Brian's Condo

How To Swag A Pendant

Its a simple pendant, a large round clear glass sphere with a polished chrome canopy, suspended by a thick black cord - evoking a bit of a modern industrial look.   Its the globe pendant from West Elm, its super stylish and super inexpensive, what's not to love?  

Way back in January when I was just beginning to source items for Brian's Condo, I knew this would be the perfect fixture for  his place, specifically for over his small dining table in his open concept dining/living room/kitchen.  Unfortunately, hundreds of other people love the stylish good looks and low price of this fixture too because the West Elm Toronto store was completely out of stock with the next shipment not expected until mid to late March (completely sold out when it did arrive btw).   Aaaggghh.  But I was determined to get my hands on one of these globe pendants, somehow, someway, afterall there were two of them hanging in the showroom and I only needed one.  But no matter how much begging and pleading and negotiating I did (why do you need two fixtures on display??)  they wouldn't sell me one of the floor models despite how much money I spend in their store and how desperate I was to meet a looming deadline.  

With my trade account I did manage to order one of these lights from the states but it was no easy task.  Don't ever attempt to order things from West Elm online because in Canada you'll get nowhere online ordering without a US shipping address and a US credit card. No problem, I had a US shipping address I could use so next I arranged for payment thru my trade account.   Good news, the fixture was in stock and arrived at my US destination within 2 weeks.  I make regular shopping trips to Buffalo so I picked it up the next time I crossed the border,,,,unfortunately due to my crazy schedule I didn't make it to Buffalo until March but at least I knew the pendant was sitting there, waiting for me to come and get it,,,,so much for my deadline.   *EDIT Nov.2013*  West Elm now ships to Canada thru their website.

Picking up the fixture was an experience in itself, it involved an unmarked warehouse, surrounded by barbed wire and surveillence cameras, hidden amongst a quite residential side street.  I'm not even sure that it was all legit (I mean,,there wasn't a trace of paperwork) I didn't ask any questions, I just grabbed my goods and headed for the border.   It was actually a client of mine who put me on to this place and I owe her a big thank you - its an EXCELLENT service.  

Back at Brian's place he'd gotten used to not having this light fixture and he wasn't planning on hosting any dinner parties anytime soon so there was no panic for it - good thing!  Before we could have it installed I still had to pick-up a filament light bulb for it, these are perfect when you have a completely exposed light bulb and you want that vintage industrial look.  This proved a bit challenging to find as they weren't available at the usual lighting showrooms, but luckily I did find a selection of filament bulbs at Morba who always have a great stock of decorative bulbs.   *EDIT Nov.2013*  Home Depot and many retailers now carry filaments style bulbs.

Next Stop, Home Depot.  I needed to find something to use to swag the pendant over the dining table.  Normally I try to avoid having to swag any light fixture but there are many circumstances where its just unavoidable,,,,condos with concrete ceilings mean you can't relocate junction boxes and often times in houses there are ceiling joists or ductwork in the way, othertimes its just not feasible to make new holes in the ceiling so the light has to be swagged.  I've decided its better to live with the 'swag' then to not have the light fixture where you need it.   Swagging a chandelier is fairly easy, chandeliers typically hang by chains so you can simply install a hook in the ceiling (reinforced to handle the weight) and hang the chain from the hook.  I've never been able to find a good looking hook though, all you can ever find anywhere are the same ugly ceiling hooks they've been selling for 40 years.

Ugly ceiling hook.

This type of ceiling hook wasn't going to work for Brian's pendant.  Never mind the style, this type of hook just doesn't work with pendants because they're normally suspended by cable wire, or a plain electrical cord - there's no chain link to loop over the hook, a plain cord swaged over this type of hook won't hold the fixture in place.  This is a problem I've come across several times but this time I was going to find a solution that would do the job and look good!   I spent a good hour and a half scouring the hardware department at Home Depot in search of something,,,,,,,,the sales associates were not of much help, they directed me to the 'ugly ceiling hook' shown above.  Finally I came across a little device which in theory seemed like it would work so I was all set to give it a try.  My handyman was not as optomistic,  he bought the ugly ceiling hook too just in case (?!), he figured if all else failed he could just loop the cord around the hook.  Ummm,,,,,no he wouldn't I thought, not on my watch.  

This was my solution.  Sorry, the only picture I have is the empty packaging because the installer got ahead of me,,,but I found this device where they sell rope pully's and rope connectors.  I don't know if there's an official name for them, as the package states they're called wire rope clips and are available in various sizes, the 3/16" works perfectly for a pendant cord.  The package comes with 3 pieces, a bent metal loop and 2 adjustable u-shaped clamps.

