I’m Gonna Swing from the Chandelier

… from the CHADELIE-EEERR.

Alternate post names considered were “When The Worst Thing That Could Possibly Happen Happens” or “Getting Back On Your Feet After a Devastating Blow” or “26 Ways to Not Eat Your Feelings”, but I wanted to keep it positive.

If you don’t follow me on Instagram (@thehappyhouseproject) you may be a little confused. Last weekend, I finished restoration of my great-grandmother’s vintage chandelier. This weekend, I finished restoration for a second time because things have been going a little too well project-wise around here and the universe needed to balance it out.

Let’s start at the beginning. Last weekend John and I went to Lowe’s and bought the biggest ladder we could legally attach to my car. Our foyer is 19 feet high in the highest part, but only 16 feet high where the chandelier attaches. John invested in a 12 foot ladder that I can use again to paint the upstairs bedrooms.

Ladder Attached to my Car

Then, John took down the old fixture while I stood by for moral support. I was literally useless during this process.

John removing old light.

Here’s the old light all cleaned up. It’s a really cool light and if I hadn’t spent 100+ hours working on this chandelier restoration we would probably keep it. In fact, we are going to hold onto it for a while to see if we can use it somewhere else in the house. Otherwise- we’ll find it a good home.

Old Light Fixture

So…. I don’t have any pictures of us installing the new (to this house) chandelier. The reason being because John was on the ladder doing the installation and I was on the stairs holding the chandelier, which is way heavier than the upper body workouts I do with my 10 lb wiener dog.

Here it is in all it’s glory after installation at about 10am. I basically stood there for most of the morning staring at it and turning the light on and off. It came out so much better than I could have ever hoped and I was so excited to see it at night with the rainbow crystals shining.

Chandelier Installation

This is where things go downhill.

My parents have a townhouse they rent out and their last tennants chucked their cat outside before moving :( He’s such a sweetie pie, so they brought him to our house to foster. We named in Mr. Peabody and my Mom and Dad going to adopt him once his blood-work is cleared! So we took kitty to the vet for a 12:15 appointment while John stayed home.

At around 1pm, we were still at the vet and I got a call from John which I knew must mean there had been an emergency. I honestly thought he was going to tell me the dogs got out or the cats knocked the TV off the wall or something.

He was in shock and could barely explain what happened. Apparently, he was going into the downstairs bathroom and for some reason decided he would go to the upstairs bathroom instead at the last minute. So he’s walking up the stairs and hears a “POP”. The chandelier gave a lurch, dropped off the chain and hung from the electrical wire for about half a second. At this point, my wonderful, amazing, insanely-cool-under-pressure husband did something that may have saved our marriage (exaggeration)- he caught the chandelier. He literally caught it mid-air while it dropped from 16 feet up. He got a little cut up, but overall there was minimal damage to the chandelier- about half the top tier of crystals popped off and some strands broke.

Do you believe in spirits? John cannot explain what made him decide to go upstairs at that exact moment. If he hadn’t, he most likely would have been in the downstairs bathroom while it happened. I’m so thankful for whatever put him in that spot at the moment, and that all my fur babies were safely in other areas of the house.

Sadly, we were now left with this. De. vast. ating. In this picture you can see where the frame didn’t hold- the top loop piece that attaches the frame to the chain broke off.

Chandelier after the fall

I immediately emailed Mark at Aladdin Lamp and Shade, who rebuilt the frame for us, and sent pictures showing what happened. He was so apologetic (I think he was about as upset as I was!) and wanted us to bring it in as soon as possible. My parents were able to drop it off that Monday, and Mark emailed me the same day telling me he took everything apart and found the internal portion of the frame that screws to the loop (that attaches to the chain) was stripped and he would replace everything free of charge. I do believe this was an honest mistake. He said he tested the frame in his shop the first time and felt confident it would hold. We both agree that the additional weight of the crystal caused the weak area in the frame to fail. All in all, no harm was done to anyone or my chandelier. I have a bunch of extra small crystals for the few that broke and no one was injured, most importantly. I will still highly recommend Mark and Aladdin Lamp and Shade and look forward to working with him in the future if we need!

I picked it up this weekend and we had to get the engine hoist back out from the garage… the worst part of the whole ordeal I think.

Chandelier Restoration

Today I started re-attaching the crystals. I actually finished today because I was determined to finish. this. damn. project., but I found some new cracks in a few of the larger beads. I could probably fix them myself, but I don’t want to risk having any issues in the future so I’m going to order new beads and do the whole thing right.

One good thing that came out of this- after I was done attaching the crystals originally, I noticed that the strands on one side of the chandelier had more slack than the other side. This time, I was able to attach them better so that the slack is uniform all the way around. Here’s a picture of it hanging so you can see what I mean. It was honestly not noticeable to anyone other than me, especially hanging, but it was one of those “if I ever do something like this again” observations that I actually got to correct!

It was only noticeable from one angle.


Here it is from the other side. Totally unnoticeable right?


So, are there any other positives that I get to take away from this ordeal? Hmmm… not really. The blisters on my hands from stringing crystals had finally just healed and now I get to do it again. I wish I could write something like blah blah patience and perseverance blah blah suffering builds character, but maybe ask me in week or so when we get the chandelier back up and see how I feel then. Like I mentioned on Instagram, working with old houses and old things means you really do learn to take things like this in stride. Yes, I’m disappointed because I thought I was finished crystal work for the rest of my life, but hey, the universe thought I needed more practice.

And if it falls again we’re putting the old fixture back up. Screw that.

P.S. Here’s a picture of Mr Peabody. He’s a Snowshoe Siamese mix and on top of being a sweetie pie, he’s also absolutely gorgeous with bright blue eyes and an ombre tail!

Mr. Peabody