Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Updating a bench seat

Last week I was contacted by Judy who has been following my blog since she read about me and my painted furniutre in the Manly Daily. She had a bench seat that her mother had handed-down to her and she wanted it freshened up. 

These bench seats are made from the bottom of old wardrobes (the hanging part of the wardrobe rests on top of this part). They are great for hallways or end of the bed for storage and for sitting on to put your shoes on. Judy's bench was looking a little worse for wear, the pine had gone very orange, the fabric was dated, one of the handles had broken and the drawer didn't slide smoothly, it was a big struggle to open and close. Judy and I discussed different options for updating this. She had some lovely cream fabric and had thought initially of the bench painted white for a shabby chic look but I thought that it might look a bit bland and insignificant. Other possibilities I thought of were white un-distressed paint with blue and white stripes or blue and white floral for a Hamptons look, Black paint with black and cream damask fabric for a Vintage Glam look but we settled on a French Country look using the cream fabric Judy had already bought. I used Annie Sloan French Linen with Pure White Trim and to tone down the Pure White so it didn't clash with the cream fabric I gave the edges and trim some antiquing with dark wax. Old White probably would have worked better but I don't have any tins of Old White so I was working with what I had.

My process for the makeover was I first cleaned the whole bench seat and removed the original handles and filled in the holes with wood putty and when the putty was dry, I sanded the drawer smooth. I pulled off the old fabric and trim but I didn't need to touch the foam as it was still in great condition.  I then painted the bench and drawer in ASCP French Linen giving it two coats. When it was dry I highlighted the edges with Pure White using a small (1cm square tipped) artist's brush. It is not necessary to tape the edges. What I do is have a damp cloth by my side and if I go over the bevelled edge with white paint I just very gently wipe it off with the cloth. If you are gentle enough you will not remove the colour underneath and your lines will end up very straight. I did the two coats of Pure White for the trim in front of the TV on Friday night after dinner so it was very relaxing.

Once all the paint was dry I applied the clear wax all over and then the dark wax only to the edges, wiping most of it off. I then distressed the edges ever so slightly and buffed it all.

I drilled new holes for the hardware and put the new handles on. Changing the handles cost only $13 and it really updated the piece and changed the look. I love these fluted cup handles and use them a lot when I am updating a piece of furniture. When I was painting I decided to paint over the original brass key hole plate as I thought it would clash with with nickel handles and I think I made the right decision.

For the upholstery, I then set to with my Bosch Cordless Tacker that I reviewed here and I am still absolutely in love with. If you are into DIY do yourself a favour and get one. So worth it. Even if I wasn't sent this Tacker by Bosch I would be recommending it. When you are upholstering it is very important to get a good tension on your fabric, You do not want it too loose so it crinkles when you sit down or is loose at the edges; and you don't want it too tight or it will pucker. With this piece I had to pull out my staples on one end as I initially didn't have it tight enough. It's worth re-doing and getting right. For the front I ironed and folded the edge under so it was very neat. The other edges I left raw and cut and just hid the edges with the glue and gimp braid. You can see what I mean in the photo below.

I then used my hot melt glue gun and glued on the gimp braid to cover the edges and staples. 

To make the drawer slide more easily I sanded down both sides of the drawer with my orbital sander. I didn't sand right to the dovetailed edge and I wanted the front of the drawer to still sit flushed against the edges. You can see that I haven't sanded my painting. The colour if off in the photo below but you can see the lovely smooth wood.  I then waxed the sides of the drawers and now it slides so easily. I love a simple fix that makes a big difference to how you can use a piece.

I think it is looking much better now. I love the French Country two toned look and more importantly Judy was delighted with it's transformation.

I also gave Judy one of my hand made cushions as I thought it went so well with the French Linen bench seat.  I have been having fun doing some sewing and selling bits and pieces on Instagram and Facebook. I will share them here soon.  The cushion below is the one I gave Judy. 

and Judy surprised me with these beautiful sweet peas.  I love them in my hallway.

