DIY: Painting a Brass Chandelier

When I was hospitalized with tetanus shortly after we moved to Brooklyn, my mom flew out to help. She saved the day and helped keep the house running and distracted my girls so they didn't get too scared about the situation. (I'm doing much better, by the way :) One evening when I was recovering at home, Mom came back from a walk around the neighborhood with the girls. She asked me if I had seen the purple chandelier in the neighbor's house down the street. "You will die when you see this thing" she said.

In most cities, if you walk around a residential neighborhood at night, you can sort of see into apartments. It is way too much fun to me - probably one of my favorite post-dinner date night activities. I know it sounds creepy, but it is amazing to get a glimpse inside these beautiful homes, and plus, everyone does it (city dwellers, back me up!). I tell myself it's just like looking at real estate listings. Ish?

So by the time I was feeling well enough, I hobbled down the street in search of a fabulous purple chandelier in one of our neighbors' houses. I know I gasped out loud when I finally saw it. It is the most incredible blue-purple murano glass chandelier EVER. I snapped a single sneaky photo that doesn't even begin to show the fabulous-ness of this fixture (trust), and I felt like a total creepster (though I have been known to snap sneaky photos). The whole house looks like it's amazing - the art! the paneling! the moulding! - so I keep hoping I'll run into the owners one day on the street. I would shamelessly out myself and beg/plead for a house tour.


ANYWAY (wow, this is going to be a long post), the chandelier has been stuck in my brain for months now. I go out of my way to walk by it often and it's somehow even more lovely every time I see it peeking through those windows. When it came time for me to choose a color for the big brass chandelier, I knew there was no way I could pull off a lavender or lilac, but I thought a pale blue that leans toward periwinkle could actually be really cool.





Here's the full run down on how we painted this beast of a chandelier...
I enlisted the help of my girls to tape off the sockets on all 24 arms. Just a little piece of painters tape works fine. Make sure to take off all the candle sleeves first.


While I had the chandelier on the ground still, I wiped it down well and then lightly went over some parts with a leftover can of white spray primer I had lying around. This was a lazy step and I probably should have primed everything here, but I felt like it wasn't really necessary. Nothing really touches a chandelier after it gets installed anyway. 


My local hardware store has a fantastic selection of spray paint. More brands and colors than the big box stores even. I really liked this Valspar color (Sky Blue) at the store, and then later I was super impressed generally with this paint (first time trying Valspar spray). Good coverage. Not too crazy in the smell department. Fast drying. Easy to spray.


I think the best way to spray paint a light fixture is from the hanging position. We strung up the chandelier on a 2x4 between a ladder and our fence. That way I could easily walk around and under the chandelier and spray it from every angle.


And there were a LOT of angles. 



I'm not going to pretend this was a fast spray job. I went through six cans of spray paint to fully cover this 60" wide chandelier. I had paint all in my hair and there was a soft outline of a mask on my face. #periwinkleglow



Some of the parts of the fixture needed to be painted on the ground. See the orange chain? I thought the chain that originally came with the light was a little on the wimpy side, so I used a chunkier one from the hardware store.


I was starting to get excited about the color right about here:


So, I wouldn't really recommend DIYing a big electrical install project like this one, but my super handy and wonderful dad was in town, and he was up for the challenge of hanging and hooking up the new chandelier. We took down the hideous old light and installed a new light kit that is made for heavy fixtures. It stretches between joists and grips into the wood.


While we were working on the new light box, we threw up a ceiling medallion too. I wish I had planned more for this step and had ordered something big and extra special, but this one from Lowes worked fine in a pinch.


Here's the medallion and ceiling plate in. Wires ready to be spliced into the chandelier's after hanging it, which was a feat in and of itself - that thing is so heavy! If there had been an extra set of hands in the house, I would have had someone take a photo of that step, but we needed every adult to help hoist while Dad spliced.


It's hard to really show just how big this chandelier is. It's enormous, and we love it.



The color is just the right shade of periwinkle blue.


And those 24 bulbs make for a really bright meal!


And the view from below is pretty.


And! I love how it looks with my giant vintage abstract (it's hung the wrong way so it fits on the wall here, but I still like it).


