Sunday, 31 August 2014

Grandads vintage wallpaper...

I'm back from trips to the Isle of Wight and Devon and no DIY has taken place. Perhaps when Connie goes back to school this week but I've hurt my back so perhaps not.

I have a whole summers worth of second hand scores to share but I want to start with a post about my late Grandads house in Devon. My Grandad passed away 13 years ago but his second wife, my step grandmother still lives in the large Edwardian house.

I stayed there earlier this month and asked her if I could share the fabulous wallpaper with you. I think there's something for everyone here. So come on in.


In the huge hallway is a pretty pink toile de jouy above the dado rail and a soft pink below. Elegant and classical.




In the sitting room things get a little bolder...



I love this design and I think it works as the room is so large so it doesn't suck all the light out of the room. This is on just one wall.

The kitchen was decorated in the 1971. I think it shows...


Again, just one wall is papered. To give you an idea of scale, that fireplace is above shoulder height.

In the drawing room you can see the oldest wallpaper in the house.


This was the best room for receiving guests. It's very elegant in here, if somewhat shabby chic. 


Here's the ceiling moulding at the top of the room above the door.


Fabulous high ceilings

On the staircase, below the dado is anaglypta with so many layers of paint on it. Very English.


See the bakelite light switches? Grandad painted everything. Perhaps I get that from him. 

In one of the bedrooms is this greek themed wallpaper. 



Here's the door to give you an idea of the scale...



A piece of wallpaper was used under the glass finger plate on the door too. The other walls are a soft grey.

On to the bathroom with this mustard yellow...



 another bold choice with the orange woodwork.

In the back bedroom, is this fabulous paisley design.



Some strong colour on the fireplace too.

The next landing up has this doll wallpaper. My grandmother loved dolls...





Isn't it amazing? Those dolls are huge!

Last of all, what was my dads attic room and what would have been the servants room originally.


I'm guessing another 1960's paper. Hopefully decorated after dad left. 


Around the same time, all the furniture in here was painted in gloss hot pink. 

So you see, the feature wallpapered wall is not a new thing. My family invented it long ago! And the desire to paint everything is clearly in my genes, even if the colours I choose are less bold. 

I hope you enjoyed a wander around this beautiful house.

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

The ugly dresser completed...

Hello stranger! Time has gotten away from me. I've been visiting my dad, working on an epic piece of furniture and focusing on my daughter as it's the school hols.

I'm halfway through the kitchen, so it's a perfect time to wander off and do something else. A kitchen break. I was itching to finish the ugly dresser.

So I did. Ta daa!




Let me remind you how it started out...




It didn't fit the wall, see how it cuts accross the door frame?


The top was not looking good.


I wasn't loving the plywood back or the black shelves.


But I LOVED the paintwork. (What was left of it.) It really was love at first sight with this piece. All the problems with it could be fixed.



I put a new tongue and groove back on the cupboard section. Much better than the plywood. And although it's inside the cupboard and no one sees it, I couldn't leave it looking so new.



I stained the wood with a mixture of tea and thinned down black acrylic paint. Much better.


I scraped and sanded the top, not too much as I didn't want to ruin the beaten up finish. I cut sections off the sides and top cornice so it fit my space perfectly. I sanded and stained the cut edges so it didn't look newly cut.



Halfway through, it was looking better but still needed a tongue and groove back for the top section and I needed to lose that black paint.

There was no simple way to do this. I painted all the paintwork, the black and the cream, very carefully, so that it would all be the same colour. I had to paint around each and every flaked of piece as I didn't want to lose that! This piece really was a labour of love.



I dark waxed it all so the new paint looked original.

wood bleached top


I used wood bleach on the top as I love the super pale look. (Did you know that using wood bleach and tongue and grooving something are two of the most fun things to do on the planet? )



The new tongue and groove back was stained darker and then also bleached to match the top.
Then I put it all together. I really wasn't sure about the wood finish behind the shelves. I thought I might paint over it.
But when the china was all in place, I loved it. I think that the china stands out more against wood than it would do against a painted surface and I'm so thrilled with the way it all matches up.



