Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Amazeballs! The Flower Ball Chandelier

Flower ball chandelier in the bedroom of The Visual Vamp - Duvet by Dwell Studio - photo by Sara Essex Bradley

Way back in 2008 an exciting chandelier arrived in the market place. It was a chandelier in the shape of a huge ball, a riff on the mid century Sputnik light fixture. The new form had spokes emanating from a center sphere with some form of decoration attached at the end of the spoke. The one I fell in love with back then was the Flower Ball Chandelier.

Today I am sharing a round-up of ball style chandeliers, and telling you my story. Maybe some of you have a chandelier like this too, and a story to share with us.

Flower Ball Chandelier - This is the one I have -  The flower ball chandelier has a nice feeling of modern and vintage. - Each glass flower is like a vintage pressed glass plate your granny might have had - photo via Coco + Kelly

I worked in a shop then, and one day when I was tidying up the fabric room with the manager, I asked about a box filled with pieces of chrome rods and glass flowers. He told me it was a chandelier that was defective, that it was a real lemon because it always had problems, like not working when it was installed. I asked why it was not being returned to the vendor, and he just shrugged. I asked if I could buy it at cost. Alberto is an electrical engineer so I thought maybe he could fix it.

Steven Gambrel uses this enhanced Sputnik style chandelier

At first it was installed in our dressing-room-walk in closet. Many people with old houses that have no closets, and turn an extra room into a closet. I thought the flower ball  chandelier would be so glam in our dressing room, and it was. It did have issues, and we had to buy a new transformer. The chandelier was heavy and ginormous (about 30" in diameter) and tricky to hang. You have to screw in each spoke to the center ball and attach each one of the glass flowers. I think there are over 50 flowers!

A pair of ball chandeliers shown at the fab blog La Dolce Vita

It worked for about a year and half, and then one day it just didn't. We changed the fuse on the chandelier. We checked circuit breakers in the house. Nothing would bring it back to life. I talked with a woman who owns an electrical supply company and she told me that any type of chandelier using a transformer box along with halogen light bulbs is subject to quirks. Just a slight vibration overhead (like someone walking on a second floor), can make the transformer stop working.

Flower ball chandelier in a living room - I saved  this image over a year ago via????

It was such a hassle to take the thing down, and even though I bought it at cost, it was too expensive to discard. I threw a floor lamp in the closet, and that along with a pair of lamps on my vanity, was all the light we had for at least another year. Finally I disassembled the flower ball, removing each spoke and flower. Alberto took down the main frame electrical part, and I had him move the vintage French style chandelier from our bedroom to the closet.

A more classic closed cage type of ball chandelier

I had the idea to move the flower ball to our bedroom. We ordered a new transformer. We still didn't know if this would solve the problem, suspecting that maybe there is faulty wiring inside the sphere. We planned to take it to our local chandelier repair shop (All Wired Up), because Alberto didn't want to tackle it.

Classic string style ball chandeliers that have been around since the 1950's

Of course a few months went by, and we just never took the thing to be repaired. I said I didn't care if it worked or not because we never use the overhead light in our bedroom, and that the actual sculptural quality of the piece was pretty enough onto itself.

Glass beaded ball chandelier 

A photo shoot of our home was scheduled, and that always makes us finish abandoned projects. However, not enough time was available to repair the chandelier. So I asked Alberto to please just install the main frame without hooking it up to the electrical. I spent a few hours attaching the spokes and the glass flowers the night before the shoot. The flower ball looks wonderful in our bedroom, even though it's a lemon.

The most simple form - a large round paper lantern - who of us hasn't used this at one point in our decor life?

I still like ball chandeliers even though they are not trending so to speak. Maybe they remind me of the mirror balls in my old disco days.

Capiz shell ball chandelier

The flower ball chandelier in a breakfast area - LOVE it!

Do any of you have something in your house that no longer works, but you still keep it around because it looks pretty?

I love the flower ball chandelier in my bedroom - photo by Sarah Essex Bradley


  1. obviously you got one of the good ones, valorie, and it looks wonderful!

    someday i'd like to do a paper lantern-a good one-the same diameter as the dining table under it. a noguchi, if i can afford.

    but i have always loved the sputnik jobies from the early 1960s. they're just fun.

    even the ikea flowers are ok, but not for important spaces. the whole lighting business is weird. impossibly high mark-up-on the theory that people only spend once and you gotta get it outa them. but these days people change lighting as often as they do underwear.

    my favorite trick is to take an old cut glass chandelier, put candles in it, and then light it from a canopy of downlights focused through it. gives an amusing waterfall effect. small par lamps in the canopy's cans work wonders, especially ns and vns
    spots. but always use line voltage. buzzing low voltage transformers will drive you out of a small dining room in seconds. oy. a dimmer in the wall switch usually is ok. m


  2. We saw so many of these beautiful lights in Laos. They were extremely original and very inexpensive.

  3. I love all of your images. And I can see why you would feel sentimental about this coveted piece!

  4. via email:

    You're so sweet, Val. Love the post! XO


  5. via email:

    you are so so sweet. a million thank you's and hugs! i hope you're well!!

    loved your little story and your beautiful bedroom. mine is SO unfinished right now it's driving me mad!! can't wait to be settled in and done.

    the chandy is too beautiful, don't ever get rid of it!



  6. The light in the first picture is just stunning. Your images are great!

    'Please visit our new website www.tableandtop.com'

  7. Your light is awesome. I've always loved those too. One day.....