Homage to House

Mr. Blandings and I had a dinner party Friday night. We were having thirteen guests and the last few weeks were spotted with menus and planning and cleaning.

While Mr. B wants to talk food, it is usually the last thing on my mind. He’s a very good cook. The food is always great. It is the first box I check when planning a party at home.

Getting ready for a party always seems a bit crazy, but I always seem to take on a little project that I feel quite sure must be completed before the event or all is lost.

My granny lamps are happy in their new spot in the front hall and the parchment shades finally arrived. A former blogger on whom I relied for stylish advice, House of Beauty and Culture, graciously provided a suggestion for the shades as lamp millinery is a stumbling block for me.

He suggested the shade but also planted the seed that a border, like that of a French mat, would be a nice detail. When I emailed back, “Huh?” he was lovely and sent me pictures and instructions.

HOBAC had suggested insetting the line by a quarter of an inch, but I was chicken. After mixing the paint and adding the glaze I was really afraid as I thought there was a great possibility that disaster loomed.

The first two lines were awful and I mumbled a particularly unpleasant twelve letter word. A little more glaze and a better brush seemed to do the trick and, well, fortunately there is a “back” so the worst of it is to the wall.

I don’t know if this is quite what House had in mind and while he might not care to be credited with inspiring my amateurish attempts, I am incredibly grateful.

How I’d love to have a large oval mirror to go behind.
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57 thoughts on “Homage to House

  1. What a great way to give the lampshades a little personality. Definitely something I will have to try. Thanks!!

  2. Such great lamps, and I would say that evening if I didn't have a lamp fetish. I often think white shades sort of lose their edge, I like the paint because it gives some definition.

  3. Stunning lampshades. You are so very clever. And perhaps a bit of a potty mouth. Just one more reason we adore you.

  4. I remember when you posted on these lampbases, I like the subtle accent of the glazed color on the shades! It is just enough , and not too much! I see what you mean on the oval mirror, it would break up thee squaredness of the shapes. The area looks great though!

  5. Gorgeous! Walter is a genius. The color and the idea is so perfect. what were you scared of – you painted wallpaper for God's sakes.
    ok what is the 12 letter word – I came up with a 10 and 11, but no 12

  6. Great shape shades for your lamps, I am so glad you decided to trim them, a beautiful shade without trim is like a Sunday Bonnet with no ribbon.
    The fabulous finials finish it all off. Your granny would be proud. Hope you had a great evening.

  7. That House!!! What a great guy. He's leaving us all quite a legacy, isn't he?

    I think I got your 12-letter word, but I had to count the letters on my fingers!

  8. I never really knew HOBAC at all, but he was the one who told me to do a limed finish on my chair project that I posted a few weeks ago. As soon as I read his words, it was decided. The chairs were stripped and limed.

    You lamps look lovely! I know the feeling you are talking about – when you are about to embark upon a project that could turn out badly. I am glad that these turned out so well!

  9. Love the lamps! And the shades with the edging are just what was needed. So many times when I create lamps, I am afraid to edge the shades myself and end up leaving them without the little finishing touches that they require. Great job and courage!

  10. Thanks so much for your nice comments on my efforts.

    Joni, darling, forget it. Nice girls like you wouldn't know such language.

    Meg and TTI – Walter is always spot on.

  11. Will you paint some shades for me??!! I think they look great! Such straight lines… Mine would be all wobbley.

  12. Beautiful! You always make it work Patricia. I know how scary it can be. I started working with gold foil on a work of art & you would not believe the mess I made. This was after you told me the silver foil leaves on your wall were "easy peasy"! I never give up trying new projects though!

  13. A little paint sure did make a big difference. Oh and I know all to well about the taking on a little project that I feel sure that I need to do before an event that is only hours away, and I thought I was the only one that feels the need to add stress.
    What a wonderful look!

  14. I wouldn't have known something was missing. Now that I see what you have done I will never look at lamp shades the same way. I just need a steadier hand and the resolve to say only one twelve letter word in the process.
    Susan Jones

  15. I must know…did you tape it off before painting? What kept the paint from spreading as it soaked into the fabric of the shade?
    They look marvelous Darling!

  16. Aesthete – I loved your idea of the pinstripes, too, but custom was out of reach. You should see the back. Yikes.

  17. Dianne – There is actually a tape on the edges of the shade. I started using a straight edge, which was HOBAC's suggestion, but I was having a little trouble with the paint bleeding through. I used a small, flat brush and not very much paint and just went slowly. The edge of the tape actually served pretty well as its own border.

