Tag Archives: antiques

A few of my favourite vintage finds

I love old things. Antique, vintage, pre-loved – whatever you want to call them. Something old looks fantastic mixed with new items, and really lends your home a unique bit of personality. Lots of vintage things are also so much more affordable – especially paintings and furniture.  

I used to collect a lot of things when I was younger – espeically old magazines and vintage china. I’m much better at resisting too much hoarding these days as it all has to fight for space with the inevitable mountain of Lego and general boy clutter. A lot of my collections are now living in the loft, or under my bed, but here are just a few of my favourite vintage finds…  

 

We bought these two watercolours from the 1940s at an auction when Gabriel was a few weeks old. They are by an artist called Clodagh Sparrow, who I hadn’t heard of, but we both really fell in love with them. They were in dingy old frames and weren’t looking their best, so we were able to buy them very cheaply. We had them reframed and they immediately came to life and looked so much better. We did a little research on the artist after buying them, and she turns out to have designed railway posters during the 1930s and 40s. These pictures are a bit reminscent of vintage transport posters, don’t you think?

  

Here you can see a vintage tin given to me by James’ granny, which I’ve had leaning up in various places over the years. I love it! This little dog came in a box of other vintage toys from an auction. 

  

This jug was a recent charity shop find. It was a bit expensive at £10 (charity shops are not what they were!) but it was still there after a few weeks of dithering, so eventually it came home with me…

  

Here is another auction find. We bought a few of this artist’s paintings in the same lot, but this was my favourite. We haven’t done anything with the others yet, but this one went straight up on the wall. I love the colours and it looks great in the playroom. Auctions are such a great place to buy affordable paintings – I think we paid about £35 for the three. 

  
 

I used to collect these little Mauchline ware boxes and still have a few left. This little one lives in my bedroom and is so pretty, if a bit damaged. 

What are your favourite vintage finds?  

Home Etc

Our Sitting Room

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We’re lucky enough to have two matching reception rooms –  we use one as a play room with all the toys, and this one is a slightly more grown-up room where I like to relax away from the Lego. It’s not the sunniest room, and like all Edwardian and Victorian terraced houses it can feel a little dark at times. It does get the afternoon sun though, and I like to sit in here with a cup of tea after the school run.

When we moved in four years ago it was a very plain room, with cream textured wallpaper and a few oddly placed shelves. We stripped off the wallpaper and painted the room a soft grey. We had a new bay window installed – the old wooden sash windows were long gone, so we replaced the ugly 1970s casement windows with new sliding sashes.

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We replaced the old shelves with new bookshelves on either side of the fireplace – this was a necessity as we own a lot of books!

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Sadly the fireplace is not currently in use. In our old house the fireplaces had been stripped out and we lovingly re-installed original period fireplaces. In this house both reception rooms still have their original fireplaces, but sadly not in working condition. This presents a bit of a conundrum for me. I’m a romantic and I can’t bear to rip out the original fireplaces and surrounds. I love the idea of the builder choosing them from the pattern book over a hundred years ago, and it would be such a shame to lose them.

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They look great, but are in quite poor condition and it wouldn’t be safe to light a fire. So we’ve left them for four years. We’re now inching closer to either having them repaired (a painstaking and quite expensive process) or having wood burners installed, whilst trying to retain the original surrounds and perhaps part of the tiles. We keep mulling it over, but both options are pretty expensive, and I can’t help wondering if it’d be better to hold off a bit. We love it here, but I’m not sure this will our forever home and we’ve already spent quite a lot of money on it.

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But anyway, the fireplaces still look beautiful and they give me somewhere to display my treasures. Pictured here are some little dogs I bought from the market years ago, along with some little birds and a tiny sheep from our local antiques centre. I also keep my few bits of Wedgewood Jasperware up here. The over mantel mirror was one of the first things we bought when we moved here. We tried to find an old one, but in the end this one from John Lewis ticked every box.

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A favourite corner of my room is this one…

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Here we have a glass fronted bookcase, filled with yet more books. On the floor is my vintage sewing box, which my mum bought me from Ely market. I love its shape – especially how its legs match the sofa very well! We bought the sofas from John Lewis when we moved in. They are so comfortable, although the one in the window has faded quite a bit which is a shame.

