Our New Old Chandelier

October 21, 2010

Did I tell you it has been visitor central at our house? My sister and her family left on Sunday. And my parents arrived on Monday. When my parents come, I put them to work doing projects I find intimidating (they’re the best!). Last trip, my mom painted Napoleon Dynamite on the wall. This trip, Grandpa Mac replaced two light fixtures for me — and one of them was a major project — a new chandelier. At least. It felt major to me. (Grandpa acted like it was no big deal.)

Let me start by saying I’m in LOVE with our new old chandelier. I keep stepping away from my desk so I can go grin at it. Here’s the story:

A few years ago, while we were still living in New York, our friends bought a new home. The first time I visited their new digs I couldn’t help but admire the gorgeous chandelier hanging in the dining room. It was original to the house and I loved it immediately. I gushed and gushed and my friend said she was thinking about replacing it because it wasn’t quite her style. At which point, mentioned: if you really do replace it, I’d love to have the old chandelier.

Cut to a few months later. Our friends replace the old chandelier and deliver it to my tiny house. Where I had nowhere that I could possibly hang it. So it sat. Boxed in my garage. Waiting.

Then we moved to Colorado and the boxed chandelier came with us. I didn’t know if there would be a good place for it in our Colorado home, but I was still so in love with it, that I brought it just in case. We moved into this rental and I toyed with changing out our art room chandelier but didn’t have the energy (there was that little pregnancy thing). So it sat some more. Boxed in our basement. Waiting.

Then. Three things happened: 1) I made a list of home improvement projects I could do as a True Value Blog Squad Member, and the chandelier switch made the list. 2) I was contacted by Colorado Homes & Lifestyles about doing a photo shoot in my home. And 3) Grandpa Mac was coming to visit the week before the photoshoot.

It was the perfect storm of chandelier installation.

When he arrived, Grandpa Mac bought equipment — like a ladder, drill bits, new chain and electrical tape. Many trips to our helpful local hardware store were made. He rewired the chandelier. Replaced the old bulbs (there are 11). Added a six foot chain. And installed the very heavy fixture.

My mom and I shined up all the chrome and handwashed the 73 hand-blown pieces of glass. First in a warm soapy bath, and then in a white vinegar rinse so they would sparkle.

Part of what made the project a challenge, was that the ceiling was so very high. The twelve foot ladder was placed on our giant table. Then, very-tall Grandpa Mac climbed to the top and was able to reach the ceiling. If he was shorter, I don’t think it would have worked. : )

My mom was curious about the chandelier maker and started doing research. From what she can tell, the chandelier is a 1960′s or 70′s version of a design by Angelo Mangiarotti. I love knowing that info! She found a similar style (I think it’s identical) being auctioned off at 1stDibs and found a new version at DWR.

The extra-fun part about this light fixture is that the look can be changed. The wire skeleton frame is very simple and the glass pieces can be hung from it however you like. For example, instead of making it full and round, we could link the glass pieces in long strings for a lengthy look.

I seriously LOVE it. What do you think of it? Do you like it as much as I do?

P.S. — This is my 4th project as a True Value Blog Squad Member. I’m having such a good time getting stuff done around the house. A big thanks to True Value for helping me make it happen. Also, in case you’re curious, the chandelier we replaced is below — we’ll have to reinstall it when we move — because I want to bring the Mangiarotti with us.

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{ 70 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Kristin October 21, 2010 at 12:29 pm

LOVES. And the black version on DWR is beautiful, too :).


2 Ana October 21, 2010 at 12:30 pm

Amazing! I love it!


3 Stancie October 21, 2010 at 12:30 pm

LOVELOVELOVELOVE!!!! It’s GORGEOUS! Now I have chandelier envy


4 leigh October 21, 2010 at 12:30 pm

Soooo fab!


5 Trish [ modern thrifter ] October 21, 2010 at 12:31 pm

Seriously love it! What an upgrade, too. I like that it looks fancy without being overly ornate.


