What a Difference a Shade Makes

Winthrop Condo Lamp


I want to tell you a story about a lamp–the one pictured above in its “AFTER” incarnation.  Unlike those shows you see on HGTV, most real interior design installations are done in stages.  Furnishings trickle in from various vendors, and eventually everything is in place.  I wasn’t intending to write about the project pictured in the photo above until it is completely finished, because it will be spectacular when all of the client’s art work is in place, but this lamp story struck me as a really good example of how to re-purpose an accessory that otherwise may have been replaced.

Susan and Bruce Winthrop are long-time clients of Emery & Associates, and when they sold their large suburban home last year so they could downsize to an urban condo, they called us immediately.  Nobody had any idea it would take so long to find a place to move into, but they finally found the perfect condo on the 23rd floor of a building in South Waterfront, with stunning views of the Willamette River.  We worked together to develop a new palette and new furnishings for this condo, and we intend to have the spaces professionally photographed when everything is in place.  As of now, they have received most of the new furniture except the dining table and chairs, but all of their wonderful art is still in storage.  Susan had temporarily put a lamp that her mother-in-law had given her into the new living room, and even though the coffee table wasn’t in place, I took a photo of the space at that stage.  My comment to Susan was “So far I’m liking everything but the lamp–maybe you could change out the lampshade.”  She had similar feelings, but asked me to look for new lamps.


New condo partially furnished, with new rug, sofa, pair of chairs


I showed the Winthrops many photos of possible lamp choices, and none of them really appealed to them, so I encouraged Susan and Bruce to look on their own at local retailers, and we discussed a variety of possible sources.   Today they texted me that they had gone to Naomi’s Lamp Shop in Lake Grove (one of my favorite resources), and had the harp, shade, and finial replaced on the old lamp.  What a huge difference!  The proportions now look much more in keeping with their contemporary style.  Look at the two versions of the same lamp, below:

Winthrop Lamp B:4

BEFORE: Lamp with old shade


AFTER: Lamp with new shade, harp and finial.

Changing out the harp (the metal frame the holds the shade) positions the shade slightly lower on the body of the lamp, and the new shade and finial changed the look of the lamp from outdated to cutting-edge.  It’s all about the proportions and shape.  It is also an example of how we work collaboratively with clients, so they can keep as many furnishings as possible when moving to a space that demands big changes.

There are 3 Comments to "What a Difference a Shade Makes"

  • Kathia Emery says:

    If you can see this comment, you are in the right place to comment on my latest post!

  • Bonnie Messinger says:

    My big round mid-century stoneware lamp has been begging me for a shade ever since I bought it. The trip to Naomis will move higher up on my list, now that I see the lovely transformation of your client’s lamp.

  • Dinah Adkins says:

    I love Naomi’s. I have bought almost all my shades there, plus harps and finials. They know how to rescue a piece that isn’t shaped exactly right, and the size shade that should be chosen. It is always best to take the fixture with you so they can play with it. Thanks for showing us this. It’s a great re-do! I’m looking forward to the complete redecoration.

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