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So my next focus for getting things finished around the house (and I say ‘finished’ loosely, as we all know decorating is never REALLY a finite process!), is sorting out the kitchen, once and for all.

Here it is at the mo:

While the cupboards, floor and cooker are recently refurbished and the space is impeccable and maybe just needs a new lick of paint… somehow the room still irks me. It is better with the new Missprint ‘Little Trees’ wallpaper, which I LOVE, but still doesn’t feel right.

It screams BEIGENESS. The cheap, light wood cabinet doors give me the hives, and to make it worse are made out of some laminate that comes with a warning sticker not to use cleaners on it. Just a soft damp cloth. IN A KITCHEN.

A) Why would you even make such a product.
B) What numpt would buy it????

It makes no sense. The manufacturer should be shot.

Unfortunately, as the landlord has recently installed them, I really have to leave them be. So next on the irk list is getting rid the nasty halogen spot lighting. What a minger.

I am not even going to waste time with a photo – it is one of those silver bar deals with 4 lights. Someone thought a novel design feature would be to give it pseudo-retro pointy bits – so it looks like Buck Rogers shot it out of his ‘seat area’ (as a friend would say). It is bad.

So nearly a year later I am pondering how to replace it with something more pleasing, that will give us spot lighting in the needed places. WITHOUT a shadow over the sink when you are washing dishes.

Another irk.

I am full of them.

If there is anything I hate it is not having a direct light over you when you are doing dishes. A flaw in most of the kitchens I have lived with.

After much thought, and with the renting out excuse to make me move on it…I have finally come up with something (which you may have noticed in my olympic shots!. It is not quit done yet, as I need to sort out multiple hanging points, and I need to figure out how it will all work.)

Some of you might recall this post from way back on rise and fall lights – I have been wanting some industrial enamel lighting for a while.

Here are examples of enamel lights which I was using as inspiration:

For weeks I trolled and sniped on eBay for the parts I needed to make the fixture.

A few weeks ago I managed to snag 2 green vintage ‘coolies’ from seller frenchmemories on eBay, who is located in Vienne, France. I mentioned my sadness over not getting the 3rd one I had bid on, and the lovely fellow, Ron, let me know he was listing some more that evening! It was fate.

(I highly recommend his shop for French fleamarket goods, by the way. Enamelware, lighting, etc. Prices are very reasonable, and the man is super sweet. I actually won 2 more shades, as I was hedging my bets to make sure I got the 3rd in the second attempt…and he offered to refund me – unasked- on the one I didn’t need. Did I say SWEET?)

I need to sort out how the other 2 shades will work with the fitting and all the bits and bobs needed. Details make ALL the difference and I am hoping to find just the right brass bulbholder/coloured flex combination to make them shine. I want the brass bits to be chunky, but the hole on the shade is quite narrow, so need to rig up something that will work.

I can only dream of finding beautiful gallery fittings like the one below:


I will also have to sort out how the rose will work with 3 cords coming out of it…and how to hang them… This should be interesting.

I love new projects! I will try to slow down and take shots once I start putting things together and do a proper DIY if any of you Roost-ers are interested!

Wish me luck!

So here is the last 1227 installment…

As mentioned previously, the worst of the restoration was the hinge.

How the feck does one make an Anglepoise hinge? This took quite a bit of ‘art-school’ finagling, but I managed to get it together with a lot of work.

This is what I had:

Anglepoise 1227 hinge - lacking ALL working bits

This is what I needed:

Anglepoise 1227 hinge with all working bits


So after panicking for about a month I decided to take a deep breath and just crack on.

First on the make list were the flat bits that hold the arm structure together when it moves. That one seemed really straight forward… but in the end were much less so, as they ended up being a huge pain in the hindicus.

See, when I was checking them out, I didn’t stop to take into account the movement of the hinge THROUGH the narrow ‘arms’ at the front, which give it a full range of movement. Hence, with the added width of the metal I used they ended up being too fat once the bolt was in and couldn’t pass through. This meant that, months later, last week I spent another, painful, smelly hour filing them thinner – cursing them, and myself, all the while!

But back to the rosy beginning… So since Anglepoise no longer supply parts for their products (environmental policy? What’s that?), I figured I could cut the bits out of any flat metal, so started ripping the place apart looking for suitable bits to chop.

Weeks – possible months- passed, then I stumbled on these Ikea curtain bits we had stored away. The holes were the exact distance needed, so I went for it…

cutting Ikea curtain bits and filing to shape

Using my jeweller’s saw (have I ever mentioned how useful these things are?? Yes.) I cut out the shapes, then painfully filed and sanded. Hateful, tedious and sometimes painful, but got there.

Then. Sigh. Then I had to figure out how to make the spacer bits – that again, you can no longer purchase from Anglepoise, even though they still make them for the new ones. (Evil feckers.  Ok, a moment for a quick rant – nothing liking promoting a little sustainability, eh, Anglepoise, you money-grubbing bastards. Ok. Done now.)

