Friday, April 17, 2015

Light it Up

We tend to move our light fixtures around a lot! We had two other modern chandeliers that we had installed in the dining room for a period of time before settling on an antique one. The chandelier that we now have in the dining room was originally in living room, as I had mentioned in a previous post. David thought this chandelier was too fancy for our living room, but felt it would be better suited in our more formal dining room.

Modern Chandelier we had up in the Dining Room for a while.

The biggest lighting challenge has not been finding antique chandeliers (as we found several cool ones) but has been finding glass shades for our chandeliers. We went everywhere in pursuit of shades. We checked out antique stores, Wilson's Lighting in Towson and looked on eBay as recommended by Jill from the HouseLove blog. The problem with antique stores, is that they don't usually have a set of four matching shades. Wilson's Lighting and eBay did not have what we were looking for. We wanted ones with some color in them and that were unique looking.

Chandelier without any shades.

David purchased some basic shades from Lowe's to try out on the chandelier. Not long after he put these shades on, I was sitting at the dining room table, when all of the sudden I noticed a string coming down from the ceiling. I thought for sure it was a spider web and went to investigate! Then I saw this liquid oozing from the chandelier. I realized it was hot glue! David had used hot glue to attached the glass shade to the chandelier and the heat from the bulbs was melting the glue. #Handymanhubbyproblems. Those shades weren't going to work! But the good thing is that I didn't like those glass shades anyway.

We eventally found permanent shades just a couple of weeks ago. We ended up buying two brass sconces from Second Chance just for the glass shades. This was probably cheaper than buying glass shades alone at most stores. The sconces each came with three shades, so now we have 2 extras in case any break.  Although these don't have any color to them, we liked the rippled style.

Sconces from Second Chance.

Shades installed.

We had to put up the chandelier and take it down a few times because David decided to rewire it. He used his new electrician skills to replace the ratty old wires with new ones. We installed a medallion so that it would match the living room chandelier. Reminder: put the medallion on first! We accidentally installed the chandelier without the medallion and then had to take it down and do it all over again. I usually hold up the chandelier while David connects the wires, and my arms get tired, so it's best to do it right the first time!

Glass shades and medallion installed.

David also installed a motion sensor light switch for our dining room. This allows us to not have to worry about turning the light on or off when we walked in and out of our dining room. We had been using it without issues with one of the modern chandeliers, but when the antique chandelier was installed, it was not working. We thought that maybe the old chandelier just wouldn't be able to handle it, but after some troubleshooting, David finally got it working! The chandelier has a light switch for each light bulb, so we had to make sure each one was switched on and had a bulb in it for the motion sensor to work. We got some low wattage bulbs so it wouldn't be too bright.

So now we have our chandelier and glass shades installed and working properly. I'm thinking we will keep this in place for many years to come, but I guess you never know...

Friday, April 10, 2015

Repurposing Furniture

Currently, some of our projects in the dining room still need some finishing touches, so today, I am going to talk about furnishing the room with all secondhand items. We lucked out and had some good craigslist finds and even got a few pieces for free. I tend to prefer new things over used things, but when it comes to furniture, I do like older pieces.

We bought a french dresser from craigslist for only $75 and the person even delivered it to us. Now we use it as a buffet to store some kitchen appliances. It has that antique look to it, although I'm not sure how old it actually is. I wouldn't have thought to put a dresser in a dining room, but essentially, it's not that different from a buffet or credenza, and this way it was a lot cheaper! We had to change the hardware in the smaller middle drawers because it had porcelain knobs that did not go. Our plan is to stain or paint it so that it blends better with the other furniture in the dining room, but we haven't decided on a color yet. I think it's a beautiful piece and it's a shame to paint over the wood, but in its current state, it does not go.  It also came with a matching mirror but we have not decided where to put it.


David got a faux fireplace before I moved in. My mom was getting rid of it so he decided to take it. One thing our old home is lacking is a real fireplace, but this piece at least gives the look. You can even burn gel fuel to create a fire. We actually used it when our heat went out and it provided a little warmth. David painted the fireplace white so that it would stand out nicely from the wall.

Faux fireplace

We bought this gilded mirror from craigslist to add some decoration. This is a throw back to the Victorian style and kicks our formal dining room up a notch.

Gilded mirror.

This Secretary Desk we found on the curb outside for free. We call this "The Vortex" when items are placed outside in the city because they disappear very quickly. We decline most vortex finds, but this was a nice score. The desk was a cherry red, but David stained it so that it would match with our dining room table.

Vortex secretary desk.

Our Dining Room table we bought off of a friend of David's that was moving out of the country. We were able to get this Crate and Barrel table with four chairs for a fraction of the price. We also bought the area rug from the same friend. The rug matched well in the dining room when the walls were red, but now that they are blue, we are not sure we will keep the rug in this room. These two pieces are the only modern furniture in the room.

Dining room table and area rug.

David topped the radiator with a piece of reclaimed wood. This hides the radiator a bit but is practical because it creates a shelf. 

Radiator made into a shelf.

Although we still may make some changes to our dining room furniture, it is coming together nicely. Our thrifty ways prove that old "antique" furniture does not have to be expensive, you just have to have patience to gather the pieces over time! Also, you may have to paint or stain them so you don't have too much of a mishmash of different color woods.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Replicating a Room from a Castle in Our Rowhouse

The inspiration for our dining room came from a room in the Edinburgh Castle that we visited during our honeymoon. Although this room is much more grand, we wanted to create our own formal dining room based on this design. We liked the elaborate ceiling with the paneling. Of course such an ornate ceiling would not fit in our rowhouse, but we decided that a detailed molding would achieve the look we wanted without going overboard. So the Handyman Hubby got to work!

Room in the Edinburgh Castle.

David picked out some dental molding from Lowe's. This molding has some grooves in it. It kind of looks like teeth, hence the name.

Before paneling, molding and painting.

Dental Molding

David cut the molding using a circular saw; he already had experience from putting up the crown molding in the living room, so now he was a pro at making the 45 degree cuts. He installed the molding over the panels before the walls were painted and attached it to the wall with a nail gun.

Molding went over the panels.

David painted the wall before painting the molding.

There were lots of issues with the crown molding looking crooked. David installed the molding straight on the wall, but had to fill gaps in with scrap wood and then plaster because the ceiling and wall aren't even all the way across. In some areas, the plaster is noticeable, but it is better for it to look straight on the wall. David painted the plaster and molding with ceiling paint to help blend it in. It is not perfect, but looks good considering how old our house is.

Wood scraps filling the gaps.

Gaps filled in with plaster.

David also removed the old base board and installed a 6 inch wide base board. Although I was concerned at first that this would make the room look smaller, it actually has the opposite effect and makes the room look taller.

To match the living room, David changed the window trim to the corner rosettes and fluted molding.

I like that the crown molding and base board is different from the living room. I don't think the dental molding would fit in every room, but it looks nice in the dining room. It complements the wood paneling and makes the room more elegant. And like that, we have our own formal room fit for the king and queen of the house...and the squire! Now if only we could add grand fireplace we'd be set.