Monthly Archives: August 2011

Flying Saucer Lamp

Subtitle: The story behind the Instagram pics

Okay, so it’s Sunday, right? And I could probably be doing USEFUL things but my neck is hurty and it’s 4,000 (give or take) degrees outside and I’ve just photographed, like, a dozen (gorgeous, still not yet listed) 1940s neckties for the shop, so what do you want from me? I know what I want, and that’s ice cream. It’s about time to check out that one ice cream place in Louisville. And as long as I’m aaaaalllll the way up in Louisville, why not head over to the Lafayette Flea Market a few miles away? They don’t close for another… um… half hour. Half hour!

Fine, I’ll rush. I’m not running through the store, but I’m visually scanning at high speed. Woody, my shopping partner this afternoon, points out a cute hat that I would have missed. In good shape, nice color, $4. $4? Mine. About 2/3 of the way through the shop, I spy a vintage lamp that knocks my socks off. In no way do I need a lamp, and while Woody declares it “hideous,” I can’t resist at least posting a pic to Instagram:


Within minutes, people are “liking” the photo. As you can see, that is clearly not a result of the styling or composition. “See,” I ask/accuse Woody. “It’s not hideous! LOOK AT THAT AMAZING DRUM SHADE!!! What is it, four feet tall?”

Fast-forward to Monday, and I am still thinking about that lamp. The lamp I DO NOT NEED. The lamp that I know is amazing, not just for its Googie, space-age styling, but because A. matching vintage lamp bases and shades are all-too-often separated by now and B. I once spent far too long looking for TALL replacement drum shades for a pair of vintage lamp bases that had been permanently loaned to me, so I know this is an extra-rare rarity.

Now, it just so happens that the client I’ve been working for is based in Broomfield. And while Broomfield is not next door to Lafayette, it’s pretty close. Pretty darn close. Just a few miles away, in fact. Why, it would only be about a 15-minute drive.

Approximately 22 hours after first spotting The Lamp, I’m trying to figure out how to fit it in my car. (Answer: shade removed and horizontal across the back seat, unexpectedly heavy base in the footwell of the rear passenger-side seat, with the front seat pulled forward.)

Once home, I posted a new pic to Instagram. Still not beautifully styled, but with less visual interference:

Though minor, the lamp is not without its flaws. The shade, as evidenced by a peek under the ring of trim embellishment, used to be the same turquoise shade as used on the base. No big deal, I actually like the faded color. The base is lightly chipped, but I think I can fix them enough to be less noticeable. There are a few, but they all look pretty much like this:

To start, I need to mix up some paint:

That’s a mix of an ancient tube of Liquitex Phthalo Green left over from my Pratt days (kudos to Liquitex; the paint consistency is still perfect), and some more recent Windsor & Newton Titanium White. Next step: fill in the “blanks.”

Not too shabby a job of matching color, if I do say so myself. But I still need to add that bronze-gold “wash” effect once the base color dries. My daylight has disappeared and the wash still isn’t dry, but here’s the end result photo:

Much to my surprise, I actually had a difficult time getting the lamp lined up in the same position, because the “fixes” are so hard to find! I’m a little off in this final shot. Look for the more horizontal “scratches” in the plaster base (originally in between the two larger chips) to get your bearing.

I still have no proper place for this amazeballs lamp, but I’m thinking that it will go in the guest room, just in time for my friend Amanda’s visit. Fitting, that a fellow lover of Mid-Century Mod will be the first to get to use it!


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Filed under life-threatening clutter, shopping, vintage