6 Kristi October 21, 2010 at 12:32 pm

Love it! I love mid-century modern and this is so up my alley. I actually have a beautiful vintage Murano lamp that we got in Venice about seven years ago. It’s still in the box. ; (

It’s clear with big yellow swirls running through it but needs to be take to a lamp store to have all the innards reworked so it can work in the states and because they’re so old. Hopefully, I’ll get around to it someday.


7 Jennica October 21, 2010 at 3:19 pm

Do you want to sell yours to me? =)


8 Kathleen October 21, 2010 at 12:34 pm

Ask Grandpa Mac if he’d like to come over to my house? I installed new light fixtures in my kids rooms this summer, and I have to tell you, that chore is now on my “least favorite” list. I want to replace the fixture in the hallway but I dread it! Tell Grandpa Mac I’ll bake him cookies?


9 Amanda October 21, 2010 at 12:39 pm

OH.MY.GOSH. Am so in love with this chandelier! It’s incredibly unique and really beautiful.


10 Wendy October 21, 2010 at 12:40 pm

Super chic! Very London Mod circa 1960′s.


11 Robin October 21, 2010 at 1:07 pm

Yep, I love it!


12 Anna Lewis October 21, 2010 at 1:11 pm

Love it! Dramatic but not ornate or fussy. I’m impressed it’s been around that long and traveled that much and is still in such great shape! I would not have anywhere to hang such a beauty, so I’m glad it’s yours.


13 Katrina Crane October 21, 2010 at 1:15 pm

Forget the chandelier, I want the Grandpa! I have a list too….. ;D


14 Sandra Gonzales October 21, 2010 at 1:31 pm

Ingenuity keeps Grandpa Mac looking young.


15 Jaimie October 21, 2010 at 1:37 pm

Oh so wishing I had a chandelier like that instead of the weird track lighting above me right now. But alas, we rent. I think we might be able to get rid of the track easily, but I know next to nothing about installing something else.


16 vanessa @ silly eagle books October 21, 2010 at 1:42 pm

Drooling over it!! So gorgeous. :)


17 mandi October 21, 2010 at 1:48 pm

Yep! So beautiful!


18 Chris October 21, 2010 at 1:48 pm

That is soooooooo cool. I love it. Possibly the coolest light I have ever seen. I have had my eyes out for a cool light. There she be!


19 allysha October 21, 2010 at 1:49 pm

This is so funny. I’ve been thinking about this chandelier. My sis, Natalie, who lived with us in NY for a few months LOVED that chandelier and told me she wanted it if the Newman’s ever got rid of it and I always felt bad I never mentioned that to Kathryn, because I knew she had replaced it. Nat will be happy to know it is in your stylish hands and if you ever decided to get rid of it…! Let me know! :)


20 carolyn October 21, 2010 at 1:49 pm

Really beautiful!


21 Lindsay October 21, 2010 at 1:55 pm

I love chandeliers and I love this one they scream your personality!!!!


22 steph t. October 21, 2010 at 1:57 pm

gorgeous, gorgeous, GORGEOUS!!! i’m in love with it! awesome! and isn’t it funny… but when you score something like this in the most unexpected way (as a ‘hand me down’ of sorts from your pals) it’s like the light fixture is even more of a treasure? i can’t believe they’re selling it for almost 3 thousand dollars on DWR. design ‘within’ reach? oy! i love that place but it’s seriously never within MY reach. but fun to dream of purchasing from their lovely catalogues!

good score!!! i’d love to see a full room shot now to see how it accentuates the rest of the design of the room. :) pretty please?!?!


23 Ashlea Walter October 21, 2010 at 2:02 pm

Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeh, absolutely fun and awe-inspiring. I admit when I hear (or read) the word “chandelier,” I usually gag a little. BUT. This. Is. Awesome! Congrats and way to go Grandpa Mac!


24 Deb October 21, 2010 at 2:14 pm

It’s amazing!! LOVE it!


