Sunday, April 03, 2011

Sometimes over-ambitious + under-prepared = good enough…

As some of you know, I’ve become a devotee of the Design*Sponge blog feature called Before & After. In this feature, wildly talented designers transform thrift store, basement, and dumpster finds into beautiful works of art. Some of them are quite pricey makeovers, but many simply use a yard or two of beautiful fabric to reupholster a chair, or a coat or two of paint or wood stain on a dresser. There is also a less frequent feature called Before & After Basics that demonstrates a wide range of techniques. Turning old (and often unattractive) pieces of furniture into beautiful things you’d want in your home appeals to me for so many reasons: it’s crafty, thrifty, and does not take 8 years to complete. Imagine my excitement when this lamp-and-side-table-combo showed up next to the dumpster in my apartment complex:

I initially grabbed the shade, thinking that it would work for a lamp I already had, and then when it became clear that it would not, I pulled the whole lamp inside. This is the point when I engaged in a healthy (?) dose of suspension of disbelief. In my head, a few short hours with some paint stripper, leftover bedroom wall paint, and some poly-acrylic finish would yield a table that was pale shiny finished wood with a delicate yellow border, with a matching base. Flash forward to the lamp and I in the bathtub, with me doing my darnedest to neither expose myself nor the municipal water system to the most eco-friendly paint stripper I could find. It became abundantly clear that I was not patient enough to get all of the paint off. Also, it seemed that the wood stain on the base of the lamp would have taken multiple applications of the stripper to remove. Tired and a little sore from hunching over and under the table, I cleaned everything up and let it all dry. Dreams of encountering a beautiful wood table dashed, I resigned myself to a yellow table with a yellow base. Three coats of paint later I was exhausted and it was time for bed. In the morning I applied two coats of water-based poly-acrylic finish, with only a little bit of dust and impatience leading to a less-than-perfect tabletop.

I set it next to my bed and am quite thrilled with the result, even if it’s not exactly what I dreamed.

Walter enjoyed snuggling in the blankets and pillows while I finished the lamp:

And then promptly posed for a photo when I tried to get a good picture:

1 comment:

  1. You know, that's really creative! I never thought about using the bath tub...I always waited for summer and the parking lot...your lamp looks great. I agree that sometimes our eyes are bigger than our resource/skills.