Lamps! Lamps! Lamps! Lamps!

This past summer in Ohio, R and I were nearing what felt like the definitive end to our year abroad. On an early morning walk through my hometown, Mom and I passed some auctioneers setting up in the front lawn of a small ranch. Near the street was a mid-century wood credenza – the kind with a flip-up wood top, turntable, and speakers. I was drawn to it like a moth to a flame. “No no no Katie,” Mom said. “The last thing you need right now is a project.”

True. And yet NOT true. Because when is it really a bad time for a project?

I convinced R to drive back to the sale with me. I did this by reminding him that we had no lamps in storage, that lamps are annoyingly expensive, and that this estate auction had a whole bunch of random lamps out front. Also I assured him that auctions are fun.

Over the next hour I firmly established myself as the premier buyer of ugly-ass 80s lamps in all of NW Ohio. In total we successfully bid on eight lamps, a sheet music stand, the giant credenza, and a big weird faux bamboo shelf that got thrown in with the credenza.  I called Mom to see if she could help us cart the rest back to the house. “You bought what?!” she sighed.

Yeah, but here’s the thing. We spent $8. EIGHT. That’s the magic of small town auctions. Eight dollars can buy you all this:

Then we got to work making it less ugly. When it comes to projects I want it all done NOW. Wheeee! Immediate gratification! R has learned to deal with this by jumping in or tuning out, but not by persuading me to wait. This time he jumped in. So did Mom.

We stripped the inside of the credenza, removing approximately 60 lbs. of electronics from 1955 and a whole bunch of insulation from the speaker bays.

// I stripped the top, stained it, and gave it 3 coats of polyurethane, then sanded and painted the sides and legs. The little music stand got the same treatment. credenza2musicstand Mom took some sandpaper to the lamps, and then we coated them in Rustoleum Oil-Rubbed Bronze spraypaint. The cut glass lamps were the most striking makeover I think. milklamp lamps glasslamp And then my amazing parents toted it all to Boston with a little trailer. The credenza fits perfectly under the front windows, and the music stand holds all of baby L’s books. She loves yanking them out one by one and turning all the pages. IMG_2238

Now in our house, if you want to convey enthusiasm for a project or plan, you give a little fist pump and chant “Lamps! Lamps! Lamps! Lamps!”

More furniture makeovers
the curbside dresser with 3 layers of paint
windsor chairs



  1. Janet Schumm · January 18, 2016

    Who would know everything would turn out that fantastic!!

  2. Annie · January 13, 2016

    Ohhhhhh!! Gosh, why haven’t I been on here more often? Just exquisite, everything and everyone! Love that baby girl!

  3. Carlin · January 13, 2016

    There is a bronze lamp in my parents house that is the triplet of the two you re-did. Excellent work, it all looks great!

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