I must admit… my first thought when we stepped into our house was “Get RID of this thing!” What I was looking at was a dusty, blah-colored, hideous antler chandelier. In no way was this our style so it would have to go. But, I didn’t really mean that. I was having an emotional reaction to a ‘diamond-in-the-ruff’ that deserved more creativity and a chance to shine! The nluv Studio spirit isn’t to throw away something as useful as a perfectly good chandelier. It didn’t fit the room, but it could with a little creativity and TLC. An Antler Intervention is in order and I accept the challenge!
The Loft Lighting
You’ve heard me talk about the large office loft space that sits on the 2nd floor of our Tahoe home. The beautiful exposed beam ceilings and skylights allow us to look out across the trees and take in the gorgeous landscape surrounding us. When we first bought our house, the loft space had dark reddish-brown shag carpeting, white-washed wood walls, a crazy parquet wood floor inset and an antler chandelier in the perfect 70’s color palette. AHHH!
Top to Bottom
Last month, we remedied the carpet situation by leveling the floor, installing cool new FLOR® carpet tiles and finishing off the room with baseboards and transitions. Things were looking up… until you actually looked up!
The ceilings, though beautiful in their own woodsy-way, were dry and tired. It had been 40 years since they had been stained and were in need of a pick-me-up. Staining vaulted wood ceilings is a tough job and can take a long time to complete. It took me about three months to finish all of the upstairs with two coats on all surfaces! But, regardless of the painstaking and un-fun of that project, the result is undeniably amazing! Revitalized wood on the ceilings and new flooring was bringing this room back to life.
The old antler chandelier hangs in the middle of the loft and is the only light source. At this particular time, I didn’t have an alternative and we needed to have some sort of light. The house is very rustic as any Tahoe home should be! I knew in my heart the antler chandelier belonged in this room, but just as everything else was getting a facelift, it needed one too.
An Antler Intervention
I’m pretty sure these antlers were much more vibrant in the wild when they adorned a beautiful buck. Nature may have shed and thrown them away, but they were now in my house and deserved a makeover. The color was drab and now that the floor and ceiling are so vibrant, the chandelier looked even worse and almost disappeared in the room. I intended to keep the look of the antlers so what I decided to do is revive them to a deeper, richer hue and kick up the little lamp shades with color. The design was set: darken the antlers and glaze for a nice sheen and paint the lamp shades a mossy green for a natural look and to pick up color from the carpet!
Clean and etch
- Clean, Clean Clean! With mild soap and water, wash the antlers and remove all dust and grime. If the antlers still feel sticky, mineral spirits or denatured alcohol may help remove the tough residue. Be gentle and test a spot to make sure you don’t harm the surface.
After cleaning, my antlers still have a sheen to them. Not sure what the top coat is, I decided to use a clear etching product to help create a bonding layer on the antlers for the stain and glaze. One coat will do to add a little ‘tooth’ to the surface.
- The base color of the antlers is a nice neutral color, so I’m keeping it. To prepare the surface for my glaze, one coat of clear base paint is the perfect layer to kick things off.
- I love to mix stains into my glaze. It creates such a rich look and are just what these antlers need. With left over stain from the ceiling, I used a little American Walnut stain mixed with Antique Mahogany colorant. A chip brush is great for getting into all the little nooks and crannies of the antlers.
- After letting the glaze dry about 25% on the antlers, I used my Hog Stippler (brush) to move the glaze around a little and even things out. I then came back again and stippled straight onto the antlers with more pressure to get the perfect look of smooth color but with a little roughing-up.
The look of the glaze was perfect but still needed to be darker. I mixed up another glaze but with twice the color mixture and added a little black. This layer is applied with a foam brush to really push into all the grooves with a thicker application and less brush strokes.
- For this round, I am using my Badger brush to feather out the darker glaze for the perfect finish! I love my Badger brush! The glaze also acts like a sealer, so no additional sealer needed on this project.
Don’t forget the extras
- Spray paint the chain and the plate cover. I chose a dark brown stone flecked color for a natural finish. A couple coats did it but be careful to cover the antlers so you don’t accidentally spray them!
- The lamp shades need some attention as the last item. Prime and then paint with a mossy-green. I painted 2 coats ensuring full coverage and no streaks!
Lights, camera, action!
Don’t rush through all the steps and try to hang up your revitalized chandelier too early! Make sure everything is dry and ready to be on display.
The last step in the process is to hang, screw in the light bulbs and ‘let there be light’! CAREFULLY install your chandelier! Turn off the power in the breaker box before you start connecting wires.You shouldn’t forget this step as you should have done the same power shut-off when you took the chandelier down in the first place!
With the chandelier safely hung, we turned on the power and flipped that light switch! WOW! The deep, rich color of the antlers with the lamp shades are a perfect compliment to the room.