Bright Ideas


Moving 6,000 miles away from home has all sorts of unforseen challenges. Functionally, the biggest by far was electricity. We now have bins full of extension cords and appliances that are useless for the next two years. Nice. I was delighted, however, to find all my mac products are 220v ready (who knew?!).

We ordered some extra transformers (GSO volunteers a whopping 4 per family here) but my philosophy is adaptation after all, so I’ve been having fun inventing ways to make some of these awful furnished lamps work.

First, the finials. What’s a finial? That knob thing on the top. Pictured below on the left, I found this brushed nickel one on Amazon.  On the right, the default one it replaced.  Similar to my Drexel Hack #1, this involves a simple switch of a small bit that makes a big difference. But it only works visually if you cover the bottom somehow too.


Then, the shade. Do I love that empire shape? No. It reminds me of my middle-school principal’s office. But for this project I didn’t want to spend more than an adaptor, so decided to leave it.

Last, the base: Months ago I came across this sewing tutorial on pinterest, and decided to try adapting it to the square shaped base. It was easy! By sewing four angled panels together instead of the big circle, it fit nicely. I won’t get into crazy details here, but If you’re interested in replicating this look leave a comment and I’ll do my best to make a quick pdf guide.

The photo up top is my final result: I used this fun faux bois pattern from to fit the lamp into my toddler son’s “modern forest” themed room. I’m paranoid about using transformers and wall adaptors in there, so it was the perfect room for this project.



As for the rest of those bad boys, they went into the garage: see you in two years!


How do you adapt to changes in voltage? Do you have swap out appliances, or do you rely on the transformers?

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