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The curtains are simple ones, from Oka. I sometimes wish I’d gone for patterned ones, but getting them made would’ve been very expensive and I found it impossible to choose. Instead, I like to change the cushions and throws regularly. The current cushions are from Habitat. The yellow really lifts the grey. The little cushion is from Melin Tregwynt, a present from James on our last trip to Pembrokeshire. The coffee table is an old blanket box and the standard lamp was made by James’ granddad in the 50s.

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Here is where we keep the TV. I should really have cleared away the mess of wires and baskets! We could do with something different here, although I do love this table.

One part of the room that I can’t get right is behind the door…

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Currently, I have this old tea trolley sitting here, serving no real purpose other than gathering dust and clutter. I am quite sentimental about it as it is the first thing I ever bought at an auction (£5!). But nothing really looks quite right on it. Answers on a postcard?

I still really like the colour and style of this room but I would like to make a few changes. I’d love to get some houseplants and perhaps phase out some of the brown furniture. I don’t think Aspidistras on Edwardian plant stands will ever come back in – although maybe I could lead the trend on that one? I would also love to get a more grown-up lampshade. There are too many cheap paper lanterns from Ikea in this house, which needs to change!

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Now I’ve introduced you to this room, I’m really looking forward to sharing some of my latest updates with you!

Lizzie x

Home Etc

My Week

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Getting on the garden. We’ve got a lot to do in the garden at the moment. Since we moved in, four years ago, I’ve tinkered around with growing annuals and things in pots, but we’ve not really made any substantial changes. Lots of the shrubs have become very overgrown and not particularly healthy as we haven’t kept on top of the pruning, plus the ancient shed at the bottom of the garden is slowing sinking into the ground. A lot of the fencing is also on its last legs. This year we would really like to replace the broken bits of fence and create a new vegetable plot towards the end of the garden. The garden became a bit of a dumping ground over the Winter – we are gradually trying to clear this, although we will probably need a skip.

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Anyway, last weekend we made a start on improving things – we’ve sown our special wild flower and grass seeds in a shaded area of the garden and I’ve planted some Cosmos seeds – always a favourite, and they do really well in our garden most years.

A few antiques. On Wednesday Tom skipped pre-school and we went over to view a local auction, in Willingham, with my parents. I fell in love with a Georgian bureau and Tom was very taken with some old rocking horses. I may put a bid on something this Saturday – I’ll keep you posted. Probably not a rocking horse though – who actually has room in their house for one of those?

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Swimming. This week I’ve been swimming properly (not just splashing in the baby pool) for the first time in years. I need to find some more back-friendly exercise and I’m hoping this is it! I don’t have a great technique and can only do quite a weedy breaststroke. As it was 9am, the more aggressive, fast swimmers were long gone, and I was able to relax into it and go at my own pace without feeling intimidated.  I’ve always felt a bit ashamed not to be a quicker/stronger swimmer – but that’s silly really and I have every right to be there!

What I’ve been wearing. Ok, I caved in and ordered some dungarees.  Predictably they caused much amusement to the boys. I’ve also loved how warm it’s been at times. I’ve even gone without socks for the first time this year – although I did get rewarded with a huge blister and got my toes squashed by a small child’s scooter! On Friday I had a couple of inches lopped off my hair too – which feels really nice and Spring-like.

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What I’ve made. This week all the beautiful pink blossom everywhere inspired me to get my watercolours out for a quick painting.

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What I’ve been watching. I am quite ashamed by how addicted I am to Outlander (on Amazon Prime). I read about in Grazia, or somewhere, and thought I’d give it a go as I hardly seem to get my money’s worth out of the Amazon subscription these days. Little did I know how hooked I’d become! It’s like the Sharpe TV series crossed with Walter Scott, with a bit of Pillars of the Earth thrown in for good measure. Basically, it’s about an English nurse being transported from 1945 to eighteenth century Jacobite Scotland. Of course, it’s total tosh –  but we all need a bit of that sometimes.

Lizzie x