June 28th, 2012


This is the biggest cork lamp your face has ever seen.

So big. So beefy. So corky.

So yes, a supersized steroid popping cork tower of a lamp exists and now lives with me. Getting this lamp has taken more than a years worth of persistent needling and negotiating with a local antique type consignment shop. I waited and stalked and waited some more for the lamps price to be slashed down 50% and that still wasn’t the price I was willing to pay. So for the next six months I’d check in and whittle the price down further and further until the poor sellers spirit snapped and this baby came home with me.

I will hunt vintage for years. That’s dedication. Or madness. Or sad.

Speaking of size matters, I’ve slowly been updating the fireplace with a fancy new coat of white paint and now a comically undersized mantel.

Six inch short-cut to failure.


This. Is. Dumb.

I screwed up. After writing down tons of numbers for little projects in my handy notebook, I somehow misread the width needed while at Home Depot and ended up bringing home a chunk of wood six inches shy of what was required.


Now I don’t have the energy to go back and find, cut and re-buy wood, so I’ll be taking a few days to recuperate. Screw you mantel.

Having this screw up time to live with the white might actually be for the best since I’m not sure I even like the white?

Then I do. Then I don’t. Then I’m like ugh, more paint? No. Yes. No.

I’m about 50/50.

Whatever. BIG LAMP. I like that crazy thing.

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  1. Cori Magee on 06/28/2012:

    holy crap, i love that floor lamp (and your entire living room for that matter, including the too-short-with-lots-of-personality mantel lol) and commend you for your persistence.

  2. Rebecca on 06/28/2012:

    I like this big, crazy, lamp too. A lot. But the shade kind of gives me the creeps. Grandparents had a lamp with a shade just like it with their “colonial revival” furniture.

  3. The brick house on 06/28/2012:

    Rebecca, the shade actually has a fabric cover for some reason.

  4. Ryann on 06/28/2012:

    That lamp is the tits.

    And I vote white for the fireplace. I look at it and I like it, then I look at it again and I like it even more. Every time I look back at the photo the room seems to get brighter and brighter. Pretty freakin magical.

    Or someone put a little something special in my burrito at lunch.

  5. Kathryn on 06/28/2012:

    Love the lamp. Although I really want to come over and put push pins in it. Also like the white fireplace. But I would also like it dark grey.

  6. Amanda on 06/28/2012:

    I love the white fireplace and the cork lamp! Patience and persistence are definite virtues in antiquing/thrifting.

  7. Jenny on 06/28/2012:

    That is dedication. Impressed you stuck with it for so long, and it’s fab.

  8. ian on 06/28/2012:

    that is quite the statement lamp. i think you were very lucky that it wasn’t sold to someone else. i’ve learned the hard way that waiting for the price to drop may mean losing out to another purchaser.

  9. The brick house on 06/28/2012:

    Ian, my secret is always being willing to walk away. Sometimes someone snags it, sometimes not. There’s always going to be another thing to find…

  10. Paul on 06/28/2012:

    Anything in cork is wonderful, Congratulations!

    Have you considered if it’s possible to take a couple layers of brick off the top of the fireplace surround? It might be an easy solution to improving its proportions.

  11. THE BRICK HOUSE on 06/28/2012:

    Paul, I have considered it. The way the fireplace was built has huge open interior channels that vent hot air, so its not solid at all. It would be a patchwork hole filled mess if the top layers came off.


  12. Sammi on 06/28/2012:

    Another vote for the white fireplace πŸ™‚ And that lamp, wow… needs no words to describe it’s awesomeness, just look at it πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

  13. ModFruGal on 06/28/2012:

    That lamp is sick and I am (as always) impressed with your patience to make it happen. Looks great, I got nothing on the fireplace sitch. You’ll make it right.

  14. Annie Hollywood on 06/28/2012:

    WHOA. Cool.

  15. Kate on 06/28/2012:

    I love how substantial the lamp is! I also love the subtle cabinets on either side of the fireplace–I never noticed those before, was there a post about them that I missed?

  16. peggy on 06/28/2012:

    Love the crazy lamp. Never seen one like it before. And looooove the fireplace painted white. I’ve been wanting you to do that forever.

  17. onehsancare on 06/28/2012:

    Relentless. That’s the word to describe your lamp stalking. And that’s why you deserve the big wins.

    That fireplace was born to be white, and you will soon discover what mantel it has been looking for its whole life. You are the house whisperer.

  18. Lila on 06/29/2012:

    Impressive, both the lamp and your stamina.

  19. Florian on 06/29/2012:

    I love love love the white mantle! And the really thin board, too! It looks all cool and refreshing. And somehow the wall sculpture looks even more amzing than before.

  20. Fat Cat on 06/29/2012:

    What I love most about your blog – besides your obvious persistence / madness (and the earlier shots of the boy bending over πŸ˜‰ – is that I always discover things I had no idea could even exist. My God, that lamp and its shade leave me speechless !!!

