Thursday, 20 August 2015

A possibly doomed French love affair...

My name is Emma Kate and I'm a furnitureholic. The other week I decided,

 No. More. Furniture.

I thought it might be nice to be able to walk around the kitchen, pass through doorways without having to turn sideways and use our dining room for actual dining. Our lives would run smoothly in our new uncluttered surroundings. We could invite people in to our home without any of the embarrassment that a wardrobe in the kitchen can bring.
Yes. This was to be our future.

The problem was, the very next day I went to the flea market. As I do every week. Just to look, you understand.

And I saw this. This stunning French-esqe wardrobe. I've never ever seen one like this in the flesh before.



(Just imagine the top and bottom are the same width. I'm no photoshop genius.)

Okay, someone had had a bash at painting it, really, really badly. It had a few lumps taken out of it. But nothing that couldn't be sorted. I couldn't believe it hadn't sold already.

I asked the price. ''Forty quid.'' What!??? That's insanely cheap I thought.

So I frowned and said, ''Would you do it for £35?''
It was probably immoral of me. He agreed. ''I suppose you want me to drop it off for you?''

''Oh yes please.''
THIRTY FIVE QUID! How could I leave it there?

So I wandered round the flea market, had a little mooch about but kept returning to stroke my wardrobe. Why did no one else buy it? Did the crappy paint job put people off? I was flummoxed. It was only painted on two sides as it had obviously been up against a wall and the owner wasn't able to move it.

I felt slightly sick as I wondered how to break the news to my husband. I phoned him up when I got to work.

''I accidentally bought something.''

''Oh God. It's not another bloody wardrobe is it?''

He knows me so well. I quickly pointed out that this was a wardrobe unlike any other. If I fixed it up and sold it, I would make a healthy profit. I reminded him that he's always banging on about me not making money. This wardrobe, no, not even a wardrobe, an ARMOIRE, was in fact key to our future happiness.

The wardrobe turned up just as I got in from work and was stashed in the dining room. No problem.
I went off to York for a week and the husband seemed happy. When I got back I started feeling overwhelmed at the amount of things I have to do and wanted to start on the wardrobe. To do this it had to go in the kitchen.
I can't strip things on the nice oak floor of the dining room.

Well, Jason was really angry. He bitched and bitched and shouted at me. Of course I couldn't listen to him or even PRETEND to be sorry as the thing was THIRTY FIVE QUID and it was a done deal. There's no point crying over spilt milk is there?

Look at the mirror!


Foxed to perfection.

The beautifully carved panels!



The wooden mouldings! Yes they are actual wood.



The handles...



It's a beast of a thing and it's not easy to walk around it. But it was THIRTY FIVE QUID!

It's taken me three whole days to strip the main body of it and the cornice. I haven't started on the base.

Here's an interesting thing. I thought it was French but inside I found a little brass label saying ''S & H Jewell'' and it was made in Holborn in London. So it's not French at all. Come to think of it, if it were French, the base would have little legs, no drawer and the top would be more elaborate. This is a Franglais armoire with the typically English large drawer in the base and a squared off cornice. The best of both worlds I think.
Anyway, these guys were in business from 1830 to 1840 so this is OLD! If it were in fab condition it would be valuable.
But if it were in fab condition I wouldn't have got it for £35 at the flea market.

Ze tyically French modele...


So, I was merrily stripping away and I started to think. I'll never find another. I'll certainly never find another for £35.  So perhaps I should keep it. Trouble is, it doesn't really fit anywhere.

Perhaps it would go in the dining room instead of the dresser? I could shelve the inside and have TONS of storage. But would it look daft or too grand? And would I have to swap out ALL the furniture in the room to make it work?

So on to the upstairs. Too wide for the hallway.
My bedroom? It's incredibly deep. I'd have to squeeze in between the bed and the armoire to reach the window. But do I need a double bed? Do I need a bed? I could just lay an old blanket on the floor in a corner and gaze at my armoire as I drift off to sleep. Like some aristocrat who has become hooked on crystal meth and lives in grand squalor. It's a romantic notion. I'm sure you can see the allure.

