS FOR CHANDELIERS (et al)
  • Centers and anchors the table in the space.
  • Makes the tabletop and what happens on it easy to see.
  • Creates ambiance for meals, buffet table settings or games.
  • May add a different design element to a room.
  • Can make a cold, modern space feel cozier without going traditional.
  • Can make a traditional room feel fresher and more up-to-date by using a contemporary one.
  • Fixtures with real candles can give a wonderful ambiance to any style room.

The chandelier market is sooo flooded with zillions of shitty, overdone light fixtures, most of which are totally crap-ola that it's hard to find a good one, and then once you do, how do you determine if it's correct for your room?


FIXTURE DEFINITIONS


CHANDELIER: Usually, a multi-armed fixture, often with candles or globes; can have real candles or electrified candles.



LANTERN: A fixture without arms; the candles, bulbs or globes are surrounded by a glass container which can be round, square or any shape; often hooded.


PENDANT: Often a modern or contemporary light fixture, usually without arms. A lantern without glass is a pendant.


CEILING MOUNT: A fixture for a small space; it's attached snugly to the ceiling with no chain or drop at all. Often for hallways, or low ceilings.



RECESSED: A fixture which is recessed into the ceiling; sometimes called a 'High-Hat' or 'can' which emits light through an aperture which is flush with the ceiling.



It's All About Scale and Appropriateness!!

HERE ARE CHANDELIERS SCALED PROPERLY WITH THE TABLES BELOW AND HUNG AT THE APPROPRIATE HEIGHT WITH THE 9' CEILINGS

CHANDELIERS


BELOW, LANTERNS HUNG AT THE APPROPRIATE HEIGHT AND SCALED PROPERLY WITH THE TABLE SIZES BELOW THEM

CHANDELIERS

HOW TO MEASURE FOR EIGHT FOOT CEILINGS
  • Fixture should be 30" off the table top  if  it has a down-tapered bottom. (you know the kind, often with a ball at the bottom)
  • If it has a flat bottom it should be about 36" to 42" off the table top.
  • A lanterns base or bottom tip should be 30" off the table top.
  • NEVER buy a traditional chandelier that is wider than it is long! It's dumb looking..looks like a country club hallway or casino.
  • Don't get a chandelier that looks heavy (if you can't see through it, it's heavy).
  • Fixture should never, ever be wider than the table its over.
  • A fixture should not be more than two-thirds the width of the table its over (a round or banquet style table!)
  • Never use two traditional chandeliers over a banquet table, regardless of how big the table is, looks like a conference room.
  • Smaller scaled pendant fixtures (usually contemporary) are OK in multiples over a banquet table.
  • Don't use a medallion, Period.
  • Do NOT use a rusched fabric cord/chain cover.

NINE to TEN FOOT CEILINGS
  • Fixtures should be 32" - 43" off the table top
  • Fixtures should be approximately 36" to 48" wide
  • Medallions are OK, but needs to be very simple. 
  • Lanterns should be 38" - 46" off table the top
  • Flat bottom fixtures should be at least 42" off the table top
  • Two lanterns over a banquet table are OK, if of a simple design

TEN FOOT CEILINGS AND ABOVE
This is hard "absentee" as several factors become more important: The overall volume of the room; the design of the fixture; the shape of the table and what else is going on are ALL important in the overall decision. Here's a few loose guidelines.
  • Fixture should be 36"-43" off the table top
  • Fixtures should be Greater than 36" wide but no wider than 52" (usually).
  • Lanterns should be 48" off the table top
  • Lanterns diameter shouldn't be greater than one-third the width of table.

