Retro Bedspread Repurpose

img_0707

Not quite sure what is going on with me, but my recent redecoration of the dining room with pinging accents of orange, has created a need for hunting out more orange bits and pieces ready for the festive season.  Tablecloths, candles, candles and so on.  This is quite a hard colour to source, especially with good quality table linens.  I never even liked orange much before I did this room, so finding things is quite hard as I don’t even have a mental stash of where I have seen things in the past that are appropriate.  With Christmas approaching I also wanted to spend as little as possible as there is lots of other shopping ahead to do.

img_3840

Some serious hunting for a table cloth online resulted in either horrible poly cotton banquet plain tablecloths which headed into neon territory, or 100% Irish linen dyed to order at eye watering prices.  I also looked at buying fabric directly, but I kept choosing the most expensive fabrics and £120 a meter is not really budget-friendly.   I also need an ENORMOUS tablecloth, as at Christmas I have my cunning extra large tabletop that comes out of storage and sits on top of the existing table.  It seat 14 easily, and in the past I have had to either make cloths for it or adapt king size bedspreads.  All were tastefully neutral, and not at all suitable for the colours in the room now.

I needed something to ping, and this is the sort of orange colour I needed.  Really pumpkin-like.

img_3949

 

And lo, along came ebay.  I have not used it for a while, mainly as postage has got so expensive in the UK that people seem to have stopped selling on it so much.  But I started to hunt for anything orange, and then this original 1970’s St Michael (M&S) bedspread appeared tucked away in the bedding section.  It is woven damask in shades of orange, perfect for a pop of colour, and looks like something from dressing a 70’s TV sitcom.  And Reader, I bid immediately.  In fact no-one else bid on what looked frankly pretty awful in the picture, so I got it for a song. Here it is, looking a bit grim and dated on ebay.

bedpsread-jpg

It turned up yesterday, and actually it really works in the room!

It is really bright orange and yellow with lovely fat bullion fringing.  It works with all the other soft furnishings in the room.  And it is massive and will easily fit the Christmas table top.

img_3962Until then, I have used it in the corner of the room on a round table, replacing a ‘tastefully beige’ one.  It would not work anywhere else in the house at all, but it does suit the dining room scheme.  Job done, total cost £8.50.

My best bargain purchases…

Or, Thank You to charity shops and modern house builders…

As summer slows to a halt and I start moving indoors more, I have started to cast the eye over the house once more.  You know the drill… time to start tweaking and changing and improving.

I have had a bit of a purge recently of overflowing cupboards, and whilst doing it I noticed that a lot of my furniture and household items are bargains bagged from charity shops, auctions and even the odd skip.  Not a lot is new at all, not that I would not love to go on a splurge in some of my favourite shops.

Most items of furniture that I have found have been mainly tall or long, and lingering in junk shops.  We have very high ceilings in our house, so the taller pieces of furniture fit brilliantly and most people cannot fit them into their modern homes.  As long as the basic shape of a piece is good, then it is amazing what some paints effects or a refurbishment can create.  My friend Gaby has the best comment for when a bargain priced item is found, she says “it would be rude not to…”.  Therefore in the politest fashion I can justify snapping things up.

This very tall Victorian glazed mahogany cabinet came from a Charity shop.  No-one else wanted it as it is a whopping 10 feet tall.  I backed the inside of the cupboard with some printed burlap that I had left over from an upholstery project, and it was ready to use.  Total cost £90

In the hallway, this orange-toned pine sideboard was very large and lingering in another charity shop.  A dash of Annie Sloane graphite chalk paint that I already had, and it was transformed.  Total Cost: £80

Whilst at the same shop, I also snapped up this large mirror for just £10, a lick of paint transformed it:

This armoire came from the same charity shop as the tall glazed mahogany cabinet.  A makeover with some leftover chalk paint, and a beautiful wallpaper in the panels turned it into a real gem.  Cost: £40 for the cupboard and £42 for the wallpaper on sale down from £90, (costly wallpaper, but I loved it!).  So a total of £82.

Continue reading

House Renovation Diary Part 3

The renovation continues.  We are more than half way now, with a final push this next month to get it all done. The garden is landscaped and fenced, the kitchen is being fitted, the shower room is half in and tiled, and the bathroom awaits its turn this week.  My hands look appalling, all nails broken, with sugar soap having seeped into my gloves so they have puckered alarmingly.  I am getting through mountains of hand cream to try and repair the damage.

Main receptions and bedrooms are now mainly painted on newly plastered walls and ceilings, I am waiting to do most woodwork like skirting and architraves until the builders are out as the dust is chaotic. New doors are primed, painted and hung.  The main stairwell which winds up through the house has been lined and painted.  We only have two more walls to be plastered in a hallway and a bathroom.  The final job will be laying the flooring throughout.  It has been a 7 day a week job for me, and I am shattered, but I can see the end now.