I have lots of beautiful things coming up so please keep an eye on my blog and if you live in Sydney I'd love it if you could let your friends know about my furniture. Lilyfield Life continues to grow!

Thanks everyone for your support and a special thanks Judy for trusting me with your furniture. I'm thrilled that you are happy.

Fiona xx

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Two Vintage French Louis Armchairs

Pair of upholstered French Louis Armchairs for sale by Lilyfield Life

My brother and his wife live on the north coast in a little house overlooking the beach. They live a great life, are wonderful parents, they are hilariously funny and have a great rule that I think I need to adopt. If something comes into the house, something needs to exit the house.

I have recently ought an amazing cabinet that is rather large and I'm doing my best to squeeze it in, Although in all likelihood I'm going to have to sell it once I've painted it as our house is looking a bit full. Anyway, while I was rearranging furniture to find a spot I decided I will sell my two upholstered French Louis Armchairs.

Pair of upholstered French Louis Armchairs for sale by Lilyfield Life

detail of Upholstered French Louis Armchair

Both are in lovely condition and have barely been sat on since I upholstered them.  They have sat in my daughter's and our bedroom (with a doll and a cushion on the respectively). These are not reproduction chairs - they are vintage chairs that are well made, solid and heavy and will last many, many more years. The sort of things that you will be handing down to your children in years to come. Much better than buying "French" style furniture made in Vietnam which is lightweight and made from inferior wood and fabric.  

For sale $280 each. Pickup from Lilyfield. Email me if you are interested.

Upholstered French Louis Armchair with navy trim

The fabric is a light grey with white, navy and pale blue stripes. One chair has navy braid and the other white braid. I am sad to see these chairs go but we have too much stuff at the moment and I know that I will be able to find and make more beautiful things in the future. 

That's all part of this business isn't it.
Fiona xx

Friday, July 26, 2013

Recipe: Caramelised Onion and Beetroot Tarts

For Bastille Day we were also celebrating a birthday and had a long lunch with friends at our house. I wanted everything pre-prepared by the morning so I could relax and enjoy the time with our friends.  

I made a cheese fondue (equal parts of gruyere, emmantel, cheddar with some champagne and tomato passata) served with baguette for starters (so 1970 but so delicious - forget about your thighs) and I also walked around with a platter of little individual beetroot and caramelised onion tarts then we sat down to a buffet of three roast chickens with lemon and thyme, a bbq'd butterflied lamb with rosemary and garlic, a baby spinach and roasted cherry tomato quiche, and my friends brought the salads. 

this is the quiche I made
We finished the afternoon with coffees and my daughter made strawberries dipped in chocolate (her big Lindt Easter bunny that she hadn't eaten) sitting around our fire pit thinking how GOOD IS LIFE!

I posted a photo of the little beetroot tarts on Instagram and my facebook page and I got loads of requests to blog the recipe. My husband said it was his favourite dish of the whole day so I decided to make it again the next week. It's a little bit time consuming so one night when I was cooking dinner I boiled the beetroots and caramelisedthe onions. It's nothing to do this when you're already standing at the stove cooking the dinner. I then just stored the onions and beetroot in the fridge until I was ready to make the tart. And then the day I made it for dinner, I made three of them - one for us, one for our lovely neighbours across the road and one for a girlfriend and I completely forgot to take any photos of how it looks as one tart rather than individual tarts. Ha, sometimes real life and kids and work gets in the way of blogging! Oh well try it for yourselves and you'll see how delicious it is.

My inspiration for this recipe (for a whole tart) is originally from from The Australian's Women's Weekly BAKE book. This is one of my favourite recipe books (along with their COOK book). Everything in it turns out perfectly. I made quite a few changes to the recipe to use what I had on hand so I am blogging my version of it.

