What I Found in my Creepy Basement

One of my sisters put in a special request for a post yesterday. She wanted a “What I Found in my Creepy Basement” post. I’m not sure why. I’m positive she knows every single thing that’s in my basement.  Much of it is stuff I stole from her.

She just likes those posts. She thinks they’re fun.  She also thinks drawing up kitchen plans is fun.  And cleaning.  She thinks cleaning is fun.  We have now established that this particular sister is clinically insane.

If you’re relatively new to the site you might not be familiar with the “What I Found in my Creepy Basement” series of posts.

In the following sentences, possibly paragraphs, I’ll try to describe what the “What I Found in my Creepy Basement” posts are about without getting too involved or technical.  You know … just sort of a short summery of something very complex.

What I Found in my Creepy Basement posts are about … things I’ve found.  In my basement.
GREAT.  Now that that’s all cleared up we can all move forward and have a look at the latest thing I found in my basement.









I bought these lamps at a junky flea market about 10 years ago.  They didn’t match my house at ALL at the time, but I knew they were a good buy and the sort of thing I might just want in the future.  Kind of like the time in highschool when I bought an antique beaded necklace which I knew highschool Karen would never wear, but grown up Karen would probably love.  By the way.  I know that highschool is technically two words, (high school)  but I’ve decided it should really be one word so I plan to spell it that way from here on in.

Remind me to notify the Scrabble people.

These lamps (there are a pair of them) have been in my basement for the past decade.  Even after I redid my house they didn’t seem to fit in.  Part of the problem may have been that I was trying to display both of them.  Finding a place for two lamps is way harder than finding a place for one.  Kind of like finding a place for two noses on your face is harder than finding a place for one. Usually.

I’m not convinced about the shade, it’s probably a little too … kitschy for me … but I don’t hate it as much as I thought I would in the room.  In fact I’ll leave it as is, on display and everything, until I find a shade I prefer.

What REALLY sold me on these lamps, other than the approximately $20 price tag, was this ….

Retro Sputnik Lamp


To turn the lamp on and off you pull down on the wooden dowel in the middle of the lamp.  It’s attached to a chain which clicks the light on and off. It makes a really great CLICK, CLICK sound.

There will be those of you who love this lamp.  There will be those of you who hate this lamp.  And I’m O.K. with that.  You are my readers and you’re allowed to have different tastes than I do.  It would be stupid of me to say  You have no idea what you’re talking about and THOSE lamps are great and you can suck it.  GET LOST!

That would just be cutting off my noses to spite my face.   That’s a phrase that I learned in highschool by the way.



  1. Carey says:

    Karen, you seriously crack me up. The lamps are great, and btw, two lamps are greater than one. I LOVE them. I also love how the kitchy turquoise shade matches the awesome painting in the background. Well played, friend@

  2. Estée says:

    Karen, that’s a weird-upside-down-table, not a lamp.. Silly!

  3. Amber says:

    It’s kind of like a 3 legged deer all spread eagle with.. some kind of ..contraption up in there. I love it! Great lamp. 🙂

  4. I think they’re adorable, kitchy shade and all. And adorable in a lamp sort of way, not a kitchy sort of way…if that’s way at all.

  5. Denise Leavens says:

    I love the click, click dowel switch! That kind of thing is part of my happy place. However, sneaky-deliberately-misleading-cheap-shot blog posts are not.

    Okay. You got me. I was sure we were seeing something down in the creepy basement. Like a flashlight shining on insects that have an aversion to light. Turns out they are stylized spiders on a 50s-Atomic-Age lamp shade (that goes well with the abstract painting b-t-w) and I hope your happy now.

    You insist on one word highschool. I insist on the stylized spiders, not stars. So there!

  6. Pam'a says:

    I love the craziness of it. It looks like a lamp table tried to do a gymnastics move, but it turned out terribly wrong. And the click-action alone is worth several points on the lamp-grading scale.

  7. Pati says:

    Just so you know… I LOVE YOUR LAMPS !!!!! all both of them…

  8. Becky says:

    I love how well the shade goes with the painting behind it. I’d keep the shade.