AND! (best of all) Michael came home a couple nights ago and said there were some girls outside talking about how much they loved the chandelier and sneaking some photos with their phones. I was only creeped out for a second. Then I felt proud and less guilty for doing the same thing weeks before. Hopefully those girls will keep the periwinkle chandelier trend in our hood moving forward!



PS Another huge chandelier DIY.

95 comments:

Anonymous said...

I LOVE it!!!! so beatifull!!! Paula from argentina

House@heart said...

I have been waiting impatiently to hear how it turned out!! And it turned out great!! You did a great job!! I LOVE the colour, and this chandelier is both impressive and so fun!! I'd like to have the courage to knock on your door and ask for a close-up!:))But that will never happen, as I live in Roamnia!! :))

pve design said...

Can you please post on when you sleep?
I mean wow, you are an energizer bunny girl, stalking at night, spraying by day....you crack my up!
Love how it turned out.
pve

Katie @ Wildwood Creek said...

Gorgeous! Love the unexpected color.

Michele from IL said...

AWESOME chandy! :)

Tiffany Leigh Interior Design said...

So gorgeous! Such a show stopper. And this post was too funny by the way! xo

Amy said...

Yowza! That is one fantastic chandelier. I love the color and the size, holy cow! Fabulous, just fabulous.

Amy said...

Yowza! That is one fantastic chandelier. I love the color and the size, holy cow! Fabulous, just fabulous.

Dina @ Honey + Fitz said...

I am 100% guilty of doing the night time stalking thing here in Boston! It's one of my favorite things to do in the summer...walk down Comm Ave in the Back Bay and look at all the amazing brownstones. There re some really incredible residences! Your chandelier looks fab, I would totally snap a pic of it too :)

Anonymous said...

I was just visiting my cousins in Brooklyn Heights and wish I had looked for the chandeliers! This is wonderful, thanks for sharing

Cathy Wall said...

I concur with PVE, I am constantly amazed by the quality and quantity of your DIY projects. This one is a winner!
Cathy @ Room Rx

Carol said...

I'm here for backup. And I learned from the master - my mother was an inveterate open window style stalker! She passed away several years ago and one of the thing she left me -- a PURPLE chandelier!

Kim @ See Kim Decorate said...

Ha- I live in an urban area of Nashville and I too sneak peaks at the inside of houses when I'm out walking the dogs. Glad to hear it's not just me!

The chandy looks great. That picture with the girls really shows how big it is!

Lisa said...

Another gorgeous DIY! That light looks so impressive. Congratulations! So glad to hear you are feeling better. And I am too guilty of the walk or drive-by sticky beak sneaky-peak. If they didn't want you to look in they would close their curtains ;)

Linda@ Lime in the Coconut said...

LOVe it and the color...AND I hear ya on the house stalking at night...show us more sneaky pics!!!

Jenny said...

The chandelier is beautiful! I recently hung a new fixture in our lounge and it was super bright because of all the bulbs, so I put a dimmer on the switch. I love it now because it can be full light if I need it or mood light if I want it!

Bethany said...

When we lived in NYC, we looked through ppls windows all the time! :-)

The chandelier is AMAZING. Well done!

Flat 200 said...

Really beautiful... and also not opposed to a little window stalking!

LisaM said...

awesome. the chandy is CRAZY huge but still awesome! love the part about the girls at the end... haha.

jessica said...

OH I love that color so much!
I like to peek inside the old historic homes near my hood in NC. I get giddy when I see the blinds up....glad I'm not alone in that.
Wouldn't it be hilarious if the owner of you chandelier inspiration was one of you blog readers?

:)

Brian and Arika said...

That looks so fantastic! I wish I had the eye for things like this! You're so talented and creative!

Torey said...

What wattage are the bulbs you put in the chandelier? I bought round bulbs for our original 1960s sputnik that is in our entryway and could only find 40 watts at Lowes. So I looked online and found a place http://www.1000bulbs.com/ where you can get 10 and 15 watt bulbs so I ordered those. Still haven't gotten around to replacing all the bulbs, but I hope that it will look a bit better b/c right now it looks like we have a blazing sun when the chandelier is on!

LindsB said...

Love this!! It looks like a whole new light fixture with those bulbs and some paint. I love that there were girls outside your apartment taking pictures too- how cute!

C.B. said...