Recipe: Individual Caramelised Onion and Beetroot Tart

  • 4 onions - you can use whatever colour you like - red, white, brown. 
  • 50g butter
  • Tablespoon brown sugar
  • splash of balsamic vinegar
  • 4 beetroots, trimmed
  • Puff pastry (if you are making one big tart you will need one sheet, for individual tarts you will need 1 sheet for 4 tarts. I made 20 tarts from this recipe)
  • 1/2 cup of basil leaves
  • 1/2 cup olive oil (I always use extra virgin)
  • an ice cube
  1. Caramelise your onions - peel, halve and slice your onions thinly. I use a food processor - saves so much time and teary eyes. Melt the butter in a frying pan and cook the onion gently over medium heat, stir occasionally. After about 30 minutes add in the balsamic vinegar and brown sugar. Cook for another 5 minutes until it's all caramel-ly brown. You can do this ahead of time and just store in a container in the fridge. Delicious on steak or sausages also.
  2. Meanwhile boil, steam or bake your beetroot until tender. If you are baking, wrap in a double layer of tin foil. When it is soft through, cool, peel and slice thinly. You could also use well drained, tinned beetroot if you wanted.
  3. For individual tarts, grease your tart tins (mine are gorgeous fluted ones. They were my mum's and I'm so glad to use them). Cut circles of thawed puff pastry (bigger than your tins) and press into each tin. If you are making a big tart, shape your pastry to how you want it (round or square) and place on a flat greased baking tray.
  4. To make the Basil oil, blend or process the basil (or chives or whatever herb you have) with the oil and an icecube.
  5. Layer a spoonful of onion topped with a slice or two of beetroot into each tart case.
  6. Bake for about 10 minutes in an oven preheated to 220°C (200°C fan forced) or until pastry is golden. Drizzle on your herb oil and serve hot, warm or cool depending on your timing. All delicious.

If you make this leave me a comment as I'd love to hear how you like it. I love fresh beetroot but I just hate tinned! Are you a beetroot lover?

Fiona x

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Paint Parade #6 - a furniture link party and features

Hi and welcome for the weekly Paint Parade. Thanks for all the feedback this week on my buying vintage furniture posts (here and here). Of course you all know the benefits of pre-loved furniture but I thought it was worth writing my thoughts down in the hope to persuade some of the rest of the world!

So let's check out your pre-loved furniture projects!
There were some great projects linked up last week. I loved this classic dresser by Robin from RPKInteriors. This is exactly how I would have chosen to refinish the dresser also. Lovely work, Robin, it's clean, pretty and elegant.

Lynn from Fern Avenue Blog made a new vanity from an old chest of drawers. I just love this. I think they look way better than modern vanities - so much creativity and individuality. It turned out beautifully Lynn and I'm sure your family are loving your DIY efforts.

I actually did this for our house also. This is our bathroom below with the vanity that I made from an old French cabinet. I just love it's pretty lines and individuality, especially as it's visible from the front door if you leave the bathroom door open.

Marianne from Sew Paint It updated her son's room and did a beautiful job on finding a beautiful panelled bed for just $36 and a great job of painting them (classic white, my favourite). Enjoy your visitors, Marianne!

Now let's see what you have got. If you've got a facebook page or blog I'd love it if you could share this post and generate some more interest in this weekly link party.

Some logistics:
  1. Please only link up furniture projects or posts. Room reveals & built in furniture such as kitchens / bathrooms also count.
  2. I'd love you to follow my blog
  3. Please place my button from my sidebar or a link to my blog in your post.
  4. Have fun. Be inspired. Visit other linked projects and leave some love.

Fiona xx

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

What to look for when buying vintage furniture

As you know if you've been here a while, I buy a lot of old furniture and spend a lot of time hunting down that something special to paint and bring back to life. Over the last few years I've learnt a lot about how to buy vintage furniture and what to look for. I've made my fair share of mistakes along the way also. It's such a bummer when you make a mistake and buy a really difficult piece that is beyond saving (or beyond your ability or budget to save it).

