Monday, 23 April 2012

'New' vintage bureau

Went to Old Mill Antiques in Failsworth last weekend, and managed to pick this up. Watching my friend haggle with the man and then getting it home in a little hatchback isn’t something I’ll forget in a hurry! It’s an old bureau or writing desk made from errrr maybe oak? Loose grained and varnished mid-chestnutty colour, so no idea to be honest. My dad always says to look for the dovetail joints which mean quality, and well, it doesn’t have any, and the back is chipboard, but all that just went out the window because I proper fell in love with it. No idea what era it is – the warm tone and glass in the front makes me think 70s, but there’s a little badge on the back that says “Odhams SOLID London” in a sort of 50s font. Who knows!

As I’ve found many times with vintage furniture, unfortunately the key to the top section has long disappeared. But you can sort of prise it open if you get your fingernails in the side, and reveal all the little hidey holes; even though the drawers were clearly added at a later date and have a weird burnt look to them, I still think it’s sort of magical. Will soon be stocking this up with a range of pens and papers and pizza menus and elastic bands just like the one my parents had.

It’s not amazing quality, it’s a bit mismatched and broken, and it hasn’t got a clear ‘look’ that puts it firmly in a decade or style. But for £35 I think it’s perfect, and you can't deny, it's certainly SOLID.

Sunday, 15 April 2012

Vintage telephone

Look what my grandma gave me! A sage green telephone with a rotating dial and curly wurly cord, which she had on her hall table for a few decades. There’s even a ‘privacy button’ for when one of the neighbours was using the telephone line at the same time. I’ve got good memories of this phone, I used to stay with my grandma in Liverpool for a week every summer, and use this to phone home… was always amazed how long it took to spin the dial right round and wait for it to chug back into place before dialling the next number. Seriously, you’d be screwed if you wanted to dial 999, it would take about an hour.

Unfortunately the bit at the end of the cord that would have gone in the wall is now looking a bit scary. Dad reckons he can convert it to a new fitting, although with all the hassle of our recent house move I don’t want to add to his list. One day, we’ll do it… then I can spend ages dialling numbers, lounge around twiddling the cord, hear people as though they're really far away, and pick up the receiver and say “Hello, Hand residence” in an old-fashioned voice.

What’s hilarious (in my mind, anyway) is that her giving me this lovely vintage telephone coincided with my initiation into the smartphone club. My 7x12cm slab of plastic and glass does everything this did, plus a camera, music, bookshelf, and pretty much everything a computer does. It’s amazing. However, I would feel a bit of a prick saying “Hello, Hand residence” when I get a call.

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Handy’s NEW home... vintage

Apologies for the complete lack of posts for the last month, horrendous of me. But it was for a good reason – I was busy moving house! As any fellow homemaker will agree, this is stressful and delightful in equal measures; not being able to find furniture I liked at the right budget, the hob having a massive crack in it that wasn't there when we viewed the place, the sofas not fitting in the lift, making three phone calls in one lunch break, and no hot water for two weeks were some of the low points.

But now it’s all over, and I’m here in my lovely, cosy, wonderful new home. That's the Loggia on the right, which I was hoping to turn into a 70s boho style sun room/library. No time to sort out that room yet though - I’ve been busy building Ikea furniture (three trips in a month, epic) and finding a place for everything. Best of all, my dad’s been providing us with some unbelievable pieces of vintage furniture, from the charity, junk and antique shops of North Wales. If you’re used to looking at vintage furniture in Manchester or probably most other big cities, the price tags over the border look teeny, it’s just a ball ache getting them back here – luckily dad rented a van!

Needless to say, I will be examining/showing off all my new possessions in due course, but let’s start with this awesome coffee table, if you can see it in this horrifically blurred picture – real teak, proper 70s (I think), lovely elegant pointy legs and curved corners. Vintage, but practical and simple, sort of Euro, and very cheap. I couldn’t love it more.

You can also see our nice bit of industrial history, the iron beams and pillars that run right through the flat. I've yet to find some way of making them look good, but maybe they're cool as they are? Gives the place a hard edge, a nice contrast with the soon-to-be ridiculous tweeness. Any ideas or opinions, share them below!

Monday, 9 April 2012

Dutch style living room

The mint green sofas… the silver coffee pot and worn out sideboard… and oh god those tulips. This photo makes me very happy and peaceful. It was taken in a friend’s grandmother’s house in a quiet Dutch village, and it really was as tranquil and airy as it looks. The cat is a particularly vintage animal, I think. They have more of a sense of occasion and dignity than dogs. Also whenever I try to take pictures of a dog it ends up being a photo of a hairy blurred nose. Obviously the wood and leather is a practical option for cat owners, but a sense of softness is created by those huge billowing curtains and plenty of flowers.

Also just out of shot to the right was a whole wall of G-plan. I love G-plan, probably because I like things to be organised and I’m a big believer in ‘everything in its place’. It’s also distinctively European, and teak is a lovely warm wood. Interesting how all the chairs face inwards around a coffee table, rather than being centred around the TV, which is tucked away in the G-Plan unit. Makes the room really welcoming.

One day, I will have the time and money to buy fresh flowers.