Earlier this summer, we rode our bikes through the town of Millerton in Upstate New York. As we peddled by, I spied a lamp shop right off route 22. A week or so later, the Mr. and I headed back to that same small town to take a look around. When I am out window shopping with him, I try not to bore him with women’s clothing shops. We stick to art galleries, antiques, and home decor. After all, I do lovingly refer to him as Mr. DWR! Lucky for me, he has a specific and strong design aesthetic. By his name alone, you can reasonably determine that his look is decidedly modern, and that he doesn’t mind dream decorating with me on occasion for home decor items.During that trip to Millerton, we made a visit to that pretty little lamp shop – the one that had caught my eye a week or so earlier. The store is called Shandell’s, and it’s owned by an artist named Susan Schneider. The Mr. and I swooped through for a quick minute, and I made note that I must return for further ooohing and aahing without him looking over my shoulder. It’s a virtual treasure trove of goodness!
A few weeks later, I returned and struck up a wonderfully colorful conversation with Susan. I could have chatted with her for hours. (To be honest, I *might* have actually chatted with her for hours!) By the end of the afternoon, I had made my first Upstate creative friend and we had a plan to meet for cocktails to continue our lively conversation. I am not kidding you, there must be 3,000 lamps on display in her jewel box of a shop. Just a bit of the space is dedicated to the store, and the rest of it is Susan’s studio where she makes custom lamp shades, tissue boxes, night lights, and sassy candle replacement sleeves for sconces and chandeliers. In my opinion, the most delightful product that she creates (outside of her lamps, of course!) are her artfully decorated match boxes. You’d never even think about hiding these pretties away in the cupboard – no never!Susan has been making lamps for the last fifteen years out of just about every item that you could imagine. From table legs to iron machinery parts, to pottery, and glass vessels. My favorite lamps in her collection are those that are made from found objects. Speaking of which: There was one piece in particular that caught my eye. It was a branch that a horse shoe wrapped around it. The horse shoe had been thrown around the branch many years earlier. The branch grew larger on the tree, and in turn, the horseshoe was embedded on the branch. Susan was preparing to make a lamp out of it the day I stopped in. Cool, right?
Susan offers up that would-be lamp owners may bring their own treasures in to create a lamp. They are also welcome to search through her seemingly endless collection of lamp bases. After that, she explores all the options available for the lamp that she will create. She works with the client in a bespoke fashion – determining all the details that will go into the lamp with her client.Susan makes all of her custom lamp shades by hand in the studio, so first, one must decide the shape of the shade. Second, you decide the material that the shade will be made of. Third, the trim ribbon and accent ribbon that will border the top and the bottom of the shade.
Oh, and then there is the lamp. Decisions, decisions! What kind of cord do you want? Twisted cord or round? Will the cord be matte fabric, or shiny? What color is the cord? How long is the cord? Where will you be using the lamp? How many light bulbs do you want in your lamp? Who knew there were so many options for a single lamp!?!
And last but not least, the finial. Oh my gosh, what an amazing collection! From cat eyes to stones, beautiful turned glass, and marbles –no stone is left unturned– the right finial is the perfect finishing touch for her work of art.
Susan’s tagline is “things that make you smile,” and I couldn’t agree with her more! Her work is that of an artisan. The designs that come from her studio are of the highest quality. Many of the lamp shades are hand painted or include collage or decoupage.The beauty of shopping local is that you can stumble into a gem of a space like Shandell’s – a truly inspiring experience. I highly recommend stopping by her lovely shop if it’s possible. If you’re not in the area –thanks to the beauty of the internet– Susan is able to share her creations with clients and interior designers from all over the world! Pop by Shandell’s website to explore Susan’s work, visit her blog, or do what I do and follow @Shandells on Twitter.
Enjoy your weekend!