    None of this stuff that I pop up here requires any skill. Just a little patience.

  18. You are too brave – just thinking about paint, me and pristine white shades! I would have gone the way of gimp or seam binding and a hot glue gun. Your update of the lamps is really terrific.

  19. They look great (as all of your projects do)…What was the menu? Sorry for being nosy, but we are having another fairly large group for dinner in the next few weeks and I need inspiration!

  20. Stunning. It's incredible how these small details take something up to another level. Now what were all those different bottles for?

  21. I think it is always scary to do a home project with something that you have owned for awhile. Having said that, I would go over the lines a second and third time to really make the color pop! Congrats on being brave!

  22. Mrs. Blandings, Oval, you think an oval mirror? Why? You have square lampshades. Cue me in on the philosophy behind that choice. I'm here to learn. Ann

  23. Linenqueen – I'm here to learn, too! I just think square chest, square lamps, square shade, square frame – something needs to throw it a curve.

  24. great job. Seriously, the glaze is the prefect touch as you didn't want it looking to severe and 'perfect'. beautiful touch

  25. My college roommate taught me to swear and my old-fashioned mother said she did a damn good job at it. The 12-letter is always ready to serve. I live of it as safety valve/anti heart attach prevention.

    Like the idea of throwing a curve. One of my favorites on large space as yours is a grouping of mirrors. I call them light magnets.

    Home is in the details of the heart. Great job.

  26. twelze letter word? I never was good at crossword puzzles. Hmm. My favorite bad word is 10 letters long, you have me beat!

  27. OH MY! What a fabulous little detail! Did you tape the lines off or just go for it!? They look so fabulous, great job!

  28. Oh, the nervous excitement and last-minute panic that is entertaining!

    In the rush to gather friends and feed them wonderfully and make a beautiful background–we go into this kind of frenzy.

    I've been know to re-hang paintings, or redecorate, once painted walls, tried to rearrange books, reupholstered my bed, and even tackled trivial handyman jobs. Panic! I've even done a quick chair seat re-upholstery myself, tacking and stapling and taping fabric. It is still there, looks great (just don't look underneath).

    Mrs B: my guess is that you will enjoy these lamps for years! They look great. Don't even dream of touching them. Brilliant. (and your work cost was v v cheap, let's face it).

  29. Anon – here in Kansas City I use the Light Shop on Wornall. They have hundreds of shades in stock, though not the size I was looking for. Gracious and lovely – really concerned about my lamps – they helped me find the right size and custom ordered them. They were not particularly expensive. Lamp shops like this are a treasure as a good person knows a ton about proportion.

  30. HBD – thanks, and I would not have had you pegged as such. And Jean Martha – I'm shocked. I thought you'd be able to hang with the best of them. There's no one I'd rather go to a dive with than you. I'll help you brush up on your salty language on the way.

  31. Diane – it is exactly the same around here and poor Mr. B is always blindsided. There's is nothing like the rush of people walking through the door; I wish I could do it more often.

    And, yes, thanks, sometimes elbow grease is the most effective.

  32. Hey…you did a great job! Mixing colour was my favorite part of school! The shades look great and I agree, an oval mirror behind would be tres fab!

  33. Lovely!!! And perfectly done. Much better that they look hand done I think. i hope the party was a huge success!

  34. Oh I thought, I'd need to be stone cold sober to do this with a steady hand. But then again I thought, I'd actually need a shot to pluck up the courage to attempt it. Mrs. B the world needs more people like you – such bravery, such courage.
    Millie ^_^

  35. It is a scientific fact that 12 letter words aid in artistic endeavors. I'm sure Van Gogh didn't say "oops" when he cut off his ear!

  36. Just an additional thought about your dinner party with your tackling last minute home improvements and Mr. B. wanting to talk non-stop about food. What about Mr. B writing a food post when you do these fun things? He can babble to the entire blogosphere and many, many will listen! Throw that man a bone that he doesn't have to cook!

  37. You guys are cracking me up. And, HBD, I think this is a great idea and am working on it; we'll see if I can get him to come around.

  38. Awesome. We shall hit the nearest biker bar when next I am in Kansas City.

    By the way, the lamps/shades are glorious.

  39. I love it. I am usually a less is more girl but this has inspired me. Obviously, the painting was done pre-cocktail, yes? Love love love.

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