Top 5 Buys | Chairs

Clockwise from top right: Danish Teak Dining Chair with Papercord seat £185 Danish Homestore, PS Slingra £69 Ikea, Eames DKR2 (Bikini Chair) £120 Eames Inspired Collection, 1950s Green Club Chair £390 (set of 4) Yesterday Furniture, 675 Robin Day £200 Habitat.

Rather than a bulky lounging chair or an army of dining chairs cluttering up your precious open plan living space, why not opt for a stylish occasional chair. It can sit in the corner as a reading chair beside an arching floor lamp or by the record player with some headphones, ready. If you can’t afford to splash out so much for a seating feature, then head to Ebay for some original vintage or retro inspired Danish delights for a fraction of the price.

Thrifty Finds | 1950s China Tea Cups

Chesterfield Flea Market -

Rather than using my thrifting skills purely for own gain, I have lent out my hawk eye for a higher purpose – love. With a 1950s themed wedding looming next spring, I, in my capacity as a dutiful Bridesmaid have begun collecting pretty vintage tea-cups to hold party favours for each table setting. Given a strict £5 budget by my equally thrifty Bride-To-Be partner in crime, I managed to pick up these beautiful candy coloured mix-match set for the fantastic price of a pound a piece.

Once they’re filled with retro sweets and memorable candies, I predict they will be the talk of the tables even whilst battling alongside more elaborately decorated bone china sets.

DIY | 1950s Uniflex Chest of Drawers

Living in a Victorian cottage is not without it’s practical problems. Apart from the beautiful but drafty sash windows which cause havoc in the winter, there are the fireplaces and alcoves to contend with which adorn every room. Modern furniture is often too large to fit comfortably, without looking a little odd, so I’ve been on the hunt for a medium size sideboard or chest of drawers to position in one of these arkward spaces.

I spotted this beautiful 1950s chest of drawers by sought after brand Uniflex in a charity furniture shop in Hampton Hill. It only cost an astonishing £10 (check for the brand on Ebay and it will set up back up to £1000!), but it was damaged with a number of large scratches on the top which had unfortunately ruined the veneer. Not one to run away from a challenge, I decided to head straight to B&Q to find some chemical stripper and suitably mid century coloured paint to bring it back to its former glory.

You will need

  • Paint/Varnish Remover & Shave Hook
  • Gloves, Goggles & Mask
  • Rollers & Paint Brushes
  • Masking Tape & Sand Paper
  • Undercoat Primer
  • Paint of Choice – I chose French Turqoise by Craig & Rose 1829
  • Clear Matt Wood Varnish

Process

  • Strip down the veneer on all the surfaces you wish to repaint. Follow the instructions on the bottle carefully as it is strong and dangerous stuff!
  • Wipe furniture down to take away any excess chemicals.
  • Paint two layers of undercoat, leaving a couple of hours in between for it to dry properly. Use a roller for the larger areas and a small paint brush to get into all the nooks and crannies.
  • For this piece, the drawers were set into the furniture, so I needed to mask a line inside of about 1.5inches and paint the same as the outside.

  • Once the undercoat was dry I painted the chest French Turquoise and left the drawers their original colour.
  • I painted three coats of French Turquoise and used two fine bristle brushes – a big one and small one to get a good finish.
  • After the last coat, leave to dry over night before varnishing to make sure the paint has soaked in.
  • I used clear matt varnish to make the finish as authentic as possible. It is quite difficult to use as you can’t really see where you have already varnished, so do this early in the morning and take your time.

If you find  a piece of furniture that isn’t damaged, why not try painting the drawers instead. It will have the same new retro effect but requires a lot less time and work.

Thrifty Finds | 1954 Singer Sewing Book

Raynes Park  Car Boot  -

I am an avid seamstress and have previously owned a 1960s Singer, so when I saw this original Singer sewing guide, I snapped it up. Representing the 1950s ‘make do and mend’ mentality, this book has some fantastic ideas to make the most of your fabric and the various sewing machine functions. Although many of the techniques are outdated for interior design, the skills such as pleating can be used in so different ways that can help you create something that looks very professional. I love the front cover and the colours inside are so bright, particularly for their almost pensioner status.

At only £2, I think I got a real steal and would have bought it for the dedication alone…

This book is dedicated to women and girls –

especially to teachers of sewing everywhere –

who enjoy the feel of fabric, the beauty of textures,

the precision of stitches, the smoothness of seams,

and who delight always in appropriate fabrics

carefully cut and made up for a happy purpose.