By Karen Parr-Moody
For the past year, Americans have (mostly) stayed home due to the dreadfully stubborn Covid-19 virus and, consequently, we’ve gone DIY crazy. As we stared at the same four walls day after day, our focus on our living spaces increased. And we continue to harbor home improvement ideas to this day.
According to NPD Group, a data analytics firm, more than 40 percent of us have plans for post-pandemic DIY home improvement. The data also indicates that about one in 10 consumers has taken on home projects they would have hired out pre-pandemic. (Yes, some of us are doing our landscaping, maintenance, repairs, cleaning and even remodeling.)
GasLamp has long carried finds to help customers get moving with their DIY projects. Now, such finds are more apropos than ever.
A jumping-off spot is undoubtedly found in this treasure, a vintage 26-volume set of the Handyman Do-It-Yourself Encyclopedia ($50; Booth T-188). From the editors of Science & Mechanics magazine (“The magazine that shows you how”), this set features the words “Do It Yourself” emblazoned in gold on the cover. Topics include the repair and care of homes, autos and appliances, and lessons in successful vegetable and fruit growing. These books show you how to do just about anything you can imagine.
Don’t forget your ceiling when it comes to your DIY projects: It’s the fifth wall. It invites a simple but significant decorative element found in a ceiling medallion’s architectural detail. This vintage wood-and-gold-tone version at GasLamp is covered with six bold and scrolling acanthus leaves and a trim of classic circles that resembles egg-and-dart molding ($29.50; Booth T-206). A center hole allows for its use in adding character to chandeliers, light fixtures and ceiling fans.
In the words of the iconic interior designer Dorothy Draper, “The color of your front door announces your personality to the world.” That truism extends to the door’s hardware, which can be equally statement-making. For those who adore history, these bronze Victorian hinges have it: They were manufactured by Sargent & Co., which crafted the hinges for Abraham Lincoln’s coffin after he died on April 15, 1865 ($85; Booth T-290).
Lincoln’s assassination occurred one year after the Sargent & Co. plant opened for business in New Haven, Connecticut. Known as one of the great American manufacturers, Sargent & Co. crafted high-quality hardware that antique collectors seek today. These hinges at GasLamp feature natural motifs of flowers and grasses; they would certainly make someone’s front door shine.
Here’s an easy fixer-upper that’s just one string away from being operable! This rare 12-string classical guitar is missing a single string; it awaits a guitarist who can fix it to add an extra dimension to his or her playing ($600; Booth B-2003). This niche instrument’s extra strings give it a wider frequency range, lending ethereal notes to a performance. The 12-string guitar became popular in the 1960s due to The Beatles and The Beach Boys’ influence. So, a technically adventurous player – and technically skilled – can tie a new string on this 12-string guitar and experience a transformation.
Any DIY-er worth his or her salt must have a pocketknife – and why not carry a stylish one? This one is a fantastic Bulldog Brand folding knife, made in Solingen, Germany ($100; Showcase S-121). Called a “Tobacco Tribute” knife, it features a stag handle in gorgeous cream-and-chocolate tones.
Whether driven by cost savings, product shortages or extra time at home, millions of Americans have embraced do-it-yourselfism while hunkering down during the pandemic. One doesn’t have to raise backyard chickens or start beekeeping to take the DIY plunge – a trip to GasLamp will reveal many projects that won’t even get you dirty.