  21. {Home-logy} on 06/29/2012:

    i am completely envious of your white room and would die for it. change? i think not. it’s too beautiful!

  22. Mary S. on 06/29/2012:

    Wow..coolest lamp-ever! The textures in your home are amazing. The white fireplace creates a blank canvas that beautifully highlights your serene (and sexy!) living room. Stunning!

  23. Frances on 06/29/2012:

    I fell for the white-fireplace trick myself recently. The thing is, if you actually use your fireplace, its whiteness soon becomes a problem. It just looks gross once ash starts spilling on it, hot coals come tumbling over it, and your β€” uh, I mean, my β€”husband leaves a blazing hot poker lying on it.

    Every year I say to myself, “Wow, I really need to repaint the fireplace.” But no years do I actually do it.

    Looks great, but beware!

  24. Suzy8track on 06/29/2012:

    Lovin’ that corky goodness ya got going there! Not sure about the white fireplace though…I prefer black.

  25. erin@designcrisis on 06/29/2012:

    That lamp is hilarious. Loves it.

    The fireplace… hmmm. I also have a white brick fireplace with strange proportions. Sometimes it keeps me awake at night.

    Perhaps a chunkier live edge mantel might work?

    Or maybe rivet sheets of patinated brass/copper right over the brick. And then come fix mine up like that, too.

  26. hannita on 06/29/2012:

    That is some major lamp awesomeness. I agree with others, that your dedication to the art of stalking is quite impressive.

    I like the white with the black interior. I know you’ll fix the mantle issue and make it all fabulous like you always do.

  27. Sushee on 06/29/2012:

    I really love how your house is shaping up now and that lamp is the shit!!!

    The white fireplace is growing on me.I am not a big fan of the thin wood mantle. Have you considered putting a huge slab of wood – like the one in the dry bar at Morrison Hair??

  28. Amanda on 06/29/2012:

    Great lamp. I had no idea that you were from Hemet until I was visiting home (Hemet) and posted a photo and my friend commented “like the brick house.” I was just amazed that she had heard of it. I live in Denver now but I do miss California and the awesome thrift & estate sales in Hemet. Just wanted to say hello and I love what you do!

  29. daniel on 06/29/2012:

    What about finishing the mantel out with a square of cork (to extend the miscut wood to the full length)? Then you don’t have to worry about overpour from a potted plant (set on the mantel) staining the wood.

  30. daniel on 06/29/2012:

    Forgot to add… what about embracing the “too tall” look for the brick instead of fighting it. Stack ’em higher (to the ceiling), and leave some recesses to display smaller objects.

  31. Andrea on 06/29/2012:

    Friends of mine purchased an almost identical lamp at auction. It is the piece we all want to steal from their house. We are all wondering if you beat them on the price.

  32. Sharon on 06/29/2012:

    This is the first time I have ever checked in on your blog & felt pure unadulterated jealousy. My visits to the “The Brick House” almost always leave me feeling inspired or motivated to do something “designy”. Today though, I took one look at that lamp & found myself blurting out: “bitch”. Out loud. I am literally typing this feeling all… pissy.
    I’m ashamed of my feelings but they are all consuming. You found what I’ve been looking for – FOR EONS. Now even if I find one, the appeal is lost because my lamp is now on display – in your home — in all it’s glory – for the world to see & drool over.
    I can’t even find consolation with your stunted mantel – that damn lamp demands ALL the attention.
    You did good.

  33. christa on 06/29/2012:

    That lamp is making me mighty jealous. I like the fireplace white. I liked it black too. Change is good. Daniel’s idea about filling in that little 6″ piece of mantel with cork is possibly brilliant. Or maybe just another piece of wood or metal, possibly painted yellow. A happy accident to allow a little assymetry on that wall.

  34. Susan B. on 06/29/2012:

    Lamp’s way too big for the toom.

  35. The brick house on 06/29/2012:

    Your face is too big for R’s.

  36. Laura Tedesco on 06/29/2012:

    whatever. you rule. been in your indecisive shoes. love reading your posts! you’ll get it. trek along…

  37. The brick house on 06/30/2012:


    The white has grown on me. It might be a keeper! Also, that took 4 coats of paint and I’m so tired of painting.

  38. modernhaus on 06/30/2012:

    I LOVE the white, and you know I don’t love white often.

  39. modernhaus on 06/30/2012:

    Is “chihuahua scale” a real design or architectural term? It should be. Every picture should have a chihuahua for scale.

  40. Dan @ Manhattan Nest on 06/30/2012:

    1. Mantel fix is easy, duhs.
    2. The white looks great, crazypants. It’s just different so it takes getting used to!
    3. LAMP OMG. That thing is amazing.
    4. Didn’t you used to have a fabulous set of black fireplace tool things?