Lilyfield Life Painted vintage furniture

Following on from yesterday's post of Why you should buy second hand furnitureI thought I'd share my tips of what to look for and what to avoid. When looking for vintage furniture, I always look for quality, well built pieces.  If I'm going to spend my time, money and effort painting and restoring a piece, I want to make sure it will be worth it.  

Solid walnut sideboard.
Solid Walnut sideboard that I bought for $60!! Now in my dining room.

What to look for when buying vintage furniture

Timber composition

Vintage furniture is usually constructed from one of three things:
  • Solid wood furniture is my preference. It looks great, is a good solid weight and is easily refinished. Water rings, marks and scratches never worry me, because I know how to remove them or cover them with paint. I actually prefer my furniture a little worse for wear because then I can buy it more cheaply than other dealers who don't want to spend the time refinishing it and want to sell the furniture in its current state.

beautiful solid oak timber cabinet
A beautiful solid oak cabinet. It has stood the test of time and will remain beautiful and solid for years to come.

  • Veneered furniture usually has an inexpensive wood base covered by several thin layers of better quality wood. Because of the cheaper core, veneers aren't as expensive as solid wood pieces. If the veneer is in good shape or only a little chipped you can usually repair it with wood filler. Check for how the veneer is adhering to the particle board or substrate material. Veneer can be glued back if it is coming apart, but be weary of pieces that have large sections not adhering. I would test the weight of the whole piece and if it isn't too light weight I might buy the piece but unless you really want the piece or get it for a great price then I usually avoid fully veneered pieces. Ages ago I did paint this full veneer chest of drawers and while I liked my paint job I didn't like the quality of the piece, it was very light weight and a bit flimsy so I ended up selling it anonymously at auction rather than selling under my brand Lilyfield Life. You can often find pieces that are solid timber with veneered drawer fronts. If it's a good weight and well constructed these pieces are still worthwhile buying.
These drawers have a timber veneer but are very well constructed and the veneer is in perfect condition.
You can see the layers of pressed wood in this photo and a small chip in the veneer which will be easily fixed with wood putty and covered with paint.

  • the final category is one I never ever buy and recommend avoiding completely: Particle board and other wood composite furniture are made from a mix of wood chips or pulp, resin, glue etc. These are the cheapest type of wood furniture and can look decent for a short time, but won't hold up for any amount of time. Think of Ikea furniture and how it sags even after a year of use. Apparently there is also concern over the use of formaldehyde in the resin that holds particle board together. Anyway regardless of toxicity, I think it is a total waste of money and time. Don't go there.
Via Particle board is cheap and nasty - avoid it!

Quality Construction of vintage furniture

Inspect your piece. 

Check the drawers. I always look for dovetailed joints. They are one of the strongest joins and a good indication of craftsmanship. When you are looking at a piece, even at auction, make sure you open and close the drawers and that they slide well. If it's just a little sticky you can always sand the sides of the drawers smooth and wax them with a candle stub but re-constructing a drawer or trying to sell a piece that has drawers that are just made from plywood and stapled is usually not worth the effort. Unless you absolutely love the piece or you are particularly handy and have the right tools, I would recommend moving on.

Via Look for drawers that have dovetail joins

Tap it

Get to know what hard wood sounds like when you knock/tap on it. Pieces should sound solid and not hollow. If furniture is particularly light (like modern "french" chairs made in Vietnam then don't buy them. The cheap wood will split in years to come.

Open doors. 

Make sure they open and shut okay. Think of the hassle I had a few weeks ago with the TV cabinet that the doors weren't hung properly due to the base sagging. Even after hours of working on them I was unable to make them swing perfectly and shut easily - you had to open both doors to shut them properly. This will often be the case with vintage furniture  My client was okay with this but if you have the leisure of time for looking for a particular piece I would suggest buying furniture that is still "square". Save yourself the angst.

Check the handles and knobs. 

