Monday, January 10, 2011

Lamp Makeover

I inherited this lamp from my mom's cousin quite some time ago.  I love the combination of wood and plaster with brass grooves but the plaster was chipping and the brass was badly tarnished.  It was time for a makeover.  Plus, I was thinking about purchasing a new lamp from Room and Board for a corner of our living room but after some thought this one would work just fine.

The lamp has a signature on it and after a quick Google search I discovered that it was made by Fine Arts in Plaster.  According to Google, the time period is Mid-Century Modern and it's counterparts are selling on ebay for $150!  Oops... too late now.  Makeover it is.

The first thing I did was replace the electrical cord.  If this lamp really is Mid-Century Modern, that means the electrical dates back to the 1950's.  Definitely time for an upgrade!  A Make-A-Lamp Kit from Home Depot did the trick.

Unfortunately I don't have any pictures of the rewiring but it was very simple.  I followed the instructions on the package and I made sure to take a picture of the lamp before I disassembled it. That way, putting it back together would be a snap.  Before I reassembled the lamp, I cleaned all of the brass pieces with a lemon and salt scrub to remove as much of the dirt, grime and tarnish as I could.

Next I painted the plaster base with a Crevecoeur Grey Martha Stewart paint sample from Home Depot, much like the one pictured below.  I was too lazy to sand and prime the lamp so it took several coats of paint to get the coverage I wanted. 

Since the brass grooves were badly tarnished and impossible to clean I thought that gold leafing them would make them pop.  I purchased a gold leaf starter kit from Amazon and after the base had dried I gold leafed each individual circular groove.  Once again, I don't have any pictures from the gold leafing process but it was pretty easy if not slightly tedious.  I just used a paint brush to apply the adhesive to the grooves and then I used a Q-tip to burnish on a tiny piece of the gold leaf.  Lastly, I used the same paint brush to apply the sealer on each one.  It was time intensive but I enjoyed the process.  I watched Love Story and The Sting while gilding.  Gold Leafing + Old Movies = Fun!

Lastly, I purchased a drum lampshade from Lamps Plus.  I wanted a barrel lampshade because the lamp will reside on our windowsill and space will be tight.  This simple shade measures 8x11" and  looks great with the lamp.

I made a quick trip to Mood (of Project Runway fame and yes, Mood is on my list for a Shopping in the City post!) and purchased a yard of linen fabric to cover the lampshade.  A yard was more than enough fabric, in fact I had enough fabric leftover to cover another shade and still had some to spare. 

I used Isabella and Max Room's fabulous step-by-step tutorial to covering a lampshade.  I used fabric adhesive and since the shade was a barrel shape, it was super easy to wrap the linen fabric around it.

Finally I had some gold grosgrain ribbon from Kate's Paperie in my ribbon stash and it was the perfect accent to add to the shade.  I used the fabric adhesive and applied it on top of the linen.

And here is the finished lamp!  I love the way it turned out even though it was a month long process.  There were a lot of steps involved but it was well worth the effort.  It's unique and really adds an element of interest to our living room.

The lamp resides on the windowsill in the corner of our living room and is the perfect reading lamp.  I love it!

Cost Breakdown:

Make-A-Lamp-Kit: $9
Martha Stewart Paint Sample: $3
Gold Leafing Kit: $10
Drum Lampshade: $20
One Yard of Linen Fabric: $14
Ribbon: Free (already purchased)

TOTAL: $56

(Not bad, considering I was thinking about spending around $150 to get a new corner reading lamp)


Prippy Handbook said...

This is really amazing, Janis! I absolutely love it. After a big weekend trip to Ikea, I've been dreaming up ways to personalize some of our basics... and you've just provided me with loads of inspiration.

erin said...

Looks great!

LindsB said...

It looks great!! What a fun makeover project, its like a whole new lamp :)

Ann said...

Wonderful outcome. Now you can add electrician to your many talents. Well done.

Anonymous said...

Wow! I love how warm and chic the lamp base is now.
Nice job!

terri said...

This inspired me to pick up a crazy lamp (yours is much nicer) and now I'm just trying to figure out what to do with it...

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