Monday, October 10, 2011

(Watch someone else) make a DIY Lindsey Adelman Chandelier!

Believe! It's true. I finally got rid of the neo-Colonial Restoration Hardware chandelier monstrosity in my dining room. Tall people, you can once again roam free and upright in my house without fear of getting clocked in the head by an oversized fixture with delusions of grandeur (I am grand! I hold 20 lightbulbs! People who buy me also buy fake topiaries! I am from the mall!)

I looked for a brass sputnik forever. I would have paid real money, maybe even more than $20, had the right one shown itself. But only the dented, cheapy faux brass, overpriced variety surfaced. Lots of "these sell for $5000 and I am only asking $1500 cash no haggling no dealers firm don't even try to talk me down!" Craigslist ads. Speaking of delusions of grandeur...

Well, no big thang. I wanted a Lindsey Adelman anyways. Trendy? Yeah, I guess in certain (blogger) circles it is. But more interpretive than a sputnik. Sculptural. Branch-like. Able to be repositioned with a single impatient hand.

I bought the approximately $120 worth of parts from Adelman's online list (this included ten Edison bulbs) and handed my husband the plans. It only took ten minutes to put it together, but another few hours to work out the wiring. It's not that the instructions were unclear, it's just that jamming six wires through a tiny pipe was like trying to fit a Costco shopping trip into a NYC apartment kitchen.

I bought an old brass ceiling canopy and had the talented husband hardwire it into our existing junction box. The plans call for using it as a swag fixture, but I said no gracias to twenty feet of chains draped all over my dining room. La Boeuf plastered the hanging rod straight into his ceiling, which I've never seen done:

M'lady Morgan made a beautiful version:

My hanging rod is shorter, since we walk under part of the fixture and we're not headbangers (anymore!)

I'm really happy with the look. It has sort of an industrial-classic look. The best thing is that all the parts are solid brass. I thought I would have to apply some vinegar to age it, but my husband assured me that it would oxidize just from being handled while he built it, and he was totally right. Within a couple of days the brass had a nice aged look. This is a good job for your greasy, sweaty teenagers. If you need your brass aged, send it over here. We have sweaty palms and greasy fingers to spare!

Yep, Thomas Jefferson's dining set is no more. Someday that will be an oval marble tulip table, instead of the one I rescued from my neighbor's back yard.

Someday when people ask where I found a piece, I won't have to give them geographical coordinates but actual store names. Not that I mind.

So, what's the consensus? Love or loathe?



  1. Love. This is the first one I've seen against dark walls and it kills. Nice job!

  2. This is totally gorgeous....nice job! Do you think a total amateur could do it??

  3. Awesome! I have had this project bookmarked for our dining area (bye-bye dusty 7 year old clearance shelf West Elm fixture!) I'm glad you did this first, this way I can call you or the talented Mr. Hubs if I have any questions. Your dining room looks fantastic.

  4. this looks fantastic! i love it! will have to bookmark this for when i return home from my time in india - it's something i'll definitely be trying...will have to get over my fear of working with wires though!

  5. Are you kidding me? I love this!! Martha and her grandmother have been to my house too...I think I might need a little lighting DIY.

  6. I have a very similar light fixture that I got from my aunt...but, when I plugged it in the bulbs were too bright...can't seem to find smaller watts for it...sad face.

  7. Love the lights! it is adorable!!! I have a website.. nursery chandelier

  8. I have to admit, after this post we had a little...explosion. Be really careful with the wiring...we nicked a wire pushing it through and it made contact with the metal rod.

  9. Hello! I love your L. Adelman fixture and am planning on putting one in my own dining room. I'm curious how your hubby got the hanging rod into ceiling canopy.. Can you explain that for me? Thank you, and it's beautiful!

  10. Hi chefjohnny-apologies for not seeing your comment earlier. The hanging rod is threaded into the ceiling bracket and the ceiling canopy just slides over and some decorative screws keep it in place. If you want us to drop the canopy a bit and show you what it looks like inside, pm me at

  11. A. says "They did that themselves? Wow, that is soo cool, Mom! Do you think you could do that? You could probably just ask S. and her husband cuz they seem to know how to do lots of stuff."
    Yep. Totally cool.

  12. Love your light fixture and would love to make one too! The details of where to get the parts don't seem to be on the Lindsey Adelman website anymore. Do you happen to have details where you go them. Love the brass base you added!

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  14. Is the hanging rod at the top included in the kit or did you purchase separately? I would need mine a bit longer so am curious as to whether or not I will need a special part. Thanks! Your fixture looks great! Sorry to hear about the "explosion!" -- Sarah

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  16. I just made one this week! I too am hard-wiring it into my ceiling with a canopy and using a shorter stem as we will walk under it. I did spend some time changing the arms around a little bit so that there's one flexible elbow on one side and two on the other, instead of all three on one side. I need a tad more balance-- my personal preference. And yes! stuffing the wires through the tubes was a challenge. I discovered halfway into the project that they slipped through more easily if I carefully straightened and aligned the wires before pushing them. But getting them through the elbows was even tougher, and because everything screws together and the wires can't move once they are through the elbows, I had to put them through the elbows first and then work outward from there in both directions. It was challenging but fun to figure out. I'm really thrilled with the result. I'm hanging it tomorrow. Also, I love the look of edison bulbs but I switched to low-wattage bulbs years ago and love my low electric bills more. So I searched the internet and found LED bulbs that mimic edison bulbs and are dim-able (!) and come (if you want) with a golden hue to the glass.

    Also, I thought that I should test the fixture before hard-wiring it in, so I temporarily attached the supplied plug on the bare wires and EUREKA! all the bulbs lit up! --Ivy

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