How about it lives in the shed in case we ever build an extension? I could hang a chandelier in there and win 'Shed of the Year.'

Or I incorporate it into the dressing room/built-ins I'm yet to build? Build around it. The husband is appalled. He doesn't want a mish-mash of styles. Such a spoilsport.

So what do I do dear reader? Ditch the husband and run off into the sunset with my armoire? Buy a bigger house? 

Gah. I just don't know.

But what became of the passionate love I was feeling last time I blogged? Turning tapestry into bags? Well, I'm pleased to tell you that I'm not all mouth and no action! I started planning a bag and took all my bits up to York with me. There's a great sewing machine at my dads and I figured that if I sewed in the evenings it  would save me from watching Ice Road Truckers or shows about Building Oil Rigs.

Best plan ever.

Here's a sneaky peak at my bag so far...



I still have to finish and line it before I show it to you properly. I'll save that for another time.
Er, along with the sofa.

Finally, the eagle eyed among you might have spotted that I've been nominated for the Amara Interior Blog Awards. Thank you to those who nominated me. I'm truly flattered.

This year however, I won't be begging for your votes. I've realised these things are designed to bring bloggers to the attention of sponsors and that is an avenue I've decided not to go down. I'm bored of American blogs taking forever to load because they're so clogged up with ads. I'm fed up of commercials blaring out at me whilst I try and read. And I've seen many a good blog go down the pan with sponsored posts. If I wanted to hear about steam cleaners and homewares I'd watch the shopping channel. It's tedious.

Also I'm all about second hand shopping, saving the environment and upcycling. Why would I want to share with you the new range of sofas from a high street store? It's not me. I have no hidden agenda. I'm not prepared to sell out for a £20 sponsored post payment.

No. I'm here to bleat on about things I like. Cheap things. Old things. Painting things. Making things. Improving things.

You seem to ''get it'' more than my friends and family and for that I'm very grateful. I love sharing with you. Thank you for reading. x




41 comments:

  1. Yay for cheap,old and painting ..........and I never listen to my hubs,he always shouts...I just say suck it up, I could be an alchy or gambler and you are lucky its old stuff !!!

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    1. You're right Meg. Our husbands are so lucky to have us! ;)

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  2. Jon and I are as bad as each other. We can't resist a bargain.He's currently sitting at the kitchen table playing with the set of professional disco lights he bought from the car boot this morning. Why? 'cos they'll go with the fog machine he won on eBay last week. I could despair but we can't access the lounge today due to the mountain of vintage fabric I brought back.
    That wardrobe is gorgeous, I'd have bought it, too. xxx

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    1. hehe... are you going to hire him out as a mobile disco? Let's face it, you've got the record collection too!

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  3. Aside from the downright wittiness about you, the later part of this post...you are the real deal! Never sell out! Keep it simple, share your passion, and make your beautiful things. As for the armoire, its a rare gem. And with that said, sell it and buy 8 more pieces that make your heart sing, and treat you ever so tolerant husband to a nice meal! As long as I pause production long enough to make the man a meal, I can paint on 16 hours a day! Lol! Get that heat gun! xo

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    1. Thank you Kelley and welcome! Cunning plan, I love it. He's a different man if I feed him...

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  4. Have you been watching this year's French Collection? Blimey, some of the makeovers are dire,
    you can count the good ones on one hand, some of the dreadful French is funny though (she says smugly now she can string a sentence together again) No, you could not have left that wardrobe behind, you'd have never forgiven yourself. Tart it up in your usual fabulous way and then sell it for a lot more than thirty five quid. Hubby will be happy and you will have space, it's a win win.
    I don't read those blogs either. X

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    1. Ooh, I've not seen it. I'll have to look on 4od or whatever they call it now. You're quite right. There's nothing worse than the one that got away...

