The pretty thing.

Dear friends,

I promise after this post I’ll retire the naming convention of “The+adjective+thing” for my headlines.

It’s just that I had a bunch of stuff in my brain — all of which has been swirling around for more than a week and some of which I plucked out here and there and plopped down in a post. And I promise this is the last of that bunch.

Although I want to reiterate, as a thing, what I’m talking about today is very pretty.

But I guess by now you know I love pretty things.

Anyway, here’s a photo of my dining room I took about a year ago.

I have despised the dining room light fixture since the first day I toured the house in January 2011. The previous owners had a pool table in this space (guess they weren’t high on dining), so that sorta explains the billiards-appropriate light fixture even if it doesn’t explain the cheap, fake-brass approach to lighting up a room.

It’s shocking, really, that I lived with this monstrosity for more than a year, especially given how quickly I tackled the other eyesores in this house. (Anybody remember the awful blue Formica counter tops?)

Problem was, my house is contemporary. And I’ve never lived in a contemporary home, so all my stuff is not. Even though I’m learning to like the contrast of antique/vintage furniture in a contemporary home, I have been stumped on the lighting front.

Which way do I go? Vintage? Modern? Something in between?

I’m not kidding you when I say I’ve looked at thousands of chandeliers over the last year. I considered everything from starkly modern ones . . .

To something with a little mid-Century flair . . .

To something far more traditional (but with a twist) . . .

And part of the puzzle is that I’m cheap. I found chandeliers that, as Goldilocks would say, were just right, but they cost upwards of two grand.  So finding something I liked AND that was in my price range ($500 or less) was one tough assignment.

In the end, I decided the room was busy enough that I didn’t want a light fixture that made a statement. Something simple, something not too heavy, something with decent wattage for a big room, something not too modern but not too traditional was what I searched for. And I finally found it at Ballard Designs. Take a look:

I think it’s even prettier up close.

The white finish of this light fixture helps it recede against the white walls of the room. Given that my dining room is open to my living room — which means there’s a lot going on in a big space — I found this to be especially important. Better yet, the jute-wrapped shades bring a little warmth and earthiness to the decor and also match the jute rug in the living room (which, unfortunately, you can’t see in these photos but is visible in this post if you’re curious).

Ballards’ white coral chandelier is a knock-off of an insanely expensive designer version that’s been photographed in some very chi-chi rooms. I love a good knock-off and even though coral is hot right now, I also think it’s classic enough to last a good long while.

I’m getting very close to finishing up what I envisioned when we purchased this house. I still need two major light fixtures (one for the master bedroom and one for the den) and a couple of lesser ones (for the laundry room and the back hall), one more window treatment, and a couple of rugs, but I’m getting there.

And we all know getting there is most of the fun.

With gratitude {for the convenience of online shopping and a very handy man who tackles my honey-dos},

Joan, who’s not ashamed to say she’s mad for twinkly lights and always has some wrapped around her buffet mirror, which you might have noticed in the last photo and which she considers another very pretty thing


  1. Ha! My first thought was to wonder how long it will/would take you to wrap MORE twinkly lights and/or some greenery around all those coral points once we get any closer to the high holiday season.

    I get a little weak in the knees over coral. I actually have a big chunk up over the fireplace at the moment. It was part of a summertime tableau (you can still call it tableau on the mantel, yeah?) that I’m finding myself slow to dissemble because I love it so. The coral I mean.

    Coral FTW!

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