Loving Out Loud: Ensler Lighting

I think it’s important to support small and local businesses but more importantly share when you have had exceptional service as word of mouth of the lifeblood of many small businesses. So I am excited to introduce a new feature to my blog called “Loving Out Loud” where I highlight local businesses, artisans, and items in general that I love.

For my first edition of Loving Out Loud, I wanted to introduce readers to Ensler Lighting, a great resource for the DIYer or crafter who may have a lamp or lighting project.  I discovered Ensler Lighting as I was working on my “Jonathan Adler Lite” project.  The owner, George, truly loves his job as evidenced by his intent on ensuring that I found the perfect shade to fit little “Jon” (I named my lamp….don’t you?).  George spent 30 minutes, going through his stock, trying multiple shades on my lamp, explaining why he was chosing certain styles and shapes.  When the shade we selected didn’t quite fit, George, swapped out the harp on the lamp to make sure I got the exact look I wanted.

While Ensler Lighting’s shades are not the cheapest, George has a lifetime guareentee on his products and insisted if I got home and the shade didn’t look right in the room, simply bring it back and he would find a new shade for me.    To me that screams of customer service and a merchant who is willing to stand by his product, both of which I am willing to pay a little more for.

Ensler Lighting also does lamp repair, wiring and custom orders in addition to carrying a wide array of lamps and lamp shades.  Additionally, for a limited time, George is offering all customers an additinal 10% off plus  he is paying sales tax for you.

Ensler Lighting

1793 Solano Avenue

Berkeley, CA 94707



“The measured tree overflows”

And there was light……

Since quitting my job in February, I have had some “free time” on my hands. Like most folks, I promised that I would fill the free time with a myriad of activities: (1) exercising, (2) volunteer work, (3) baking/cooking, (4) home improvements & (5) travel being the top items on my list.

Well to date, I have fallen off the exercise wagon, have become throughly frightened by the ACLU’s call center tactics and have seen little more than the sights Oakland has to offer. However, I have been good at pushing forward with my cooking/baking technique, developing new recipes and exploring new cuisines (aka eating out). In addition, I have kept myself busy doing a variety of home projects from painting, gardening and some simple craft projects. One of the larger projects I have taken on is redecorating the “music room/office” since our roomie “JC” is moving out. It’s an ongoing project that I hope to reveal in the coming month.

The inspiration to redo the room has come from my current fixation on the HGTV show “Sarah’s House“, my lust for all things Jonathan Adler and my addiction to the DIY blog Centsational Girl.  Over the last few weeks, I have been lusting after a Jonathan Adler pottery piece, in particular the Love/Hate ceramic jar, but can’t quite justify spending $175 on a piece of pottery with school around the corner.  However, after reading Centsational Girl’s blog and learning about her DIY luck at local thrift shops, I thought, I would try my hand at seeing if I could find a piece of pottery on the cheap that would satisfy my “craving.”

So last week, I trekked out past the Oakland Airport to the St. Vincent de Paul Outlet Store to see what they had.  And boy oh boy am I happy I went.  Comprised of three different stores, this complex is a mecca for home DIYers, crafters and those seeking good deals on home improvement items.  While the solid wood doors, Victorian toilets and crushed velvet couches were tempting projects, I had my eye on the pottery.  Sadly, I struck out on finding a vase that would quench my Jonathan thirst, but I did spy this lamp:

Ceramic Lamp

I sorta look like Jonathan Adler don't I?

Kinda dirty, no lamp shade, shotty plug and only $7.  PERFECT!  Did I mention, it was dirty?  I mean like DIRTY!

Dirty lamp vase

I am a dirty girl....or boy. Do lamps have gender?

However, even dirty and a little worse for the wear, the shape of the lamp, the rectangle design on the base and the wooden neck screamed “JONATHAN ADLER LITE” to me at least.  So I snatched it up and drove it home, giddy with possibilities.

Once home, disassembled the lamp and I gave it good rub down with Clorox sanitary wipes.  When it had dried, I took a fine grit sandpaper to ceramic base to remove any additional dirt, wiping it down again and leaving it to dry.  I cleared a space in the garage and hit the base with two coats of Rust-o-leum White Primer to cover up the existing base color which I can comfortably say was a cross between mushroom and mold.

Painted Ceramic Base

White paint makes everything better.....

With the primer dry, I applied 2-3 coats of Rust-o-leum White Flat spray paint and topped it with Rust-o-leum Matte Clear Protector. (Hey Rust-o-leum, I need a sponsor..hint hint) 🙂  I let the base dry over night to avoid getting any grimy finger prints on my new paint job.

Once dried, I rewired the base which was surprisingly easy once I figured out I had the socket in upside down.  I bought lamp harp and wiring hit from Home Depot for $9.99 and followed the directions on the back of the package:

Lamp Kit

Live Lamp Wire

In the home stretch....well I would have been if I didn't attach the socket upside down


Oh Mr. Socket you did me so wrong.....

After having to disassemble the socket and right it, it was smooth sailing from there.  And here is the lamp fully wired:

Lighted Lamp

And there was light!

With that completed, I went on the hunt for the perfect lampshade to complete my project.  Well after striking out at Target, Wal-Mart, Home Depot, Joann Fabrics, Michael’s,  Marshalls, Ikea and various junk shops, I did a little online research and came across Ensler Lighting on Yelp.  Not really knowing what I would encounter, I made the trek to the Solano Avenue neighborhood of Oakland on Wednesday.  What I found was a small shop filled to the brim with lampshades of every different kind.  What made me stay was the fantastic owner, George, who helped me find the perfect (albeit not cheap) shade for my lamp.

I am happy to introduce “Jon” to the world..my first baby lamp:

Jon in Room

Jon looks right at home on top of the piano

For under $75 (including lamp base, lamp shade, paint & primer and lamp kit), I think Jon looks like a million bucks!

Updated 8/24/11:  Submitted this post to the CSI Lamp Challenge