before & after: catherine’s lamp + victoria’s chandelier

I’ve already confessed to loving “Frankenfurniture.” Weird, black sheep furniture. Freaks and Geeks furniture. Needless to say, this (lamp? shelf? curio cabinet?) object from Catherine is near and dear to my heart. Not only is it multipurpose, it looks multipurpose and I love that. She simply sanded the little thing and attached a corded bulb to the drawer’s handle; now it’s an adorable bookshelf and lamp! I know it may not be everyone’s style, but I truly adore the bare, industrial simplicity of this creation. You can see more about the process on Catherine’s site. Her website is in german, but you can definitely get the drift from the images, and if you can speak or read the language, please teach me! Great project, Catherine! — Kate

Have a Before & After you’d like to share? Shoot me an email with your images right here! (low res, under 500k per image, please)

It will never cease to amaze me how a simple paint job can make a once-ordinary item spectacular. But sometimes the opposite is true — an amazingly beautiful object hiding under a layer(s) of hideous paint. What I’ve learned from the Before & After projects over the years is that context is everything and style is subjective, with perhaps a few exceptions — some things are just plain ugly. Taking that into consideration, I love the result of this purple paint job from Victoria. The plum color on the chandelier is striking, and the subtly iridescent finish allows the beautifully curved shapes of the chandelier to shine through. The original beyond-shiny brass distracted from the form of the piece, in my opinion. I think you’ll have to agree this is a job well done, especially when you consider that this whole piece cost Victoria only $10. I know fall has arrived, but it’s never too early/late/whatever to dream about spring tea parties and flowering gardens, is it? You can see more of this chandelier on the cover of the online publication Nonpareil. Beautifully done, Victoria!

  1. Hi, thanks a lot for showing my drawer! My site is in german, but anyway you can get it translated by google translate. Best from Berlin. Catherine

  2. clarkie says:

    Catherine’s creation is brilliant. I am also obsessed with the Freaks and Geeks reference. Love it.

  3. rachel says:

    the drawer idea is so smart! I would love to try a couple on a wall with pictures hung from the drawer by a bit of rope….must get on that!

  4. susan says:

    My favorite color on my favorite subject, lighting and purple. Fabulous!!

  5. leel says:

    both of these projects inspire! I love the drawer shelf/lamp combo and the purple chandelier is completely brilliant.

    love them.

  6. Heidi says:

    Man, what great ideas. I want to do both :D

  7. Sing says:

    Love the purple chandelier.

  8. Maggie says:

    I’m with clarkie for sure on this one!

    I just happened across a bunch of vintage shipping boxes from the USSR on the “free” section of craigslist – now I have some idea of what to do with them!

  9. Lucie says:

    I’ve been inspired by the awesome before & afters on D*S – recently I found a semi-ugly, dark wood (late 70’s?) desk with some special gilded paint effects and repainted it glossy white. It replaced a cheapo Kmart special (maple laminate, mmmm) and has changed the whole feel of my office.

  10. max says:

    Chandelier is soooooo much beter after than it was before. I love it and have to find some old chandelier to do something like that.

  11. Nickie Frye says:

    The purple chandelier is outstanding. I love it.

  12. love, love, love the purple light. it would be perfect for my daughter’s room.

  13. sara s. says:

    the drawer turned all in one wall fixture is so cool! my boyfriend isn’t always a fan of my need to constantly “nest,” but i think even he would dig this by his side of the bed! thanks so much for sharing!

  14. Christine says:

    chandelier=to die for. enough said.

  15. Your blog is so wonderful, i love it !!

    1. grace says:

      thanks carola! :)


  16. Jai says:

    I have this EXACT chandelier (CL find…overpaid apparently at $20 lol). I’ve been waiting for inspiration for a treatment and I’ve just found it! I love purple and thought it would look cheesey, but now that I see it… OMG. I’m soooo going to do it!

  17. hi-d says:

    Wow!!! I would have never thought of a purple chandelier…LOVE IT!

  18. Marika says:

    I love the chandelier! Does anyone have tips for painting chandeliers?

  19. Lauren says:

    That purple chandelier is amazing…i love it!

  20. sydney says:

    that mini bookcase/reading lamp is a great idea!

  21. Now that is a beautiful transformation on the chandelier!

  22. Lauran says:

    this drawer rocks! clever idea that i can’t wait to borrow. the photo of the child next to it is cracking me up. love it.

  23. sunny says:

    wow. (speechless)

    Love the chandelier..

    and the lamp is great too!!

  24. monica says:

    Love using the drawer idea and hanging a simple light! I will try this, thanks.

  25. helsbels says:

    The draw shelf is genius. I have to do this.

  26. love the drawer lamp … as-in, want-to-make-one love it! Am floored by how striking and modern the chandelier looks simply by painting it purple.

  27. stylefyles says:

    LOVE Catherine’s repurposed drawer. The lamp is brilliant!

  28. Paula says:

    Where dis you find a corded bulb? I went to Blue to find one, or a swag light, and the worker said they aren’t UL approved and that I can’t get them anymore. did you make it?

  29. Jess says:

    Any idea where she found the iridescent spray paint? I love the slight two-tone effect!

  30. nicky says:

    hey- i actually did the same catherine did with a little medicine closet- haha- would so adore to be featured as well. never had been featured.. oh would this be awesome!

  31. nicky says:

    and the best is- we did it somehow at the same time.. :) two moms, and kind of like twice the great idea!

  32. Jesse says:

    I love the drawer shelf idea!!

  33. hannah says:

    I have this exact same chandelier sitting in my basement. I took it down when I moved into my new house. Now it must go back up, and it may just be purple!

  34. Vicky says:

    I am so glad you all like the chandelier! It was an easy and fun project for me:)

  35. Beyond FABULOUS!

    I wish I had seen this before I blew $650 on a Niche Modern plum handblown lamp. I had trouble finding a color like that, purple/pink.

    This is more original!

    My plum lamp is cool tho’

  36. Morgan says:

    But i cant believe no one has commented on the picture of the little girl to the right of the drawer/lamp. Classic!

    And i just found the coolest Chandelier at the Re-store store, cant wait to try a similar paint job!!! I LOVE this website!

  37. Casey says:

    I just got a brass chandelier for $2 that is EXACTLY the same as the pre-purple one! This gives me high hopes for what it will turn into after a paint job…

  38. taylor says:

    I have the same chandelier! Mine was painted white, I love the purple as well!

  39. lorchick says:

    I love the lamp! I have a very very similar one, less arms and a few more curves. I painted it Watermelon Pink! :)
    My neighbours must have thought I was crazy when I had it hanging in a tree all day during the painting/drying process. Bahahaha!

  40. Sarah says:

    Oh GOSH the dressers are fabulous. Do you use high gloss paint? How do you protect against chips?

  41. Cristina says:

    ABSOLUTELY stunning!!! It has been reborn! Love it!

  42. Malisams says:


    I have a cute little chandelier that I painted, but it’s missing all of its wiring…does anyone have a link to a good *beginners* rewiring tutorial?


  43. Matt Rennick says:

    my take on the drawer / shelf…

    i haven’t decided exacccctly where it’s going to go so i haven’t hung it yet but you get the idea…

    thanks for the inspiration!

  44. Taryn says:

    What kind of paint was used for the chandelier? I LOVE it and just bought one of CL to do the same.

  45. I love the restoration, especially lamps and auxiliary furniture .


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