OTHER GUIDELINES

  • Fixtures should almost always be centered in the room. They can be tweaked a bit to provide space to pass in front of buffet or a heavily used passage, but it shouldn't be visually obvious.
  • Round table: Lantern diameters should be not be more than one-third of the width of the table its over.
  • Round table: Lanterns shouldn't be smaller in diameter than one-quarter of the tables diameter
  • Banquet table: Lanterns should not be less than one-third of the tables narrowest width.
  • Banquet table: If a chandelier or lantern is used with real candles, it should be supplemented with at least two (depending on table length) recessed lights placed directly over the table, half-way between chandelier's outer edge and end of table.
  • Recessed lights should be (4" diameter) halogen.
  • Use one recessed light for each 36 inches of banquet table top (outside the chandeliers diameter)
  • Do not place recessed lights above the chandeliers arms as it will create shadows.
  • I also prefer recessed lights supplementing an electrified chandelier. The point is: The recessed lights light the table top, making the settings sparkle and food look appetizing while the chandelier is dimmed, creating the ambiance and flattering light.
  • Make sure your box in the ceiling can handle the weight of that iron chandelier you just bought! Ask where you buy the fixture "what is the fixtures weight?" then the electrician installing it can accommodate it properly.
  • Traditional fixtures should  always  have clear flame-tip bulbs.
  • If your using small shades use white/opalescent (hard to find) not frosted, torpedo bulbs (without the flame tip).
  • If you're using shades, choose simple ones, don't make them too decorative. I usually prefer parchment (translucent, semi-opaque or opaque)
  • Never, ever, ever think to place the chandelier high so you can have some huge-ass flower arrangement in the middle of the table, flowers should always be low so you can see the person across from you, stick with the aforementioned chandelier height guidelines.
  • Chains should be thick, and have some weight. The chain you buy at Home Depot is crap, you need good quality chain. Ones with decorative links are OK.
  • Seedy glass vs. clear glass: Seedy glass is good for fixtures where you can't reach to clean often. It's good in Mediterranean style homes. Clear glass is almost always the most elegant, however.
  • Fixtures are best when in they compliment other finishes in the room. That's not a firm rule but a guideline. A chippy-white finish can totally update a Colonial Williamsburg style chandelier; whereas a polished nickel finish on a large lantern make it appear less bulky
  • Candles: Whether real or artificial  must  be white, ecru or cream. NO drippy wax, not burnt wax edges, etc. Real beeswax covers are sometimes OK, but they get very dirty as they're real wax and hold the dust like a magnet.
  • Wooden chandeliers are almost always country looking (Venetian wooden ones are quite high-glam though). They're wonderful for rooms with, or needing patina.
  • If you have a room with a very high ceiling and bulb changing or cleaning is a challenge there are electric lifts specifically for light fixtures. The electric lift lowers the fixture to any set length for cleaning and the entire mechanism is recessed in the ceiling. 973-Standard Light Lifts 810-Aladdin Light Lift Hawkins Electric Supply

TRADITIONALLY STYLED CRYSTAL FIXTURES

These below are all gorgeous interpretations of traditional chandeliers. They are perfect for creating patina and are not overdone with details

Add Image

CHANDELIERS


COUNTRY STYLE CHANDELIERS
Less formal, less busy, more patina; they're are good for interiors with a theme. e.g., French country, English cottage, Italian villa,
Vegas-Tuscan, etc.

CHANDELIERS


"TRANSITIONAL" FIXTURES
These are good in homes that want a fresher look, yet have some warmth in their character. These are all available in many different finishes too.

CHANDELIERS
CHANDELIERS

MODERN, LARGE PENDANTS
Easy on the crystals with modern fixtures
they'll "date" very quickly!

CHANDELIERS

CONTEMPORARY & TRADITIONAL SMALL PENDANTS
Be careful with Pendants, they're becoming quite overused
now days. Modern, Murano ones tend to look very Starbucks'y

CHANDELIERS

TRADITIONAL LANTERNS
Always good, safe designs; the different finishes
(blackened iron, nickel, polished brass, bronze)
can make these go from traditional to transitional easily

CHANDELIERS


CONTEMPORARY LANTERNS
Also available in many finishes

CHANDELIERS



BAD CHANDELIERS...

CHANDELIERS

RULE-OF-THUMB
If you see it everywhere, Furniture stores, Catalogues, Restaurants,
or at Home Depot, etc. YOU DON'T WANT IT!



