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Ask Peggy

Our resource queen answers your questions.
By Peggy Healy Parker |

Is there a rule of thumb for hanging chandeliers in the dining room, and how can I replace missing lusters?
—Jane Christian, Dallas

Hang fixtures at least 30 inches above the table surface, five feet from the floor, and six to eight inches within the narrow dimension of the table. In other areas, the chandelier’s width in inches should be roughly proportionate to the room’s diagonal in feet. Grab your decorator and head to Thomas Grant, if you’re in the market for a $5,000 to $250,000 creation. Otherwise, check out On Consignment for secondhand chandeliers. Comb estate sales, too, and don’t worry about missing pendants or tarnished arms. Enchanted Lighting has drawers full of drops and a variety of candle sleeves, including the popular type with ersatz wax. For cleaning, Tom Gehring of Crow Chandeliers will come to your home to polish each crystal, candle coaster, and glass or metal arm.

How long will dried floral arrangements last before they lose their energy and look worn and tired? —Patricia Dillingham, Dallas

Flowers dried properly (cut just before full maturity and processed so quickly and thoroughly that not a jot of moisture is retained) hold color indefinitely. After all, it is clear, true color that gives dried flowers their vivacity. If flowers have faded or broken, replace with newly dried ones. Wiping off dust with moistened cotton, then spraying with odorless hairspray (but not on celosia, canna, or cones) will maintain crispness. Every six months, recombine flowers from one container into another, or pep up with fresh flowers, but you’ll have to keep stems of dried flowers dry by wrapping them in florist’s tape, available at M.J. Designs or Hobby Lobby.

One of eight beautiful glasses inherited from my grandmother cracked, and a large piece broke off. Is it fixable? —Bethany Anderson, Keller

Glass is brilliant and fragile because it is a liquid in suspension, not a solid. While scratches can be buffed away and chipped rims sanded down or re-cut, it is almost impossible to join a break in an antique drinking glass without the break line showing. Art Restorations to the rescue. Their conservators use an industrial glue with the transparency of water. Cost? They charge by the time it takes to make the repair.

How often can I have my oriental carpets cleaned without prematurely aging them?  —Edie Lycke, Dallas

Luckily, wool does not absorb dirt well, so vacuuming the front and back once or twice a month will keep rugs clean. Al Ahmadi of Esfahani recommends having rugs professionally cleaned every three to four years. Most important, after cleaning, rotate the carpet 180 degrees. Other lifesavers: non-slip pads, blinds or curtains to block sun, and glass cups under furniture legs.

 

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