Tuesday, December 17, 2013

I finally found a dining room chandelier!

Believe it or not, I found a chandelier for my dining room when I was visiting my sister for Thanksgiving!  On a whim, I decided to stop by a shop that specializes in antique and vintage light fixtures; the shop was within walking distance of my sister’s house.  It was the day before Thanksgiving, and I was happily surprised that the store was open.  I was looking around the shop, and spied a beautiful French 19th century bronze and crystal chandelier in the back. I got a gut feeling that I had finally found my chandelier!  I took dozens of pictures, and even took a video; after getting approval from my designer, it is now en route to Atlanta and hopefully should be installed in time for Christmas.

I have written about chandeliers many times on the blog.  I wrote a post about my search here, and in particular here. I debated whether to get a temporary chandelier until I found ‘the one’, but ultimately decided to hold out and find the chandelier that was going to be the permanent fixture.  

Although I have an appreciation for all sorts of light fixtures, in my dining room there has never been any question that the chandelier would have lots of crystal and sparkle, and be the focus of the room.  My designer has insisted all along that we purchase an antique chandelier if at all possible, and this one fits the bill in every way – it’s the perfect size for the room, it has lots of crystal (ropes, pendants, stars), it has unique character and style.  Although it is hard to see in the picture, it has a lot of detail in the design of the bronze arms , and there are quite a few lights.  I think it’s going to be beautiful in my dining room.    

I snapped some pictures of the chandelier in the antique store (the store was small and very full, so it was a challenge), which gives a sense for the style – it’s a French 19th century bronze and crystal chandelier that has been fully restored and electrified. 

I asked the owner of the store about how high to hang a chandelier in a dining room.  My dining room is 14’x18’, my ceilings are 11’6”, and my table is 50” wide (not a typo – it’s a Baker conference room table that is 120” with no leaves).  He said that typically he likes chandeliers to be 5’ above the floor – and given that most tables are 30” high, that would mean 30” above the table. However, when the ceilings are as tall as mine, and the chandelier is large, then he says the chandelier typically goes higher – about 36” above the table. He said that ultimately you have to eyeball it when it is being installed to see how it looks.

Since chandeliers have been on my mind lately, I have been paying attention to chandeliers in blog posts and pinterest pins.   One of my favorite posts that I have read recently was by Architect Design, an architect out of D.C. who writes a wonderful blog.  He recently went on a private tour of the Belgian ambassador's residence , and the pictures of the rooms are really beautiful.

Given my love for big crystal chandeliers, I was transfixed by this picture. The chandelier, an antique Louis XV cage style, is simply stunning.  In the post, Stefan noted that “crystal chandeliers were all imported from France by the interior designers, Alavoine et Cie, to evoke the style of the French Regence (1715-1723)”. 

The other thing I noted was how high the chandelier is hung.  The ceilings are quite high in this room, but the chandelier is hung higher than what is typically done. Stefan speculated that the chandelier is hung higher than normal as the room is often converted into reception space, and the table is moved out. A higher chandelier means that people won’t bump their heads on the light fixture.

Another chandelier that struck me as being hung higher than usual was from this beautiful French style house that was featured in Veranda in 2006.  I wrote a blog post on it in 2009, seen here.  I think this chandelier is exquisite, but perhaps a bit too small for such a grandly scaled room.

When the house was put in the market, a new chandelier was in place (I believe there were new owners), and the size and height off the table seemed more in proportion to the room.

This dining room, with architecture by Steve Giannetti and design by Brooke Giannetti (authors of Patina Style, and Velvet & Linen) came to mind when thinking about chandelier heights. The height of the ceiling in this room is probably similar to that of my dining room.  I think it looks perfectly placed (I love how it is also reflected in the mirror).  Brooke told me that she also typically starts with a chandelier 5’ above the floor when it is hanging over a table, but she checks the visual balance and adjusts based on the size of the chandelier and the height of the ceiling.

This is one of my favorite images of a big, crystally chandelier, full of sparkle and light (how many lights are on this? It must be at least 40!).  The ceilings are not high in this space, so the chandelier really fills the space between the table and the ceiling.

Another favorite dining room image that I referenced when looking at chandelier heights. Design by Betsy Elsey, via Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles.

I love this picture. I found it on Pinterest, and don’t know the designer, but this has got to be in Paris based on the architecture and the scale of the room. I wonder if this was a salon that has been converted into a dining room?

A model residence decorated by Suzanne Kasler in an Atlanta high-rise. This chandelier appears to be hung a bit higher off the table.

A David Iatesta chandelier that has always been a favorite. It has a spare style, and I am getting a feeling that the visual weight of the chandelier is also a factor in the height and placement of a chandelier. Interior design by James Howard.

A charming antique chandelier in a beautiful dining room, this looks to be hung a bit higher off the table than 30”.

A favorite Suzanne Kasler dining room in a house featured in Veranda. This house has high ceilings, and the chandelier height reflects that.
The real estate picture from this same room shows a different chandelier and chairs, so this might be a different owner – the house has been sold a time or two, and was a showhouse at one point.