Once again, I searched the home for things to chop up…and found an old metal pen that looked suitable. I chopped bits to size and then filled with epoxy putty, then drilled through this to make them solid.

cutting out spacers from pen and filling with epoxy putty

Not as bad as it sounds, just time consuming.

So now I had my spacer things and my hinging bits – and yes, these are the technical terms – all I needed were new nuts (ha ha) and I was ready to roll. I put it all together, and minus the drama with the width, I had made this thing of beauty:

fully reconstructed Anglepoise 1227 hinge!

*cue angels singing* Ahhhhh.

Was it really worth the effort, gouges, despair, broken finger nails and nasty ghetto hands, I hear you ask?

Well in the end, here was the final costing for those of you considering your own project:

I could probably have gotten an undamaged one on eBay for this price if I had waited. On the other hand, I suppose it was super satisfying taking something that would likely have ended up scrapped for parts and making it look amazing. (Trying to convince myself here, people, work with me.)

And I learned a lot.

…Primarily to cost out a project before bidding. heh.

Anyway, it is done and I now have good lighting for knitting while watching TV. What more could you ask for?

So all together now, the big reveal…here she is, after 5 months in the studio giving me the guilt-eye:

fully restored Anglepoise 1227

And just to make myself feel better (because I am a before and after NUT):

before & after

Ta dah. Phew.

It is done! Finally.

My darling little Anglepoise 1227 is fully restored!

Some of you may recall the drama when I started tallying up the costs of restoring my eBay ‘bargain’ and realised it wasn’t really going to be a bargain at all, but a labour of love.

And when I say labour, I truly mean it! Many months later and a lot of hard work, and I am ready to share at long last.

(I will be posting this in 2 parts so that it isn’t too long, and those who are interested in the process for their own project can follow it through more easily.)

Some of you may remember the eBay shot from back in September of 2011 that started it all:

anglepoise before - eBay shot

This was the state of affairs at the start. No hinge or hinge parts, dings, lots of grime and scratches, some rust and ALL electrical bits needing to be replaced.

The shade was a bit wobbly, so I spent some careful time with pliers and some card to keep from scratching the paint further, gently squeezing it straight.

It worked amazingly well, and you can barely see the wobbles now, when looking straight on. I also gave the inside of the shade a brush finish to clean it up.

shade after straightening and brushing


I replaced bulb holder (and had a lovely reader buy the original, so I didn’t have to feel guilty for buying the shiny new one! Thanks again, Jim.)…

…added an inline switch and new plug – which I got from the recycling depot, so free – and pirated the springs off my Type 75, as I figured the older 1227 has seniority.

I also replaced the cord with twisted silver flex from Urban Cottage Industries which I felt would blend a bit instead of contrasting like the black.

I also had to fix the little spacer plastic bit you can just see at the lower left of the picture above, as one of the plastic pegs had snapped off, so had to drill into it and glue a piece of pen into it to hold it in place.

So… that is the simple bits done.

Later this week  I will post on the brutal hinge reconstruction – which was an utter bi-atch.

Stay tuned if I haven’t lost you on all this technical stuff!

Two very different rooms with the same Kaiser Idell 6556 desk lamp…


…and it looks fabulous in both the boho and more gritty industrial.

I have been under the weather lately, but hoping to get back to my lamp restoration madness soon. I really want sort out those lamps I have sitting in the studio pronto, so I can get my own 6556 up and running…I just love the shape!

As mentioned in a previous post, I am being a little ADHD about my lamp restoration, but am too excited about all these projects to be systematic!

Today’s post is on the third type of lamp that I am currently restoring, the magnificent…the wondrous…. Kaiser, by the prolific Christian Dell.

I managed to get 2 Kaiser Idell 6556s in one fell swoop from a German auction a few weeks back, which was very, very exciting!

Here are a couple of examples of the ones I got from images of mint condition ones online so you can see the shapes side by side:

Though they are the same model number, the cream 6556 has a wider, shallower shade and base, whilst the grey’s shade is narrow/deeper which makes the angle across the bottom more pronounced.  This one is my favourite of the two in its proportions.

At one point in its long life, the grey one was black like the example shown above, as you can see the black showing through under the silver. Well, when you can’t see the steel, that is!

It is in need of quite a bit of lovin’. Still deciding what to do with that poor puppy. Thinking I will strip it down to the steel and just polish the metal a bit before sealing and rewiring.

I began my Idell restorations with the cream one, which is only a bit scratched and dinged and still has most of its original paint in good nick.

The facelift started with giving the lamps a once over with sugar soap and scrubbing the bloody h*ll out of them with baking soda to remove scratches.

The ‘before’ shots were tricky to photograph, but it looked like someone had tossed the lamp in with some other metal things (the other lamp, probably!) and the shade and base were both covered with black/grey scratches and one side of the shade had a green paint mark as well.

Here are the before (well, in progress scrubbing, as I remembered to take the shot after a few minutes of work!) and after:

I managed to get ALL of these out with the baking soda and a lot of scrubbing. It was pretty amazing watching it come clean. Highly satisfying. Never underestimate the power of baking soda!