Make sure none of the handles or knobs are broken or missing. Make sure you try each and every handle. You can always replace them if they are but it's better to know before you buy so you can factor that into your cost. Handles can be expensive to replace. You will usually have to replace all the handles rather than just one as it's extremely hard sourcing matching vintage handlesHowever if it's just the colour or finish you don't like, you can always paint the handles to change their look.

Avoid furniture that is stapled, nailed or just glued. 

Look for wood joined at ends and corners, not glued or nailed in. Dovetailed joints or mortise and tenon joins make furniture studier and able to take more weight. Dowelled furniture is good also - you can always re-glue the dowel if it's a bit rickety. 

Make sure your piece is not too rickety. 

Chairs shouldn't be wobbly or missing rungs. Chairs are unbelievably hard to fix in my opinion especially for the home DIYer. I would normally pass them up if they aren't in good condition. I have bought rickety coffee tables that are screwed together with bolts and because the bolts were loose then the table was very wobbly and I was able to buy the table extremely cheaply. The table was perfect once I tightened the bolts. Easy peasy. I have also brought chests of drawers that were a bit wobbly and just needed a new back board on them - they originally had thin ply on them and once I put a heavier weight wood on the back, they were firm.  If it does wobble look underneath at its construction and see if you can fix it. But know your capability limits and your budget.

I love pieces that are a little different and unique

Look for Something Different

Because I paint most of my furniture I don't really care about the surface finish or colour of the vintage piece. What I look for (besides quality construction and composition) is shape. I look for unique, beautifully shaped pieces that will really accentuate and highlight your room. I try and create pieces that will be statement pieces as well as functional. So I am always on the look out for curves, scrolls, ornate carvings, pretty legs and pieces that really speak to me. You will have your own style. I suggest using Pinterest or a scrapbook to keep pictures of pieces that speak to you while you develop your style and work out what you want in your house or as your brand if you are painting and selling furniture.

Buying old chairs

Chairs can be recovered but poor/cheap furniture construction is difficult to remedy. If you are looking for a chair to reupholster, make sure it has a good frame. If you want to save even more money make sure that the webbing and foam is in good order as well. See my tutorial on recovering/easy upholstering. If you are not into DIY know that reupholstering is expensive: Get a quote before you buy, so you are not in shock.

 Every now and then you'll find fantastic upholstered chairs in perfect condition such as the one below. this sold for around $300. (bad iphone photo, sorry) A similar chair brand new would cost around double or triple that and would probably not be as beautifully constructed. (once an engineer, always an engineer)

How to find a good piece of vintage furniture

  • Always be on the look out. 
  • Have a list of places local to you that stock good vintage furniture. These may include council clean up/side of the road finds, eBay, Gumtree, Craigslist, Op shops, Goodwill, Salvos, Vinnies, Auction houses, Estate sales, markets and Antique centres.
  • Check regularly at these places. Make friends with the sellers and let them know what you are looking for. They may tip you off when they come across something you would like.
  • Vintage furniture are usually unique, one off pieces and you have to be ready to snap them up. He who hesitates is lost. If you really like something and it's perfect for your home or your brand, buy it on the spot. Don't kick yourself a few days later because you hesitated. If it's good no doubt someone else will also think so and it will be gone.
  • Get to know general prices for what you are looking for. Do your research.
  • If you are buying at Auction remember to factor in the Buyers Commission. In Sydney, this can be up to 25% on top of your bid.
  • Research the good vintage brand names of your country.
  • Inspect it - using my guide above
  • Use it - sit in it, open doors and drawers, sit on a chair at a dining table table to make sure it fits under the apron.
  • Measure it for your space. I carry a tape measure at all times and especially when looking for specific pieces, know your space at home or carry a room plan.
  • Know your budget. Make sure your budget is realistic for what you want. If you are going to on-sell it, how much will you be able to sell it for, what costs are involved in painting / transforming it, what profit do you want to make? 
  • Saying that though don't get hung up on saving $20 or so. If it's for your own house and you just have to have it then paying a little more is not going to matter in the long run.
  • Don't be afraid to negotiate especially when paying cash. Cash is king. I find the easiest way is to ask nicely "what is your best price?"
  • How will you get your piece home? Factor in delivery costs if you require. Know your car's capacity. I know my car will fit sideboards up to 1.9m long and 96 cm high. I carry a screw driver with me to remove the backing board as this usually is higher than this. I have roof racks and always carry rope with me just in case something needs to go on the roof.
Despite all the above, I have broken most of these "rules" (but not the particle board one) and still have managed to paint and sell my furniture but by using this guide you will know how to find quality pieces that are either fine to use as is or easy (or easier) to paint and transform.

