Let’s start small. A simple light fixture. We had been drooling over a light fixture such as the Edison Chandelier from Pottery Barn for awhile. Loved the chandelier, didn’t love it’s almost $400 price tag (though it’s currently on sale for $299.99).
As usual, we had the ‘we can make that’ mentality and went off in search of the right type of cord covered wire and pendant conversion kit. Unfortunately, we had no luck in finding the exact materials we had in mind. Jake came across a similar fixture at West Elm – the Industrial Bulb Pendant for $99.00 with the bulbs sold separately (Edison bulbs are PRICEY so this quickly added to the expense of this fixture.
Convinced he could still make the chandelier himself in a much more cost effective fashion, we decided to put the project on hold until further notice.
Fast forward a few weeks later and we are browsing through West Elm while my parents were in town for Christmas. We ended up purchasing 2 of their Sweep Upholstered Armchairs (another story for another blog post!) and I had to go into the warehouse part of the store to look at the boxes the chairs came in to make sure they’d fit in our SUV. A pile of black cords caught my eye as I was following the clerk further into the depths of their warehouse – to the naked eye, it would have looked just that – a pile of cords. To the homeowner who has been on the hunt for just the right cord for an off the wall lighting fixture – it was like striking gold. I stopped the clerk in his tracks and asked him if they were getting rid of the sample chandelier that had been abandoned in the back. After a quick discussion with his manager, they gave us the floor sample of the Industrial Bulb Pendant (which was really just a base with a bunch of wires and sockets) for a steal.
We purchased a different shape bulb then it was displayed with – the true Edison shape. Home Depot carries them for about $8 a piece and they work great on a dimmer switch. We were told that there are Edison bulbs that have been in a fire station in Nashville for almost 50 years – they still work, they just never turn them off!
Once hung, the next step was figuring out how to suspend the individual cords/bulbs – they hung way too low to stay in a cluster the way shown in the photo below.
It took us a few days to figure out how we wanted to go about pinning the bulbs up (a lot of bruised foreheads from walking into the low hanging fixture in the mean time), but after a bit of trial and error (open threaded eye bolts, closed threaded eye bolts, screw hooks), we finally found that our best bet were cup hooks with a safety – they hold the cord just right, allow you to adjust the height of each arm and the safety ensures the cord won’t come loose. We threaded the cup hooks into drywall anchors of an appropriate gauge so that they would stay put in the ceiling and support the weight. In between the anchor and the cup hook, we placed a large fender washer to give it a more finished and solid look once installed in the ceiling. I should also mention that we had to spray paint the hooks and washer a flat black to match the fixture – the hooks were brass and the washers silver – not a pretty combo!
We thought about adding something decorative over the bulbs, but after playing with it a bit decided we really liked it just the way it was!
And that’s it for our first home decor post! If you dig the box beam ceilings, palm frond art or are wondering what the heck that big window on the right in the photo is….stay tuned!