So here's the before...


And now...


Right then, better get on with that kitchen...

Ivy and ElephantsElizabeth and Co.

Furniture Feature Fridays

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Skip diving, birthdays and wallpaper...

Yes that's a random title but that's what's been going on around here.
First of all, I've managed to skip dive TWICE in a week and get some cool free stuff.

Ooh, a skip diving party! How fun!
The other day I spotted a skip with LOTS of bubble wrap and grabbed the lot. Yay me!
And today, I couldn't find my pollyfilla so I went to buy some more, passing a very exciting looking skip full of windows! Obviously I couldn't pass it up without stopping and investigating.
I knocked on the door of the house and the bemused gentleman said I could take his old windows. So I did.


I took five 1930's wooden windows in all. Look at the lovely old window furniture!



What will I do with them?
Perhaps more of this window art...


I think I'll put one of those catches on here.
Or I may use them to turn my raised beds into cold frames in the spring. This year I used three of our old secondary glazing panels but the frames are coming off and we broke one. These windows will be MUCH prettier.

We've also had a party for the last part of Connies First Holy Communion and  mine and Connies birthdays this week. I turned 44 and she turned 8. I think turning 8 is much more exciting. As you may know she's crazy about 'Littles Pet Shop' figures. We always look for them at boot sales and charity shops. Well on Sunday I found TONS of them and gave them to her on her birthday. She was THRILLED! A very lucky find indeed.

We thought we'd decorate her (shop bought) cake* with an LPS and we lit the candles and brought it into the room and started to sing. Connie started SCREAMING as she thought the LPS was going to burn. So that went well.



*I don't believe in baking. Plus we had my twin brothers birthday, my birthday (different day) First Holy Communion (part 3) cake and Connies birthday all in three days. I would have spent hours in the kitchen. And if I'm going to spend hours in the kitchen, I'd much rather be working on it than in it.

So leading quite neatly back to the kitchen, I have received my latest roll of wallpaper from Your4walls and I'm hoping to get on with that today. Obviously, I've been hindered by dashing out for pollyfilla, skip diving and blog writing.

As this one was too grey with the grey units...


I eventually went with this one...


...after a brief love affair with another one that didn't match the splash back at all. (Still working on that website.) This roll came super fast.

We've got one more party to go this weekend so the house has to stay relatively tidy for that, then all hell will break loose, chaos will rein once again and I can get stuck into some serious DIY. Bring it on.

And the party? We're remaking Pharells 'Happy' video on location locally with 12 little girls. Why not, if your daddy's a film maker? Wish us luck!

P.S. Apologies to anyone who watched The Auction house on my recommendation last week. It wasn't the slightest bit funny. What happened to it?


Sunday, 29 June 2014

Thrifty and not so thrifty telly...

Here's my round up of my favourite interiors/style TV shows at the moment.

I mentioned this briefly before but Channel 4's The Auction House really is unmissable. Anyone who's ever won things on eBay or anyone with a passion for secondhand will love this. Okay, the items in question are worth hundreds or thousands rather than the few quid that you and I like to pay in charity shops, but the auction house in question is in the heart of Chelsea, and the regulars at Lots Rd are the super rich of London.


The buyers can get hooked on bidding and sometimes make expensive mistakes. Whereas we might stuff up and lose a few quid on a duff buy, these people can lose thousands, buying and re selling their items. You'll get to see inside some amazing houses as the programme makers follow buyers home.

The auction rooms are run by an eccentric bunch. As Roger the owner says, ''When I think of the characters that work for me here, I would say that they're bunch of odd balls and we're like a dysfunctional family.'' God, I'd love to work there!
Everyone who works at Lots Rd seems to have a problem with Roger. ''He's the most stubborn and demanding boss in Chelsea.'' His workers don't mind sharing this on camera! I wonder if heads have rolled because of this show.
I do hope the gamble has paid off and that people are heading to the auction rooms in their droves. If I still lived in London, I'd be there!

