I’m not going to sit here and have a moan, but let me tell you, I’ve had the week from hell! Over the past seven days a lot of things I rely on every day have broken down, including my car and my computer. The car is now fixed, thankfully, and the latter is on it’s way over to my brother, who is an expert in these things, so hopefully he will be able to get it fixed and quickly. However, it does mean for the minute I cannot use my camera as I cannot get the photos from it on to any other device. So, I apologise for the not-so-great mobile phone photos in this post.
I’ve mentioned in previous posts here and here that I’m in the process of redesigning my lounge in a 1930s style. Things are now coming along nicely, so I thought I’d do a progress update. I’ve purchased three pieces of beautiful 1930s walnut furniture, but still on the hunt for two more. Of course, they’re not the easiest pieces to find if you’re looking for something very specific and at a specific size. What I’m after is a small narrow unit for my TV to go on and some kind of storage piece, a bookcase or cupboard, to go under the stairs. I’ll save the big reveal of the furniture when the lounge is finally complete.
However, I am dying to show you my beautiful chair! This started off as a really cheap chair, found in a charity shop warehouse and only costing £15. You can see what it originally looked like at the bottom of this post. However, by the time it came back to me looking as pretty as it does, it ended up costing me a whopping total of £320!!!!
On top of the cost of the chair, the fabric cost £225 and the upholstery cost £160. The fabric, which I bought from Loome Fabrics, cost so much because I had it treated for flame retardancy. Due to the age of the chair, this is a must to make sure it’s protected in case of fire. I did, however, recoup £80 because I bought too much of the fabric, so the couple I often buy my 1930s pieces from bought it from me to cover some dining chairs. The upholstery cost £65 more than expected because the upholsterer recommended replacing the stuffing which had become quite lumpy and was making the seat sag. I decided that, as I was spending so much on it anyway, I might as well get it done properly.
Before the work could start, however, the wood sections needed to be stripped and revarnished. The original wood was varnished with a lighter, slightly orange colour and it looked way too mid-century. My dad very kindly sanded this away and then I spent a bit of time revarnishing it to a colour that matched the walnut furniture.
I am so pleased with how it’s turned out and absolutely love looking at it and sitting in it. It’s got such a 1930s vibe with the big curved arms and Art Deco velvet fabric. The colour works beautifully in the room, especially as the magnolia walls have been replaced by a much more period authentic stone/biscuit colour.
In the first photo you can just about see the new curtains I’ve made over the last month. It took me quite some time to do these as there were two sets to be done and they’re full length, right to the floor. I’m yet to hem them due to the fact that I will be replacing the makeshift curtain poles (the previous owner left with hers despite telling me she’d leave them!) with curtain tracks. I am then going to make a pelmet to sit at the top of each set of curtains.
The instructions I’m going to use for the pelmets are from this wonderful little book. I bought it on eBay over Christmas for £7. It’s from 1937 and the image on the front cover just screams 1930s cosy lounge. The instructions inside explain how to make everything on the cover, so there’s so many wonderful crafts to read about. The pelmet is exactly what I had in my head for my pelmets, so I will be following the instructions very carefully whilst doing mine.
The first page of the book has this lovely message from the Principal at Edinburgh College of Domestic Science, which is what this book was written for. Having looked her up online I have found that she was Principal between 1932 and 1960 and received an OBE, which I assume was for her work at the school. The college was situated at 5 Atholl Crescent in Edinburgh but, not surprisingly, doesn’t exist anymore, instead it was swallowed up into what is now known as Queen Margaret University. 5 Atholl Crescent is now home to a law firm.
And this is the page with the gorgeous curtain pelmets diagrams on. No.1 is the style I am going for and I’m making it in the same stone coloured fabric as the curtains and trimming it with the cornflower blue I also used. I’d love to do something like Myrna Loy’s curtains in The Thin Man, which you can see here, but I’m not sure I’d get it that neat!
Lastly, I thought I’d show you a few bits I’ve managed to pick up recently at antiques fairs and flea markets for the lounge. I’ve been after a 1930s chrome lamp for ages but could never quite find one that I liked or was within my price range. This one, however, caught my eye immediately. I love the fact that the barley twist design isn’t just in the lamp but is also in the lampshade too. It’s been fully rewired and was a really good price of £70. I’ve seen them at more than double that!
The blue glass bowl was a total bargain at just £2! The lady selling it thought that it was damaged so marked it down so low, however, I’ve been over it three times and I can’t see anything wrong with it. I believe it’s a Stölzle piece due to the clarity of the glass and the design of the bowl. I have a green one that’s similar, although the design is a little different, and that I know is a Stölzle.
I’ve also managed to find a 1930s glass lampshade that I like, which is in mint green to match the chair and isn’t too big. I have a Georgian cottage, which was built in the 1820s, and it has quite low ceilings. Therefore, the classic 1930s glass bowl lampshades that hang on chains are just too low for my house, even I would bang my head on them and I’m only 5ft 3! So instead I was wanting something that was bigger than a shade for a table lamp but wasn’t too big in height and this fits the bill perfectly. I paid just £8 for this, so it was a good buy.
And lastly, I have purchased these three pieces to replace the horrid modern white plastic ceiling pendant. The rose and bulb holder are original Bakelite and the wiring is new but looks old. Now all I need to do is find an electrician to put it up for me! My dad did look at it but, as this is not a direct replacement for the modern one and needs a junction put in, he wasn’t confident enough to do it.
So, there’s not a great deal left to do, however, I’m not going to do the big reveal of the whole room until I’m totally happy with it. The last bits of Ikea furniture especially need to go, so until I find replacements it won’t happen. I’m really pleased, though, that I’m sticking to my vow of only buying vintage, secondhand or handmade. Obviously the fabrics I’ve bought are new but there was no way I was going to find vintage or secondhand pieces that would fit the bill, particularly as I needed so much of each one. And both the curtains and the reupholstery was done by hand, so they still count! 🙂