    The click click pull would thrill me too… I thought I was the only one who loves really great old lamps.

  9. Maria says:

    They remind me of the leg lamp from A Christmas Story. You know the one with the fishnet stocking?

  10. Penny says:

    Great lamp! I will take the other one off your hands if you’re feeling guilty about not displaying it.

  11. Heather says:

    I agree with you that there is a shade out there somewhere that will be better. And someday, you shall have it!

  12. gloria says:

    The only thing I found in my basement today was a mouse while doing the laundry. Haven’t been back down there since. Clean clothing is so over-rated.
    Love the lamp…and the shade.

  13. Therese says:

    That lamp is fantabulous! I REALLY love it. I’m sure the other one of the pair would love to find a new home in Australia, where it would be loved and cherished by me.

  14. motherhen says:

    What are those light coloured gonad shaped things at the base of that contraption? Just asking….

  15. Becca says:

    Ummm…those lamps are a-maz-ing. Please leave the shades with them. Love them! 🙂 And…on my screen the green of the shade exactly matches the green daub in the center of your painting.

  16. Tandy says:

    I’d strip the old finish off the wood, sand it and give it a nice oiled finish sans stain. Then I’d make a tall drum shade (unbleached or white linen or similar) with NO taper that was about as wide as the circumference of the bottom of the existing shade and tall enough that it sat centered between the top and bottom sets of woody protrusions (knuckles? Knots?) on the lamp’s arms (legs? antlers? antennae?) with about 3″ clearance between those and the shade, top and bottom. You’ll probably have to shorten the rod a bit.

  17. qtpuh2tme says:

    Waaay kool lamp(s)!!

  18. Lauren from Winnipeg says:

    Honestly can’t say much about the unusual lamp – sorry.

    I do, however, really like the painting behind it.

  19. Tandy says:

    Also I’d try really hard to use both of them on a console or something but that’s a whole helluva a lot of look, so unless you’ve got a really long expanse of empty space to fill that’s probably crazy talk.

    OH! Just came to me: could you get one of those paper globe lantern things to sit in there as a shade? You’d have this crazy, sci-if effect, like the arms were encircling a glowing, alien egg sac!

  20. AnnW says:

    I love lamp! But you might tell me to get lost because I really don’t like those lamps. I am a lamp crazy person and even have a Lamp Shoppe in my basement, along with about 40 lamps that I work on. I think I just don’t like anything Mid Century Modern. Furniture or lamps, or art. I must have been scared to death in a MCM living room once. I would encourage you to sell those because they might be worth something, especially with those shades. Ann

  21. Tracie says:

    Nice lamps! But I’m sure you’ve heard that a million times before….. 😉

  22. Terri says:

    Hmmmm…not too sure about the lamps. I think you need to tie them in with something like…you know, maybe some figurines of the Jetsons. I think you can still catch that 60’s toon on cable. Anywho, your basement IS creepy. How do you sleep at night?

  23. Natika says:

    That is probably one of the weirdest, but also khoolest lamps I’ve ever seen. I’m jealous of your shotgun click click action ability.

  24. Clara says:

    Quirky lamp with cute switch needs tube shaped shade -not a truncated cone-, me thinks.

  25. Auntiepatch says:

    So, you have to “milk” the dowel to turn it on??? I’m NOT going to tell my husband about your lamp! LOL!

  26. Jane says:

    Keep the lamp and the shade! They go together and the shade matches the painting perfectly! Great buy for $20!

  27. shuckclod says:

    Your Sis is not crazy. I love cleaning too. The lamp (s) is pretty great. It looks like there are spiders on the shade. Is does work with the painting behind it. I am surprised you have not tackled those stairs yet, those worry me. Have a great weekend.

  28. Lori says:

    O My I love the lamp!!!! I pretty much love anything made of good wood! And that lamp is great!!