The downside of using the abrasive, which you can see in the shot above, is that it took a couple of layers of paint off – which was great for scratch removal- but dulled the finish to matt. This was easily brought back up to a great shine with some beeswax polish, a soft cloth and more elbow grease.

Check out the shine!


Lastly – checking the electrics. Amazingly this lamp worked perfectly with no loose connections or frayed bits. This is pretty unusual so am guessing it might be newer than I first assumed, or had been rewired.

It was my first introduction to the German wiring colours – black live, red ground, grey neutral. Interesting how every country has its own colour  conventions for these, and some, like the UK, have switched them around through the years. Weird. Nice of them to keep it easy for people not to zap themselves!

It was pretty obvious that the black was live, as it was the only wire connected to the switch.

In the end, though all was in working condition, I couldn’t help myself and had to add some fluorescent orange flex to give it a little…oomph.

And here she is (cue angels singing):


Easiest one down, only 4 left to go. Gulp.

As I am working on all these lamps simultaneously I figured I could post them that way as well. I wouldn’t want you to think that I am actually logical and do one thing at a time. !

As I mentioned the other day I immediately stripped my Hadrill Horstmann Simplus (hereafter referred to as ‘simplus’, because I just can’t be arsed) on arrival.

Being my usual impetuous self, I neglected to take ‘before’ shots of the damage, so only have the blurry ebay shot as reference:

If you look really hard and use some imagination (heh) you can see the rusty on the arms and weight. The base was mostly peeled  and only had a few flecks of grey paint left and the shade was in the best shape of the lot.

After many days of coating with crappy ‘eco-stripper’ TX-something (if someone wants the exact brand name so they can AVOID LIKE THE PLAGUE, let me know and I will go out to the shed and …pay attention) and then wrapping in cling wrap over night I finally managed to get most of the paint off. Then I had to spend quite a bit of time sanding off the last bits and new rust that formed from leaving the steel covered in wet go for nearly a week.

Trust me – go for the toxic, skin searing Nitromors. It isn’t worth the hassle.

So on a beautifully sunny day it was finally done. Ta dah!

The shade is definitely in the best condition and needs the lest work.

I can’t figure out if these white ‘bloomy’ marks on the aluminium are scratches or some kind of patina, but think they should come out with a minimum of pain.

More traumatising is the condition of the rust-pocked steel bits. Remember, this is after quite a bit of sanding already!

I got really frustrated at one point as I know this weighted bit must screw together, and tried desperately to get it apart to clean between, but my little girl hands just weren’t up to the job, so I gave up. Frustrating! Think it is rusted together and the WD just wasn’t doing it.

The base bit is ok, as it is made out of zinc (I think).

After all my deliberations regarding how to refinish these vintage lamps, I am thinking a ‘sensitive restoration’ is the way to go. So instead of revamping these to look new, I am going to clean them up and make them safe for generations to come.

I am hoping to find a way to treat the 2 metals of the base and weight/arms to have a dark finish like my ideal example below:

It looks like the metal has been patina-ed, which means using 2 different chemicals – one for steel and one for zinc.

You can still see all the scratches and dents in the metal, but it is protected from further rusting and inhances the finish.

Unfortunately metal patinas are not cheap! But look how damn fine it could be?!

Minus the white cord and bulb holder, of course. That kind of ruins it for me! WTF?

I have never really done this before, but as I am now pretty sure you are out there…coyly quiet, but reading away…I am going to ask for your opinion.

Background first:

Along with the Anglepoise that I have been puzzling over, I have recently acquired  not one more – but THREE new lamps to restore! They all came up on ebay within a couple weeks of each other and I got them for a deal. Heaven!

One is a rusty Hadrill Horstmann Simplus from the 60s:

And the two others are…Kaiser Idells! Sigh. At last!

Sorry for the bad ebay shots. I will be posting more on these as they get the Roost treatment!

As I just couldn’t wait to get started, I immediately stripped the Hadrill. It was rusting and because it is the least precious of the bunch, could be my guinea pig! Little oinker!

That done, I started researching how to sand and polish the metal up to glossy perfection. Having made jewellery in the past, working with metal is pretty familiar to me, and I knew it would be quite a bit of work, but thought it would be worth it.

I started looking at examples of polished/refinished lamps…and more examples…and more examples. I get a little obsessive in my research sometimes. Ok. All the time. ;-D

And you know what? I am not sure I really agree with taking something that has the marks of a lifetime’s worth of use and making it look totally new. It seems that the item really loses something. Becomes somehow generic.

Initially I was planning on powder coating my Kaiser Idell 6556 like the mint one above. At some point someone painted over the black with grey and both are chipped through showing layers:

Now that I have it in hand, and it shows me its little history from 1930 or something- it just seems wrong.

Ok…so this is where the opinion poll comes in.

What do you think? Am I being overly sentimental?

Refurbish old items to retain patina and not deteriorate further (as with rusted items), so that the lamp works safely… or refinish everything like new so it is beautifully glossy and fresh?

I’d love to hear your opinion.


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