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August 6, 2014

Illuminate your outdoors with chandeliers

By Sherri Kolade
C & G Staff Writer

» click to enlarge «
Dan Myers stands near one of his outdoor chandelier creations July 28.
Linda Reid’s outdoor chandelier, painted Tiffany blue, hangs from a tree in her backyard.
 

METRO DETROIT — They are elegant, whimsical, flamboyant and full-of-flair lights that can hang high or low and make even the dullest space pop with their regal presence. Now, they can even brighten up the outdoors so the trees and grass shine.

After moving into his house about a year ago, Bloomfield Hills resident Dan Myers wanted a way to spruce up the place with lighting in his backyard. He liked the outdoor chandelier concept.

After purchasing a roughly 50-pound brass chandelier from Craigslist in May 2013, he ripped out its wiring and light bulbs, installed solar lights, and hung it from a 2-inch steel post attached to a planter hanger in his backyard.

“I love doing this kind of stuff. It is just a nice pop,” Myers said of his chandelier. “I’ve never seen this before.”

Myers, 35, a metro Detroit catering manager, knows his stuff when it comes to setting the mood for parties, and he applied those tools to his own gathering space.

He has since spread the word, which inspired others to have outdoor chandeliers of their own. Some employees of C & G Newspapers caught the outdoor chandelier bug when Myers’ mother — Elaine Myers, display advertising and marketing manager — and Linda Reid, advertising account representative, both installed chandeliers in their backyards.

“I love chandeliers,” Elaine Myers said. “The next thing I know, we went over to their house and they had this chandelier hanging in the backyard with solar lights on it. I remarked, ‘That is so cool.’”

She said that after seeing the chandelier “dress up the backyard,” she knew she wanted one, too. But what started as an idea to have a chandelier in her dining room became an idea for outdoor decoration when it was too big for the room.

Elaine Myers, who purchased her chandelier from a Habitat for Humanity ReStore for $40, said the chandelier now hangs from a tree in her backyard.

“I love it,” she said. “The light shines on it during the day, and then at night, it just has kind of a glow out there.”

Elaine Myers showed a picture of her chandelier to Reid, who knew she had to have one, too.

“It is unique. It is a discussion piece for people who come over,” Elaine Myers said. “Why not dress up the backyard like you do the inside of your home? You are sitting there; may as well have it look nice.”

Reid said that several weeks ago, she installed her Tiffany blue chandelier to match her Tiffany blue chairs.

She said that she purchased a generic brass chandelier for $20 at a Habitat for Humanity ReStore and transformed it into a decorative piece for her backyard. To complete the piece, she stripped out the chandelier’s electrical interior and added six solar lights — about $2 apiece — after removing the grass stakes.

Reid sad everyone has asked her how she did it.

“Everybody likes it, and I said, ‘Just call me Martha (Stewart),’” she said. “It is so cool. I might do another one. It is not rocket science.”

Habitat for Humanity Macomb President and CEO Helen Hicks said that, seemingly, there is a growing trend for outdoor chandeliers. She attributes the interest to home, garden and do-it-yourself television shows.

“I think they (customers) want to copy some of those trends as much as possible,” Hicks said.

She said the Habitat for Humanity Macomb, 130 N. Groesbeck Highway, Mount Clemens, has about 70 hanging lights.

“Most of the selection is glass, and when they have the chandelier catching the light through the glass, it makes that space more meaningful and beautiful.”

Hicks said that after coming out of a tough time economically, people are loosening their purse strings and being more creative. Outdoor chandeliers are just evidence of that.

Dan Myers saw such good feedback to the chandelier that he is taking it further with Illuminated Artistry, an outdoor-chandelier business that he and metro Detroit artist Anthony Matti are developing.

“They are going to be amazing-looking,” Matti said.

“It is art that lights up, basically — functional art,” Dan Myers said.

For more information on the outdoor chandelier business, email Dan Myers at djm248@yahoo.com.

For more information on Macomb County Habitat for Humanity, go to www.macombhabitat.org.