Thursday, November 1, 2012

Glazed Ceramic Lamps

Miles Redd
I think my realization that a lamp could be a real focal point in a room began with this Miles Redd bedroom with its pair of Christopher Spitzmiller glazed ceramic lamps. Indeed, the Madeline Weinrib zig zag rug, the steel campaign canopy bed, the pop of Hermes orange, the hand painted Chinoiserie wallpaper, and the Christopher Spitzmiller glazed ceramic lamps have all become part of our interior design vocabulary.

When House Beautiful asked me to write a blog post on the subject of "glazed ceramic lamps," this is the room I first thought about with its pair of Spitzmiller lamps. These lamps have become iconic, their timeless and classic forms and bold vibrant glazes transforming any space.

You can see in this House Beautiful room below from the December/January issue what a key interior design element lamps have become, taking center stage in this room. Where for a while table lamps were a bit out of fashion with everyone installing recessed lighting, recessed lights will never have the elegance of a beautiful table lamp. Lamps have become a couture fashion accessory for the home, the jewelry of a room.

House Beautiful

I hope all of my Chinoiserie Chic followers have the HB Connect app on your Apple device or Android phone. Look for me and the HB Connect logo in the new December/January issue of House Beautiful to connect to Chinoiserie Chic. This post will be featured in the new issue.

HB Connect

Although Spitzmiller's lamps are favorites of interior designers, they come with a high price tag of $965  to $4,100 per lamp. Robert Abbey sells very well priced versions at about $300 a lamp and even cheaper versions abound in virtually every home furnishings store. Don't overlook vintage ones - I just bought a gorgeous glazed ceramic lamp last week in a local thrift store in mint condition for $15.

It is hard to pick up a shelter magazine today and not find many examples of glazed ceramic lamps, especially with the gourd shape that comes in many variations. I adore these lamps in rooms with Chinoiserie elements. In fact, the gourd is a common Chinese symbol for longevity and good luck. Traditionally, gourds are painted with the Chinese symbol for longevity and displayed in the home to ward off harmful eneregies and promote long life. Designers seem to favor the solid colors, although blue and white Chinese designs add a classic Chinoiserie element.

Here are some favorite rooms of mine with glazed ceramic lamps -

Nancy Taylor Lynch uses a pair of pink triple gourd lamps in an entrance hall with a stunning palette of coral pink
 and lime green

Kendall Wilkinson uses a pair in turquoise on the bedside tables mirroring the color of the walls

I love mixing pink and red as Amanda Nisbet has done here with this pair of red Christopher Spitzmiller double gourd lamps on a living room console table

Bunny Williams uses a lovely lilac color

Meg Braff uses pops of turquoise including these classic single gourd lamps in this living room - I love the buffalo checks on the sofa

A pink double gourd lamp is a lovely touch in this feminine bedroom by Joe Nye

Nick Olsen goes dramatic with these oversized yellow ginger jar glazed ceramic lamps

Soft blue lamps against chocolate brown grasscloth by Palmer Weiss

Why uses sconces in your dining room when you can put a pair of Christopher Spitzmiller lamps on pedestals as done here by Lindsay Reid

Michael Carter uses a soft yellow version in this lovely pastel living room

A pair lend a classic but modern element in this Miles Redd living room

A dramatically oversized pair here by Eric Cohler

Spitzmiller's lamps always have a white paper vellum shade. His lamps require nothing more. But don't think you are
 limited to white shades - I love using Chinese red, hot pink, yellow, bright green, orange, or blush pink in silk.
Note the lilac and coral lampshades in the House Beautiful room. A great trick is painting the inside of a paper
shade any color you like or having a fabric shade lined in a contrasting color.

I almost always uses pink light bulbs in a 60 watt or 50 /100 /150 watt - everyone and everything in the room will look great - trust me!


  1. I used vintage raspberry ones in a dining room I designed recently. Love the look.

  2. An app that I don't have...I'll be fixing that. I love lamps and your examples are spot on.

  3. Question on the lightbulbs (off topic, but the lamps are so great, they need no comment!) for you: I cannot find them at my hardware store (bought a pink fluorescent. Don't try this. Ugh), and figure I will have to order you find yours somewhere easy to source?