That thing is a mammoth!!! Love the colour. And don't worry about the "looking inside people's places at night" thing.....you're not the only one (I'm guilty too). It's just sooo much fun.

Carly said...

The light looks great! It's inspired me to finally call the electrician and get the chandelier sitting in my apartment hung up. Also, I'm so glad to know I'm not the only person who peeks into peoples' homes at night (I particularly like the houses along 8th Ave in Park Slope... so pretty).

Lindsey Herod said...

Amazing as always J! When I lived in Brooklyn, that was my favorite activity too! There are some seriously amazing houses! Love that you're getting the attention now! Bring those old brass big boys back to life! xo, L

Mrs. DeVore said...

Beautiful! I love the large scale of it and the color is perfect!

Janna McCalley said...

So fun!

Elizabeth@ Pine Cones and Acorns said...

Beautiful, and huge. I love your abstract hanging the wrong direction.

Jen @ RamblingRenovators said...

Love love love it! The colour is perfect and works so well with your art.

House stalkers unite! I have been known to do the creeping about and iphone photo taking thing too ;)

pen || new york nonsense said...

Oh my goodness, it's really gorgeous! I'm jealous. I have to get some new light fixtures for our place, but I am not handy whatsoever- def. need a Super or electrician's help. And, I ALWAYS look into people's windows walking around the city. My fav. is looking into the huge lofts along the BQE in DUMBO when my Husb is driving. He thinks I'm a creep, but I just love seeing how people live.

Anonymous said...


Amazing chandy! so glad you share photos of the girls in relation to its overall size! Funny story about hanging art, when I lived overseas visited an artist village outside Shenzhen,lots and lots of very well done copies of Masters! I walked into a shop and saw this really unusual abstract painting that reminded me of a hutong. Purchased it, brought it to my framer in HK, told him to frame it as it was hung in the shop, only for it him to point out the signature! it was hung wrong in the shop, and i still hang it that way today!

Cherie said...

I am sitting here, gaping, at least I'm not outside on the sidewalk! Beautiful work. Love that color. Radiates who you are with so much heart!

Melissa said...

Lovely!!

Jane from Huntington said...

Jenny, you inspire me. This is beautiful and I, too, love the time of early evening when curtains are still open and lights are on so I can see inside beautiful homes.
The periwinkle looks fabulous and the room is inviting. Bravo!

Kimberly said...

I love it! Nice job, Jenny.

Julia Wright said...

It turned out lovely! Great job. Love the blue color.

Marlene Scoville said...

Jenny, I love it! If I were in your hood, I'd be snapping pics too!

Megan @ Rappsody in Rooms said...

Ooo so lovely! I totally agree with you on how interesting it is to look into people's windows. My husband calls me nosy but I just say I am interested. Great job on the fixture!

AmytheGreen said...

I'm in love....I now absolutely hate the light fixture in my dining room and hope that I find an equally amazing giant chandelier complete with fun color. Ceiling medallion? BRILLIANT!

Hannah J said...

LOVE the chandelier- and LOVE the color choice- totally brilliant- especially with the yellow/ gold highlights everywhere- to die for!!

Jennifer @ Dimples and Tangles said...

Oh. my. word. That thing is huge! I love it so much, I'm on the hunt for something similar for my bedroom. You convinced me to try out the round bulbs, I love the modern look they add to the traditional piece. Fun color choice!

Aliceart said...

Wonderful and amazing! It's perfect; I'm sure you have inspired many!

TMykula said...

See, I told you you could and would prove me wrong. Totally not the shade of blue I was thinking you'd use. It looks amazing and so lovely with the piece of art. You are so talented. Can't wait to see what you do next.

Sherrod said...

Cyan designs makes one that is sold by Horchow.

http://www.horchow.com/p/Retro-Glamour-Chandelier/cprod67660155/?ci_sku=cprod67660155sku&ci_gpa=pla

Sherrod said...

Cyan designs makes one that is sold by Horchow.

http://www.horchow.com/p/Retro-Glamour-Chandelier/cprod67660155/?ci_sku=cprod67660155sku&ci_gpa=pla

Hannah said...

Omg. Seriously amazing. I'm obsessed. I love the periwinkle too, I would have never thought to use that color but it is so, so stunning.

My latest post is about a bar-cart I repainted... so I can feel you on the paint overload!

