We had a lot of pets in my family—dogs, cats, hamsters, ferrets, even a cockatoo named Baby. This, by the way, is not Baby. Nor is it a bird we're giving away. At least not today. I do think it's pretty, though—the flashy crest, the snowy plumage—like Baby, only without all the chatter.


Maybe that's why I'm so drawn to figural cockatoos instead of the real thing: There's plenty of beauty, but none of the back talk. Take this pair of vintage porcelain cockatoos I found at Scott's in Atlanta with my friend Deborah Buck. We were down there doing a story together for my old column Weekend Shopper at House Beautiful. They were such strong, statuesque pieces, Italian probably, from the 50s, and not a chip on them. When Deborah and I saw them, we both looked at each other and thought, Lamps!      


Photography by Michael Blackwell

I had the cockatoos set on chinoiserie bases to give them the feel of being on a strong pedestal, like a Corinthian column. And I didn't want to ruin them by drilling into the porcelain, so I had a professional wire them through a tube attached to the base. I chose black shades lined in gold leaf to reflect onto the birds, accentuating their definition. Very Hollywood Regency, I thought, perfect for a credenza or gorgeous old bureau. 


Photography by Brendan Paul

Now here's the best part: While the cockatoos I found may have been vintage, our friends at The Well Appointed House, a fantastic source for furniture, lighting and accessories, have a few cockatoos of their own, one of which they're giving away!   


It's a full 19" tall, perfect for turning into a big, beautiful lamp. Or just display it as is, on a bookshelf or mantle perhaps, even the center of a dining room table. It's a lot of look, let me tell you, and that great decorator object people will notice. 


For a chance to win, head over to The Well Appointed House blog, scroll down the right sidebar and click Follow. Then come back, leave me a comment, and you're in! The contest ends at midnight on Thursday the 8th. We'll announce the winner the next day! Good luck, baby!