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  5. You HAD to buy it - you probably have to keep it. too If necessary you could always find another husband (but I'm sure it won't come to that) but where would you find another one of those?? I love it, can't wait until you've worked your magic on it. Seriously ... 35 quid ... I'm gobsmacked!

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    1. I might threaten him, ''Don't make me choose between you and the armoire. You won't win.'' Hehe.

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  6. hahahaha bless your heart I am sorry but I am still chuckling I just can hear that conversation you had with your hubby :-) I used to be the same with 50s kitchen larders in fact its just as well I don't go looking for them anymore as I seriously have no more room. I love your armoire and I can just see you waving your magic wand over it, its going to look gorgeous and think you must keep it if you can :-) If not someone else will love it as much as you. Look forward to seeing your bag next time, happy painting, dee x

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    1. We need to start a support group Dee. It'd be easier if it wasn't big stuff like larders and wardrobes wouldn't it?

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  7. Ha, you obsessional furniture acquirer you! But I totally get the "Good Lord, it's only £35" thing - I don't get that feeling about furniture (house is too small and I'm not a fixer-upper like you) but I definitely get it about vintage clothes, bags, jewellery, bric-brac and all that nonsense. Can't help myself. My other half rolls his eyes but holds in his disdain, probably because my stuff is storable. Whereas your stuff is storage! He'll get over it. And it's a fab armoire! xxx

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    1. My house is also too small. That's when I know it's addiction. It doesn't stop me. You can hide things from your husband. How lucky you are!

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  8. Amazing, that is an incredible bargain 😁 I hope it either makes you a fortune or finds its perfect space in your home x

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  9. Emma Kate bargain and it just kinda spoke to you and reduced you to putty! How about Jason finding you a workshop that you can clutter to your heart's content and thus keep the house tidy. That would place you in seventh heaven and keep Jason sweet at home.

    My problem is I am itching to have a go especially when I have seen some of the lovely pieces you have done. I have nowhere to work so mine will just have to be pipe dreams until I find a house to own or rent that has said provision so that I can work and play to my heart's content. Glad you don't compromise you wouldn't be you if you did. Take care and I look forward to next update.

    Pattypan

    x.

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    1. I have nowhere to work either. I'm saving up for a mahoosive shed so I can work without upsetting everyone.

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  10. I love your blog, and have missed you. When I get an email to let me know you've posted I get very excited! How are the Pusses? I love the wardrobe...I'd probably have bought it too, even though I live in a teeny tiny cottage, a one up two down kind of place. I lust after furniture but have no room at all to store or even use, I have before now got used to climbing over or moving stuff just to get to the bathroom! Xx

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    1. You are completely lovely. Blocking the route to the bathroom is an idea I might have to consider! Or not. Jason will change the locks when I'm out at the fleamarket and chop the thing up for firewood. xx

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  11. HAHAHA am having a great chuckle here!! Love it, don't really know what to say,just keep moving things around till it fits in!! Thats what I do. Can't wait to see the bag

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    1. I might need another trip to dads to get it completed!

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  12. I loved this post almost as much as I loved the video of a laughing baby in its cot with a cat yesterday. Good for you about the blog stuff. I am going to do a blog about sewing cycling and jam making (but am stuck on the title) and like you all I really want to do is share such stuff with other people who are interested. Wanna buy a shed??? I've got one (technically a log cabin actually). Husband built it for me to sew in years ago but now we've got rid of the kids I sew indoors. 3m square with front overhang. Go on, you know you want to. Oxfordshire.

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    1. Ooh Lizzie! Sounds like the answer to my prayers. Can you message me on the Contact page because I think you're a ''no reply commenter'' so I'll need your email.... Thanks!

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  13. That wardrobe is fab and a mega bargain. I would have bought it like a shot. I have quite a big house but it's still a struggle to move around... one day I went nuts and bought 2 wardrobes, 2 Victorian chests of drawers, a large china cabinet and a chunky bedside cupboard. I am an expert at jamming things in nooks, but the spare bedroom is quite lost and the door won't move. I also have 5 dining tables at the moment, luckily one is drop leaf.
    Definitely get a studio shed, if I didn't have one room to my own personal chaos and paint I'd melt down.

