Category Archives: Vintage Home Living Blog

The Club Chair

My parents are retired and have recently started a new hobby. That is looking out for interesting pieces for me to work on!

Shortly after I began trading, they turned up one morning with a trailer full of chairs! When I say trailer full, they were packed into the car pulling it as well and I think we counted about 15 of them!

I love their new hobby and I can’t put into words my excitement when they present me with goods – especially that massive haul!

Amongst it was an antique club chair. My Dad unloaded it and his first words were “don’t worry if you don’t want this one”, probably expecting me to turn my nose up at it. I was presented with a damp, broken an unloved arm chair and I immediately fell in love with it…

I stripped the chair of it’s un-fetching coverings and undid some previous strange repair jobs (tongue & groove bottom instead of webbing?). Surprisingly, the original horse hair was in really good condition, so I managed to retain it. Between us, Hubbie and I tackled the repairs together and as usual, I ummmed and ahhhhed about painting it or French polishing, but due to the faded appearance of the wood, I ached to give it a shabbied paint appearance. Those that know my work, know that I don’t generally do a lot of shabby finishes, but I felt it would work with this piece.

Next, I gave it 3 coats of paint, sanded it back hard on the raised profiles and finished with a heavy clear Wax. The result is butter smooth paintwork, reminiscent of years of wear and I love it!

Finally, I replaced the sewn hessian lining and installed webbing and a new foam seat. I had some fire retardant upholstery fabric in natural colours that I thought would work well and finished with a hessian gimp braid.

Needless to say, this, now gorgeous little chair has not yet made it to the showroom…..

The folk art corner cabinet

I last posted shortly after I started my long dreamed of vintage business in December 2015.

Promising to blog more in the new year, I instead turned my attention to the new stock that I had acquired over the winter period and in particular, an old folk art corner unit. The unit was in a pitiful condition and its back was rotten. It had a charm that drew me to it and I knew I could make it lovely again.

I took off it’s broken glazed upper doors to reveal lovely shaped shelves that shouted to be revealed. We then ( or rather, Hubbie) took off the back panels and replaced them with fresh tongue & groove panelling.

The frame had layers of thick brown varnish and the shelves gloss paint. Using Home Strip paint stripper, I carefully scraped off every layer and sanded. The lower doors revealed original stencilling, which I was unable to save, so I traced a copy of it.

The cornice was broken and had come away, so I repaired and modified it, before stripping and re-attaching.

I toyed with the idea of keeping it natural and waxed, but I yearned to give it a fresh new paint job and so that is what I did. I painted the outside in Frenchic Wedgwood Green with a co-ordinated lighter colour on the shelves. I then had a stencil lazer cut and painted it back on the lower doors in the lighter colour.

The lower doors didn’t have any knobs, so I found a pair of wooden ones in my stash and painted those in the lighter colour also.

A light distressed finish and a thorough wax finished the project.

This large corner unit is now a beauty waiting to grace your home!


Vintage Home Live!

As mentioned in a previous post, I left my full time job back in May to pursue my vintage dream…. and in December 2015 Vintage Home Living went live!

So what’s been happening in-between?

Workshops are scarce here in Penzance, so when one became available in the summer, we jumped at the chance to lease it. It is situated in a little lane that runs parallel to the promenade.

IMG_2631My Husband has been great at helping me get the space ready, so that it properly suits my needs and it’s taken a few months to do that and get my stock ready.

All of the furniture that I’ve been collecting for years, was now being sorted and it was rather a marathon effort to have enough finished to fill a showroom in time for the Christmas period, but I did it!

I also made a range of soy wax candles in glass jelly moulds and other vintage containers.

I brought in a range of vintage homewares that I thought would make nice presents and laid them out on the furniture.

We had a private launch party on the 4th December and opened for business on Small Business Saturday 5th December 2015.

The candles were so popular that I nearly sold out in the first weekend!

It’s early days, but the response so far has been positive, so fingers crossed for the future!