Another Suzanne Kasler project, this one featured in Architectural Digest.  Hanging the chandelier a bit higher allows for a large scale centerpiece on the table.

This was my favorite picture from a recent Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles, featuring a party at Suzanne Kasler’s home.  The table centerpiece, designed by designer Keith Arnold of Suzanne Kasler Interiors, is simply beautiful – and works well with the height of the antique Jansen chandelier. 

I have always liked this picture of the vice president’s residence in Washington, D.C., with interiors by Frank Babb Randolph.   It has probably been redecorated since this picture was taken, as Randolph was hired when Dick Cheney was VP.  This chandelier is hung quite high, but it might be for the same reason as the Belgium ambassador’s residence – so the room can be used for receptions too.

Tina, author of the Enchanted Home, has a beautiful dining room. I have admired her chandelier many times! Maybe she will comment and let us know the measurement from the table to the bottom of the chandelier, and the height of her ceiling.

Another all time favorite dining room, I am now studying the for the way the chandelier is hung.

A favorite Jackye Lanham dining room with a wonderful crystal chandelier. I wish I could see a wider view of the room.

Another image found on pinterest– what a beautiful room, both from an architectural and design perspective. The ethereal Russian chandelier is by Niermann Weeks, is perfect for the space. Interior design by Marshall Watson, via Traditional Home.   

I think this chandelier is hung perfectly, but the room height appears to be lower than that of my dining room. There is something about this dining room that speaks to me– I found it on Pinterest, so don’t know the designer, but the styling of the vignette above the sideboard, the lines of the chairs, the style of the rug and the chandelier – it’s a beautiful room.

I could go on and on, I have so many beautiful images of dining rooms saved to my files, but I will leave you with this festive image of Mary McDonald’s dining room all decked out for the holidays. McDonald’s house is filled with beautiful antique crystal chandeliers, and this is one of my favorites.  Look at the number of lights! This is a large chandelier, and I love how it is hung. Image via Veranda, image source.

If anyone has words of wisdom or lessons learned about hanging a chandelier in a dining room, I would love to hear them!  Ultimately, I don't think I can go too wrong if I hang the chandelier 30"-36" above the table, as the images above show all sorts of different hanging heights.  For designers this is a regular occurrence, but to a homeowner it only happens every once in a while.  Click here to comment on this post.

An addendum – I forgot to put this in my last post, but would love any opinions you might have! Do any of you own a Vitamix?  I am thinking about getting one after using the one at my sister’s house. She has this model, which is one of the top of the line models.  I have seen them demonstrated at Whole Foods and I believe they had the 5200 model, which is less expensive but does not have as many features. Any opinions would be welcome!  Click here to comment. 

Last day to order new Melissa Payne Baker paintings in time for Christmas delivery!    Click here to see all paintings available.

Favorite art and design books of 2013: http://www.thingsthatinspire.net/2013/12/books-from-2013.html
2013 books on my Christmas list: http://www.thingsthatinspire.net/2013/11/books-for-my-christmas-list-2013.html
2012 books on my Christmas list: http://www.thingsthatinspire.net/2012/11/books-for-my-christmas-list.html
2011 books on my Christmas list: http://www.thingsthatinspire.net/2011/12/my-book-list-christmas-2011.html

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  1. Congrats Holly. Now on with the next hunt. Merry Christmas.

  2. I'm sorry, but I think it is ugly. I think all of the chandeliers in this blog are unattractive. I guess I don't like antique chandeliers. My favorite is the Exeter 16 jar chandelier from Pottery Barn, or the pillar candle chandeliers from RH.

  3. Would you mind sharing the name of the shop where you found the chandelier? It is beautiful.

  4. Magnificent chandelier, and I love the bronze!

  5. Sally and I always order extra links for the chain and hang our chandeliers between 30" and d 36" above the table top. We eyeball each one. ceiling height and chandelier size end up play9ing off each other. Check the sight lines and relationships both seated and standing from the middle and ends of the table. Trust your instincts. You'll be fine.


  6. Your patience was rewarded. The chandelier you found is perfect--love all the lights, the crystal shapes, the tiers, the bronze, and the rosette at the top!

  7. The image that's third from the bottom is from a Georgian style St Louis home. The interior design was by Marshall Watson, and it was the cover story in the September 2012 Traditional Home. The lighting is by Niermann Weeks: our Russian Chandelier and Sconces. Here's a link to the story on Traditional Home's website: http://www.traditionalhome.com/design_decorating/howwelive/reviving-georgian-style-treasure_ss1.html.

  8. I am in love with the chandelier you found. It's stunning!

  9. Holly I love your antique chandelier. Thank you for showing us so many fabulous dining rooms with the sparkling gems of chandeliers!

