One of the things I loved most during my time judging The Great Interior Design Challenge was seeing the breath taking ingenuity, and puff of smoke brilliance of the contestants ability to make something out of nothing. The fact that they only get £1000 gets often critisised and along with the timescale undoubtedly compromises the finish but it encourages so much innovation! When money is tight, creativity kicks in. (And £1000 is still alot of money right?!)
One of my favourite makes of the series so far has been the rather controversial Birdcage light fitting that Anna Straw devised for her male bachelor client Joseph in the second epiosode. I’m not going to get into whether geezers should be allowed to have birds in their homes (thank god mines OK with it) but instead focus on what I thought was a lovely product, rather well made and that I thought looked super in the room. Do check out Anna’s website, she a fabulous stylist and great at putting looks together.
Now I can’t give Anna the credit for the concept. Anyone reading this blog will know how much I love my La Voiliere table lamp. In fact I had lusted after it forever and only finally treated myself to it when I got the job at GIDC. So it’s a very special thing in my home and holds that memory for me too. And even though I had to hide the credit card bill it’s the best money I ever spent, I’ll never tire of it.
There were two reasons why I never bought it before. First off it’s eye-wateringly expensive for a lamp. Are you lying down, OK, £400. Second of all I kept having the conversation with myself that it would be so easy to make. But, like lots of creative projects I dream of, I never seem to find the time to get round to these things. (If like me you’d rather jump to buy the real deal you can pick them up at The Conran Shop)
But I thought it would be a brilliant opportunity to ask Anna how she made the one we saw in the second episode. While Kelly and Dan didn’t love it- at all, I respect that they just have different taste. But I thought you guys, like me, would dig it so if you want to have a go, I asked Anna how she made it.
Start with an existing drum pendant light with the diameter you are looking for. Rip off the fabric. Anna used a pendant shade from Ikea and discarded the fabric.
Next cut some galvanised cage wire (available from builders merchants) to the desired depth. I think anything from 40-60cm would look good but it depends on the size of your room. Use tie wraps to fix the cage wire to the frame. Then twist galvanised wire around the rim, to hold the cage wire to the lighting ring. Once secure, along the top, bottom and along the seam you can cut off and discard the tie wraps.
At this point you can decide to leave the light fitting grey, but maybe perk it up with some silver spray paint or spray it another colour like copper, bronze, gold or black.
To make the perches Anna used bamboo canes from the garden centre or you could use doweling, cut down to length. Secure a couple of perches in place with the galvanised wire. Then pop on your birdies. Rockett St George does a great selection of different sizes, which is what you need to make it work.
I’d love to know what your thoughts are of the birdcage light and if you thought it made or break the room Anna designed. And just for the record, Joseph loves his light and it’s still hanging in pride of place in his bachelor living room!