Here's a photo of the pendant cord with the device attached, you can see the reason for using this is that is creates a loop out of the cord and the clips secure the looped cord in place.  The stainless steel colour of this metal happened to work well with my Globe Pendant because the cap and the canopy on the fixture were polished chrome.

The package comes with 2 of these threaded fasteners but I only wanted to use one and it worked well.  Once the washers on this clip are tightened up, you have a secure loop ready to hang.  This step took about 30 seconds.

Here's a look at the hook we used in the ceiling.  Its a simple metal cup style hook.  The ceiling is concrete and a plug was used to ensure the threads of the hook would hold securely in place, because the plug was red and there were no canopies available for this type of hook we just painted out the end of the plug with white paint and it disappeared.

And voila.  Here's a shot of the installed pendant.  You can see there are still some slight kinks in the cord but those will relax over time.  This Iphone photo actually doesn't do justice, this looked even better in person and the entire loop and hook assembly looked like it was all part of the light fixture's design.

So there you have it, this is my new favorite way to swag a pendant.  I don't suggest this type of hardware will work with all styles of pendants but I think this method works perfectly with an industrial style, or rustic type fixture.  I'm happy to say that Brian is thrilled with his newly installed dining room light,,,,,but wasn't the least bit interested in hearing about how I got done!  

All Photos:  Carol Reed

Sourcing: Metal Shelving Units

Recently I'v been searching for a few additional pieces for 'the bachelor pad', aka Brian's Condo.  A few little things that weren't in our initial budget but as things progressed and the condo was coming together, we decided there were a few more items he could afford to add to the space now rather than later (ok, mostly 'he' decided, I just happily agreed).

There's this blank wall space beside his kitchen that is in full view from the Living and Dining area, it definitely needed some attention, needed something more than a piece of wall art, but what?  Since this is his first place, he doesn't have a lot of things to display or store, but eventually he will.  His kitchen is a decent size but he could use a bit of extra space for larger items, extra glass ware or seldom used kitchen tools,,,,,and maybe a place to display some of his prized trophies,,,,,,,,or a liquor cabinet perhaps?  We could go with something low and hang some artwork above (of which he doesn't have much at the moment) or a funky clock that I found,,,,,,or,,, we could go with a tall unit and use that for both display and storage.  Either way it would need to be something ready made not custom made or special order.

So with few requirements in mind I started searching,,,,,,our only limitations were size and budget, of which both were small.  Afterall, he just furnished the rest of the condo from scratch and now we were looking to spend more!  As for the style, I had something metal in mind, prefferrably a raw metal with wood shelves, something that evoked a bit of a modern industrial feel.  His kitchen cabinets are wood and the floor is wood too so I'd like to bring in some metal to break-up all that wood going on, but Brian's not a fan of too much shiny polished chrome or nickel.  While searching for this and other things, I've scoured vintage shops, consignment shops, Craigs List and every store front I came across and nothing much fit the bill with regards to this shelving unit.  I did come across a few industrial style cabinets but the prices were more than 4x our budget.  At this point, its time to reassess.  We need to make a selection from the options I did come across that were in our price range, even though it may not be exactly what we had in mind stylewise, or ,,,, adjust the budget - because its pointless to spend any more time looking for something that doesn't exist.  Here are our top picks and purely by coincidence, (?) they're all from the same source.

The Fulton Bookcase from Crate & Barrel
This unit had it all going on.....except the price.  $699 US

The Pilsen Bookcase from Crate & Barrel $249 US
This one worked as far as size goes and price was right, but I wasn't lovin it.

The Drake shelving unit from Crate & Barrel, $299 US
This one is similar to the Pilsen above but I like the cross-bracing detail which gives it that touch of industrial style.  So far this one is our top pick for price and style, although Brian's ultimate preference would be wood instead of glass shelves.  

The Antenna Bookcase by Crate & Barrel, $279 US
I thought this one was interesting,,,and no glass shelves (!) but we both prefer the darker metal.

I was intrigued by the potential in this unit from Lowes, I envisioned it with some distressed or antique wood planks placed on the wire shelves, which could take it up a notch.  But that would be a project, and Brian's not much of a DIY'er, so I've learned not to propose any DIY things to him unless I'm willing to DIM (do it myself!).  Next.

And then... I came across these today.....

Industrial Metal Cabinet, with metal shelves behind glass doors with rivet detail.

And, this Low Metal Cabinet with mesh doors

It was an modern industrial love match!  I was beyond excited - It was like finding buried treasure after months of hunting!!  Except it wasn't finders keepers today. : (  I could only 'keepers' if Brian was willing to splurge because sadly these were over our budget - but not nearly as much as the other industrial style pieces I've come across.  So, I didn't buy them today but I've sent him photos and we'll see if there's anyway he can possibly envision living without one of these.  Whichever one we chose, I'll post pictures in the coming weeks of the cool new unit in its stylish new home.