A Lamp and a Beagle

New York City is pretty amazing in a lot of ways, but a stand-out for me, is the TRASH. Uh-huh, that’s right. Any given sidewalk can be a treasure trove of all kinds of things- furniture, art, lighting...if you can think of it, it’s probably been found on a sidewalk here. (Now don't go there... you dirty boys and girls!) It makes sense too, b/c the sidewalk is where our trash collection happens.  But it’s also just easy for most folks who are getting rid of unwanted items to put them out on the sidewalk. Once you’ve struggled down five flights of stairs with a dresser on your back, you’re pretty much done with the thing at that point. And that’s when someone else’s backache becomes my sidewalk salvation, y’all!  And trust that I’m not alone in this revelry. Discovering some completely unexpected find is not only exciting, but outright joyful for a lot of people like me. Teaching Brandon how to get his groove back!

There's glam under that grime!

So it was the other morning when I was out walking our newest family member, Brandon!  Adopted from the ASPCA, he's a little over a year old and a total love. He's been with us now for about a month and we adore him!  Just look at those dancing skills... Having to walk a dog at the most insane hours takes some getting used to, but on the plus side, it's another amazing opportunity for some incredible sidewalk shopping, let me tell y'all! And this lamp I found the other day is no exception. Now, I guess some people would be deterred by the missing shade, or harp (that bit that holds the shade up from the bulb), or just can’t be bothered with lighting b/c you never know if it works until you get it home. But, with all my years of experience and expertise with all things trashy (remember I grew up in Goose Creek, SC), these are just minor inconveniences. Besides, part of the joy involved in finding treasure, for me, is the rehabilitation and reinvention process.  A great sidewalk score is wonderful, but bringing it back to life with your own unique flourishes is what gets me going.  Sure, it can pricey, laborious, sometimes even toxic (if we’re talking about stripping paint or some such) but y’all gotta give to get glamour!  Lookin’ good is hard work, Damn!

Once I’d tested that the lamp worked by saying a prayer and then plugging it in (hooray, it did), I gave it a good cleaning. I just used a damp rag with diluted Murphy’s Oil Soap, since the neck and base of the lamp are wood.  When it was dry, I applied Linseed Oil to the wooden bits.  Linseed oil is a terrific conditioner for all types of wood. You can find it at hardware stores. I often use it in lieu of having to refinish an entire piece.

I got a new harp and shade for the lamp at Just Shades.  They have an almost dizzying array of shades, but their staff is friendly, knowledgeable and patient. Bless staffer Bonnie Engelson’s heart, who graciously helped me during the two visits I made in order to get exactly what I wanted.

Lampshade breakdown, y’all:  like the perfect accessory to an outfit, the right shade can take your lamp to a "whole 'notha level"!  They come in all kinds of shapes and sizes as well as various materials, like silk, linen or parchment.  They’re available ready made or can be custom, for all those out there where money is no object. Prices can be just as varied as the styles available. Home decorating magazines or catalogs are great sources to find shades and lamp styles that you like.  I prefer paper drum shades. I find that by using the same type of shade on all the different styles of lamps in my space, it ties them all together for a more cohesive look.  But, again, like accessories to your outfit, pick a style, or silhouette that you like (some of us like bow ties, ahem) or that you feel is the strongest pairing for the individual lamp. There are some other factors, aside from the silhouette, to consider, such as the size/scale of the shade and the intended function of your lamp. Is this a reading lamp or just a glam drama light moment in your space?  All these things need to be considered when choosing the shade. I encourage y’all to spend some time on the Just Shades website where you can find out more detailed info like how to measure a shade, take a peek at different silhouettes, materials, etc.

The lamp that lit up my life!

Alright onto the reveal! Ohhhh, ahhhhh! I’m thrilled with the way it turned out and even more excited by the fact that with a little $$ and some elbow grease, I now have a stylish one of a kind lamp (and dog) to illuminate my life beyond belief...

Do y'all have any street finds that you'd want to share? Send them to me and I'll post them: blog@pjmehaffey.com