How it all started…

I’ve always been interested in DIY, but that was taken to a whole new level when we bought Pendower nearly 9 years ago!

The property was in dire need of complete renovation and we were naively completely undaunted!

We’ve carried out most of the work ourselves, taking several years and lots of blood, sweat and tears. As we’ve put rooms together, I’ve up-cycled some of our current furniture and added vintage pieces on a budget. This made me realise what really interests me and instilled a desire to one day have my own vintage business.




A new beginning…

I’d like to say a big Thank You! to all you lovely people who have read my previous blogs and the interest that Vintage Home Living has had since I set it up over 2 years ago. Shortly afterwards, I went to work for a new business that grew impressively, taking up more and more of my time, to a point where I had no spare time to follow my own dreams.

Last week I said goodbye to my colleagues and have taken the plunge to living my vintage dream!

My aims for this site have not changed over time and I will be updating it, adding the shop and sharing my news, views and stories!

Thank you for your continued support! x


At least one job finished!

Golly, it has been a very busy year at work and my blog has been sadly neglected, but I’ve given myself a nudge and promise to post more often in future!

Lots of things have been happening at the VHL house since my last post!

The old office has been turned into a lovely teen space for step-son and his old room is slowly evolving into a new craft room.

Hubbie kindly found all of my collected horde and stacked them up for me to see – unfortunately, there was no room to move, so I’m trying to sort those items I want to give attention to first. I look at each piece and have this urge to love it, but I can’t love it all at once! Once I’ve conquered the furniture mountain, I’ll keep you posted!

We decorated the hallway. well, I say decorated, we started on the hall and worked our way up to the landing as far as our bedroom, where the paint pot now sits…

IMG_1554In defence of our inability to finish the hall, I moved on to making a new front door curtain and window blind for the landing, while Simon moved on to the back garden as soon as the warm weather arrived. The mud pool will be no more….

IMG_1566I did, however, finally get round to finishing the utility room – it’s only taken 5 years… I had no excuse, the tiles and paint were under the sink!  The room has a lovely utilitarian feel and I’m really pleased with the outcome.



It’s very exciting!

Well, that was Christmas and New Year, done in a flash once again. Now the longing has started to welcome spring. This winter has definitely been the windiest I can remember, and although it’s reported to be the wettest, it hasn’t seemed to me like the monotonous pouring of some winters. However, I must concede that when it falls, oh boy! Bucketing it down has been the correct description. Our little back lawn that I was so proud of last summer currently resembles a swimming pool. Whilst I’d be happy to have a swimming pool, the outdoor mud version in our British weather not so appealing. We may have to rethink the back garden this year…..

When we renovated the house, I chose the back bedroom on the first floor for my office as it has an – albeit, distant view of St. Michaels Mount – in my view that’s enough! Now I say ‘my’ office, but Hubby had very definite designs on this space and it didn’t really suit my requirements.  The last couple of years have been spent working less at home and my desire to have more of a craft room has grown. My stepson jumped at the chance to have my old office as his bedroom, so we are in the process of freshening it up and turning it into a teen space.

This means that I will soon be turning my stepsons old bedroom on the top floor into a large craft space, where I can renovate small pieces of furniture, have my sewing machine permanently set up and an area for creating new ideas.  It’s very exciting!….


The Sofa Project…


When the weather started to turn Autumnal, I mustered up the enthusiasm to carry on with the sofa re-upholster, which has been an on-off project for the last year. It wasn’t so much that I didn’t want to finish it, just that everyday life got in the way and being such a novice meant that as soon as I got back into the swing of it, it was time to do something else! I decided therefore, that I would commit myself to it fully, on my days off, ignoring all but necessary housework and Mum jobs, with plenty of time to get it done before Christmas. Then a little brown letter plopped through the door ordering Jury service and its completion was suddenly a little urgent.

Well, it was the kick that I needed and after several days of holing myself up in the dining room with a favourite cd and a mug of coffee I emerged triumphant at my accomplishment and totally done with it!

