Mid-Century Modern(ization)

Redefining modern for a family-friendly home

A Gaetano Sciolari Chandelier

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When we purchased our home a 2 years ago we inherited two vintages pieces that bring out polarizing opinions from anyone who visits.  Some love the wrought iron piece above our fireplace while others hate it.

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There is a signature on this piece that says “Levitt”.  In what looks to be silver Sharpie, but is probably silver paint.  I’ve not been able to locate any information on it, nor have I found one even remotely similar.

Some say our chandelier is wonderfully retro and others find it gaudy.

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Personally, I’m not absolutely in love with either of them, but I don’t find them overly offensive either.  Which is why they’re both still prominently displayed 2+ years later.  I don’t think about them much — they’ve just become part of the landscape — but when I do, I’ve passively tried to research their beginnings.

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Yesterday, while Googling “vintage + Lucite + brass + chandelier” (I swear for the hundredth time), I stumbled on Italian designer Gaetano Sciolari.  The masterpieces that caught my eye weren’t the same as ours, but they were similar enough that I jumped down the Google rabbit hole and started researching his lighting designs.  This is the design that caught my eye.

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And then I found it.

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Our chandelier.  Listed for $3,500.  A Gaetano Sciolari Chandelier.  And it’s not Lucite … its Italian crystal. Hot damn.

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(I know I owe you a post on this fabulous china cabinet. We just picked it up last weekend and I am IN LOVE. I am also obsessed with finding new chairs for the table. OBSESSED.  I have so many ideas to share — hint: vintage + metal)

Anyway, not knowing our chandelier’s value I had been contemplating a variety of fixtures for above this space.  The Firefly II light at CB2 caught my eye.  I feel as though it would fill the space in this giant room a bit better than the Sciolari.  And I have a handsome gift card for Crate&Barrell/CB2/LandofNod so I’m still heavily leaning that way.

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All I know is that we need a fixture with multiple bulbs — since the space is so vast it can easily feel too dark.  And I want it to be a statement piece so that it will draw your eye all the way across the room when you walk in.  At the same time I don’t want it to completely block any artwork we hang on the back wall like a saucer light would.

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(1) Popsugar (2) Apartment Therapy, original source unknown (3) Best of Interiors (4) Houzz (5) Euro Style Lighting (6) Modfrugal

And I just realized that almost all my picks are brass … interesting.

The last one is a DIY, which is tempting … but intimidating.  And you know as well as I do that I’d never get around to actually making it.  I can’t even get around to washing my hair most days.

My husband says sell it and I have to say I’m inclined to agree …

So, fine readers.  What would you do?

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Gordon E. Sugar — Custom Home Builder

I stumbled on the obituary of our home’s builder this morning and thought I would share it here.  This is my 100th post here at Mid-Century Modern(ization) so it seemed fitting.  Gordon Sugar built and lived in the home two doors down from us — I believe until his death as the home sold just over a year later.

As published in the Baltimore Sun, February 21st, 2000:

Gordon E. Sugar, 79, custom home developer

Gordon E. Sugar, a developer of custom homes for 50 years and one of the first to build outside the Beltway in Baltimore County, died Friday at Johns Hopkins Hospital of complications from pneumonia. The Stevenson resident was 79.

Through his company, Gordon E. Sugar Inc., he built several hundred houses in the Stevenson Road area, starting in the late 1940s. Most of the houses featured nearly flat roofs and glassed-in areas, and made use of the landscape.

“He wanted to be able to see outside. He loved light and trees,” said his daughter, Susan Sugar Nathan of Ruxton.” Each home was unique to the site it was on.

“His focus was his work and his family,” she said.

In the late 1960s, he built Stevenson Village, an apartment complex that is now condominiums. Twenty-three years ago, he started Pomona, a complex on the former Hutzler estate off Reisterstown Road. It includes gardens, mid-rise apartments and a commercial center.

Born in Bennettsville, S.C., he moved to Baltimore when he was a child. He graduated from Forest Park High School.

He served in the Navy in World War II, spending about two years in Africa.

He married Lucille Waldman in 1951.

He enjoyed swimming, skiing and tennis, as well as traveling.

Private funeral services were held yesterday.

In addition to his wife and daughter, he is survived by two grandchildren.

This is the obituary of a man I never met, but who continues to touch our lives on a daily basis nearly two decades after his death.  We live in one of his custom homes, we shop at the farmer’s market at Pamona which he built, and often grab breakfast at a café and even see a dentist at Stevenson Village — a charming little shopping center that he created — nestled just up the road in Greenspring Valley.  Hats off you, Mr. Sugar.

Photo courtesy of Stevenson Village.