25 diana October 21, 2010 at 2:38 pm

Looks great! And impressive packing that it made it there in one piece! Or rather, not a million little pieces…


26 180|360 October 21, 2010 at 2:39 pm

So beautiful and I love that it is interchangeable. We have two special chandeliers that we’ve moved and rehung in three different homes. They go where we go! :)


27 kalanicut October 21, 2010 at 2:47 pm

Isn’t it so great to have a handy family. I made a headboard for my mom last summer on a weekend visit, I have a sister who can do electrical who’s replaced ugly light fixtures for me, other sister has some mad skills to0
and my parents are pretty handy. We once worked over my sister’s new home in a weekend, painting & refurbishing things 20 hrs. a day. It was awesome!

I love your new chandelier and am so glad you held onto it until it’s moment came. :) Enjoy! Can’t wait to see the photo shoot results!


28 rory October 21, 2010 at 2:50 pm

i [heart] Grandpa Mac.


29 Lori Guerrero October 21, 2010 at 3:00 pm

As one designer to another, I’m jealous. ;) It’s beautiful.


30 Kim Simmonds October 21, 2010 at 3:12 pm

What a beautiful chandelier! I so want one! :)


31 jenny October 21, 2010 at 3:31 pm

That chandelier is fantastic! I can’t stop looking at it. :)


32 Carrie October 21, 2010 at 3:37 pm

I want to come over and grin at your chandelier too! That thing is a beaut.


33 joslyn October 21, 2010 at 4:36 pm

i am deeply in love with this gabby. that thing is seriously GORGEOUS!


34 Wendy October 21, 2010 at 5:20 pm

It is awesome!


35 Tanya October 21, 2010 at 5:46 pm

I would seriously stare at it ALL day. It is BEAUTIFUL.


36 DianeMcK October 21, 2010 at 6:04 pm

how amazing! i’m happy to know about this.


37 Bettijo @ Paging Supermom October 21, 2010 at 6:04 pm

What a score you got! I’ve seen that design before and LOVE it.


38 Alice October 21, 2010 at 6:25 pm

I love, but I kinda think you need to give it back! It’s worth money! I’d be kinda killing myself if I were your old friends!


39 Karen M October 21, 2010 at 7:12 pm

That is the coolest chandelier!! I love it and completely understand why you gushed over it when it was in your friend’s house. Enjoy!

Oh… and if you ever decide you don’t like it anymore, I’d be happy to take it off of your hands! ;)


40 Katie Stephenson October 21, 2010 at 7:19 pm

I love it OUT OF CONTROL. It is one of the most beautiful light fixtures I have ever seen.


41 kristi October 21, 2010 at 7:38 pm

wow – love it! High five to Grandpa Mac! And even thought I know you were being safe, reading about Grandpa Mac on a 12 foot ladder on top of the table made me just a teensy bit nervous. =)


42 beyond October 21, 2010 at 8:16 pm

gorgeous chandelier!


43 amyks October 21, 2010 at 8:51 pm

Love that new “old” chandelier, gorgeous and such a huge improvement over the previous standard light fixture. We have a couple of amazing light fixtures in our newly renovated home and everyone comments on how cool they are. Good for you to hang onto that light and find a place for it in your new home. Grandpa Mac is a pretty great dad for hanging that baby. Will he come back when it is time to move, and to help you take it down? ;)


44 Jan @ Family Bites October 21, 2010 at 8:53 pm

Wow! What a stunning piece. Yay for helpful parents too.


45 Damaris October 21, 2010 at 11:43 pm

lovely but the most lovely part about the whole thing is your dad. what a good good man. dads are the best, well good dads are the best.


46 annie October 22, 2010 at 1:50 am

it’s gorgeous!


47 Ms. Amy October 22, 2010 at 8:16 am

Totally love it. And kudos to you for having the initiative to do this in a rental.


48 elz October 22, 2010 at 8:36 am

Gorgeous. I have chandelier envy now!


49 Ann October 22, 2010 at 9:08 am

love it! I love that Grampa helped too. Grampa’s are so handy.


50 Bri (like the cheese) October 22, 2010 at 10:18 am

AAAH! I was so nervous seeing that ladder on top of the table and all of that dangling hand-blown glass!!!
I’m glad there wasn’t a live webcast. eek.

