Monday, 26 November 2018

The Lion And The Bitch of a Wardrobe



As I'm sure I've mentioned before, our house is currently in a state of chaos whilst we redecorate - hence the lack of blog posts - but I'm delighted to tell you that the spare bedroom has finally been completed, although you probably can't see much of a difference. If it ain't broke and all that....


We painted (or rather, Jon did) three of the four walls in virtually the same shade of stormy grey paint as we'd used twelve years ago and managed to find a couple of rolls of this discontinued Laura Ashley Kimono wallpaper in black on eBay for £5 to redo the area of wall beneath the window that had become damp. My me-made patchwork curtains and lampshades remain unchanged,


As do our French joie de toille curtains found for a fiver at a car boot sale over a decade ago.




I'm still more than happy with the necklace storage Jon made from a car-booted picture frame, a piece of plywood papered with a posh wallpaper sample and some cup hooks.


Here's the rest of my jewellery....


This handsome maharahaja keeps my trinkets safe.



All together on my Edwardian dressing table -  bought from a charity shop 10 years ago.


Jon found me this 5x magnifying mirror in a charity shop last week for £1. When he spotted the on/off switch he realised that, at some point, it would have lit up so he took it apart, replaced the bulb and rewired it. It's terrifying to see myself at such close quarters but it's brilliant for eyebrow plucking!


These antique drawers stood on my Mum's dressing table throughout her married life. Old and tatty, I recovered them with photocopies of vintage Bollywood posters and store my bangles in the larger set and my makeup, bindis and bits and pieces in the smaller set.


The Colonial-style bed was an eBay find years ago as was the Edwardian rug, still bearing its import labels from what was then British India - at £9 it's possibly one of my all-time best Ebay bargains. The 1950s gold vinyl rose-embossed ottoman contains my fabric stash, it's one of those things that was so ugly I felt compelled to buy it. 



Apparently the average UK female owns 34 pairs of shoes (HERE). I'm delighted that I'm not average and own just 29 pairs (including my summer boots and sandals which are currently packed away for  winter). Out of those 29, nine pairs were bought new and the rest were secondhand.


 The 1920s silk kimono was 50p from the mid-week car boot sale. I decided Queen Liz looked better here than on the landing.


As a cash-strapped student back in the 1980s I used to admire these flying ceramic puffins in a hip interiors shop in Birmingham city centre but couldn't afford them. Imagine my excitement when I spotted them in Banardos for £1.99 a couple of weeks ago. Like I always say, if you wait long enough the thing you want will always turn up in a charity shop. 


We're decorating the lounge at the moment and have had a swap around of pictures hence Tina is now above the dressing table and the one below is hanging above the bed. I bought it for a couple of quid from a charity stall on Walsall market when I was shopping with my Mum years ago and had to carry it into Yates' when we stopped off for our obligatory Friday lunchtime pint. I've never been able to work out the artist but she doesn't half remind me of Bjork.


I use two wardrobes to store my clothes. I bought this one from a charity shop on the same day as the dressing table - they were donated by the same person.



The other wardrobe I use (a modern one) wasn't long enough to accommodate my maxi dresses and the hems are perpetually creased so I suggested to Jon that we move it to our bedroom, swap it for the clothes rail he currently uses and we'd scour the chazzas for a replacement wardrobe for me.


I wasn't particularly bothered by what the wardrobe would look like, it just had to have enough hanging space so, armed with measurements, we hit the charity shops of Walsall last Monday and within a few minutes I spotted this handsome Arts & Crafts era beauty. Priced at just £35, the young volunteer in the British Heart Foundation laughed at it and said it would be more at home in the Black Country Museum than anyone's house. I know dark furniture isn't fashionable but there was something really appealing about it and the fact it had a shelf for my hats and a full length interior mirror sold it to me. We handed over our cash and arranged for it to be delivered the next day, hoping against hope that we'd get it up the stairs.


Jon asked his best mate to come round and give us a hand. Tony's worked in the furniture trade for over thirty years and if there's a way of getting a massive piece of furniture into a tight space then he's your man. He told us that the wardrobe was more than likely handmade in the 1920s by English furniture maker, Old Charm and they command daft money on eBay. He said that the only way to get the beast up our stupidly narrow staircase was to take the entire thing to pieces and rebuild it from scratch. He pointed out that the wardrobe was made from solid oak and even if the three of us could have manoeuvred it up the stairs what with Jon's knees, his back and my hip one of us would probably end up in hospital. Back in the early 20th Century wardrobes this size would have been taken upstairs through a sash window via a pulley system, nowadays with so few sash windows and 21st century health and safety regulations, companies just don't manufacture anything this size any more.