If you aren't into DIY then you can always buy your furniture from people like me who paint and restore vintage furniture. We usually sell beautiful vintage furniture for way less than you would buy a similar piece new and the work of restoring and painting is already done for you. Most of us aren't just in it for the money and have a real passion for bringing life back to beautiful old furniture. You are buying what I consider to be a work of art* as well as furnishing your home. (*perhaps that may be presumptuous of me)

Lilyfield Life painted vintage furniture
Some of my recent painted furniture
Whatever you do, next time you are looking for something for your house take a look at vintage or second hand first and have fun with the hunt.


Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Why buy second hand or vintage furniture

Someone who didn't know me very well, obviously, asked me the other day "why would you buy second hand furniture?" To be honest, I was a bit in shock. Hello...What ...people don't know?

If you read my blog regularly, actually if you read any DIY blog regularly, you are probably a second hand vintage furniture lover and appreciate the magic that paint can weave. However I know a huge proportion of people, when looking to decorate their house, automatically head to shops selling new furniture. Perhaps I might be able to sway some of them...

Vintage furniture painted by Lilyfield Life

Why buy second hand Furniture?

Second hand Furniture is Good for your Finances

If you have a limited budget or don’t want to spend a fortune furnishing and decorating your home, second hand furniture is perfect. Many pieces of second hand furniture are structurally sound and still look great; they were just not wanted any more by their previous owners. People change styles, have changing requirements, downsize, pass away etc and yet the furniture still may have a lot of years of use left. Even if there are slight defects you can repair these easily by repainting (see my painting tutorials), by reupholsteringsanding out marks and scratches etc. By buying second hand or pre-loved, you are often able to buy a better quality product than you would be able to afford otherwise. 

beautiful Second hand vintage dining room furniture
Table, chairs, sideboard, mirror all second hand - total spent $225

Second Hand Furniture is Good for the Environment

Buying second hand is environmentally responsible. You are saving something from landfill and extending its product life as well as not buying something new which in turn reduces your carbon footprint and CO2 emissions because of less production, raw material sourcing and logistics. It's amazing what you can find on the side of the road the evening before council clean up. One man's trash is another man's treasure.

fabulous thrifted finds
fabulous finds at Auction

Second Hand Furniture is Good - They don't make it like they used to!

You can buy solid vintage furniture that is beautifully made and has already stood the test of time. Choosing second hand furniture allows you to buy higher quality furniture while still staying within a lower budget.  I also think that when you are buying vintage furniture that the problems will already have shown themselves - if the wood is going to split or sag, it probably already would have. Just make sure you inspect your second hand furniture before buying it.

Create your own style

Mix and matching old and new furniture and pieces is a great way to create a unique home d├ęcor style without spending very much money. In a society that increasingly prizes individuality, by not buying the latest trend that's on sale in a huge department store or shopping at places like IKEA where millions of other people own the exact same item, buying second hand vintage pieces will create a fantastic eclectic look that will speak of your own style.  For me, this is one of the best reasons for buying vintage furniture, I'm not one who wants my house to look like a shopping catalogue or showroom.

Vintage furniture: create your own style
Second hand Cabinet, frame, armchairs, coffee table, vintage wire crate

The thrill of the bargain hunt

Thrifting is fun. We all know how good it is to find a "bargain". Finding second hand furniture is exciting and very rewarding - the hunt for the treasure is as much of the story as owning it. 

