Here are my "restored" lamps.

When I bought these lamps, I knew underneath the long-gone shades and the faded glazing (they both had very white "skin" and extremely odd looking red lips), there stood two gorgeous flamenco dancers! The shades at one time were a brilliant turquoise blue but had faded to an extremely pale baby blue. The silk linings of the shades were shredded beyond use. I came to find out that they were made by Continental Art Co., circa 1952-55.

I lovingly dubbed them Desi and Lucy until now, even though they didn't even resemble their namesakes. I kept waiting for him to let out a wild, "Baaaaah-bah Loooo!!" Now we call them Carmelita and Miguel Don Carlo {LOL}.

Those blood-red lips were rather frightening on their white skin. I believe that at one time they were a light flesh-tone. Perhaps the same sunny windows that bleached out their shades faded their skin too. I put them in my bedroom for awhile trying to decide if I should leave them alone or remake them with colors that I'd enjoy. Originally they were worth about $200 in their condition but if in mint condition they would have held a value of $600-650.

So I moved them after some time, to my sunroom, which doubles as an eating area and is subdivided into my sewing room -- it's a big room. I think I was hoping that by being so close to my sewing room, it'd light a fire underneath me and I'd do to them what comes naturally to me.

So here they are now....

Isn't Miguel a dashing man now? I used genuine gold-leaf paint on their vests, his neck-tie, her hair adornment and earrings, and their shoes.

Carmelita looks so much prettier with pink lips. Instead of looking like a vampire, now she looks like a lovely Spanish lady.

They were repainted with CeramCoat and sealed with low-gloss spray sealer.

Here they are with their new shades. I must say.... shade making is NOT an easy undertaking, but I am always willing to try something new. The old shades were beyond saving. When I removed the old trim and silk shantung from the frames, I could see the original color of the fabric under the trim pieces. They were gorgeous in their day. I am sure they were quite the conversation piece in their owner's living room. They were truly the epitome of style in the Fifties. Now, they are just fun and kitschy and way too cool.

I used the original lamp shade frames for this re-do. I also used new finials.

I created the new shades with a lightly slubbed black silk shantung. Seemed only appropriate since the original material was shantung. The first one took me five hours. I apparently got the hang of it since the second one "only" took me four hours. I personally think this is a long time for an experienced fabrics crafter like myself but I hear that four and five hours is pretty fast, especially for a first-time shade creation.

Here are the new finials. They were black when I purchased them but the design was just way too perfect to leave behind. They just scream "Spanish Architecture" to me. So I brought them home and painted them red. The flash makes them look a bit orange-y but they actually match the dancers' attire very well. (See above.)

I've owned these lamps for a couple years now. Being a retro and vintage collector, I fully understand what it means to keep things in original condition to retain their full value. I kept asking myself if by recreating these lamps am I doing any real disservice to their value. The fact is, these lamps had issues and their value was actually on the low end of the value spectrum. About the time I came to terms with this, I decided that they deserved to be updated, brought into my living area and perhaps giving them the opportunity to give enjoyment to another 50 years worth of admirers. Now that I've put what amounts to $400 in retail value in lamp shades on them, perhaps they are worth more than they were before I repainted them and redressed them. Perhaps not. I suppose that it truly doesn't matter. They were not pretty before. Now they are just gorgeous!

Since they matched my living room so well, they've moved in permanently. Why not!?

Back to Main Page