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Project Reorganise: Shelves and chair

I have been on the lookout for some shelves to go above my dressing table, and finally found something suitable on Amazon from a seller on the Marketplace. They do two versions; both the same height and the same number of shelves, but differing widths. On the photographs, at least on cursory inspection, they looked to be the same so I made the assumption that they would be the same apart from width.
These were ordered at a cost of £87.90 (£75 + £12.90 delivery) for the pair, which I thought was a little steep although they had very good reviews on Amazon.

The shelves arrived sometime in the following week. They turned out to be sturdily made, consisting of 2cm thick shelves and end boards, with the back made from 1cm tongue-and-groove planks. Although sturdy, they felt a little hastily thrown together and slightly wonky (Note: as in, not straight. They weren’t wobbly or anything), but that could well be a Shabby Chic thing I guess. They were painted in a uniform cream eggshell colour, as advertised. For some reason that I can’t quite fathom now, I decided that the supplied colour was not suitable and that they should be white, and so ordered some white chalk-based Shabby Chic paint by Rust Oleum.

Ready to paint

Ready to paint

A few weeks later, when the weather was nice and I fancied tackling the painting, I wondered how best to paint the shelves and looked around the garden for inspiration. Sat in a corner, quietly rusting away, were the steps for a rigid-framed above-ground pool that I had once owned (and which gone to the tip many years ago). They’d been squashed flat, but were good enough for what I wanted. With the addition of two opened-out wire coat hangers I was able to hang the shelving units by their mounting holes using the steps as a frame.

It was whilst painting them that I realised they were not the same. On the wider shelf unit, the bottom shelf was flush with the bottom of the back board, whilst on the narrower unit, it was not and there was some back board below the bottom shelf. This was rather annoying and, of course, since I was in the middle of painting them they could now no longer be returned. However I figured that, given I was going for a Shabby Chic style, this probably didn’t really matter. In fairness to the seller, when I went back and looked on the photos on Amazon it was very obvious that they were not the same and also the seller didn’t even claim that they were. It was just a bad assumption on my part. With hindsight, I should have contacted the seller and asked for a price of a matching pair; one wide and one narrow.

Sanding the chair

Sanding the chair

Also that day I sanded down one of the chairs using an orbital sander. Strictly speaking, this isn’t actually necessary when using chalk-based paint as it doesn’t require preparation or undercoat, but I did it anyway. It came up pretty well. I then painted it with the same chalk-based paint as I had plenty left over from the shelves.

Pew! Pew!

Pew! Pew!

The next day, when the shelves were dry, I drilled holes in the wall above the Dressing Table for them, using my laser spirit level (pew pew!) to ensure they were at the same height and also level. When screwed to the wall I considered it a job well done.

Unfortunately, the next day in daylight, I realised I had made a terrible mistake on the colour. Although there is some white in my bedroom (from the wardrobe doors, the skirting board, the door to the en-suite shower, the ceiling, and the door into the room), all my furniture is cream. The white of the shelving units clashed quite horribly with the Dressing Table and the other furniture. And, worse, with hindsight the colour the shelves had originally been supplied in might well have sufficed. *sighs*

So back onto Amazon, and I ordered ‘Clotted Cream’ chalk-based paint by Rust Oleum, and also some Rust Oleum clear furniture finishing wax.

When those arrived, I took the shelving units down and sanded them and also the chair, and repainted with the cream paint. Then the next day, gave them a light sanding with a fine sand paper to smooth out the paint brush marks a little, and then applied the wax to seal them.

Finished items

Finished items

The result is much better, and I’m happy with it. The shelves are now back up on the wall and populated with some of the trinkets and nick-nacks I have bought during my visits to Antiques and Collectors fairs, although there is room for plenty more.

I’ve stayed with the original cover on the seat of the chair for now, but I plan to source some suitable material (possibly from an old pair of curtains) at some time and re-cover the seat.

I also need to find a lamp or wall light too, as that corner is a little dingy and needs some additional lighting.

