Creating a Happy, Colorful, Handmade Home & life on the shores of lake superior

May 5, 2014

Three Saucers in the Dining Room - Triple Bubble Light Fixture from Modernica


Let's take a break from kitchen progress and peer in the other direction, toward the previously neglected dining room.  You already saw that we hung the floating Ikea credenza.  Eventually we'll make a waterfall top to finish the look (I fell in love with this plank of purpleheart wood but, alas, it was too narrow).


Moving at a glacial pace, we unwrapped our vintage teak dining table and brown leather chairs brought from the townhouse.  Truthfully, I've been over the look of the chairs for a long time but I can't find anything as comfortable so I'm thinking of having them recovered in something bright, but I'm secretly hoping I'll find more Eames chairs for a steal!  I have a good feeling about the upcoming yard sale season . . .

The townhouse dining room, to refresh your memory
At least now we can also enthusiastically check off dining room light from our to-do list: 


I've long known what light fixture I wanted for the dining room, but then I waffled.  The dining room electrical box was, in my opinion, positioned weirdly and so at I first wanted to move it.  After polling electricians, the unanimous answer for how hard it would be to shift over the box (given its location, the structure beneath, and then repair of our popcorn ceiling) was a unanimous, "oooooo, uggggghhhhh, pretty difficult".  I started looking at lighting options that could keep the box where it was but move the light fixture over, but none had the mid-century look I craved.  Undeterred, I started moving the dining table around nightly, to find the ideal position for the new box I was determined to have, and ended up right where the builders had put it.  Elsewhere it blocks the stools at the kitchen counter, impedes convenient access to the patio doors, prevents flow from the living room to kitchen, or results in a crummy view.  We actually have plans to widen the kitchen when it gets its phase two remodel, so I realized that even if we are going to move the light permanently, it makes sense to wait until our plans are firmed up.


After all of this waffling, I ended up back at square one: three George Nelson saucer pendants, please.  But I still dragged my feet.  The price . . . I learned that ordering direct from Modernica was a bit cheaper than purchasing through a Canadian distributor, but when Modernica recently held their 15% off sale I finally decided to go for it.  Modernica actually doesn't deal direct with Canadian consumers.  Lucky for me, besides the gorgeous scenery, there is another perk of living in Northwestern Ontario, in a city that borders Minnesota: an American shipping address!  I'm not normally one to cross the border just to save a buck (I like keeping jobs in Canada!), but I saved $348.  It was still a huge purchase (plus we bought two kitchen stools), but this house might be my only chance to bask in 14 foot tall ceilings, which call out for a statement-making fixture.  To make this splurge possible, I spent only $25 per piece on the other nine light fixtures we replaced, so the total lighting cost for the lakehouse feels balanced in my mind. 

As a reminder, here's the old dining room light, swagged to perfection by the former owners. 


And the dining room now:



I'm pretty impressed with the quality of the pendants.  I was worried about the ceiling fan clanging them together but, even on the highest setting, they barely budge because they're quite substantial.  The fibreglass is beautiful - just really, really stunning in a way I didn't expect, even though I'd seen a whack of these in store and online.  It has the softly sparkling texture of freshly fallen snow on a sunny day.  That sounds unnecessarily poetic, but it's the best description.


For installation tips, I'll refer you to the instructions:


The tricky thing for us was hanging on to all three saucers while wiring.  Also, once you trim it to length, you have to end each cord with a knot beneath the plate and my only complaint is that they don't totally fit.  We got it 98% flush but they really should offer a larger cover for the triple bubble fixture option.  It took a few hours, and two sets of hands, but it wasn't any trickier than most light fixtures - just triple the work.




Here one last look at the house when we bought it (with the previous owners' belongings):


Still more to do, but it's so nice to actually be able to relax and enjoy a meal in here now.  It took us far too long to set up the table, and even after that we were using the dining room for painting, sewing, and piling stuff.  Now we can really start living in here!  With temperatures soaring (ha!), now we need a BBQ . . .

Szuka is ambivalent about the new lights, but a BBQ sounds good to her.
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27 comments

  1. Love the before and after picture at the end. What a transformation that space has gone through. The fixtures are perfect in that space.

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    1. Thanks! It's definitely a very different space. The former owner still has friends in the area and we're so worried he'll want to drop by this summer. He's older, he might have a heart attack when he sees the changes because we've painted out his favorite features... But we feel good here, so hopefully he'd understand.

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  2. I am in LOVE with your light. It looks gorgeous! The living and dining room are looking great! I'm with Szuka...a BBQ sounds like a great plan!

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    1. Thanks! When it's not on, it looks like an art installation to me, which makes me smile.
      We've never had a bbq, so it will be exciting - but they're so pricey!!

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  3. It looks amazing! Love it! I was wondering about your popcorn ceiling. Did you paint it with the rest of the room? It blends so nicely. I'm trying to figure out what to do with mine. It's not painted so I might scrape it off but it sounds like so MUCH work!

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    1. Thanks Amber! Yes, the ceilings have been painted the exact same shade of white (Behr's Snowfall) as the walls. We used a flat, ceiling paint and then an eggshell finish for the walls so they are very similar in finish also. I would never choose popcorn ceilings, but because I go for white walls and ceilings, they don't bother me. Like you said, they blend in. Ours were originally unpainted, and more of a bone white. They sucked up a LOT of paint - three coats - and took some time to paint, but we were painting the rest of the house so it wasn't so bad. Scraping seems like a lot of work to me too!

