Thursday, February 9, 2012

We have liftoff!

While I didn't check everything off of my to-do list last weekend, I did complete one long overdue project.

Yes, the sputnik has come out of hiding and taken its rightful place in the dining room.

I <3 this chandelier!  I mean I REALLY LOVE it.  If marriage to inanimate objects was legal in the state of Missouri, I'd be writing my vows right now.  Unfortunately, society frowns upon our affections and this dream will never be realized.

In all seriousness though, I couldn't believe my luck when I found it at an estate sale last summer for a song.  It's a big'n too - a full 24 inches of brassy, atomic goodness.

I'd planned on putting it up just about every weekend for the last few months, but kept delaying because I thought that there might be some way to fix those tarnish/scratch issues.  Brasso, Katsup, and a mixture of vinegar and salt - all tried to no avail.  I was even thinking that I might just get it re-plated.

Perhaps I also had a feeling that it'd be a nightmare to hang.  It was.  Don't ever attempt to tackle a sputnik installation on your own unless you enjoy contorting yourself into all sorts of awkward positions and being poked in the face with brass rods.

Eventually I just couldn't bear it sitting in the storage room any longer.  So there it is, blemishes and all.

As you can plainly see, the chandelier is missing a few bulbs, but that's another project for another day.  Apparently 15 watt chandelier bulbs are extraordinarily hard to find and I'm not paying $3.87 per set of 4 ($23.22 just for the dang bulbs!) at Home Depot when they can be found for $.97 online.

It does take 15 watt bulbs, right?  None of them have any markings, so I'm not completely sure.

It used to have a full set of star bulbs, but they were taken out by an overzealous estate-saler who tried to snatch my prize AFTER I'd paid for it and set it aside at the checkout counter.

Now, I want you to close your eyes and picture a cheap, generic, builder-quality chandelier.

Does it look like this?

I'm so glad to see that light fixture go.  The whole contemporary brushed steel combined with very traditional marbleized frosted glass thing should've died in the 90's.  OK, so maybe that's a bit harsh, but I'm still bitter about being sliced open by its cheap stamped metal edges and the fact that it began rusting after hanging for only 6 months.

Ahhhhhhh, much better.


  1. That's a pretty sweet light fixture. Good work.

  2. Love! It's on my list of things I would love to find while out on the hunt. Congrats to you :)

  3. hells yeah! it looks great. made me smile :) i am pinning that last pic...

  4. SO.TOTALLY.JEALOUS!!!!! I cannot find one of these in AZ to save my life, its like they were banned here or something. Maybe someday..............

    Your sputnik looks absolutely glorious, now go give that 90s light its proper burial. :)

  5. This thing was right at the top of my must-have list, so I'm still in disbelief that I managed to snag it, and the price was amazing. I may have had to camp on a patio from 3:00 AM until the sale started, but it was so worth it.

    Sara - If you are having trouble finding a vintage one, a few companies are still making them. They aren't cheap, but give Ebay a try.

  6. Oh, yeah...It looks like a completely different room now. So beautiful! That is one gorgeous fixture, Nick. I love your decorating style...classy, understated mid-century pieces with the occasional well-chosen piece of atomica.

  7. could the room get any more sexier!! oh my thats an awesome job on ur part!! i do remember ur post when u picked it!

  8. Thanks for the compliments. Unfortunately, I can take very little credit for how the room looks. I just take whatever cheap mid-mod I can get my hands on and throw it in. It's pretty much just pure luck things have (somewhat) gone together so far.

    The next big ticket item I want to pick up for the dining room: a Curtis Jeré "Birds in Flight" sculpture

    Yeah, probably not gonna happen...

  9. Nick, I had someone send me this link for the star lite bulbs for a reasonable price if you have an interest...
    We have a 12 arm chandelier and an 8 arm foyer light here in the store although probably not for long...

    1. Thanks! Good to know they are still out there. I might give them a try once I replenish the coffers.

  10. It looks fabulous - so good in the South City Mid-Mod aesthetic of your house!

  11. Absolutely lovely! Nice job!

  12. Fantastic! This is high on my list of items I want to find cheap (discarded on the side of the road cheap would be lovely.)

  13. I don't find this stuff in suburban Dallas. I think all the Austin people have radar and come up and grab it before the sun rises in the morning, and up in La Crosse, Wi, where my other house is, it just doesn't exist. If it does, it gets thrown in the dump when Jr. and Sissy redo Mom and Dad's place before they sell it. They have a positive aversion to mid mod up there. When I tell people what neighborhood I live in, they actually shudder. Very nice neighborhood, well kept up homes, good neighbors. But it was built IN THE 50's AND 60's. EWWW! COOTIES!!!
    However, when I do find things at auctions up there, I walk off with them for practically free.
    Haven't found anything this nice, though. Still have the bronzy-wrought irony thingy the previous owner stuck in the dining room in the 90's and the brushed nickel one in the kitchen.

  14. your sputnik chandelier looks awesome! congrats :)

  15. My wish is to one day walk in a store and there it shall be....I am on the hunt. Yours looks fabulicious!!! Love it.

  16. That is one sexy chandelier. Slow clap, nickarmadillo, slow clap.