A little slice of history

I think the idea of someone having owned the furniture before you is what turns a lot of people off buying second hand furniture but I love a piece's history. I love the signs of age and use and the smooth well worn handles showing signs of years of use. I love that a family before mine has had that piece of furniture serving a purpose in their home. Sure of course I clean my second hand furniture well, airing out smells and wipe away years of grime and dust. I'm also very particular about second hand upholstery and there's no way I'd ever be tempted to buy a second hand mattress or safety equipment.

Hopefully if you weren't already convinced about the beauty of buying pre-loved items then this post will sway you to not buy into the whole convenience
of cheaply made, throw-away goods that abound in retail shops today. 

Second hand furniture: Cabinet, chalkboard frame, French Pot, (and through door, lamp and bedside table)

I'll be back tomorrow with a guide on what to look for when buying second hand vintage furniture.


Shared here: My Uncommon Slice of SuburbiaSavvy Southern StyleDedicated houseMiss Mustard SeedRedoux interiorsFrench Country Cottage A Stroll thru life power of Paint My Repurposed Life Fabulous Furniture  Coastal Charm  transformation Thursday Shabby Nest Natasha in Oz

Monday, July 22, 2013

Shabby Chic White Hall Cupboard and my mum

Good afternoon and what a beautiful afternoon it is, It feels like Spring even though there is a chill in the breeze, but the sky is so blue today in Sydney and these daffodils are so colourful and bright, making our bedroom all beautiful especially with the sunshine streaming in.

We had a lovely weekend, lots of time as a family together, going for walks and mooching around, friends popping in for coffee and others coming over on Saturday for dinner. I wandered up to Rozelle markets yesterday and found this lovely cast iron bird bell for $10. I'd gone without my wallet, yes I know crazy, what was I thinking, but the lady said she'd mind it for me so I raced home and back and am now very happy to have this.  I love a thrifty find.

I finished a lovely hall cabinet on the weekend. It's painted in Annie Sloan Pure White with lots of distressing for a country shabby chic look.  It's a heavy piece and very well made. The shape is gorgeous and I added some mouldings to the backing board for extra interest.

It originally had bright brass handles that I really didn't like so I bought these lovely nickel handles and knobs for it. I think they look beautiful.  I did have to buy new screws though and the screws that came with the handles were so nasty. I spent an hour trying to put on the two handles and kept stripping the flat head screws. In the end I went and bought some good quality screws and it took just minutes to get the handles on. What a waste of time.

This piece offers wonderful storage with two drawers and two shelves inside the cupboard. The dimensions are 110cm wide, 48cm deep and 86cm from floor to bench top. The backing board is another 23-24cm on top of the bench top. 

and of course I had my trusty photo-bombing dog by my side. He thinks he's very photogenic! Our friends have just bought Charlie's younger brother and will be bringing him home in about a month. We are all very excited especially as about a month after they get him, they are going away for a few weeks and we will be minding him.  I am not sure what Charlie will think of a puppy in the house but I certainly will be happy. 

I've just had lunch and a catch up with my sister as it's a year since our mum died today. It certainly doesn't seem a year has passed. I still have several voice messages from her on our home phone and I'm going to have to work out how to record them onto a safer medium. I love still being able to hear her voice occasionally. Bit weird I know. I also haven't been able to delete her number from my phone's "favourites". Her phone of course has been disconnected for ages but deleting her number just seems all too final. Gosh it all sounds morbid and as though I'm wallowing. Really I've been good but it's just hard to let go of a few things. Perhaps this coming year. 

Anyway time to walk up to school and get the kids. A nice afternoon for the park I think.

Fiona xx

Shared here: My Uncommon Slice of SuburbiaSavvy Southern StyleDedicated house,  Miss Mustard SeedRedoux interiorsFrench Country Cottage A Stroll thru life power of Paint My Repurposed Life Fabulous Furniture  Coastal Charm  transformation Thursday Shabby Nest Natasha in Oz