Ceiling fans are a hot topic on Apartment Therapy. For such a common home item, it can be tough finding a style you can live with. One solution I came across was to antique a store bought fan for an industrial-age look.
It's simple really. Start with a basic shape and stay clear of anything that might give-away the age of the fan. So pay attention to the style of the blades, the motor and hardware. I used a fan similar to this Harbor Breeze Classic which is available at Lowe's for just $45.
The color doesn't really matter as your first step will be to paint the fan with primer. Obviously this is easiest before you assemble the fan. Paint the motor casing, the blades, anything exposed. Careful to keep it even as too much paint on one blade can throw off the weight distribution and make the fan spin a little wonky.
After the primer dries, paint the fan with metallic copper paint. Copper paint is fairly common and can be found at most hardware and art supply stores.
Finally, after the copper coat dries, antique the fan with black, oil-based paint. Just dip cheese cloth or an old rag in the black paint and wipe the fan with long, smooth strokes. Try and keep the edges dark and let the copper show through around the middle. Again, antique anything that might show, even the pull chord. That's it! Now you can assemble and install (or have a friendly electrician handle this part).
The first photo is how my own fan turned out, the last is the original inspiration from a local restaurant in Williamsburg, The Rabbit Hole. And one last tip — order the BLT.
(Images: Geoff Bentz)