Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Repurposing with a Home Remodel

Updating a house.  It can be so expensive.  Having done a teeny bit of work on this home, I see how quickly budgets can be blown.  We almost always got 3 or 4 quotes for every job.  And almost all of them came in at least 20% higher than we estimated for; some were as much as double.  And I wasn't just ballparking.  I was figuring materials and labor and demo and all of that other jazz (blame years of estimating for construction projects).  And there are most certainly some projects that Ben and I couldn't do ourselves.  (I'm looking at you, new hardwood floors).  We didn't even take on the task of painting the interior.....because it was every single interior wall.  Imagine doing that with two kids running around.  NO.  THANK.  YOU.

But we were able to get a couple (and I mean a couple) of things done ourselves.  One that I am most proud of is getting the foyer chandelier repainted.  It was big and laquered brass (and I'm sure quite appropriate 30 years ago).  So how exactly do you go about repainting a chandelier....

Find a fixture you want to paint (or repurpose).  This was in our foyer.  I like the shape and size, but the color (and moreso, the shinyness) just were not working. 

 If you are cool with wiring or electrical stuff, you can take it down yourself.  I am not.  This was also in our two-story foyer so we needed a tall ladder and more than one person to take it down.  Ultimately, we had an electrician come in and take it down while he was in the house to do some other stuff.  You might think this is expensive, but think about how much less it is than purchasing a new light fixture.  We hung the light from the garage door frame in our garage.

Remove the lightbulbs and tape over the electrical part.  I also taped over the candlestick part.  I had looked at a lot of online guides and some people don't do this.  I personally didn't love the look of the fixture being all the same color.  I like the contrast provided by the "candlesticks" being white-ish.
 I didn't take any pictures during the painting process.  It was late in the day and both kids were with me.  They had already been such champs hanging tight while I taped off the fixture.  This is the paint I used in Oil Rubbed Bronze.  It has pretty good reviews and I did not find it difficult to apply.  My one piece of advice would be to stay at least six inches away from whatever you are painting and keep the can moving.  You can always apply more, but drip marks are not pretty.  We ended up using two cans of paint on this fixture. 
 We had the electrician come back in and hang it up.  I had missed a lot of spots on the underside while painting.  The bottom of the light was about 4 inches from the floor of the garage.  In retrospect, I would have hung the light somewhere where we had more light and I could have seen the bottom better.
 So we had to do touch up painting while the light was hanging in the house.  We covered up everything below the light and also built a little plastic tent around the light.  We worked inside of our little plastic bubble to touch up all of the areas that didn't have enough coverage.  This was a complete pain.  Keeping spray paint in a confined area is not that easy.  That's why if we ever do this again, I will make sure I am working in great light and can see from every angle. 
 The light is now finished and it looks so great in the foyer.  The colors are a bit more in line with what is on trend now.  So for about $60 (the cost of the paint and electrician's time) I was able to totally transform the look of a room.  Money well spent when I take into account all of the fixtures I was looking at were over $1,000.

You hear a lot of people do a project like this and then decide they have a million things they want to spray paint.  I'm not there, but I definitely won't let a "little" project like this scare me.  It was cheaper and greener than buying new and I'm totally pleased with the finished product. 


Cherry said...

Just happened upon your post, but couldn't leave without commenting! That is a GREAT transformation! You described the process perfectly, even the mistakes. You should be VERY proud of your work and especially the extras you did at the end to "do it right". I can imagine the pride you will feel EVERY time you look up at your chandelier! A job WELL DONE!!!

Bryan Hubbard said...

You guys did the right thing in getting a professional to do the work of taking down and hanging back up your chandelier. Doing things yourself is great, but dealing with chandeliers is another thing altogether, and it could be quite risky. As for the paint job, it would be a good idea to hang it just at chest level; that way, you could check underneath if there are areas that need another coat and such.

Bryan Hubbard @ Douthit Electrical