Champagne Lifestyle on a Beer Budget

lc | rebuild said...

Oh, I have done the whole looking in windows at night thing since I was a child! I love catching glimpses of other people's domestic spheres. Somehow, it has a weird, magical feeling to it, like peering into a beautifully decorated dollhouse. Or maybe I'm just really strange :)

Anyways, the chandelier is KILLER. Well done, you. Also, just wanted to say how sweet and adorable your girls look in that shot. Growing up to be such little ladies!
Lauren

oshedesigns said...

The dining room looks amazing! Love it! Also, I look into people's windows all the time. I love seeing how they've decorated. My husband pretends to not notice these days. Good man. Otherwise he would be constantly mortified :)

Anonymous said...

I love it! I would love to do something similar with a much smaller chandelier for our nursery. A chandelier as big as yours would be way too big for any space in our house, but I love the look if it could be shrunk down!

Jenny at LGN said...

SO glad to hear so many of you are nosy like me! :) I might have the courage now to snap a better photo of that murano glass chandelier!

@Sharred That Horchow one is pretty, but this one is really unique. The color is nothing live I've seen before, and it has a sort of ombre thing going on. It's so good.

@PVE I could ask you the same thing, busy lady!!

@Torey I found some 25 watt round bulbs at the hardware store and seriously, I can't imagine this things being a single watt brighter! I worry I'm going to blow a fuse or something every time I flip the switch! I definitely need a dimmer switch.

Becky said...

I LOVE how this turned out! Would love to see a post on the electrical part of this installation since I just bought a pretty chandelier myself, and am very anxious about how to actually get it up!

As a side note, DO NOT feel creepy about the nighttime apartment peeping. EVERYONE does it!

- Becky
http://www.cuphalffull-sf.blogspot.com/

Becca said...

This looks so great!! Big bold chandys are amazing! You might like this plum one over at Vintage Revivals too!

http://www.vintagerevivals.com/2011/12/entryway-makeover-reveal.html

Maggie Rose said...

Isn't blogging just the virtual version of peeking in the neighbor's well-decorated windows? ;)

I wonder if you've heard of Kaarskoker - they make and sell gorgeous candle sleeves. Of course, with that many arms on your chandelier, it might be cost prohibitive, but I thought I'd send along a link. Big of them! http://www.kaarskoker.com/

xo Maggie

Maggie Rose said...

*big FAN of them* I mean. Time for coffee!

heidikins said...

One of my favorite things about running in the city at night/dusk is being able to peek into the windows of the beautiful old homes in my neighborhood. No shame in that! :)

The chandelier looks great!

xox

Jean Tepper said...

I live in the city (SF) also and I love to walk around at night and peak into houses. I'm with you on this!

A State of F-Luxe said...

I love the glimpses into people's houses (from the road or sidewalk). I thinks its actually less creepy than going to open houses to lookie-loo. I purposely don't have many window coverings so I can "show off" my awesome decor finds.

Liz said...

LOVE IT -
Love the painting - remember it from you last posting - wish I could find something similiar

You find the best things!

Nat said...

Love the periwinkle color!! It looks great over your new table! Your DIYs are always so impressive

JWK said...

It looks INCREDIBLE!!! I'd be peeking in your window too!!!

Rachael said...

It is absolutely fabulous! This is one of my very favorite things you've reinvented. I don't think one person who is into home design could not admit to doing some stalking. I actually want people to pause in front of my house with piqued interest. Anyway, LOVE it!!!!!

Matters of Style said...

Looks great! Love the drama!!

stpatty said...

I live in a big city and I totally glipse into windows as I'm walking my dogs. I just pretend I'm waiting for them to do their business as I look around. I'm always hoping my neighbors don't think I'm that creepy peering/prying window lady. I don't care to see people, I just like looking at how everyone decorates!!

stpatty said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Andrea said...

WOW!!! Love this! When I saw the first finished picture I assumed you had found something that you liked in a magazine before realizing it was your dining room. So so amazing.

Happy Habitat said...

seriously amazing. color is fantastic, and just changing the lightbulbs in genius.

happychickmama said...

