Imogen, Victoria and Jimmy Hoffa — A Family of Lamps

by Katy on August 18, 2012 · 20 comments

As much as I promote the idea of a uncluttered home, I’m just as bad as anyone else when it comes to bringing home new Stuff. Sure, I may be a pile or two (or seventy) away from being featured on Hoarders, but I still have a category of Stuff that sneaks past my resolve to minimize new possessions.

And that would be a tasty vintage lamp.

And not just any vintage lamp will do, as I like ’em old and I like ’em made from specific natural materials. So marble, glass and wood are in. Plastic, brass and ceramic are out. (It’s not that I don’t like ceramic lamps, it’s just that none of them seem to ever come home with me.)

It’s safe to say that my house is well lit.

I would like to introduce you to a new family member, whose marble base and stacked chunky leaded glass pieces melted my heart and followed me home from Goodwill. (After I got them to lower the price from $6.99 to $4.99.)

Yes, I’ll be rewiring her, (which is why they lowered the price) but her sweet sparkly elegance could not be resisted. I think I’ll call her Crystal.

And since there’s a new member to my household, I thought it was high time to introduce you to the rest of my family.

There’s the twins, Flora and Dora. These candlestick alabaster lamps originally belonged to my great grandparents, and were spelunked from my mother’s basement. They enjoy spending time on our bedside tables. (Spelunked lamps — $0.)
















And then there’s Woody-San, whose lacquered wooden base evokes a time when faux-Asian was all the rage. (Maybe 1920’s?) His swirly paint is so deliciously random yet deliberate all at once. (Goodwill — $6.99.)

Let’s not forget Victoria, whose upright and elegant posture can always be counted on. She weighs a ton, but her fussy lampshade balances out any figure flaws. (Goodwill — $2.99.)

You already know this lamp, whose curves evoke a time when a chrome bumper was a thing of beauty. I think I’ll call him Vinnie. (Goodwill — $2.99.)

And then there’s Victoria’s younger sister Imogen, whose alabaster elegance welcomes all who enter my home. (Estate sale — $15.)

It’s important that I not forget Jimmy Hoffa, who was found in the basement of an old rental house. His wiry industrial armature mean he can never be broken. (Found lamp — $0.)

I must not leave out Trixie-Lou, whose overly pink and ornate lines have put her most at risk for replacement. For this reason, she kind of hates her sister Crystal. (Goodwill — $4.99?)

So yes, I might have a lamp problem. Some might go so far as to say I’m the Angelina Jolie of the lamp world, but I somehow just can’t resist bringing home these poor defenseless lamps.

Someone has to give them a good home.

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”

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{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

Megyn @MinimalistMommi August 18, 2012 at 12:15 pm

Nice! It’s funny because I try to declutter lamps like crazy! We currently own two- one that came for free when we bought a nightstand off of Craig’s List and is now our oldest son’s “night light” and the other we use in our bedroom and will be taken to Goodwill if we move (it works intermittently). We are more pro ceiling fan-light combo.


Lynn D. August 18, 2012 at 12:30 pm

Your lamps may be a good deal, but how about the shades? I’m helpless when it comes to pairing lamps with shades, thrifty or not. Any helpful tips here? How about a rewiring tutorial? Thanks, Katie!


Katy August 18, 2012 at 12:40 pm

I just keep an eye out at Goodwill. I do not have swoon-worthy shades, but they fit the bill. And since they’re never more than a couple of bucks, it’s okay if they’re less than perfect.



Donna August 18, 2012 at 2:00 pm

Wow — “Crystal” makes me so jealous. My mom had a pair of those lamps on her dresser (with mirrored tray between them, containing matching chunky crystal containers in which she kept her earrings). Thanks for the flashback. I covet your lamp since it shot me right back to lying on my mom’s bed when I was 5 and 6 and watching her glam up for an evening out with my Dad. They are both 80 now, so it is a nice memory. Your money was well spent, in my opinion 😉


Kelli August 18, 2012 at 2:19 pm

I too, try to keep clutter at a minimum but I have to confess, I can’t leave a vintage wooden bowl at a thrift store or garage sale. I love the solid wood and craftsmanship that is from days of old… them and will always have room for one more!! That’s the fun of a frugal lifestyle– living large on a dime!!!


