Design*Sponge Sale: Chandelier Mash-Up!

On Saturday, February 26th my lovely neighbor, Sandy and I ventured down the street to Design*Sponge's creator, Grace Bonney's yard sale!  I have been a fan and devoted follower for years now, but for those of you that do not know about her and her mecca of daily design info: 

Design* was launched by Grace in August of 2004, and declared a “Martha Stewart Living for the Millennials” (NY Times, 2008).  It features store and product reviews, before & after projects, city, product, and gift guides, sale and contest announcements, new designer profiles, trend forecasting and store/studio tours.  Grace also started a national series of meet ups for women running design-based businesses called the D*S Biz Lady Series. She hosts and speaks at these events designed to connect local designers and provide free advice on PR/marketing, legal concerns, business/financial decisions and wholesaling. There is an annual D*S Scholarship to support up-and-coming art and design students, a book in the works, and who knows what is in store for the future!  Design*Sponge currently has 75,000 daily readers with an average of 6-10 posts per day on the main site, and now employs a bunch of awesome contributors and team members - lots of growth in 6 years & a total inspiration!

Grace had lived in my neighborhood until recently, and was in the process of moving to Greenpoint, on the other side of Brooklyn.  I had been paying close attention to the related posts around this time, assimilating with all the feelings that come along with a big move.  So when I saw the announcement of a yard sale, I had to check out what this stylish chic was parting with!  I grabbed Sandy that morning, and we bundled up.  With coffee clutched in our fists, we climbed to the top floor of their building and had the pleasure to meet Grace, her husband AC and one of their adorable cats, Ms. Jackson (if your nasty)!

The walls were covered with small and large prints, a few pieces of furniture for sale and a vintage apple cookie jar, that I still regret not purchasing.  I picked up some large decorative mailing envelopes, which will be perfect for all of the presents and photos I still "snail mail" to my mom in upstate, NY.  A book on appliqués, that has inspired a project currently in the works, and this great Decemberists concert print for Ronnie (below & featured in an older post). 

Being the hip-hop girlie that I am, I had only heard of this band.  My eye was drawn to it visually, but I wasn't sure if it was one of those bands my love was either a die-hard fan of, or had explained his extreme loathe for in great depth - I just couldn't remember!  It's a fine line between love & hate, and I needed to confirm by text message that Ronnie was indeed an admirer before purchasing.  AC told us this print had been near & dear to his heart, and he was happy it would go to an appreciative fan of the art & music - It is an original print and marked 88 of 150 by the artist.

It was clear this one was a favorite, and a hard one to let go of - but I really laughed when I later found this video of Grace showing off her bedroom for!  No worries Grace & AC, it has found a new home & we love it!  Ronnie also appreciates that I have been working bold rock posters into the decor - so this will be definitely be around for awhile!

Sandy bought one of the adorable bearded guy prints that she also featured in this video.  It matched her bathroom colors, and the size was perfect.  She is such a great person, and the best neighbor ever - I know she will find her REAL bearded guy soon!

We all had a great time chatting & visiting - but the real deal of the day was the dining room chandelier & the idea that arose from it!

Chandelier Mash-Up Project

The picture below from the website was how the chandelier was hung in Grace's dining room, but this chilly February morning the room looked a little different.  The table was covered with books, stamps, stencils and other small item for sale and the rest of the tiny room was filled with all kinds of treasures with round price tags on them.  But the round price tag dangling from up above was the one that caught my eye, and was too good to pass up! 

$75 was a good deal, it looked fairly new and I have always wanted a chandelier - even if there is no home for it at 392.  Unlike the other items I purchased, this one wasn't coming home with me right away.  I would have to come back to pick it up after the electrician uninstalled it.  This was fine with me, we had our hands full by the time we left & I was happy to schedule another time to meet up.

As you can see, I brought the muscle with me 2 weeks later to pick up my piece, and that was enough time to brainstorm the perfect project!  I had already envisioned it no longer being white the day of the sale, but I wanted to take it another step further... 

In Park Slope, it is common to find boxes outside of brownstones and apartment buildings filled with mostly old books & CD's.  Instead of passing them onto friends/family or taking the unwanted items to the Salvation Army, Slopers have taken up the habit of front stoop donations.  It's debatable; good or bad habit, but no matter who you are, you find yourself glancing as you walk by and I admittingly, have stopped to look a few times. 

A couple years ago, I walked by a neighbors' recent line-up of trash, and I noticed that one of the boxes was from IKEA.  I looked inside, and there was this cute children's plastic chandelier - brand new & never put together.  I looked left, then a quick right - the coast was clear & I rushed back into my apartment with the box tucked under my arm.  As with any IKEA item, I had a blast putting it together.   But alas, it never got installed, and was about to be put back out to the curb -

Knowing the inevitable fate of this front stoop donation, I took the pieces apart to figure how much material I would have to work with.  My idea was to somehow embellish the 6 lampshades evenly and discard the rest of the metal.  I counted 24 strands of about the same length that could be restrung, which would give me 4 for each shade.  I played around with trimming the top or bottom, but decided on 4 2-3 inch "tassels" on each lampshade that would dangle from the bottom.

I stitched each strand directly into the fabric evenly spacing them around the bottom rim of the lampshade.  I used the only heavy duty thread I had around, and later touched up the visible thread with a black marker!

Some tassels were longer than others and had bigger pieces, so I tried to space them out amongst the six lampshades.  They were originally strung with fishing line, so that was what I used also.  I noticed some have a kink or bend in the wire, and I'm hoping gravity will weigh it down over time. 

Voilà - the chandelier is mashed!

For the sake of the blog and finishing the story before we move, this is the finished product.  As I mentioned, we have no home for it at 392 with the spacing of our canned overhead lighting, so it will be in the way for the next few months.  I would like to give it another coat of high gloss spraypaint that I picked up at Tarzian Hardware, and I can't wait to see what it will look like once installed and illuminated - but that will have to wait a bit. 

I want to thank everyone for their support as I have begun this project - your encouraging words and constructive criticism have been enormously helpful!  I think our lives should be filled with beauty and beautiful objects, when they have a great stories behind them - it makes them even more beautiful!

The name StellaBella came from my idea that, I (E. Stella) am beautiful, (or at the age of 32 finally believe it), and everything and everyone I come into contact with - there is the wonderful opportunity to share that beauty & influence them.  

I encourage everyone to share their own individual beauty everyday!

La vita è bella,


  1. You are sucvh an inspiration! Love the chandelier mashup. Do I need to rip you some Decemberist? One of my friends Paul is a big fan and i'm sure I have quite the compilation now. The more I hear about Ronnie the more i love him!

  2. Nice chandelier mash up and history of the whole thing. I like creative ideas that are put to good use. It seems sometimes that people hesitate to share their ideas with the world because of fear that they won't do well.


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