So, here are some things I have learnt over the past couple of weeks:

  • Plaster can take a long time to dry when you want it to.
  • Plasterers are the MESSIEST people, although the walls and ceilings they work on are smooth perfection, the rest of the room, (especially the floors), look like a plaster bomb has gone off.  I have spent many hours scraping dried hunks off floorboards, windows, skirting and doors.  After some chatting up, I persuaded the plasterers to clean up as they went, but only after we were 6 rooms into the project…
  • When re-plastering walls, you might as well replace all skirting and architrave as the plasterers are also vandals who yank the existing ones off, cracking them in the process.  I have extra hours to do now repairing the damage.
  • New plaster also drinks paint, even with mist coats.  My initial estimate of 30 litres for the whole building is now at 90.  Luckily I have discovered Leyland’s acrylic based emulsion which is a one coat wonder, or I could be into the hundreds in terms of litres.
  • Always make friends with the Builders Yard staff.  I have managed to snitch a couple of free deliveries already, and they are experts at getting me in more paint from the manufacturers pronto when I clear their stock!
  • Chose water based satinwood for spindles and architraves, and oil based satinwood for doors and skirting.  The latter take the hardest knocks so need the 16 hour dry time, whilst the former can take the 4 hour version and get re-coated faster.
  • Builders thrive on a lot of tea, Krispy Creme Donuts and praise.  Apart from one errant Electrician who has vanished on a stag week to Bulgaria, mine are all pretty much present and correct.  We did have a few days to wait on wet plaster, but otherwise they have been pretty good so far.  The electrician returns this week, hopefully not with shaking hands from too much partying as he finishes the 2nd fix.
  • Always make sure you lock your ladders, I have had a couple of spectacular tumbles so far.  The worst day however was when my mum appeared to help paint and slid to the floor as the steps buckled under her.  The guilt was unbelievable, but she was OK if not a bit shaken.
  • Following on from that, invest in a small platform.  Much more comfy than balancing on a step ladder.
  • Invest in a strong metal extending pole for rollers.  Some of the ceilings in this house are 12 foot and the stairwells up to 20 feet, and the pole makes painting a breeze.

Here are some more in progress pictures, remember the crappy garden full of brambles, mattresses and rubbish?

Before:

IMG_2392

And now:

 

We found a patio area and an old lined formal pond under the mess, as well as a lot of bicycle parts!  So we re-used the pond as a formal bed planted with box which will grow into a cute hedge with a Bay tree in the middle, and relaid new stones in the patio area surrounded with Cotswold chippings.  New lawn and a variety of ornamental grasses in the rear beds finished it off.  The garden was also fenced for privacy.  I will add lots of pots of flowering plants when the house is marketed, plus more seating in the front patio area.

Continue reading

Junk Shop Sideboard Makeover

FINDING A JUNK SHOP SIDEBOARD

The Armoire which caused so much chaos, see prior story about internet fraudsters, was finally sold to a lovely local lady.  This left a gaping chasm in the hallway, and I needed to find something in which I could store art paper supplies, and general ‘stuff’.  I trawled local ads and ebay, looking for an Architects Plan chest.  But a) they are really expensive even in dire condition and b) the depth dimensions are large, and It would have been a little too deep for the space in the hall.  So I needed something long, waist height so it did not interfere with the visual diagonal line of the banisters and with multiple storage options, oh and also to be as cheap as possible.  The local charity shops proved fruitless and I was beginning to look online at more expensive and new options.  But I do like a bargain, so that was not really doing it for me….

So I set off to a shop in my town that has house clearance stock and opens at strange random times.  It is a hit and miss affair, but this time I struck gold.  I found a dresser base style sideboard in full-on orange pine, all for under £80, brilliant!

Here is the offending item pre-makeover:

IMG_1164

The sideboard is modern pine, solidly made but way too orange and dull.

GETTING STUCK IN

I felt like something dramatic was needed for the sideboard, and found some graphite Annie Sloan chalk paint left over in the stockpile.  I gave it a really good sand and two coats of paint.  This is the point when you start something and you always think “Uh oh…”, but there is no going back once you have begun!  I used about a 5th of an Annie Sloan pot of chalk paint for the whole sideboard, (and that was 2 coats), and the half a tin of clear wax.  I recommend dipping your paintbrush in water each time before you dip it into the chalk paint, then swirl it once before applying the paint, this creates a much smoother paint finish than neat chalk paint.

The original drawer handles were really pretty cup shape ones in aged brass which I thought would look great against the graphite, so I kept them, and added new matching knobs to the two cupboards.IMG_1200

A coat of clear wax was applied all over once the paint was bone dry.  I also gave the top surface area another coat to add extra protection (my family brutalise the furniture a lot so better to be safe than sorry).  I let it dry overnight and then gave it a serious rubbing to buff the wax up to a sheen.