There's not a lot that fazes Jon (he's a Leo, the lion in my blog title) and he reckoned that if it all went t*ts up at least we'd be okay for firewood so he took the wardrobe apart, numbered each piece and rebuilt the wardrobe in the spare bedroom.


Ta-dah! Hanging space for my maxis and a special contraption for my belts. The boy's a genius! (I found that 1980s leather belt with the brass snake buckle this morning.)


The hats are longer squashed into a tiny space.


And there's room for my bags, too! 


Hopefully it won't be too long before I can share another completed room -  but don't hold your breath! 

Linking to Patti & the gang for Visible Monday.

64 comments:

  1. Wow, that's love and dedication to take it apart and put it back together again. I love old dark pieces of furniture, furniture in Canada is rarely over 100 years old. It's really too bad antiques are out of fashion, they are lovely pieces. It doesn't stop me from going to the antique shop though.

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    1. Thank you! The good thing about antiques being unpopular - especially dark furniture - is that it's really cheap. A plywood bookcase from Ikea would have cost more! xxx

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  2. The bedroom looks amazing and the new wardrobe is fabulous. You have inspired me to go look for a second hand wardrobe for myself instead of buying something new.
    Hugs-x-

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    1. If you ever venture over to Burton-on-Trent there's some great bits of furniture in the chazzas over there! xxx

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  3. I love the idea of you and your mum going shopping and you buying that fab picture which went with the two of you for a lunchtime pint.

    The new wardrobe is cool - as are the older ones.

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    1. She loved a pint or two did my Mum! xxx

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  4. The wardrobe is beautiful-you have the perfect home for it. I'm going to steal that belt hanging idea.

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    1. I love it now we've got it upstairs especailly 'cos I can get all my clothes in it! the belt thing is great, I hated having to rummage through a drawer to find the one I wanted! xxx

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  5. The new wardrobe is beautiful! I’m often admiring wardrobes like that in antiques stores, they look so much more practical than the modern boxy chipboard that’s in fashion. I’m glad it found a good home with you. Your spare room is looking fab!

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    1. Thank you! I'm so happy that Jon managed to rebuild it! It fits all my dresses and coats perfectly and looks so much better than some anonymous Ikea thing! xxx

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  6. My, you've been busy! That wardrobe is quite a score. I would have pounced on that one too. And yes, I think taking it apart was the sensible thing to do. My first thought actually was, but what about Jon's back and Vix's hip? We had to take my wardrobe, which I think is even bigger, apart as well. That belt hanging idea is genius! I've got mine stored in a small suitcase, which is not very practical. I love those puffins and I don't think the vinyl ottoman is ugly at all, it's fabulous! xxx P.S. In sync again ;-)

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    1. I love it when we're in sync!!
      My belts were in a suitcase, too - it was a right pain tipping them up every time I needed one. I should figure out a contraption to show off my scarves next!
      I'm delighted we moved the wardrobe wihout any of us ending up hospitalised, always a risk at our age! xxx

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  7. Try looking for Georgette Nivert for your painting.

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    1. Thank you so much - I did and it's definitely by her. I've also realised I've got one of her gypsys children prints on my Wall of Misery. xxx

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    2. Brilliant - glad you have tracked down your mystery artist :) and have more of her work too!

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  8. Your new wardrobe is a great beauty - I adore arts and crafts period decor. And i love that you moved Queen Liz for a fresh view : > Seriously: what a gorgeous, personal and meaningful interior you and Jon have created. Bravo to you both, xox

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  9. You've been keeping busy! I love the idea of redecorating but hate the chaos it creates.

    When we lived in an old apartment (an old house conversion into apartments) in downtown Toronto we had to have our bed brought up with a pulley system and then a patio window. It was crazy. Nothing would fit through our tiny narrow staircase. At that time it wasn't a big deal as we didn't have much furniture. If we had to move now it'd be a nightmare. Just thinking about it gives me a headache.

    I really love the piece you chose. They really don't make them like that anymore.

    That vinyl ottoman is gorgeous! One woman's ugly is another woman's gorgeous : )

    Suzanne
    http://www.suzannecarillo.com

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    1. I'd have loved to have seen that bed being hauled through the window, it'd be like something from a Laurel and Hardy film!
      Moving stuff to redecorate is the worst part, I'm dreading doing the kitchen although it'll make us both happy when it's done, we spend the longest amount of time in there.
      xxx

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  10. That wardrobe is spectacular and all the more for being rebuilt by Jon, incredible! I like old furniture myself and have a small stash of embroidered tablecloths found in chazzas over the years, that I hope one day will be used on dainty little oak tables! One day. I am decorating too, lightest grey all over the place, i love the smell of new paint!

