Lamplady Speaks


WHILE I’M NOT as schizy as Toni Collette in that new show, United States of Tara, I also have an alter ego.

She’s known as Lamplady, and she is particularly fond of kitschy 1950s lamps. Lamplady even had a space at the Showplace on West 25th Street for three months one winter, where she sold, or attempted to sell, wild and crazy mid-century lamps.

The ‘atomic style’ ones, sputnik chandeliers, and Majestics — those black wooden zig-zags with parchment shades shaped like flying saucers — flew out of my booth. The plaster ballerinas and Asian figures did not. I still have about 40 of them in storage.p1030345

I love all types of lamps and lighting; to me, it’s the most important aspect of a room’s decor. If the lighting is bad in a restaurant, I can’t enjoy my meal. If the lighting is wrong in someone’s home, I think nothing of doing what I can to change it on the spot, switching off a harsh, glarey overhead and turning on a table lamp instead, or dimming a too-bright fixture over a dining table. I don’t care if it’s annoying.

Yesterday I went lamp-shopping at Rico on Atlantic Avenue with my friend Becky, who was visiting from Georgia. We were taken with a shiny red/orange drum shade (under $350) that would totally make her dining room; or perhaps she’ll end up with a ring-type chandelier, an open wheel rim with  trendy Edison-style naked-filament light bulbs evenly spaced around it (about $575).z2091-1


If you are a lamp-lover, Lamplady recommends these fantastic sites:

RewireLA for vintage modern European lighting, below orange_blk_sputnik1-01


Lum of New Orleans has vintage lamp bases, below, freshened up with black or white drum shades. Super stylish.175-2175-3



For shades to match existing bases, I’ve spent many a happy hour in Just Shades on Spring and Elizabeth Streets in Nolita.

You can find reproduction Fifties-style speckled parchment shades with lanyard lacing at Deadly Nightshades.

Name That Look


Somebody come up with a name, please.  There’s an aesthetic out there that’s reached critical proportions on Atlantic Avenue between Hoyt and Bond, but nobody knows what to call it.

City Foundry is a mad, fascinating jumble of early industrial-era relics and mid-20th century lamps and furnishings

City Foundry is a mad, fascinating jumble of early industrial-era relics and mid-20th century lamps and furnishings

The sign outside City Foundry‘s annex  reads “vintage industrial.”

Brian Cousins of Darr says, “We’re a prop shop.”

The owner of the new cafe/ restaurant, Building on Bond (large photo, bottom), around the corner at Pacific and Bond, whose interior is an ingenuious re-purposing of found wood and industrial parts, calls it “3-D collage,” with a nod to the Arts and Crafts movement.

City Foundry

City Foundry

90-year-old wood molds from an upstate factory at Rico

90-year-old wood molds from an upstate factory at Rico's annex store

The look involves machine cogs from the early industrial era, antique medical supplies, Edison light bulbs in metal cages, drafting stools from bygone architectural offices, bones and antlers, bronze busts and worn wood library shelves — even (at Darr, top photo) taxidermied bison heads and a ten-foot-tall stuffed grizzly.

Cabinet of curiosities?  Mad scientist?  Industrial chic?

Any other suggestions?  Or thoughts on when it’s gonna stop?!

Busted at Darr

Busted at Darr