Creative Chandeliers

Whether building a house or simply redoing a room, it’s fun to include something distinctive. Kitchen and dining room chandeliers add personality and can be great conversation starters where guests often congregate.

Social in nature

In Japanese culture, koi, an ornamental carp cultivated for water gardens, is often associated with friendship, loyalty, and love. By including myriad hand-blown glass pieces to simulate koi swimming in midair above a table, sculptor Nikolas Weinstein effectively brings the sociable koi vibe to the dining room atmosphere. This one-of-a-kind piece was created in San Francisco, and brought to Vineyard Haven in pieces for an on-site installation. Each glass koi is individually blown, etched, and hung from the ceiling by thin silver cables that power hidden halogen bulbs. With a mysterious floating appearance and bright orange colors, the chandelier provides a dramatic focal point.

Liane Thomas – formerly of Breese Architects in Vineyard Haven, which designed this home in Mink Meadows – had worked with the glass artist in California. She introduced his work to this home’s design team, which included Liz Stiving-Nichols (who now runs Martha’s Vineyard Interior Design in Vineyard Haven).

Island made

Driftwood from the beach, canisters made from recycled aluminum printing plates courtesy of the Vineyard Gazette, and frames of reclaimed cypress came together for some high-end recycling at the South Mountain Company workshop. The West Tisbury design/build team has been experimenting with custom lighting fixtures for thirty years, and they occasionally do custom work for others. “We’re always looking for ways to use nice stuff in interesting ways,” says president John Abrams. The rustic chandelier – which took about forty hours of labor but only a minimal cleaning to remove the ink from the old printing plates – has a rich Vineyard history.

This small beach cottage in West Tisbury, along with its lighting fixture, was designed and built by South Mountain Company, which also did the interiors.

Ornamental silverware

Sometimes the perfect off-the-shelf fixture can add just as much personality to a space as a custom piece. It didn’t take long for the owners of this chandelier to appreciate the playful feeling it added to their new Edgartown home. “I was hesitant at first, but not because I didn’t love it,” says Mary Murphy. “I was concerned whether the unusual design would complement the conservative farmhouse feel that we were trying to accomplish.” Designed by New York City’s Interieurs and made in France, the “Brocante” chandelier features vintage spoons and forks arranged in a three-tiered design. Mary says, “I don’t think a guest has not commented on it! It is a major conversation starter.”

Located in Katama, the Murphys’ house was designed by Vineyard Haven’s Hutker Architects, which also did the interiors.

Finding a chandelier on-Island

The Vineyard’s interior design firms have a multitude of creative light sources in their showrooms (with most fixtures available by special order), and these professionals offer the widest selection. However, some Island artisans and specialty businesses make and sell fixtures that run the gamut from simple, elegant pieces to elaborate artistic statements. Here are some names to know:

• Barney Zeitz of Vineyard Haven. An artist specializing in commissioned sculpture and glass installations, Barney combines metalwork with fused and slumped stained-glass techniques in his intricate chandelier designs.

• The Copperworks in Menemsha. Scott McDowell offers some eye-catching copper fixtures of aquatic creatures, such as blue crab and squid, designed to appeal to the ocean enthusiast.

• Hanschka Fine Metalwork in Vineyard Haven. Whit Hanschka specializes in custom metalwork, including traditional wrought-iron candle chandeliers and a contemporary fixture of brushed stainless steel and translucent resin.

• Juliska in Vineyard Haven. The mouth-blown clear-glass pendant lights at this new Main Street store have a crisp, clean look. Handcrafted in the Czech Republic, they’re available in globe, column, and bell shapes, with a variety of surface textures.

• Kissmet in Edgartown. This Turkish shop features exotic mosaic glass lanterns in many different styles from the owner’s homeland. Models range from single to multiple tiers, in an abundance of colors.

• Lamplighter Corner in West Tisbury. Billy Hoff specializes in old-school brass and copper lanterns, but does custom projects too, like the ceiling fixtures at West Tisbury’s State Road restaurant that are made from old farm-tractor wheel hubs.

• Nochi in Vineyard Haven. This Main Street shop features elegant, old-style glass chandeliers newly crafted using vintage prisms. They would add an upscale note to a laid-back Vineyard interior.

• Tuck & Holand Metal Sculptors in Vineyard Haven. Artisan Tony Holand is best known for his intricately detailed copper repoussé weathervanes, but he can also get creative with lighting, including a custom fixture with copper-and-bronze bluefish.