Katie’s House: Lamps are the New Chairs

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.

Red House West || Lamps are the New Chairs

People who follow us on Instagram might have seen this coming…

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.

Red House West || Lamps are the New ChairsA 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!

Red House West || Lamps are the New Chairs

Red House West || Lamps are the New ChairsAbout a month ago I found this crazy art deco lamp while out treasure hunting with my mom. She surprised me with it later, and I love it. The details are insane; that base really slays me.

Red House West || Lamps are the New Chairs

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.

Red House West || Lamps are the New Chairs

Red House West || Lamps are the New Chairs

Mera asked whether I intentionally framed this picture so Beatrice would have a Harry Potter-esque lightning bolt. Perhaps subconsciously – Beatrice’s magic is strong.

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.

Red House West || Lamps are the New ChairsSo 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!

7 responses on “Katie’s House: Lamps are the New Chairs

  1. Susan Glassow

    I love all your lamps. They shine and shine brighter with your love and careful recreation of their possibilities.

  2. Katy Gilmore

    Those lamps do need you. I’m particularly enamored of the one you rewired – and added the shade of classic shape, changing it from tattered Victorian (I guess) with way too much conflict happening, to modern electric eclectic. You say it is an impulse to rescue, but also it’s your visionary ability to see through and beyond, see possibility. Yay for you Lamp Lady! (And I might point out that there is nothing worse than a chair with no lamp nearby. So really you are rounding out your chair love most appropriately!)

    1. Katie Post author

      Oh Katy, thank you! I wish you would narrate my life. I way prefer to think of myself as a visionary doing an important service rather than a hoarder just dragging things home 🙂

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