    The Arts by Karena

  10. Beautiful selection! Can you share the name of the shop where you purchased it? (I live in meto DC)

  11. Love the chandelier! What is the name of the shop in DC where you purchased it?

  12. I got it at Artisan Lamp on Connecticut Avenue. Architect Design mentions this shop frequently, and I checked it out with him! They buy a lot of antique lighting in Europe and rewire for US standards, and/or electrify antique lighting. Their prices are much better than NYC antique dealer prices, and they have a lovely selection of lamps and lights.

  13. I bought one about five years ago and just love it. I don't think its the top of the line and I can't tell you the model as my daughter loves it too and often borrows it. I have had to retrieve it many times. Is it Christmas yet?

  14. Holly - Congrats on your gorgeous new chandelier! It will be the pièce de résistance in your dining room!! Hope we get to see it in situ soon. Sending you warm wishes this holiday season!! Cheers, Loi

  15. PS - Thanks for sourcing Artisan! Just read your reply above. I love that shop and the owners, John and Cyrus, are really nice. They rewire many of our fixtures: lamps, chandeliers, etc.

  16. Just beautiful, as are the others you posted. Enjoy it and have a lovely Christmas.

  17. Some things just can't be rushed! Looking forward to seeing your beautiful new chandelier in your home.
    Happy Holidays!


  18. I own a Vitamix. I bought it 17 years ago when my daughter was a baby, mainly for the baby food I made her. I love it! I use it for homemade salsa, smoothies, shakes, and tomato soup, because my family likes a smooth texture (God forbid if there's a random tomato seed in their soup). Oh, I also make big batches of pesto in it to freeze in muffin tins lined with cupcake holders. Its very powerful and pulverizes everything. I know you can make homemade peanut butter, but I just prefer to buy store bought. I highly recommend one. Once it kicks the bucket, I'll run out to get another one. Thuy.Phelps@us.army.mil

  19. I love your new chandelier. Similar to you we moved into our new home a month ago without a dining room chandelier. Partly because I couldn't find a new one I liked so I've been looking for an antique one in Canada. Its going to be a hunt! What price range should I expect to spend on one that works for a dining room similar in size to yours but with a 9'6" ceiling?

  20. Holly..isn't that so great when you find "the one"? It is beautiful.....thanks for including my dining room (though I am sooo happy those plaid chairs are out of here) lol. Our ceiling height is 12.5' and I am really not sure about how far it hangs from the table but can find out! I personally do not like a chandelier hung too high especially a large scale one like mine, it looks better hung a little lower. Anyway, what a great Christmas gift! Congrats...cannot wait to see it hung:)

  21. Your acquisition is BRILLIANT!! I love, love, love it!! I have an antique leaded crystal over the dining room table and at Christmas add crystal snowflakes (better than the real kind!) the more sparkle, the better!! Merry Christmas and enJOY! franki

  22. Regarding the chandeliers you felt were hung too high. Many times for a photo shoot, the chandeliers chains will be temporarily shortened for the shoot.....it is felt that sometimes the chandelier interferes with the overall design as seen thru the lens, becomes the center of attention, or cuts off the background at an unflattering angle.....trust me these designers all knew how how to hang a chandelier at the correct height. You can't always trust what you see in a magazine shoot.

  23. It's gorgeous - can't wait to see it hung. I like them hanging lower than higher - so that you can see them better. You won't hit your head on them, so why hang it so high????? Go lower - the lowest you can go as opposed to the highest you can go. plus, it connects the light to the table. If it is too high - it loses it's connection to the dining table and instead brings the eye to the ceiling - not your goal. Lower.

  24. I like Joni's advice on the lower end of your scale - 30". You wont' be moving the table out of the way so just go for it!
    So glad you found something at my favorite store, too! Glad it all worked out and hope we get to see it in place when it's done.

  25. By far my favorite chandelier is the Russian by Niermann Weeks. It has the most pleasing proportions and actually would have looked more French inspired than the light you have purchased. Obviously, having the approval of your decorator seems to mean something special to you rather than having the conviction and confidence to go with your own instincts. I am sure your choice will not be wrong for your space, but the question is always given the numerous pictures you have been collecting was that choice the right design.

  26. I remember reading your back story about how you happen to be using the Baker conference table. For a room with your dimensions (14x18) you have very little room for other furnishings no matter which direction you place your table. Can you post a picture of the room once your light has been installed.

  27. Stunning chandelier! In almost every situation I would recommend an antique chandelier for a formal dining room. The one you have found is so French, and in fact reminds me of some of the stunning chandeliers I have seen in private homes in New Orleans. bravo!

  28. All of your pictures show chandeliers 'in situ', and show the side view. Your picture looks like it was taken from underneath, presumably because of how it was hung at the lighting store. Do show us a picture when it us hung, please!

  29. There's only one way to go with a chandelier and that's "over the top" or nothing. Your choice is spectacular. Trust me, I've travelled through eleven houses with my beautiful Italian gilt and teardrop crystal number. You go, girl !!

  30. Oh wow.. that is one of the most beautiful chandeliers I've ever seen! I can't wait to see it installed!

  31. Holly, the chandelier is stunning and well worth the wait! I can wait to see it hung!

  32. Joni always gives the best advice. This woman rocks!


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