Monday, April 5, 2010

Thrifty Treasures: Alabaster Lamps and a New Daddy Chair!

I'm participating in Thrifty Treasures at Southern Hospitality!

She wanted this:

He wanted this:

After some compromise and some help from Craigslist, here's what we came up with:

A full size leather rocker recliner, but with a tailored arm and nail head trim to help it coordinate with the new sofa. My hubby loves it, and I love to see him smile!

This was a particularly tricky decorating dilemma for us, since my hubby declared the chair must both rock and recline. There are some really pretty options out there (and I was finding a slew of them on CL) that either look like a club chair or a wing chair, but they all had pretty feet, which meant they can't rock. Also none of the club chair recliners were deep enough or had a high enough back for my hubby, so when he sat in them and reclined his head and feet were hanging off the chair!

I bought the new chair on CL for $150 and sold the old chair (you can see it in the background of the photo) for $100, so for a net cost of $50 I think this was a pretty thrifty replacement.

And here's my other thrifty find of the week! A pair of alabaster (I think?) lamps! If anyone could shed a little light (excuse the pun!) on the actual definition of alabaster, I'm all ears! Are these alabaster or marble? Is alabaster white marble? If so, does it have to be pure white with no veining to qualify as alabaster?

Anyway, I purchased the pair (including shades which are a little dated so I'll either doctor them up or replace them) for $30. When I picked them up they looked like this:

I was a little disappointed with the color of the stone- a little dingy. I wasn't sure if this was the natural color of the stone, or if the stone had become permanently discolored or what so I did a little research on the internet. I already knew that you have to be really careful with cleaning alabaster and not get it wet because moisture that seeps into the stone can actually cause rust stains in the stone (again, if anyone knowledgeable can clarify, I'd love to know more).

I found info somewhere (can't remember where) saying that acetone can clean marble/alabaster, so I thought I'd give it a try. I figured I'd try it in an inocnspicuous spot first and even if I ruined the lamps I was willing to try it for a $30 investment.

I tried it and it worked like a charm. In the photo below you can see where I swiped a cotton pad dampened with nail polish remover down the center of the lamp:

I think the dinginess was probably caused by cigarette smoke, but that's just a hunch. Here's an after photo:

So much better, right? I'm not encouraging anyone else out there to try this, because I suppose it's possible that my cleaning method could cause stains to appear over time, but I don't mind being the guinea pig! I'll let you know if any mysterious spots appear over the next few months...



  1. Great finds - amazing work with the lamps

  2. Wow! So much better after the nail polish remover! Man, that nasty cigarette smoke discolors EVERYTHING! EEEEEWW!

    Love the new chair, especially for $50. GReat find!

  3. Congratulations on your new man chair! It's great that you found a replacement chair that you both like. I love your new lamps, too.

  4. Wow, $50 chair it looks great. I love CL for great finds.

  5. I have just started noticing alabaster lamps everywhere, and now I want one. That looks like yucky tobacco stains to me! Once again, I'm impressed!! (and a little gren with envy!)

  6. Those look like marble, not alabaster. Alabaster is either pure white gypsum or pure white calcite. Marble (a type of rock) is made out of calcite (a mineral) so some marble probably is alabaster, but with the veining, I'd be much more inclined to call what you have marble. Sorry- I'm a geologist and couldn't help explaining. I'm glad they cleaned up so well!

  7. To Kasia I say,
    Alabaster comes in many different colors, including gray, and shades of oranges and yellows. Believe me I have had them, especially after 1900.
    You should not put your opinion through
    unless you know exactly what you are talking
    about. I have been an antique dealer and
    collector of specifically statues in marble
    for many years.
    And to those who want what Pam has showed you
    I say good luck and happy hunting.


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