Dumpster Diving Pays Off

I had to do some pretty fancy gymnastics to fish this lamp out of the garbage on Saturday. I was thwarted by a corral around the trash area, so I went home and got a coat hanger that allowed me to reach over the fence and pull it out with the hook. The lamp is in nearly perfect condition with a speckled white and grey texture on the lower half. From base to finial it measures exactly 36″; this is a BIG lamp.

I had a small dinner party that evening where one of the guests was Bert Browne, florist extraordinaire to some of Toronto’s toniest retail establishments, hence the beautiful flower arrangement. At dinner we discussed my fabulous find and what size and shape of shade would be right for the lamp. No one suggested anything like what I found yesterday while walking Judy — I am not making this up, I swear! There in the middle of a gravel car pad outside my building was this made-to-measure, lined silk shade, cast off and left for dead. Coincidence? I think not. It bears noting that the lamp and the shade were found several blocks apart so there’s no way they were originally together.

Funny thing about the shade is that it’s an oval, wide from left to right but narrow from front to back, a shape I would never have chosen on my own. But for this hallway application where a barrel shade would have stuck out too far into the room, it’s perfect. Serendipity strikes again!

If I’d had this vignette in the Apartment Therapy Room for Colour contest I might have won instead of placing second in the international category. Fortunately, the winner, Tim, is a lovely guy also based here in Toronto and he’s agreed to let me feature his home in a styleNorth house tour. I also have another amazing house tour lined up for early November so stay tuned . . . Thanks for the flowers Bert, they are stunning!

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Monday, November 1, 2010 by Chris
This post was written by - who has written 865 posts on styleNorth.

12 Comments For This Post

  1. Jenn Says:

    amazing find – and i appreciate your tenacity!
    (and it looks like Toronto swept the international, since I think I placed 3rd)

  2. David Says:

    So you don’t just have a better craigslist, you have way better dumpsters too. The lamp is great, and so is that chest its sitting on.

  3. Shannon @ What's Up Whimsy Says:

    I can’t believe you found both the shade and lamp (which I love by the way!) in the garbage! I need to start trolling dumpsters more often!

  4. Chris Says:

    David, the chest is my shoe cabinet — it holds exactly 8 pairs and it stands between my front door and coat cupboard — a perfect fit!
    Jenn, maybe you’d consent to a house tour, too, then I can really raise the Toronto flag on behalf of us all.
    Shanon, it’s one of the upsides of walking the dog; dumpsters attract vermin and Judy is a hunter so she inevitably pulls me toward the refuse. Not always a good thing . . . but sometimes I get lucky.

  5. Lisa Says:

    Wow what a fantastic find! Good for you for digging it out – I saw some awesome chairs in a dumster a while ago and thought – too much trouble/what if people saw me? ANd now, of course I regret not grabbing them! :) And congrats on #2 in the contest!

  6. Tim Says:

    Great find Chris!! It’s amazing how you actually spotted in the dumster! Now I just need to know where this dumster is!!

    love your shoe cabinet and your mirror! where did you find them?

  7. Matt Says:

    looks awesome!!! i love upcycle finds!! hope all is well!!!

  8. magda Says:

    Congratulations on second place. It takes a good eye to find the needle in the haystack.

  9. Susan Says:

    There’s only one word for such a find – awesome. I love, love, love the colour!

  10. Lin Says:


    How you managed to score TWO such fabulous finds so close together is a mystery indeed! So much better than the broken-down, past-their-prime IKEA pieces one usually sees curbside. Congratulations!


  11. olya Says:

    Chris, you’re full of inspiration. Conrgats! (And I totally voted for you :) )

  12. Karen J Says:

    Would love to have been there to witness you working the coat hanger!
    The stars were definitely aligned (for you) on that day!

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