Oh, and I did google the whale scrotum stools. I won't spoil the surprise! Catch up on 4od.

Next up, a welcome return to our screens for Linda Barker. She's made a new series for Channel 5 called Brand New House for 5K.



The featured families hand over 5K and get their homes tarted up, learning some nifty DIY tricks along the way. 
Linda is looking incredibly hot these days. And things haven't changed since her days on Changing Rooms, you might not love everything she does but it's certainly not magnolia.

Last of all, did you see This Old Thing: The Vintage Clothes Show ?



Presented by the stunning Dawn O'Porter, who's on a mission to introduce the nation to vintage, it's certainly worth a watch. It seams there are people out there that think vintage clothing smells like dead people! Dawn attempts to convert them with her workshop and team of expert tailors.
But instead of hiring a seamstress to alter our ill fitting vintage, I think we're all rather more likely to have a bash ourselves. On a second hand sewing machine, naturally. But she's probably preaching to the converted here, right?

Enjoy a rainy day indoors checking out these shows if you missed them. Speaking of rain, Vix has been in my thoughts all weekend as she's at Glastonbury and it hasn't been a great year for the weather. I wouldn't have minded seeing Metallica there but I don't think it'd top seeing them play at the Marquee in London many years ago and being right at the front. (James Hetfield gave me a can of beer after the show! He said it was shit. Obviously I fell madly in love with him.)
I've not seen any of the TV footage of Glastonbury yet, so perhaps I'll spend my afternoon watching that as I work through a pile of ironing. Rock n roll...





Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Out of order...

I've had a bit of a freak accident. It could happen to anyone really. Connie decided she needed an obstacle course in the garden so I quickly rustled one up for her. You know the kind of thing, canes balanced on watering cans as jumps and wooden site pegs laid down as chicanes to zig zag through. Well, I was just demonstrating the order in which it was to be completed, and I jumped the first jump, in my heels, landing on our very uneven lawn and went over on my ankle. Oh my God, the pain!

I spent a good deal of yesterday in A&E and it's not broken. But I can only walk on my heel and I can't drive. Such a drag. I think we can all learn a valuable lesson from this episode about hurdling in heels. Please send your healing vibes my way so I don't miss the flea market on Friday!

Explaining how it happened to the hospital staff was slightly embarrassing. I get the feeling they don't see too many 43 year old women who show jump around their gardens of a weekend.

Fortunately, I didn't cripple myself until Sunday evening, meaning I didn't miss the boot sale in the morning. It was a stonker.

Look who came home with me!



Isn't she fab? Look at those lashes!



Obviously she will make a very useful necklace holder. Or a hat stand. I may start wearing hats. Or a wig display unit. Just in case.

I was walking around holding her proudly and one of the regulars admired her but asked why she had a sticker on the front saying, 'PENIS'.
It actually said 'PENIS PENIS PENIS PENIS'.
And there was me thinking I was getting funny looks just because I was walking around with a mannequin.

I also found this BEAUTIFUL quilted table runner for £1.50. It's immaculate. I love whole cloth quilting so this is right up my street and will be perfect for when I re build my dining table with a scaffold board top.



Fridays flea was also a good 'un. I collect these plates and found a few more from the £2 man. I don't see them very often and never that cheap. My Grandad had these plates. They're very large and deep and great for roast dinners when your plate is piled high with vegetables.


Obviously I can't keep buying stuff without things leaving the house. I'm like an antiques dealer in that the new old stuff comes in and the old old stuff goes out. We're hoping to have a car boot sale at the weekend to get rid of a lot of the old old stuff. Actually I think we need to have one a week all summer long!

I'm still waiting on wallpaper samples from your4walls a staggering two weeks after I placed my order. I got an email the next day to say it had been dispatched and now they're saying it hasn't even been printed as the wallpaper printer is broken! Very frustrating. It's not just me who's out of order. I want at least half the kitchen finished before our parties happen in a few weeks!