When you mentioned that it can be re-styled by arranging the glass loops differently, I immediately thought of how it reminded me of your new haircut! hee hee.


51 Anne October 22, 2010 at 10:39 am

So glad that you have a spot for that gorgeous chandelier. I’ve been admiring these in the dwr catalog for awhile – yours has a much better story!


52 Erin October 22, 2010 at 10:53 am

Wow, someone was giving that away? I really thought this was going to be a post involving stripping/painting/hanging new glass pieces. I’m surprised to find that the chandelier was already chrome. The glass pieces are just beautiful and so unique! What a striking object for guests to look at as they enter. And now, be prepared for every retailer to come out with a copycat design–maybe it’ll be called the “Gabrielle.” Or the “Design Mom.” Ha.


53 Maren October 22, 2010 at 11:53 am

I would say that I love it more than you do, but that’s probably not possible as you moved it half-way across the country! That’s true love! It’s so beautiful and you could match that with sooo much. How exciting to finally get it up! :)


54 Kara October 22, 2010 at 12:53 pm

I just ordered one that is very similar from West Elm and it was relatively inexpensive. It’s the Glass Link Chandelier.


55 Camellia October 22, 2010 at 1:10 pm

I love this light! Angelo Mangiarotti rubbed shoulders with people like Walter Gropius and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, how could his own stuff not be amazing?!!


56 Ingrid October 22, 2010 at 1:21 pm

Wow that is a truly beautiful piece and a great conversation starter!


57 kimberly October 22, 2010 at 1:51 pm

I’m swooning.


58 ann-marie October 22, 2010 at 4:24 pm

please! this would be so perfect….


59 Erin October 22, 2010 at 7:48 pm

Drooling…. it’s gorgeous, and WOW, gifted by a friend, even better! Enjoy! I bet all of your meals will taste better under your new light!


60 Mellissa Rosenhan October 23, 2010 at 12:23 am

I love that feeling when you find something perfect for your home. Something that is truly unique, something that makes you smile every time you see it! :)


61 kim October 23, 2010 at 7:13 am

ooh – sparkly! it looks beautiful.


62 Amy October 24, 2010 at 6:04 pm

Love it. The glass is beautiful and it’s truly a piece of art.


63 Jan October 25, 2010 at 7:34 am

Wow! I LOVE it! It looks like icicles!


64 kirsten bingham October 25, 2010 at 8:41 am

i love it with all my little heart.


65 deborah@applesinwonderland October 25, 2010 at 10:41 am

i have light fixtures on the brain. now–i’m coveting yours. in case you ever get sick of your newold fixture–i’d jump at it. and if grandpa mac would like to do more hanging lights while teetering on a 12 foot ladder on top of a table….send him my way, would you? :)


66 karey October 25, 2010 at 8:02 pm

I’m a new reader, but I’m hooked… I absolutely love that chandelier! Congratulations for getting such a huge project done!


67 jen October 25, 2010 at 9:14 pm

so jealous! we bought West Elm’s version of the glass link chandeleir and it is no where close to being as amazing as that one! We are in the middle of a whole house remodel before we move into it so only the metal parts are hung, waiting until after moving day to put the glass links in. Your glass links don’t seem like they will fly off like i’m worried ours will do!


68 Kate The Great October 25, 2010 at 9:20 pm

You know what? I don’t love it. And that shocks me a little bit because I love almost everything you post. And you know what? It’s okay with me; I suspect the chandelier is cooler in person than in pictures. No matter how good the pics are.

This reminds me of a discovery I recently made about a chair we found next to the dumpster one day. It’s the subject of my last blog post.


69 Jen@FIRR-Kids! October 26, 2010 at 2:21 pm

I stumbled across this fixture, and was stuck by how similar it looked to the one you just installed. I thought all the people who posted above on loving yours, might be interested.


I looked through and don’t think that anyone previously posted it.


70 Corrin October 31, 2010 at 3:14 pm

I am in love. I’ve always been a fan of chandeliers, but my decor isn’t traditional enough to pull one off.


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