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    1. They should bottle the smell of new paint and sell it with those reed diffusers!
      I love old furniture even though it's unfashionable and a logistical nightmare. xxx

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  11. Two geniuses living together - and I'm not just saying that! Bravo for your wonderful renovations! You are brilliant decorators and organizers, and I am inspired by your jewelry storage. I wanted to create something like it, but haven't done it yet. The new old wardrobe is truly beautiful. I have a modern little cabinet made in this style, and even though it isn't historic, I love it - it is solid wood (not oak) and is lovely!
    Much love!

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    1. Thanks so much, Natalia! I love having my jewellery on display, I can admire it as well as know what to chose when I get dressed in the morning. xxx

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  12. wow that's a beautiful piece of furniture! Young people Know nothing....haha!

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  13. I love your spare room (I'm hoping to get to sleep in it some day). I enjoyed seeing your jewellery storage - I have a black ceramic hand to hold my rings too, but it doesn't have enough "arm" to hold bracelets too.

    Kudos to Jon for the take-apart and re-build of the wardrobe. The price was excellent for a piece of furniture of that quality. You are the champion at finding things secondhand that you admired ages ago when they cost loads of money! Those little puffins are adorable, and I am envious of your flamenco doll collection (I have two small ones and one large one).

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  14. Once upon a time, my mum purchased an enormous upright piano to grace the farmhouse living room. Dad took one look and called for the special skills of an odd-job man. He also insisted we kids be present to "see the show". Here came the truck with the piano, a ramp, and a wooden roller. The jolly little driver hopped in the back, dropped the ramp and walked the roller down the ramp! A former circus man, he had his own ways of moving things...while smoking a cigar. Thanks for reminding me that men who move furniture are a special breed.

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  15. I am always so envious when I see your fabulous collection of baubles. Like you, I am now reliant on a magnifying mirror. I can't put on makeup with out or pluck my brows either. In fact, I need to wear glasses and shift them around along with the magnification of the mirror. It sucks!

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  16. I believe what you call a charity store is usual what we call a thrift stores and majorty of them are a nonprofit places.
    We do have place that gives or free house in our area. But it is mainly to help those in need.
    I have to say I like your joie de toille curtains, but I'm fan of sheers.
    Coffee is on

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    1. Yes, charity shops sell donated good in order to raise funds for deserving causes - the customers aren't the charitable causes but generally the prices - especially in deprived towns like mine - are good. xxx

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  17. oh dear we have much the same taste in furniture , I have an old charm oak sideboard seriously heavy its had many lives round the house currently its fabric storage with a bookcase screwed to the top to make a dresser , im sure it will recover in its next life . I dont think ive ever bought a new bit of furniture in my life guess i will never have that "high end look"

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    1. I reckon Old Charm will go on for ever! Some poor person will end up with this when we're both long gone! xxx

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  18. Hi Vix, I love the dark cupboard and seeing how you store your clothes, bags, hats and shoes. Jon is a genius, I wouldn't have the patience to put together all the tiny pieces of wood. X

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    1. Thanks, Jess! He's a lot more patient than I am! xxx

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  19. I love this post , Your room is so individual to you , Like i said to you on IG I love the wardrobe its looks jacobean , I love painted furniture but i love dark furniture just as much
    Dave built my wardrobe and it was great for me to design it so it accommodated long dresses , a shelf for bags and sections for shoes ,Although i don't have as many as you lol xxx

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    1. I think all women need a Dave! I was really surprised at how cheap the awrdrobe was - now I know why, it really was a logistical nightmare! xxx

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  20. Where there's a will, there's a way, I guess. It is a massive piece of furniture.

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  21. woww, the room looks adorable and every piece of furniture has so much personality that it's impossible not to love everything!. I love to see your necklaces and jewelry storage systems, as I'd like to see all my stuff 'on display'. Love your boots collection too! and the cute kitschy otoman!
    The wardrobe looks magnificent, even its door hinges are beautiful!. Sorry that you had to take it apart and then rebuild. I usually take for granted that furniture will get through doors and staircases, but it's not!. Moving is such a hard sport.
    Glad that Jon's mate could be there for support and advice!
    besos

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    1. Thanks, Monica! I was convinced it was going to fit but never took into account it's weight or the twist in our stairs. It'll be in that room for ever now! xxx

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  22. such a pretty wardrobe!
    as we have similar ancient stairs in the BWH, this story could be ours :-D actually the BW sawed the 3 pieces of our 6 door massive oak wardrobe (a modern, handmade one/bought 2.hand) in the half to get it thru the doors and up the winded, tight staircase into the bedroom - where we screwed the whole thing together again.
    your spare bedroom look very very cosy!
    xxxx

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    1. That must have been a memorable experience with your wardrobe! Where there's a will there's a way! xxx

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  23. I love dark furniture- I don't care if it is unfashioonable. My dad was a Master Cabinetmaker & would have loved that piece! Love the somber and very 'on trend' steely gray you have chosen for the walls- makes all the brilliant jewel tones & primary colors of your clothes & objects d'art really pop!
    xox

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    1. The more you tell me about your parents the more in awe I am of them! xxx

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  24. Oh my gosh, look at all your wonderful colours! I love getting this look at your wardrobe, both the entire collection and the new piece of furniture. Can't believe you had to disassemble it! That would not happen in my household (or you know I'd be the one reassembling it). I'm in awe at your restraint around your shoes. And I see your lion-head belt buckle - we're twins!

