Friday, 10 December 2010

It's not hand-me-down, it's 'vintage-cool'...

As we are on the topic of fun and frugal weekends staying in (the new going out, given the temperature and credit crunch) let's have a little thought on interiors. Did I say interiors- let's face it, I meant my flat. Yep, I do this blog because I am (as many a teacher/boss/stranger-in-the-street has complained) a greedy old validation-seeking show off. And note the use of 'my'. I'm a married woman, yes, what's mine is his. But I still get to call it mine. M'kay?

A good friend of mine once described the flat as 'arty' and 'vintage-cool' and enquired how long it took to get that 'look', at which caused me to snort and get San Miguel up my nose in a rather posh bistro in Suffolk. My flat is as it is because of what I call 'make lemonade' theory. But in this case, life gave me G-Plan and a beige sofa. The reason why my flat is full of vintage gems is that my Gran and Aunty-Nan (great aunt, but I think the name works) were upwardly mobile and houseproud, and my parents had a lock-up round the back of my Grandmother's garden flat. Over the years, sadly, as relatives moved to nursing homes and passed away, the lock-up garage filled with vintage furnishings, all perfectly protected from the dust and damp.

Who knows what lies within?

Time passed and His Lordship decided to live 'under the brush' (ie cohabit) back in the heady days of 06. We couldn't afford the fairytale Norfwest Lahdan Caflik wedding like wot we later had, you see. Neither could we afford any furniture for our flat. All we had to our name was a kettle, a 70s courderoy 'pouffe' that opened out into a guest bed, 72 PS3 games, a console and a telly. Sir Florizel of Tweed was happy to live like that; I, however, was not.

So I hired a van. My father went bananas (apparently a white van is fundamentally different from a school minibus and faaar more dangerous for a woman to drive). I drove it anyway, and we raided the lock-up. Brill. We discovered a G-plan dining set, 2 coffee tables, a 10 ton wardrobe-and-vanity that took 4 people to move, a sofa, lamps, shelving, a dinner service, an amazing array of glassware and a sun-ray clock. And a cuddly toy. In the end the only item I had to purchase new was the bed (lesson learned: don't buy mattresses online). Transporting the items was a bit of a palava (at one point the van got stuck in the mud, giving Tweedy pants a flavour of Perdita Family Life: my dear cousin drove up in a chi-chi little Golf, drove round us a few times, roared with laughter, and sped off. We have a kinda Spartan attitude: you'll never learn to shift a fully loaded hi-top out of a mire unless you do it yourself, in the rain, child).

And voila, my beautiful 'vintage cool' home was born, to be added to over time with knick-knacks (and a Victorian chemist's cabinet rescued off a skip- don't worry I cleaned it...well, forced Sir Florizel to...) and, to be honest, a LOT of mess. I'll post some juicy pics at the weekend (after actually tidying up for once). Or I might buy more tinsel and disguise the mess, to be honest. But, for now, in a quite franky misleading manner which the internet lets me- nay encourages me- to do, show you some inspiration pics. I believe posh people call them 'mood boards', which to me is more of an adjective for me on a wet Wednesday afternoon. Imagine I am wearing a toothpaste-turquoise tunic, pristine white knee-length boots and have my hair bouffey and in bunches, I've got some canapes made (by taking apart something pre-packaged and re-shaping with cream cheese) and am serving halves of beer in etched glasses with stems, and am about to tell all about my exotic holiday to Spain (I wish in this weather):

Want this sofa!

Gotta Love G-Plan

You can still buy it today!! Check this link. But why buy new when it lasts FOREVER and looks EXACTLY THE FREAKIN SAME AS THE 70S STUFF!!?? Whew. had a moment.

In my dreams: it even has turquoise (my obsession) and fold-out pouff-seats...

Unnervingly close to a CCTV still of our living room

Luxury, isn't it just? But look again- spot any radiators? Unfortunately our heating is vintage-cool too. Storage heating (requires a 24hr weather prophesy talent, get it wrong and you either sweat or freeze):

Same model: ours is cleaner (white drips, urrgh).
Well, at least the cold snap has made planning THAT easier.


  1. Love those old sunburst clocks! I find vintage much more cosy that all that modern ikea stuff!

  2. Me too! Also it's easier to get a bit of a statement look without it being the same statement that EVERYONE with the Next home catalogue has! ;)

  3. Lovely stuff, I only wish I had such a treasure trove to raid. We are still living with a mix of horrible landlord-chosen Ikea and our own cheap shelves. Some proper G-Plan would be amazing!

  4. I adore that sofa, it's exactly what I want/need.

  5. Great post, can't wait to see pics of your lovely tidy flat!


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