My love of chairs has been well documented here at Red House West – from confessions of an addict, to the rescue of a small town girl with big dreams, to a late night mid-century modern recliner score at the Goodwill – I am drawn to chairs like a moth to a flame. Perhaps you’ll be proud of me when I tell you that it’s been months (yes, months!) since a chair came home with me.
But I have a new confession, dear readers: I am now a lamp lady.
This new addiction caught me kind of unawares. One minute I was patting myself on the back for not bringing home any more chairs and the next minute I was sitting, eyes glazed, dazzled by a thousand watts of lamp light. Or more.
You see, much as my love of chairs is tied up with a delusion of rescue – so is my love of lamps. I bring home the bedraggled and the broken, and give them new life. They need me.
On my birthday last November, Cameron and I were cruising around a few favorite secondhand stores. I had seen this lamp on a high shelf a few weeks previously, but hadn’t gotten a good look at it. Its funny shape had stuck with me, though, and when I saw it was gone I asked whether it had sold. It turned out it was broken, and the vendor had left it out by the trash heap in back. I had it in our car before I could say happy birthday to me.
A replacement switch only cost a couple of dollars and was really easy to do. I removed a single bolt from the bottom of the lamp, there were only two wires to connect, and I didn’t have to worry which one went with which. Once the wires were connected, I just pushed the switch up through the top of the lamp’s base, and then I replaced the bottom. So easy!
I didn’t love the shade though. It was definitely not original, and neither the proportions nor the era were quite right. I did a little hunting around on eBay to see if I could find one I liked better but everything seemed too ornate, or too era appropriate, and I realized that what I wanted (and this lamp needed) was something sleek and simple so the details could really shine. Something like this:
I think the new shade works perfectly – much like a vintage outfit can skew costume-y if it’s all from a single decade, so it is with lamps. The modern lines of this shade keep the lamp from looking like a prop for a play, and allow it to work with the other pieces in my already eclectic living room. And most importantly, Beatrice approves.
I recently found this ceramic mid-century lamp at a thrift store. I don’t have a good ‘before’ picture, but believe me when I tell you that it was looking pretty rough. I can’t say enough about the power of the Magic Eraser in the face of dingy-looking white ceramics and I used another favorite – Restor-a-Finish – to spruce up the wood part. I’m not sure just which room this beauty will be living in, but once I figure it out it will be fun to create a shade for it.
So there you have it! A tale of three lamps – one rescued from the brink of death, one from a fashion faux-pas, and one from the company of too many ceramic clowns on the thrift store shelves. What have you been dragging home lately? I’d love to hear!