ALL OF THE FIXTURES SHOWN IN THIS NEWSLETTER
ARE FROM THE FOUR SOURCES BELOW:

Niermann-Weeks

Niermann Weeks - luxury lighting, seating, and accessories

LampsPlus
Home Lighting and Light Fixtures by LAMPS PLUS - Offering Quality Lamps and Lighting Fixtures

Shades of Light
Shades of Light

Restoration Hardware
Lighting: Home Lighting & Lighting Fixtures at Restoration Hardware

Wisteria
Regal French Chandelier Wisteria

OTHER GOOD QUALITY VENDORS

Rejuvenation Lighting
Antique & Vintage Style Lighting and Glass Shades: Classic Designs

Hinson Lighting
Hinson Lighting - Ceiling Lamps


You Can Do It, I'm Here to Help!


January 13, 2013

ACCESSORIZING YOUR HOME


It's not about having what we want
its about wanting what we have..
Dalai Lama
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Accessories Are The Icing on The Cake!
At first glance no one has any idea of how much time and effort you've invested in preparing that cake; all they see is the icing!
Accessories in a home - like icing on a cake can make or break the results - if it doesn't look appealing chances are it won't taste as good...

We humans have a nasty habit of hoarding “C.R.A.P.”
 (Collections. Reproductions. Accessories. Paraphernalia.) 
that we don’t need. Even homeless people push grocery carts brimming with bags of “their stuff”…. It’s nothing they need, they just “collect.”

Very often I'll see sublime pieces of pottery, art or furniture completely smothered by a mish-mosh of lesser things (C.R.A.P.) creating an overall look of clutter and lowering the tone of the room, even calling into question the validity of the finer pieces.

OK, LETS DO THIS!
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LET’S SEE WHATCHA HAVE TO START WITH….

Take every Tsotchke, knick-knack, vase, bowl, candlestick, collectible, Hummel figurine, objet d’art, ashtray, picture frame, candy dish, candle holder, plate, odd book, etc. and put it ALL on your dining room table.  
Let it all sit there for at least 48 hours to a week. Notice your home without all the CRAP around, observe how your eye moves to the other things in the space; shapes, textiles, paintings, curtains, textures, etc.
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CULLING
  1. Look over all the stuff on the table; consider what has any real personal meaning to you and put those things in one pile.  
  2. See what you have that’s just plain CRAP - it’s been on that table just because you had it, place that in another pile.  
  3. Place useful things in one pile, vases, photos, small lamps, etc.
  4. Place your ‘perceived’ valuable things in another pile.
  5. Place all books in another pile
DISPOSAL vs DISPERSAL

1. If there’s anything left on the table - you’ve just proven you don’t need, want or like it.
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2. Place all the vases in a closet, never have an empty vase out, especially crystal or ceramic (an urn is something different) I don’t care if its Waterford, Daum or Steuben…hide it.
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3. Give the ashtrays away (even the Hermes ones!). Smoking is tacky and an ashtrays presence says "it’s OK to smoke in my house," giving priority to the few smokers over the non-smokers... which is totally un-PC!
______________________________________________
4. Go through all the small tabletop picture frames.
  • Are the photos discolored? 
  • Are the frames tacky? 
  • Do you even like the people in the frames anymore (or vice-versa)?
  • Put the remaining frames which aren’t important in a pile.
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5. Are the books any good? Worthy of being displayed on a coffee table or shelf? Take the dust-jackets off novels and discard them (keep the large picture book jackets). If they’re shitty books give them away or keep for filling in extra space on a bookshelf. NO paperbacks, ever, at all, nuh-uh, period.

NOW, LET'S RE-ACCESSORIZE
WHEN ACCESSORIZING
Try to keep collections of similar objects together; colors, ethnicity's, materials, purposes, etc. all together.

Now, we consider what each surface or previously accessorized space needs for practical reasons as opposed to aesthetic reasons.

SIDE TABLES
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Side tables near a seat (regardless of what room) need a space to put a drink and a small snack plate down. And I don’t mean on top of a stack of books, no one wants to negotiate your C.R.A.P. to sit their drink down.
A small side table or end table can do this just fine.