THE RESULTS

IMG_1208

I  LOVE it!  The grey is not totally 100% solid, so it has an interesting effect.  And I have a fabulous huge surface area to play with for dressing.  So I started with some glass domes: Continue reading

Verdegris Paint Effect candlestick DIY makeover

A tired pair of silver plate candlesticks had seen better days, and to re-plate them is expensive.  So here is a DIY refurbishment to make them look like old verdegris versions, and they look very realistic.  It is really simple to do, and these took about 40 minutes start to finish, (with cups of coffee included!).

Before and after:verdegris 1

verfegris 10You will need acrylic paint in black, green, turquoise, white and bronze.  Also a really scruffy old paintbrush (ie. a tatty one such as an old child’s school paintbrush), and a wider household brush.  Varnish is optional at the end, and if you do use it you will need a clear matt one.  This is a fast process once the base coat is done, as there is so little paint in each stage that it dries really fast between layers.

  • Cover the entire candlestick with black acrylic paint using the household paintbrush, amazingly it sticks to metal well and I did not prime it.  You could also use a paint formula like milk or chalk paint if you have it in black  Leave to dry completely.

verdigris 2

  • Starting with turquoise, dip the scruffy brush into the paint and then wipe off most of the paint onto some kitchen towel.  Very gently start stippling the paint randomly over the candlestick so that the black undercoat is still visible, leave to dry when finished.  In the picture you can see how dry the brush needs to be:

verdegris 4

  • Repeat the process with the green acrylic paint all over the candlestick using the same technique.  Leave to dry.  Then with the white paint, and again using the same technique, gently brush over just 3 or 4 areas on the candlestick, it will look a bit like dust.  If you think you are lacking any of the colours in areas or they are too dense, you can repeat the stippling with all of the paints until you are happy with the results.  You can also work it with the brush when it is dry to blend the colours a little.

verdegris 5

  • Finally, using the dry brush technique again, take some of the bronze metallic paint and almost gently tickle and lightly run the brush over the raised areas of pattern so that paint just highlights certain areas.  For flat areas gently brush on, and using your fingers smooth it into the surrounding paintwork.

verdegris 8That is all there is, and it looks extremely realistic and antique.  Brilliant!

Cupboard Reinvention

I owned a scruffy victorian cupboard, and had used it for general dumping for a while.  It looked a bit sad, so I decided to have a go at making it into something more exciting.  I wanted to turn into into something that looked like a faded old french shop fitting.  I found some excellent template signs at The Graphics Fairy.  These are a variety of french worded signs that you can print out in reverse and use as transfers for the below method.  You need to print the transfers on inkjet printers as that ink can transfer onto your chosen item.

IMG_7763

First of all I painted the cupboard in a mixture of ‘Mizzle’ by Farrow & Ball used on the tops and door panels and ‘Duck Egg Blue’ by Annie Sloan on the sides and door frames.  It looked very pristine and bright, but I was going to add coloured wax after so knew it would darken down when applied.

IMG_7772

I then used Modge Podge, (this is a US glue product available from Hobbycraft in the UK, but you can use PVA as a substitute diluted about 2 parts water to 1 PVA).  I coated the front of the transfers with it so they were saturated.  This then was stuck onto the panels, smoothed on very well on the areas of font and left to dry hard overnight.

IMG_7774

In the morning, I soaked the paper with water so it was sopping wet, and very slowly peeled it off.  It leaves an imprint of the print showing the right way around.  After it thoroughly dried I sanded it back to make it look faded and old, I then waxed these areas very gently with clear beeswax.  I then waxed all the other areas of the piece with clear beeswax, and then rubbbed in much darker bison wax into all the cracks and crevices.  This gives a patina of age and use.

IMG_7775

IMG_7783

The finished cupboard looks so much better and it was an interesting process to try out.

Upcycled wall lights

I wanted to have wall lights in my bedroom, but without the expense and mess of an electrician coming in and hard-wiring the walls.  In Ikea I spotted some very reasonably priced wall lamps called  ÅRSTID with plug attached, but when I got them home they looked too modern, bright and shiny for my room. arstid-wall-lamp-white__0103651_PE249969_S4 Rather than drive all the way back to Ikea, I got busy. Now they look very rustic and suit the room, plus I can move them if I want a change. First I made a bowl of 5 tea bags & hot water and dunked the shades in for a couple of minutes, this knocked back the whiteness of the shades.  When dry I attached ribbon around the base of the lampshade with glue.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Then I painted the chrome bases with two coats of chalk paint.  I used Annie Sloan paint.  When dry I waxed them to withstand scratches and knocks.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

When they were ready to hang, I attached them to the wall as per instructions, however the white wires looked awful against the dark walls in my bedroom, so I painted them in leftover paint from the walls so they were far less obtrusive.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.