 

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Project Reorganise: Parental house rummage

As you’ll know from previous posts about Project Reorganise, I have been on the look-out (amongst other things) for a chair for the Dressing Table.

I visited my parents one weekend a few months back, and they let me have a good rummage through their sheds and garage. These have become the repository for stuff that they have collected over the years, and also for the remaining possessions of both my sets of grandparents, all now deceased, since neither of my parents have any living brothers or sisters.

Chairs

Chairs

I told my mum I was particularly on the lookout for a chair for my dressing table and she showed me two chairs that she had out in a shed which might be suitable that I could have, which I happily took. There were several others in differing styles, but those were the only ones I felt would work.

Singer sewing machine

Singer sewing machine

In the garage there were a pair of vintage hand-powered Singer sewing machines which were in a pretty poor state and very rusty. I asked if I could have one of them as a conversation piece, and my parents were more than happy for me to have one. Whether or not I will actually put the effort into refurbishing it is perhaps open to debate.

1930's lamp shades

1930’s lamp shades

There were also two 1930’s lamp shades in a sort-of Art Deco style which my mum was very keen for me to take away.
I hope to sell those on, as I really don’t have a use for them.

Candelabra

Candelabra

She also pretty much forced a candelabra on me which I don’t really like (and she *really* doesn’t like) and I definitely plan to sell that on.

Chinese picture

Chinese picture

Another thing that caught my eye and caused me to go “Oh WOW!” was what appeared to be a Chinese painting on white porcelain, framed in fretwork, which had documentation on the back which appeared to be dated 1988, and rubber-stamped with text that seemed to say it was an antique of over 100 years of age. It had been bought by my maternal grandmother on one of her many foreign trips and, knowing her, was probably quite expensive. My mum said she was happy for me to have it as I have a love of the orient and several items of oriental furniture, and also she isn’t really that keen on it. So that seemed ideal for everyone.

Bead curtain

Bead curtain

There was also a wooden bead curtain that my mum was keen for me to take. I can’t decide if it is delightfully kitsch or hideously awful. 🙂

Beware of Trains

Beware of Trains

I’d been telling my dad about the cast iron railway sign that I have over my gate, and he told me that he also had several cast iron railway signs, which he had acquired decades previously and were original to the best of his knowledge.

Larger railway sign

Larger railway sign

It turned out there was a small “Beware of Trains” sign, and a pair (duplicates) of a much larger sign. He suggested that I had the small sign, and one of the pair and he’d keep the other. And, further, since one of the pair was in fairly good condition and the other was in pretty poor condition, I should have the better of the two. The smaller is of indeterminate age but the larger is dated 1893 and could well actually be that old.

I’d like to mount them on the outside wall of my house next to the gate, although I do worry about the rust on the larger sign and wonder if I should restore it before doing that in order to protect it from further deterioration.

Finally, my mum gave me a vintage 1940’s belt and headscarf that had belonged to my paternal grandmother, and also a cute lipstick holder with integral mirror by Stratton, which probably dates from the 1960’s or 1970’s.

Strattron Lipview

Strattron Lipview

There were a few other things that might have been of interest, but we were running out of time so that was all that I came away with on that visit.

When I got home, I sent a photograph of the Chinese picture, and also the documentation on the back, to a friend who speaks Cantonese. After consulting with someone else for a second opinion, she came back to me with the news that it appears to be somewhat, shall we say, “misleading”, and that the inscription on the picture itself says (roughly) “Falling Stream”, then who it was painted for (a “Mr Shanzon”) and by whom, and that it is dated 1986. The documentation on the back looks like it is an export license, under the column headed “Dynasty” it says “Recent”, and the rubber stamp certifying it as an antique may have been applied in error (or dishonestly), or perhaps it is certifying the age of the wood of the frame, or something. Who knows? But this doesn’t bother me in the least – I wanted the picture because I like it and not because it is valuable.

In the next instalment. I’ll tell you how I restored the chair and made it ‘Shabby Chic’ with chalk-based paint, and also how I got some shelves for above the dressing table.

 

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