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    1. Wow Teri, you sound like a busy lady! Are you painting and selling? FIVE dining tables??? I'm off to tell my husband as you'll make me look REALLY good! xx

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    2. the problem is, I buy, paint and stash. I'm scared of ebay and live in a field so the stuff is piling up. And up. A shop has sold a few tiny pieces for me, like chairs but I really need to stop. Or get an agent.

      Soon I have to start painting the house woodwork, skirting boards etc - what do you reckon the best white paint is? Whatever I used last time has turned magnolia brown.

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    3. Ebay is the answer! Face your fears!
      You can't use anything oil based on wood anymore like we did in the olden days. They had to take out the toxic chemicals to please Europe and they just don't stay white. You want a good brand of waterbased eggshell or satinwood over a primer. I can't remember what one I got. I'll have a look in the garage later. I hated Dulux waterbased gloss. Forget that. A lot of them aren't very opaque so I use my trusty Wilkos primer to get the woodwork white and then the eggshell or satinwood as a top coat. Then it doesn't matter if it's not desperately opaque. Primer is generally cheaper so your paint goes further too. :)

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  14. First of all, I must tell you that I don't often laugh out loud when I read blogs, but you always bring out the silly in me, because you and I think alike. I say toss out the bed, pitch a tent and keep your armoire! You may have to find a new husband, though, and I can see that might be problematic for you. hmmmm. Tough choice and I wish you luck.

    Bravo on your nomination and your choice to decline!! I made the decision long ago not to advertise on my blog. I blog for my own enjoyment, and the blogs I actually read from top to bottom do not have flashing advertisements all over the place. I find that once a blogger commits to selling ads, they tend to blog far too often about absolutely nothing at all. Yawn. Thanks for inspiring us and entertaining us at the same time! I can't wait to see all your works in progress!

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    1. Thank you so much and good for you with your decision about sponsors!

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  15. That armoire is so gorgeous. I love the design. I would be tempted to make my boyfriend sleep on the sofa and squidge it in.

    Lizzie Dripping

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  16. Oh, how I know that feeling all too well when I have to call the hubby and inform him of yet another furniture purchase - I absolutely dread it!!! Why can't they just smile and let us have our pretties? The armoire is lovely - after your make it over, you might really love it in the dining room. Check out cedarhillfarmhouse.com. She has one in her breakfast nook, which just made the cover of Country French magazine, and it looks perfectly at home there. It is a keeper!

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    1. Thanks for the link. I think hers is beautiful but I think it works as her table and chairs are French style (I can't face changing mine) and she has a glass panel so you can see the dishes inside. Mine has a mirror and looks very much like a wardrobe!
      I'm relieved to hear it's not just me with a furniture problem. Perhaps our husbands need a support group?

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  17. Seriously, you got that for 35 quid, what a bargain, I would have went a wee bit more radical with the colours but that is my taste, I love to spray paint old furniture to give them a sort of look one would want in a an eclectic styling of a room, great job anyway Emma. As you are mad about painting, maybe you would like to try some of our developed formulas on your projects. Just a thought! shane

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    1. Ah, that white paint is how it was when I found it. I would do a far better job! It's all coming off. I'm not sure what colour to go with. If it's for here I love muted colours and if it's to sell the safest option is to go neutral and pale too.

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  18. It looks amazing! I did get the giggles reading your description of the thoughts that went through your head! Well done on your nomination, that's brilliant!!!! OOOoh, I love your beautiful tapestry so far!x

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  19. Thanks Kezzie. I'd love to see your tapestry skirt! Did you blog about it? X

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  20. Emma Kate, your Franglasie wardrobe is beautiful, so much so in fact that I'm rather jelly, but as we live in a flat above a garage we'd never even get it up the stairs ;)

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    1. Our stairs bend in the middle so I'm not sure we will either! That could be the deciding factor as to whether or not it stays! Off to measure...

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I love to hear your comments!