Your chandelier is amazingly beautiful! I saw your initial post when you bought it and was waiting to see it finished!!! In fact, you've inspired me to do the same thing on a smaller scale in our house. I am bidding on a chandy and CAN'T wait to pick the color to paint it. Thank you so much for sharing your beautiful projects!

smidge girl said...

Oh, man, love this! That blue is gorgeous! And yup, we window peep here in Chicago all the time. :) Even better during the holidays, since you get to see all the trees & decor too!

oliverosemary said...

I love your style, creativity, courage and aspiration. I can continue with the list of wonderful qualities you and your work have.

But I wish you didn't post the picture of your neighbour's chandelier.

Laura @ Chaotic Domestic said...

This looks fantastic! I absolutely love this project!

Laura @ Chaotic Domestic said...

This looks fantastic! I absolutely love this project!

Jill said...

Your dining room is looking so good, I am constantly impressed with your vision and drive to get things done. Well done! I would love to peek up at that window.

Erin Campbell said...

How pretty! Can you make me one? Pleeease :) You did great work!

xoxo
Erin
readeatcreate.com

Caitlin said...

Wow, that looks AWESOME Jenny!! I love the color and it works so well with your watercolor! (which looks totally fine hung length-wise)

And don't feel bad...I look into apartments whenever possible. My absolute favorite thing to do! HGTV has a commercial about it and it gets me every time....

Martha said...

so fabulous! the whole space is just perfection. also, i was crushing on your stacked plate of oranges - what do you call those things? anyway, very cool. love the table, the art, the sunburst mirror and now the chandelier! perfection.

dervla @ The Curator said...

oh my gosh, so so gorgeous. That blue is just perfect. I hope you get in to see that purple chandelier apartment. Maybe they are reading this now!

kstyle said...

Great drama!
k

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Lesli at My Old Country House said...

INSPIRED again! Glad you are feeling better. You gave us quite a scare!
LOVE the chandelier..though I think one THAT size should be called a Chandelunker!!!
xo

Cammee said...

That is stunning! I am so in love with it.

Quatorze said...

Looking into windows is a favorite city sport, as long as you are glancing and not peering for long periods. In Brooklyn Heights, people actually leave the curtains open on the windows facing the Promenade for the sake of the view, positively inviting one to look in... All's fair in love and decorating.

Jess said...

Looks great, I love this idea! And ps. I have been an evening window-peeker for years....

Bebett said...

Is this the purple chandelier you saw?

http://www.horchow.com/p/Retro-Glamour-Chandelier-Chandeliers/cprod67660155_cat000099_cat1590731_/?index=16&cmCat=cat000000cat1590731cat000099&isEditorial=false

Sarah Barksdale Design said...

It looks great! I love the blue color and the round bulbs!

Anonymous said...

I didn't see the chandelier you were stalking in the first photo...maybe you posted the wrong photo. I love reading your blog for inspiration, and I also LOVE looking in people's houses.

Annie @ House on Rene said...

Love love love it! So funny that the girls out side did the same thing you did! What a great piece of art you have in that fixture!

Anonymous said...

WOW! That thing is massive. it looks like it came from the set of Phantom of the Opera.
Love the color.

Anonymous said...

LOVE it, and I love to walk after dinner and HOPE that my neighbors have their curtains open, although I haven't snapped a pic, I will now LOL

Kathy :)

Heidi | The Rustic Modernist said...

Jenny-
I've been reading through a bunch of your posts, love them. I am wondering though-do you rent or own? Do you get permission from your landlord to do everything? Just curious as I'm a renter too and dying to fix some things up around here!

Bromeliad said...

I have been known to cruise the neighborhood in a van just to get a better vantage on the fabulous lighting and interiors.

TJ said...

Totally cosigning to "open houses" via windows. Then again, I live in a city (Chicago).

rebecca s. said...

a little late here but the purple murano glass chandelier sounds like something that was in a house tour recently featured in elle decor magazine... i wish i could recall the issue. all i know is that i wanted it.

i did a quick google search and i am pretty sure this is it:

http://cha-gogo.blogspot.com/2012/08/purple-passion.html

GORGEOUS. i hope you will run into your neighbors and get that house tour soon.

Amanda said...

Are you a gossip girl fan? If so, did you see the last episode? In the last scene at the wedding there is a blue chandelier - more of a royal or navy blue, but totally reminded me of yours. :)

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