      Brynne, from The Gathered Home, did it: http://www.thegatheredhome.com/2013/04/operation-no-more-popcorn.html

      I'm also worried because some people I know have used popcorn to hide damaged ceilings, so I was worried about scraping away and finding out the ceiling looks horrible. I've seen people do neat things to cover it, like using planks of wood or even wood paneling; Apartment Therapy recently featured this makeover:

      http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/before-amp-after-project-202805

      Sometimes I wish I'd scraped them when the house was still empty, but we lived with them for four years in our previous place and they were in worse condition there. These seemed so much better, relatively! If they really bug you, you might want to think about scraping because painting them takes quite a bit of time too.

      Good luck with your ceilings!!

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  4. Really, really stunning. I have the same problem with an off-center (eccentric?) dining room light fixture... But no high ceiling to give me space for your elegant solution. Instead, there's a vintage MCM pull-down light with a sweet glass bottom that I want to refurbish. I'm actually considering putting in a shallow rectangular box (in lieu of a ceiling medallion, which just doesn't mesh with Danish modern, imo...) to hide the necessary jog-instead-of-swag in the cord. What a mystery... in our case, the light is right up on a window, with no room underneath for anyone to pull back a chair.

    Now, about that BBQ. I happen to have a spouse who is a master griller, and his feeling is that gas grills are essentially cooking outdoors with an indoor stove. Before you buy something all propane and expensive, try a good, simple Weber kettle style grill with a barbecue starter chimney. That one little starter saves all kinds of time starting the coals, and the result... is amazing. You can get all kinds of safe (read, no chemicals added) coals, plus interesting exotic woods for smoking/flavoring your cookery. At least, that's what we've done, and both budget and palates are happy.

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    1. It's like some builders don't think about how a space will be used. I'm happy to hear you've found a MCM light that will work - that's fabulous!! I'm not sure if the look would suit, but The Brick House made a super simple, "mod" ceiling medallion I immediately thought of:

      http://www.the-brick-house.com/2013/09/diy-ceiling-medallion/

      But a rectangular box sounds like such a great idea - and something unique, too.

      That's a great tip about the kettle style grill. I will definitely look into them. I haven't even begun to shop around but I guess I better. Things sell out fast around here! I had a hard time finding a spring coat, and the snow is barely gone, lol. I'd love the Weber style grill idea if it's a thrifty choice, so thanks!!

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    2. The Weber is so inexpensive you can buy two if you're planning on feeding large groups! We've always used one, and we also use an inexpensive "chimney" gizmo to light the charcoal and get the coals glowing. No lighter fluid here!

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    3. Oooh, such a great link! Thanks, Tanya. I think I can use this idea, only in a rectangular shape and make all kinds of things work.

      I just checked, and the little Weber "Smokey Joe" is available at Home Depot Canada for about $40. They're very simple, but well made. We actually have two of these (I know, I know)... which is nicer than having just one big grill, because you can start things at different times and not have to fuss with the heat. The other great thing about these little guys is that they're tabletop size, so you can slap down some cheap terra cotta tile on a metal side table (or even a sawhorse) and have a cooking surface at the height that works for you - and maybe not for Szuka. :)

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    4. I checked out the Weber website and looked at them on Amazon and wow do they get overwhelmingly positive reviews!! I think it will be a great idea for us and we won't have to save up to buy one at that price. Thanks so much for offering your reviews - it was helpful knowing that two people who have opinions I trust give them two thumbs up!!

      P.S. I'm happy the brick house post was helpful!

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  5. Wow! I LOVE those lights! What an amazing difference! They look perfect for that space.

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  6. Perfect choice! You're making such excellent progress in the lakehouse!

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    1. Thanks Dana!! My garden needs work though. Yours is looking gorgeous already, why don't you come for a visit and help with mine, lol?

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  7. I have always loved. The Elton saucer lights. And you guys did a great job adapting them to you space love it!

    P.S. Your pup is so darn cute.

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    1. Thanks! I think one would have gotten lost. It was a difficult decision because it was hard the visualize. I'd only seen singles in person.

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  8. Love those saucer pendants- I'd never seen them up close, that texture is beautiful. The space is gorgeous- love how bright and open it is. The original decor looked dingy and dark.
    I laughed at "swagged to perfection"

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    1. The texture was surprising - I'd never seen them close enough either! I thought some photos might be useful for anyone light shopping. The decor was much dimmer in here before, even with so many windows it wasn't as bright because of the taupe paint colour.

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  9. SO AMAZING! I started reading your blog recently and love checking in to see your posts. What a great addition to your home! Bravo, money well spent :)

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    1. Thank you. It's so nice to be able to meet a new reader, so thanks so much for saying hello. I love your avatar, by the way, and when I clicked to your website I saw your other illustrations. You're crazy talented!!

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  10. Ok, I'm so old I had one of those light things in my bedroom growing up. It looks beautiful in your dining room and really makes the space special.
    Vanessa

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    1. Thanks Vanessa!! You're not old, you're classic :) Besides, I'm jealous you had one of these growing up. I was born in the 80s, I lived through a lot of peach and sage green.

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  11. Was contemplating one of these just now for my foyer and came across your site. I'm having trouble picking sizes...are yours medium or small size?

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    1. Mine are the small size - 17.5" diameter. For reference, at the peak of my ceiling the height is about 13-14 feet. Are you thinking of nabbing one while the clearance sale is going on? I just got an email about an extra 10% off with a coupon code - off already crazy prices! I wish I had the money to outfit every room with one of these, they're such a good deal.

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    2. Thanks for the size reference, sometimes I like to have less choice. The 3 saucer setup looks fantastic, I might do the same. Gabrielle Ross is having a 20% off sale until the end of the month, is that the same deal you're referring to?

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    3. I totally understand! I'm really happy with the size and scale of my set up - no complaints! I bought mine from Modernica, who was producing these, but production is moving so they're having major clearance on their existing inventory.

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