Brassy to Classy: My Free Chandelier

September 14, 2010

I was tra la la-ing my way through my local Habitat for Humanity ReStore a few weeks back, admiring all the great salvage and scheming of ways to put some of it to good use.  I was there because I had spotted a few cool cabinets on Diggers List and wanted to investigate further. 

As I chatted it up with one of the managers, I couldn’t help but notice the sign just behind him.  free brass lighting

Do you love the exclamation point for added emphasis?  Like rejected brass light fixtures are something to get excited about?  Well actually, I kinda do get excited about them.  A lot. 

I actually like antique  brass fixtures, just not these super shiny leftovers from the early 90s.  So with a fixture like this, one that just happens to have a completely fantastic shape, I see no reason why it shouldn’t be spray painted.  White.  Pronto! 

  brass chandy before


Hello gorgeous.  Don’t you just fit right in ? 

kitchen chandy after

Aaaaaand, she was free.  Fah-reeee. 

Yep.  Free.

I was over the etched glass chandy that was previously hanging in our kitchen.  I had picked it out at a Home Depot many years ago and I’ve never been totally thrilled with it.  I wanted something “Frenchier” looking.   For awhile I was trying to figure out how to convert its standard sockets into candle fixtures, but just couldn’t find anything to make the conversion. 

old then new chandy

I was wanting a new chandelier, but I couldn’t find one online that I was in love with that would make it worth dropping some serious cash.  Months dragged on.   I’m a lover of all things that look like they came from a French flea market, or could be found in a Ballard Designs catalog, so when I spied the ten arm brass chandy among the wreckage at my local ReStore, I couldn’t help but squeal, especially since it was free.

Did I mention it was free? 

The teensy problem?  It needed some rewiring.  Not every arm thankfully, just the interior portion.  Enter True Value electrical supply aisle! 

true value supplies


I am pretty proud of myself that I figured out how to rewire this piece all on my own without any help ~ it was definitely a new discovery for me.  I’ve rewired a lamp before, but never a chandelier, however the logic is the same.  Whites to whites, blacks to blacks, yada yada. 

You can find a detailed tutorial about rewiring a chandelier here, and for the step-by-step on installing a chandy, hop on over to This Old House.  As for me, let’s just say I spent a solid hour teaching myself how to rewire this puppy ~ here’s a few action shots. 

rewiring chandelier

After it was all rewired, I was patting myself on the back.  But then something dreadful happened.  One of the arms broke off.  Dangit!   So frustrating!   I couldn’t get the arm to screw back into its holder, it was completely stripped.  Gah!   After all that work, I almost gave up on this, seriously. 

But then I decided to give it one more try with some plastic steel epoxy designed for metal, also found at True Value. 


It worked ! 

The last step was painting the chandy, so I bought Rustoleum’s ‘Shell White’, a close kin to ‘Heirloom White’, at True Value.  I also gave the chandy a bit of faux distressing.  With the side of an artist’s brush, not the tip, I rubbed some oil rubbed bronze spray paint onto the limbs here and there. 

add distressing


Voila.  A perfectly lovely Ballard-esque look.  

chandy arm up close

And to think she once was shiny brass. 


Simple.  Elegant.  Love it !

white kitchen chandelier


The fixture actually works too, which made me squeal with delight when I flipped the switch !

  cg new kitchen chandelier


Here’s some really cool news.  My old chandy with the etched glass shades?  It’s already sold!   A reader wanted it, so it will be sent to a new home next week.  Yay!

The new fixture complements the style of our kitchen a bit better, and I think it was a worthwhile rescue of a shiny brass chandelier.  Don’t you ?      


The necessary legalese:  “I was one of the bloggers selected by True Value to work on the DIY Squad. I have been compensated for my time commitment to the program as well as my writing about my experience.  I have also been compensated for the materials needed for my DIY project.   However, my opinions are entirely my own and I have not been paid to publish positive comments.”



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