• January 22, 2004

Blowing Your Budget

How NOT to buy a light fixture from an antique dealer

Restoration Diary,

This isn’t a how-to article. I don’t think there is any need for a step-by-step guide on how to blow your restoration budget, that is if you are organized enough to have created a budget. The first room we tackled was our dining room and we were cluesless about how much it would cost. Budget? What budget? Our philosophy was it costs what it costs. We have since become a little wiser, but just a little.

This time around we created a rough estimate of what we would spend restoring the living room and den. But, things like having the plaster completely fall off your walls in numerous places tends to blow any budget, er, rough estimate out of the water.

Fortunately, or unforetunately depending on your point of view, our budget is expandable. Kind-of like my waistline after eating at In-n-Out Burger too many times because everything in our kitchen, including the dishes sitting inside our cupboards, is covered with a fine white dust from when our new plaster walls were sanded, and sanded again, and yet again.

The death of our budget was a 1910 Arts & Crafts Chandelier made from hammered iron with a brass plated finish and caramel/white slag glass in excellent condition that glows a warm amber when lit. The fixture has very classic Arts & Crafts lines with a tapered body and upper “cut out” windows in the center shade, riveted construction, a hammered finish and a nice dark patina. The antique dealer’s website said, “Another great piece of early North American lighting that is becoming hard to find.”

I looked at the light once, I looked at the light the next day, I looked at the light every day for a week, I showed David the light, I spoke incessantly about the light and finally I emailed the antique dealer to see if he would come down on the price a little bit. He wouldn’t, but starting my email with, “My husband and I have fallen in love with a light fixture featured on your website,” probably wasn’t the best bargaining position. The dealer smelled blood and we caved, or splurged – that’s what we are calling it, our splurge – and we bought the light. “Our splurge” sounds so much nicer than we have lost our minds! But, hey, every restoration project deserves one splurge, right? Right?

Comments { 3 }
  1. Brittney

    oooooh, that is a beautiful light. That is precisely why I don’t allow myself to look at antiques, I don’t know if I would have the will power to not buy. Congrats on such a beautiful find.

  2. mark

    I think you would like omegatoo.com

    Lots of vintage restoration lighting

  3. Home Lighting

    This is not that bad but I prefer the one featured in your confessions blog.

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