  41. Simone on 07/01/2012:

    In things like this I like to say: the bigger the better. Better one big lamp than 5 small ones. However I would find it hard not to turn it into a faux aboriginal artpiece by sticking white pushpins into it. You could fill the gap by making a “cube” of mdf in a cool glossy colour (I like lime green for this kind of thing) that falls over the area without wood. Somehow your place in the world -climatewise- does not strike me as a place where there is a great need for fires in fireplaces, so the white will be fine.
    What did you do with your daybed? Love the cabinets as well. Have a wonderful weekend!!!

  42. jackie on 07/01/2012:

    Bwahhahahaha! Hilarious!

    Sorry for your mishap.

    I love the lamp.

  43. jackie on 07/01/2012:

    And the little head too.

  44. Alex on 07/02/2012:

    This might be my Fav. setup you have done with the living room, it looks awesome. The cork lamp looks amazing, I hope your pups done chew on it, I would if I was them =p

  45. OMM on 07/02/2012:

    That certainly is a massive lamp!

    As for the white fireplace, I say leave it. It’s such a clean look and once the mantel issue is addressed it will look fine. We’ve painted our fireplace three times now and it is always one of the longest projects to undertake. I cringe at the thought of painting the cracks and crevices ever again!

  46. Simone on 07/03/2012:

    P.S. Maybe if you centre the wood on the fireplace it will look less odd and out of place (so it will be a little too short on both sides). I once ordered pre-cut wood doors and got their length wrong by about 4 inches. I don’t know what I was thinking, I was 8 months pregnant, that might have had something to do with it.

  47. Shawn Covington on 07/03/2012:

    Love the lamp! It’s incredibly unique and well designed.

    As for the fireplace, I personally love the white. Perhaps you could put the mantle in the center, have two 3″ corner caps cut, run wood down the sides of the fireplace, and connect all the pieces with dovetail joints.

  48. Shawn Covington on 07/03/2012:

    Love the lamp! It’s incredibly unique and well designed.

    As for the fireplace, I personally love the white. Perhaps you could put the mantle in the center, have two 3″ L shaped caps on the corners, run wood down the sides of the fireplace, and connect all the pieces with dovetail joints.

  49. Anna on 07/05/2012:

    Love the lamp. I don’t think colour is the problem with the fireplace. If you can’t make if shorter can you build it up to the top to make it more minimalist?

  50. sheharazad on 07/06/2012:

    Hey Morgan! Have you considered corking the top of your mantel? Brown cork tiles are relatively cheap online (remember our guest room walls?)… It will pick up the tones and texture of your amazing lamp. Speaking of picking up that amazing lamp. Lock your doors, I want it! πŸ˜‰

  51. VAN on 07/06/2012:

    The white mantel is really magnificent. A grey, or charcoal might be cool as well – but white gets my vote!

  52. andrew on 07/09/2012:

    Ha. I love that you would make a post of a mistake. Thats my favorite part about it. Well, that and imagining what some of the negotiations at the antique/consignment shop sounded like somewhere around month five. A character building exchange for both parties i imagine.

  53. Natalie (NJ in L.A.) on 07/10/2012:

    Sweet corn that lamp is magnificent! Way to break that store owner’s spirit, this RULES!

  54. Genevieve Lutsch on 07/10/2012:

    love the cork lamp! I can’t wait to see what you do next

  55. Green Key on 07/13/2012:

    Love the lamp! I liked the dark fireplace – and I like the white. I’m curious to see where you land on that 50/50 spilt.

  56. laura on 07/15/2012:

    White is okay, but if you use the fireplace at all, is a HUGE pain to clean. Maybe two-tone (or more), leaving the white at the top part? I can also see a sketchy, geometric tribal pattern, but that may be the brunch cocktails talking.

  57. Annie on 07/16/2012:

    I am in awe of your beautiful space. That lamp was totally worth whatever negotiations you had to go through to get it. I am thinking our house needs a ginormous lamp now too.I wonder how I could DIY one? Hmmm.
    The mantle looks great white. If you feel compelled to go through the torturous painting again I would go with a soft grey to match the vase you have beside the books on the coffee table.The white looks so bright and clean though.It makes a good, simple background to all the texture and sculptural chairs and objects you have. Truly your house is so gorgeous!

  58. Ladybug on 07/18/2012:

    Just found your blog recently(yeah I know last girl on earth) and was pleasantly surprised to find out you are a girl! The ratio of funny chicks to dudes is fairly low, but you are hilarious AND love vintage like I love vintage…nice one Bro.

  59. J. Coffin on 07/23/2012:

    It is so great watching your blog develop and how your photographs are just AMAZING! I keep re-reading your blog from end to beginning.
    You are such an inspiration for me! Also I think the mantel will be perfect with the right length of wood! It looks so simple and perfect. Not so stuffy as the last mantel.

  60. Kim on 07/28/2012:

    I like the white! With the wood mantel top, too.

    I’ve been following your blog forever and it’s one of the few that is helping us shape our living room. thank you for keeping it up πŸ™‚

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