  29. Suzan says:

    My youngest son has a “thing” for lamps…especially unusual lamps. His mother – not so much. I do, however, like the shade. Probably because my great aunt had one very much like it and she was a sweetie. Not a good decorator but a sweet woman! I have the same creepy basement walls but my stairs are not quite as steep. I take my phone with me when I go to the basement just in case I fall so that someone can come rescue me. If I had your steps I would only send down able bodied teenagers hoping they would return…

  30. Julia says:

    I want to see the necklace…

  31. Laura Bee says:

    You got me! I was sad. Before coffee. I thought my stupid computer wasn’t loading pics. I clicked on it (which I know does nothing) then I refreshed. THEN I scrolled a little more.
    I love the lamp, it would look marvellous with my side tables. And the coffee table that is at my mom’s because it’s too big for our place. I miss my table.
    Now I’m sad again…

  32. Marti says:

    Denise is your sister, then?

    Denise… can you come over? I’ve got a kitchen that needs some planning and a living room that needs some organizing.

  33. Sarah says:

    I though you had spiders in your shade and not the stars, when it was lit up, in the dark. “Halloween starts early at Karen’s house!”

  34. Debbie J says:

    I’m sure it was assembled incorrectly. It’s really meant to be a floor lamp! Love the shade and the clicky feature.

  35. Danielle says:

    Would a big drum shade work? Covering up the top part of the weird upside down legs. The shade seems way too small for the size of these lamps.

  36. Darlene says:

    LOVE LOVE LOVE the tall lamp – I would have the perfect place next to my sofa for that!

  37. Rachel says:


  38. Tigersmom says:

    That lamp is such a statement piece that it wouldn’t just diminish it’s impact to display a second one, it would be garish and tacky. Think of that second one in the basement as a spare in case something ever happens to this one. Some things lose some of their fabulousness when they are repeated.

    I think a narrow textured fabric drum shade in white or off white would be very cool, but it would need to be about the same height as the current one. As for the current one, you have styled it in such a way that it really picks up the aqua in that painting and it looks really good. This provides you with the luxury of a little time to find just the right replacement. Although I would never get rid of the aqua one for when you want to go back to a jolt of color.

    I actually remember seeing (perhaps even having in our home) a lamp like his when I was very very young.

    WIsh we had basements in Texas. You’d think they’d be a given with the tornados we get…

  39. Emily says:

    I FRIGGING LOVE IT ! ! I love things that are different. And I agree with Carey, love the shade matching the painting behind it.

  40. Su says:

    Shade is cool color. lamps are very retro 1960’s. Love a find I’ve already bought and forgot about…

  41. Beckie says:

    the shade is PERFECT!!

    I am in the *I love the lamp(s) camp!*

    Lamp Camp…hmm…wonder if there is a Lamp Camp? You know, where you can go to learn how to, well, make lamps?

    I like lamps!

  42. karol says:

    A little too Judy Jetson for my taste.

  43. Diane S says:

    Love the lamp(s)and the shade(s). But now I believe that drugs were seriously a part of the 50’s…not unlike this lamp. I would have loved to be a fly on the wall of the designer when he-she came up with this one! Do you think he-she said “wait dude…what if we add a click-click?!?”

  44. Wendy says:

    I was waiting for the exorcist ~ Then the sleigh transformed into a lamp appeared. Have you been reading Alfred Hitchcock?

  45. Ann says:

    I TOTALLY LOVE THOSE LAMPS. There I am now done shouting. Mid century modern is my thing. Although you would not know it from my house. Which is more a thrown together, I never know what I am buying kind of look.

    I wish I was as lucky as you at flea markets and Goodwills. I have gotten a few good things over the years but nowhere near as great as what you find. I want to come shopping with you. But then I would probably need a very big trailer to get it all back from Canada.

  46. Sandy says:

    It’s different. I like it and think you need to find a place for both. I love the way you turn it on. I have never seen a lamp like that. You have two of a kind, my dear. Display them proudly.

  47. Dixie says:

    I think that the lamp shade color matches your painting behind it perfectly! you should never change it…

  48. It looks like the top of the tower of Sauron! Beware, it might be an evil lamp.

    But totally worth the risk. They’re gorgeous!

  49. JebberA says:

    Süper cool. Über cool . As cool as two dots over a u.

  50. Nancy Eileen says:

    I, for one, really like your lamps.

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