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    1. Ha! I'm lucky with Jon, he's a DIY whizz 9even though he does complain about my slavedriving!) xxx

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  25. Your room looks lovely, you sound really busy with the decorating.
    Jon did a great job with the wardrobe, and you've made it look wonderful. I loved seeing the jewellery too!
    Still loving those lilac Doc's, also the lace up Victorian style ones you have. xxx

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    1. Thanks, Sally! The accounts have taken over today but I'm hoping we can tackle another room before the end of the week (birthday fun permitting!) xxx

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  26. Love your new wardrobe! 'Course, I love Arts & Crafts style, in any case. ;-)

    One of the best things about following your own style is the opportunity to mix styles, finishes and accessories to suit your preferences. You do not have to follow someone else's rules. :-)

    Jon did an incredible job of disassembling and reassembling your wardrobe. It's good to go for another hundred years!��

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    1. Thanks, Taja! You're so right about following your own style, I love to see homes where the interior reflects the owner's personality. Like my friend Lynn commented, I wonder if people can guess as to what somebody's home style is like by looking at the way they're dressed. I bet it's obvious that I'm no minimalist! xxx

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  27. Give that man a gigantic big kiss! How clever of him to take the wardrobe apart and put it back together again - he doesn't give up easy, does he? Well done, Jon! The wardrobe is lovely; I love the linen fold panels. A wardrobe that fits all your clothes and accessories is a thing of beauty! And I love how colourful your wardrobe full of clothes looks. All my clothes are crammed onto three and half rails across 3 wardrobe/cupboards and this is despite me having regular clear outs...

    I loved your jewellery storage and I always think jewellery adds to the decor of a room if it's displayed well. The room is looking lovely and I just love your dressing table. I've always wanted one and have seen many at reasonable prices but just have no room for one but if I did I could store all my jewellery in it!

    Hope your week is going well - it's bloody cold and miserable here.

    Love your 1920s kimono.
    xxxx

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    1. Jon is an absolute wonder, he really is (he's currently sitting in the kitchen doing the end of year accounts, bless him!)
      This wardrobe is just brilliant, I could get my summer clothes in there as well but it would make choosing what to wear a lot more time consuming.
      I love having my jewellery out on display, there's so much I'd forget about it otherwise. xxx

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  29. I’m just back from my friends very traditional/minimalist house which she has just had decorated and while I was sat there I thought I wish I was as orderly as this. And now I’m back home I’m still thinking the same. Gawd I’ve got some stuff. Then I look at yours and realise what character and interesting things we have in our homes. So maybe there’s something to be said for both types.
    I wonder if by looking at a persons clothes you could guess what the interior of their house is like. What do you reckon xxx

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    1. I'm sure miminalism has it's place but it's not for the likes of us!
      I adore your house, it reflects who you are , stylish, interesting and full of personality.
      I think you're right about the clothes - maybe we should start asking well dressed people we meet what their houses are like? xxx

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  30. I think I've got some Olde Charm too as the decorative panels on your wardrobe also feature on my dresser. It's a proper piece of wood furniture, none of your mdf crap. Blimey I'm well below average on the shoe front, wouldn't know where to put 34 pairs. Your bedroom looks lovely, I particularly like your bed. I'm decorating next week...dreading the upheaval. Xxx

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    1. I can't believe that wardrobe was so cheap, they'd got a warped Ikea one for double the price. Our Old Charm pieces will outlast us both!
      Good luck with the decorating - it's the moving stuff around that's worse than the actual decorating - or so Jon tells me. Not sure if we're doing the kitchen next or the bathroom! xxx

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  31. Looks like you're settling in to stay awile! I'm sure you know what a treasure that wardrobe is!

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    1. I don't think it'll be goung anywhere for the rest of my lifetime! xxx

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  32. Oh, that wardrobe is soooooo gorgeous! 1920s-does-medieval, I'd say, it's so atmospheric! I barely ever seem to get around to blog-ready lately so I'm having a right catch-up. xxx (its's @jessiejessyg)

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Lots of love, Vix