This was my first sofa re-upholster and I’m self taught, so it’s not perfect, but I am really thrilled with the finish and would urge anyone to have a go. I completed the look with some cushions to match the curtains I made last year.


Now that the weather is hot!


It’s been a while since I last posted a blog – its been a bit hectic in the VHL household. Local elections, redundancy and then (thankfully) a new job have rather taken precedent. As always there’ s something to be done, but it’s a lovely afternoon and nothing pressing, so I’m allowing myself the pleasure to write.

The hot (note: not warm – but hot!) weather has drawn me out of doors. The sofa renovation not quite yet complete, stands abandoned in the dining room while I turn my attention to the garden. Only a few months ago I was whining to my Husband about how awful I thought our little back garden was. Its only colour was the fading Camellia flowers, long wet grass and brown bare beds, but now the summer plants are in full glory and with the addition of a few annuals, I must concede that it’s looking quite lovely.

The gardens have been evolving slowly over the last couple of years. Mainly due to the fact that if we’ve had any dry weather, we’ve had to utilise it to carry out house or garden furniture maintenance. Of course, the purse strings are another factor. Whilst watching garden makeover programmes on the television, full of excitement and anticipation to practice the same, it soon turns to a little envy of the fact that those program makers spend a small fortune on their planting, whereas our budget is a little more restrained!

I try and pick up bargains like supermarket buys or post flowering shrubs and trees that are selling a little cheaper.

I’ve been trying to remember to take photographs, so that during the winter months I will remember where my perennials are and plan my summer planting around them, whilst there’s still plenty of summer bedding plants in the gardening stores. Unfortunately, this year, I waited until it was in full spread before plugging the gaps, but there wasn’t a lot to choose from, so the colouring is a little hap-hazzard!

I came home one day last week thrilled that I’d managed to pick up some bargain spring flowering shrubs to give the garden some early colour next year, only to realise that having already filled the spaces with some odd coloured verbena, I actually had nowhere to plant them!

Maybe I’ll go back to finishing the sofa….


An oil cloth armchair?

Some days are sunny. Cold, but sunny. Spring is tempting us with the slightest touch of sun on your cheek before the wind slaps it off again. The buds are forming, to prove that the twig like structures are really still alive and the birds practice their best ‘pulling’ calls between gusts.

Having finished all the sofa surfing, hand stitching jobs for the moment, I must return my attention to the sofa standing barely dressed in the dining room before the weather is warm enough for gardening again.

A couple of years ago, we were given a three piece suite that had belonged to Simons Grandmother, who had sadly passed away. It is lovely to be given vintage furniture and we were delighted to receive the suite but you then have to find places for items that you might not have originally worked into your interiors scheme. Having only recently bought new sofas for our lounge when we renovated, we decided to split the suite up and placed each piece in a different room. The armchair that ended up in our breakfast room was immediately adopted by our canine girls and after a few months began to look and smell a bit doggy. Not a nice smell in any room, but especially not next to the table where we eat most of our meals! I thought about making a loose cover for it, that I could throw in the washing machine but realised that I would have to make two, one on and one in the wash, plus that would be double the cost and effort. Then I had a brainwave – I’ll re-upholster it in oil cloth!

“Nooooo” I can hear upholsterers across the land shouting! As well they might. It was not one of my cleverest of ideas. I have only upholstered one armchair previously (the other in the pair), so not what you might call experienced and the problem with oil cloth is it’s not very pliable. Most probably the reason why you don’t see furniture covered with it?

Anyway, having purchased my cloth – that’s what I was doing! I stripped the chair and the sofa at the same time hoping to finish both before Christmas,  but sadly I ended up having to mothball the sofa over the festive season.IMG_0459

As time goes on, I know that if I don’t get back to finishing the sofa soon, I’ll lose the will to, just like the window seat cushion. I was sitting in the car this morning waiting for the troops to board when I noticed the sofa springs and hessian through the window. Not a good look!