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Bright Ideas

Great selections and services for all your lighting needs

Michael’s Lamp Studio has been illuminating homes in the Twin Cities for 49 years. With 200 to 300 lamps and over 1000 shades, the store has grown exponentially over the years.

“It was my father-in-law, Edward Settevig, who had the vision with the lamps,” says the owner, Michael Misewicz. “When I first married his daughter, I would go over to their house and see him working on lamps in his workshop. These lamps were used in the furnished apartments he owned - that’s where he got the idea.”

Shortly after, Michael found a store in a multipurpose building, divided the space into two and rented out the other half. “I started with a truckload of broken lamps, about 30, and fixed them up and sold them,” he says. “That was Mr. Settevig’s idea – to start small and grow.” Eventually, his father-in-law bought the entire building.

“In the beginning, most of the department stores were in the lamp and shade business, and then in the late 70s and early 80s they started to get out of it because it’s a service business,” says Michael. “As they got out of it, our shade business grew extensively. Now I believe we’re the only lamp shade business in the Twin Cities.”

Michael always likes to state, “Buying a lampshade without your lamp is like buying a hat without your head.” Obviously, he also has a good sense of humor.

Today, Michael’s Lamp Studio encompasses two whole floors of the building and his youngest son, Josef, who was born the same year the store opened, works alongside him. Also working in the store is TR Sarp, who has been there for the past 30 years. “TR does everything in the store,” says Michael. “He’s friendly and loyal and I’m very happy and very proud to have an employee for that long.”

In addition to lamps and lamp shades, services include lamp restoration and repair. “People mostly bring in lamps from the 20s and 30s, but now there are a lot of things coming in from the late 40s to mid-60s, what they call mid-century modern,” he says. “Younger people generally between 25 and 30 are seeking these lamps from that period, but most of them don’t have shades, so they come to us to re-shade them. They’ve picked up old pieces of furnishing or they’ve been handed down, and this lighting looks good with that period of furniture.”

He said many of these old lamps have missing parts, or the bases have been chipped or broken. The main thing they do is a complete rewiring so the lamps work well and are safe to use.

“Manufacturers are actually starting to go back to the designs that were available in the 40s and 50s, even using the ceramic pottery pieces that are very similar to what was available then, which is pretty interesting,” says Michael.

Another service they offer is to take people’s memorabilia and turn these into fun one-of-a-kind lamps. “We can make a lamp out of anything,” he says. “People have brought in things such as hockey boots, pucks and skates, which we can mount on bases. They bring in their vases and crystal to make into lamps, and others have brought in their champagne bottles from their weddings. They can have them not only as art pieces but also to give them the lighting they need.

“Years ago, we used these unique wine bottles from Pracna on Main. I put layers of five or six different colored bird seed inside each one. In a four year period, we sold about 4000 of them.

“Wagon wheels also make great chandeliers, and the hubs of the wheels always make very nice lamps,” he adds.

Old copper fire extinguishers are also popular items to turn into lamps. “I have probably made hundreds of those,” says Michael. “I bought about 50 from a hotel in Chicago about 40 years ago and they were all brand new. They sold very well, but they are very hard to find now. Some people still bring them in though.”

The store also has a very good selection of incandescent bulbs, which for a while, he says, were hard to find. “Incandescent bulbs offer a much warmer light than LEDs, which give off a blue light that’s not always attractive.”

After being in business for so many years, he’s had generations of families shopping at the store. “One customer and his family would always come in after every Thanksgiving for a new lamp,” says Michael. “Now their children come in.”

Because of his great selection and friendly and knowledgeable customer service, he gets a lot of business through word-of-mouth. He also has many designers coming in on a regular basis. Pickup and delivery are also available in Southwest Minneapolis, Edina, and Eden Prairie.  

The corner where Michael’s Lamp Studio is located in Southwest Minneapolis is referred to as “Antique Corner,” he says, because of all the antique stores there. “It’s a good area to shop for those and other things.”

For all your lighting needs, go to https://michaelslamps.com/. 3101 W 50th St. (612) 926-9147.

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