COFFEE/COCKTAIL TABLES
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Coffee tables need places to put down a drink, a tray of hors d’oeuvres or a bowl of nuts, etc.
They’re not display surfaces for your 35 crystal Swarovski birds.   A few books is good, but not the entire library of Post-Impressionism

BOOKSHELVES
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Bookshelves should have more books on them than CRAP.  They're wonderful places to display your CRAP but one collection only please. 
When using bookshelves for books keep the book ratio minimum to 2/3 books to 1/3 CRAP
For accessories like the Wedegwood collection shown above - clump the items together and mix shapes and sizes. I think the blue spongeware displayed below looks cold and unimaginative.
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DINING TABLES
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Dining tables need to allow a direct, unobstructed view of the diners across from them. No forest of candlesticks, no overzealous flower arrangements or a clusterf&%k of art pieces like below -  you'd have to text your dinner guests to communicate...
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BUFFETS & SIDEBOARDS
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Buffets & sideboards should look like they have enough room to serve food from it... lose the OTT clutter!
A few impactful pieces will do the trick. Use a girthsome pair of pots or urns; two lovely buffet lamps; a “collection” of Canton blue & white or similar pottery all would be nice, just not a LOT of it.

MANTEL'S
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The place most people feel they need to show off the best of their  CRAP. 
Not!
Have something that compliments what's hanging over the fireplace, or something that feels compatible with the whole rooms ensemble.
If your home is formal - symmetrical is always safe and clean looking. If your look is more eclectic or contemporary, an asymmetric group of small items could be great.
And, remember....using nothing on the mantel is OK too!

FOYERS
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Foyer consoles or tables should be very carefully arranged (a future “Master Class” will be on Foyers). I like a generous table that has the following few items: Lamp, regardless of recessed light, fresh flowers and a tray to hold your keys, outgoing mail and sunglasses.

WINDOW SILLS
OMG I can’t even believe that I have to mention this, but I do as I see it wayyy too often.  GET THE FREEKIN’ C.R.A.P. OFF OF THE WINDOW SILLS!  Nothing should be on a window sill, ever at all, other than maybe a small plant!
Jumbles like this below interrupt the line-of-site outside and look like catch-all's.
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PLANTS
Who the hell wants to look at a straggly old, half-dead plant...WTF's up with that?  The whole point in an interior plant is to bring the outdoors inside, not the Mortitia Addams version. If it looks weak, throw it out, get a new one - DUH!
If you’re just plain bad with plants get an amazing artificial one, there’s superb 'undetectable' ones out there. No more than two plants per room, it’s not a greenhouse! But get good sized, well made ones, this is not the place to get cheap
One tree and a luscious tabletop plant or a pair of trees are good like below.
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This hot granny mess is not what you want....
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POWDER ROOMS
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Powder rooms should have only what’s needed by short-term visitors: Disposable, good quality hand towels (see Master Class “monogramming” newsletter) within easy reach, room spray, scented candle for evening parties and ONE extra roll of toilet tissue under the sink or in plain site of the toilet. Some accessories are good only if the sink deck is large enough to accommodate a ladies pocketbook and the accessories.

GUEST BATHROOMS
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Guest baths need a wide open surface where guests can place their toiletries kit and set up their things without having to move all the cutesy CRAP around. You know... those sweet little shaped soaps with eight years of dust on them in those darling little dishes, or that set of antique toiletry bottles and silver brushes which have no freaking use at all. 

BEDSIDE TABLES
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Bedside tables are not the place to show the family’s photos dating back to when they were a different religion. 

ACCESSORIZING COLLECTED ITEMS
GROUPING BY COLLECTION
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GROUPING BY COLOR
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GROUP BY ETHNICITY OR PROVENANCE
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GROUP BY THEME
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GROUP USING ONE TYPE OF ITEM
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IF YOU'RE NOT CAREFUL YOU COULD WIND UP LIKE THIS...
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OR THIS...
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OR THIS..........
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When designing a home the old saying holds true: 
"It's not the first Million that matters
it's the last $5,000"
Accessories are what makes or breaks everything!


You can do it, I'm here to help!
JPDSODPB@AOL.COM
202-669-8669







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