Home in the Highlands
LIFE AT ‘WHITE GABLES’
A Tale of Two Chandeliers
All my life I’ve had a fondness for chandeliers – as a child I even had a miniature one in my dolls’ house! So, last spring, when I spotted the ad for White Gables online and read the description of the living room with a “vaulted ceiling showcasing an impressive glass chandelier to its best advantage”, my heart soared.
Then I browsed the images on the screen and couldn’t believe my eyes. The chandelier certainly made an impression, but not a positive one. If truth be told, it resembled a piñata exploding over a light fitting.
But apart from the chandelier, the house looked great – the quintessential Highlands home complete with wide verandahs and tall gables. I knew I just had to see the place for myself.
Fast forward to the inspection day . . .
By the time I had climbed the front steps to the wraparound verandah, I was already in love. At the door I gave the real estate agent my particulars and was ushered into the foyer. From there I entered the spacious living room where the aforesaid chandelier was hanging from the 18-foot (5.5 metres) ceiling.
‘What do you think of it?’ the agent asked conspiratorially when she caught me staring at the colourful light-fitting.
As I tried to come up with an answer that wouldn’t offend her, she continued:
‘If this was my house, it would be the first thing I’d replace.’
She was right, of course. On December 1, settlement day, we rang the local electrician but he couldn’t come till after New Year. For the next four weeks, whenever I walked past the chandelier I lowered my gaze. At Christmas I convinced myself it looked festive. But when I took pictures I lowered the camera so that it wasn’t in the shot.
I was at pains to explain to guests that the chandelier had come with the house. If anyone expressed the slightest interest in it, I would ask whether they’d like to have it. As a gift. But nobody wanted it. ‘It wouldn’t suit my house,’ they said diplomatically. Or: ‘It’s too big for my place.’
In the same way that I’d scoured the internet looking for the right house, I now sought the perfect chandelier. In the process I didn’t come across anything that remotely looked like ours. However, we did find ourselves an antique chandelier which was both simple and elegant, with just the right proportions for the room. When the electrician turned up to install it, I offered him the old one for nothing, but he politely declined. I wasn’t really surprised.
What I like about the new chandelier is its subtlety. It doesn’t grab your attention – it just fits comfortably in the room like a good friend.
What happened to the old chandelier? Well, it’s inside a crate in the garage, awaiting a trip to the recycling centre, where I’m hoping someone will take pity on it and give it a good home.
24 April 2018