Your acts of kindness are iridescent wings.
How wonderful to know I am not the only lamp lover left! I so appreciated reading all your kind comments about our shared affection for lamps. After years of walking into homes filled with speckly-holed ceilings with harsh, glaring spiral-shaped florescent bulbs, I thought I might be the only one left who still treasures these glowing jewels of light. Thank you, kindred spirits!
Encouraged by your enthusiasm, I want to share a “lamp magic” anecdote with you that I experienced while helping my long-time clients create a guest room in their garage. After a friend whose home burned down in Northern California slept on their sofa for weeks, the couple decided they needed a guest room.
From Garage to Guest Suite
We carved out a small, narrow space in the storage area adjacent to the garage overlooking a beautiful wooded area of the couple’s property. We furnished the new guest quarters with a queen-sized bed, two bedside tables, an ottoman for luggage, a sturdy desk and chair, and a small dresser for incidentals. An adjoining bathroom completed the suite.
An unused lamp from the library served to light the desk, and a colorful glass chandelier salvaged from storage illuminated the space between the ottoman and dresser. We installed wall washers to light artwork.
But at first, even with all these creature comforts, the guesthouse was looking and feeling too serious. So I went in search of some whimsical lamps for the bedside tables to lighten the mood.
You can buy lamps anywhere, but cool lamps are hard to find, especially a matching pair. But I got lucky. I walked into my favorite local lighting store and saw it – a fanciful birdcage lamp unlike any lamp I’d ever seen. It had been ordered for a customer who didn’t like it upon arrival. It now sparkled in the window for sale.
Birdcage Lamps Create Magic
I confirmed I could order a matching fixture and rescued the rejected birdcage lamp from the store window. When we placed it on the nightstand, I knew my intuition was right – my client loved it! It took a while for its sibling to arrive from overseas and have both rewired to operate in the U.S. But finally, they were together in the guesthouse to work their magic. The birds basked in the amber light from the transparent bulbs, making their beautifully colored feathers and the room glow.
Small Room Appears Larger
The guest room was small, so a rug, coverlet and painted furniture that harmonized with the wall color made the space appear larger. The rusty red fabric on the euro shams and throw pillow accented both the birds’ plumage and the two large paintings by talented local artist Irene Belknap.
For continuity, and to make the suite feel larger, the bathroom walls were painted the same color as the bedroom. My client loves antiques, so I found an old French dresser in Sonoma that had a large appliquéd urn on the front. I had the top removed and retrofitted the drawers to accommodate an oval sink centered in a slab of honey colored limestone to create a unique and dreamy piece.
At the same antique store, I found the perfect funky French mirror to hang over the newly fashioned vanity and added a fanciful star bust sconce at the top for ample light. The only other lighting in the bathroom were wall washers to enhance wall color and accent artwork and furnishings.
No downlights were installed in the suite. We placed an armoire, painted a similar color to the walls, in the bathroom to hold towels, robes and clothing for guests, as there was no space for a closet in the bedroom. There was even an electric kettle for morning tea.
Spiritual Messages from Birds and Rumi
As I reflect on this newly created space, I think we took care of the needs of those who will occupy these two small rooms that emerged from an old garage. But what I think about most is the beauty created by the birdcage lamps embellishing each side of the bed.
I read that in ancient mythology, birds were spiritual messengers. I have wondered what it would be like to fall asleep in this guest room with golden light glowing and birds singing soft, sweet messages. I think they would encourage me to perform daily acts of kindness, so I might have iridescent wings like theirs.
Thirteenth century Sufi poet, Rumi, encouraged us to be grateful for guests who arrive at our door because each has been sent as a guide from beyond. It’s a nice thought to consider, that in some mystical way, guests surely enhance our lives. But I must add, so do birds!