Karen August 18, 2012 at 3:24 pm

I love the idea that you name your lamps! With each one’s personality, that’s very apt.

I often find good shades at our local Goodwill. I put them aside until I find a fitting lamp base. It’s fun to give a new look to a room by switching out lamps.


Erin August 18, 2012 at 4:01 pm

Katy, I have the same issue, only with tasty vintage mirrors. Every room in my house has at least one. Some I paint the frames, some are perfectly distressed as is. I just love them! So I understand your little fascination.


Mary Ann August 18, 2012 at 4:25 pm

I have a lamp very similar to that one. It has all the same crystal pieces, but in a different order. How strange.


Lois August 18, 2012 at 5:32 pm

I too have a thing for lamps. There are a couple I drool over from Ikea and of course I spot them at every yard sale I pass by. I like to have floor lamps to save space, but right now I only have one. I had a matching set of Milk Glass lamps from my grandmother, but when I no longer had a nightstand on each side of my bed I took them to my son and dil when they were expecting their first child (girl). I rewired them and she found beautiful inexpensive shades in a lavender for the nursery.

Oh and my favorite of your lamp collection would have to be Jimmy Hoffa and Vinnie! They are spectacular.


Judy August 18, 2012 at 6:59 pm

Katy, love your lamps and the names. Never thought to name them before. I also have some interesting and old lamps, but my true weakness is rescuing old chairs. Then I have the problem deciding how to re-upholster them.


Nancy August 18, 2012 at 11:58 pm

I second the request for a lamp-rewiring tutorial!


Lili@creativesavv August 19, 2012 at 7:20 am

Love the lamps! From the title of your post, I was expecting some really atrocious looking lamps, but these are beautiful. (Think Royal Doulton Toby mug/jug but with a shade on it.)


Alarwyn August 19, 2012 at 11:05 am

Oh you poor girl, what a darling you are, Trixie-Lou!

I definitely find that lamp-collection drool-wrothy! (And now I really want to run to our local goodwill to see if there’s anything like these beauties there… 😉 )


Alison August 20, 2012 at 7:35 am

I love lamps too but never thought to name them. What a fun post– you are very clever with your names. I think lamps give a nice warm feel to rooms especially when overhead lighting is inadequate and isn’t it always?


Katy August 20, 2012 at 7:37 am

They’re not normally named, that was just a special thing I did for the blog post. 🙂



Paula in the UP August 20, 2012 at 8:55 am

Love it! You surely have some good finds! Do you get the shades from Goodwill too? I have seen some decent lamps, most may need some TLC, but the lamp shades tend to be junk!


Katy August 20, 2012 at 9:21 am

It is harder to find lampshades, but still entirely possible. Just keep an eye out.



joyce August 20, 2012 at 11:29 am

OMG… we may be related, I too have a thing for lamps, my DGD counted and came up with 36… it’s a sickness.. I have so many that I can change them out when I change out the decor in a room. I love them all. My daughter even got me a shirt that says” I love Lamps”. I rewire them and buy shades at thrift stores and yard sales, have even recovered the shade frames to get what I want. I don’t think I have ever bought one new, always thrifted or estate sales. I say keep them all,


Sara Tetreault August 20, 2012 at 2:07 pm

Katy, I’m not lamp naming gal but I do name functional items around the house. Our big fan (that contractors use to move air around after a dry walling project – oh wait, that’s us!) just dragged out of the basement this past week to move hot air out of the house and cooler air in is called, “Big Ugly.” The name totally fits because it’s big and it’s ugly but it gets the job done. Very pretty lamps, friend!!


Practical Parsimony August 20, 2012 at 3:27 pm

Have you seen my lamp posts? I love lamps! Where did you get the covered shade with the rosette and fringe? I make those! The ones I saw were $$600-$800 and I decided to make my own. I sold a few before I could afford to make one for me.


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