Several years ago, I was looking for chandeliers on Craigslist (as you do) and came across a listing for an antique lighting dealer in Chicago that had decided to retire and sell off his stock. I was intrigued. I messaged the poster, who was the auction broker. I remember being worried because it was Tuesday or something, and there was no way we could get to Chicago until Saturday. I asked her if she thought there would be anything left, and she was like, “I can’t say for sure, but it is a giant warehouse and there are several floors. There are thousands and thousands of fixtures.”
I talked Doug into a spontaneous road trip, and we made our first of two trips to Chicago to buy lighting. We bought several really stunning pieces at a pretty low price – one for a friend that was having me look for them, several that we could restore and sell at Madison Street Salvage, and a few that we knew would end up in our house. One of those pieces was this French beauty. This picture is kind of grainy – it was like 3 phones ago.
It came with some shades – very pretty!
These are very opalescent.
We knew this would be a lot of work. The sockets and all the hardware were really old, and also maybe because it was from France, nothing was a standard size. Spoiler alert – I should have taken more in-depth pictures when we did the rewiring and how we did the sockets. That might be a bit of a let down when I get to it in future posts.
It’s so, so dirty. But look! Griffin heads!!!!
We dismantled the whole piece for cleaning and rewiring. Here’s one arm.
It has Griffins, but also ITTY BITTY RAMS HEADS. Are they so cute? I’m a little mad that once this is on the ceiling, you will NEVER EVER see them. So I will point them out forever while they’re up close.
After I cleaned one arm, I realized this might be a helpful tutorial. Because the difference in the before and after is insane. I knew this was dirty, but I didn’t realize HOW bad it was.
Clean scroll on the left. Dirty on the right.
Details on the center post.
Step one – carefully remove the arms.
In the video I’ll show you what I use – a toothbrush, a nylon brush, lots of rags, some Brasso, some vinegar, and a Dremel with a nylon brush attachment.
Dude needed a bath.
I used the Dremel 4300 Corded Rotary Tool to really get into the grooves to clean it. I’ll show more in my video, but this really helps the process go quickly. And since muscle strain leads to migraines for me, this is nice feature! (Some tools were sponsored by Dremel, but all content is always based on my honest opinion!)
I don’t need the cleaned end product to be perfect. It’s old. It can look old. It SHOULD look old. But getting it cleaned and cared for makes such a difference. Before the bath and after the bath!
I took this picture before I cleaned the bottom scroll. Holy. Wow.
All the pieces as I was done cleaning them!
Did I tell you there are RAMS?
Teeny Tiny Little Rams?
Please notice them. You’ll never see them once they are up. Before!
The chandelier center post is SO LONG that I couldn’t really get it all in once picture to see all the details. Here it is!
Once this beast was clean, I was SO HAPPY. This is like my personal Olympic Torch.
Here’s the process! One of my New Year’s Resolutions is to try and do a few more videos for how we do things so we can be helpful (and to try and learn to make the videos not terrible to watch). So I even did some titles and things. Be kind, people who are good at YouTube. Tech is not my world!
I hope this is helpful!
That fixture is incredible!
What is the name of the store in Chicago?
Wow that incedible
What a transformation! Thank you for the “how to”. I’ll try this on an old lamp.