Many people would say this was one ugly lamp before I started but I honestly can’t bring myself to agree with that, I like anything that’s solid wood and I know it took a long time to make! We happen to have a neighbor that’s a good friend of ours that took up making lamp bases in his garage in the winter time. The majority of his lamps are every inch of cool that you can think of, coming out in every shape and form imaginable, creatively using the “imperfections” in wood grain to create truly one of a kind pieces. He decided we needed a new lamp and showed me a few leaving me at a total loss, how do you pick? Then he held this one unhappily up and I knew it belonged with us. He wasn’t happy with the stain and called it the “color of poo” so I brought it home! Joe said nothing but I could see him thinking, Of all the gorgeous lamps to choose from, you picked that one?
It really wasn’t that bad it was just a combination of the type of wood and the dark stain and boom, it was one big baseball bat of brown. I knew I could sand it down and try staining it something else but the lack of definition in the wood (you can see the one knot at the bottom) would mean that no matter what stain I chose it would be one basic solid block of color no matter what. I went back and forth with the idea of spray painting it something metallic or just painting it white. Then, I grabbed a roll of tape and started playing with different stripe ideas. The first attempt: I was just going to do horizontal stripes running around it but getting them anything resembling straight seemed impossible and I didn’t like it anyway. Then I tried a spiral and Joe and I agreed that we didn’t need a barber’s pole in our living room. Then I did vertical stripes with the tape and thought, this might work.
Of course, I put several coats of poly over the tape so it would come off clean and the paint wouldn’t bleed beneath it. After a couple of coats of paint I took the tape off and really looked at it. And I hated it. The dark brown by the stark white was just too much. So, I did a dry brush with white paint over the remaining lamp base that had not been painted.
It is certainly not an ugly lamp any more! You can still see the big vertical stripes but they are subtle and the rustic, hard-core, dark brown, hunk of wood “quality” of this ugly lamp got toned down quite a bit. I headed to walmart and found this shade for $14 and thought that the delicate girliness of it would pair well with the still rustic feeling of the base. All in, we’re quite happy with how it turned out.
You guys know me so well at this point that I know you’re wondering if it killed me to paint solid wood (even if it was what someone else might call an ugly lamp) and the answer is: Yes, and no 🙂 I hate painting solid wood like that but honestly I really didn’t see any way around it. It was just too hard core for our little farm house. At some point I may attempt some horizontal stripes again but, this time, I think I’ll do it with twine as opposed to paint. We’ll see!