Friday, July 16, 2010


Every go into a room and see a fixture hanging over the table and wonder why it is hung so high? Or why it looks so small, or so large? Well, there are a few guidelines ( once again, design principles are guidelines, not rules) to help you avoid these oopses.

The size of a chandelier hanging over a table is determined by three things: the size of the room, the size of the table under it and the height of the walls in the room. In a nutshell, if you add the width in feet and length in feet of a room this will tell you the inches of diameter that a chandelier should be. For example, a 10 foot by 12 foot room will accommodate a 22 inch ( diameter ) chandelier. Now comes the exceptions part: take into consideration the width of the table. Chandeliers are very often 1/2 the width of the table. A 48 inch table is balanced by a 24 inch chandelier. But these 2 guidelines work well together, a 10 x 12 room probably doesn’t have room for a table larger than 48 inches wide.

The height of a chandelier is usually calculated as being 2-3 inches for each foot of the wall height. A 10 foot wall, therefore calls for a 20 to 30 inch long chandelier.

The height above the table is generally suggested to be about 30 inches.

So, in the 10 x 12 room with 10 foot ceilings and a table 48 inches wide the chandelier would be 22 to 24 inches in diameter and 20 to 30 inches in length.

If you are hanging a fixture in a hallway, use the wall dimensions to calculate the size of the fixture, and remember that over a stairway the perceived wall height is 2 stories, so the fixture should be longer.

Now to cleaning the thing. Get some chandelier spray. You put newspapers on the table and spray the chandelier with the cleaner and the dust drips off. No rinsing, no taking the fixture apart. It works. (Go to for suppliers.)

Before Katrina I was in New Orleans and happened onto a shop in the French Quarter that had a chandelier for sale that was 6 feet in diameter and 7 feet long. Baccarat Crystal. It had about 300 light sources on it, was from France late 1700’s. Price: $289,000.00. I would have loved to see the room it ended up in.

My favorite chandelier spray is called Sparkle Plenty. The manufacturer says it is available at Home Hardware but none of the three I checked had stock, or planned to stock it. Their stock number is 4521-663. If you call, they say they will order it though.

SunDial lighting in Vernon carries a spray but they are also out at the moment, waiting for supply. Brilliante is a great product, it is useable as a cleaner for glass surfaces as well and they offer free shipping to Canada ( from California) I'll keep looking for a shop that actually has one in stock and let you know.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Shade Fabrics

Shade fabrics.

Summer sun is back. Finally. I’m getting lots of calls about sun blocking drapes and how to prevent sun damage to furniture and floors. The sewlution is very simple, and you have quite a few choices. Any of these will prevent your floors and sofas from getting sun-bleached and will block the heat too. This is a quick summary of what is available; call me or go to my website for more information.

One of the best (and least expensive) is solar film. It’s professionally applied to the outside of the window and will block about 65-85% of the UV rays (those are the damaging ones). From the outside, your windows will look slightly reflective, from inside the window appears slightly tinted. One of my clients had this installed and she told me that it was the first time in many years she was able to leave her front room drapes open in the summer and actually see her beautiful yard. Trademark Glass in Salmon Arm sells and installs this product. I am sure they have references you can call. if not, I have.

All the blind companies sell various levels of sun block shades that work very well, and the big box stores also sell shades that they will custom cut for your windows.

You might want to have shade on the deck, or around your balcony. Shade cloth is available as a knit or a woven, either of which can be fabricated into drapes or panels for use outside. The woven is used in pre-constructed blinds such as roller shades or can be purchased by the meter from on-line sources or at the local fabric store. It provides a UV blockage of up to 95% while still being somewhat transparent. The downside is it looks ‘plasticy’ and is very stiff. Knit shade cloth comes in a wide range of colors with UV protection from 35-90% and can be sewn on a home machine. Knit shade cloth can be purchased on line at They will ship to Canada via UPS. They also sell the woven cloth, as does Fabricland in Salmon Arm.

Blackout lining for your drapes is a great solution. The new blackout is very soft and drapes beautifully. If you are having new drapes made, or just want removable liners for existing drapes made, this lining provides total sun block and wonderful insulation and using this fabric as a lining will increase the R-Value of your drapes by 3-5 points.

So, there you go. You can have sun-blocking, have it look good and fit your budget.