I suppose you could describe the house I live in with my partner, Chau and our four-legged feline family as a little quirky or possibility a ‘Marmite’ House – love it or hate it.
We immediately fell in love with it upon the first viewing and luckily for us everyone else who viewed it did not feel the same. Quick smart the deal was done with my Chau excelling himself in the negotiations and seemingly in a blink of an eye we landed ourselves a house!
It would not suit many people due to its quirky character but it almost seemed to be tailored to our needs perfectly. Not many 5ft (nearly) 3‘’ people can paint their ceiling without using a ladder can they? A 17th Century fully beamed cottage with nearly two bedrooms that we called our Hobbit House – before you ask, no we don’t have big feet or hairy toes!
Due to the character of the house certain styles of furniture would not sit well, No Ikea or Habitat thank you very much. We needed to look for items suitably sympathetic to the house.
Being a positive person I will say that we were very lucky that due to our previous personal situations we did not have any furniture at all. This means we were blessed with a blank canvas to work from.
That sounds much more romantic than we had literally nothing!
Luckily Chau managed to negotiate the fridge freezer and cooker into the deal so at least we were not cooking on the open fire in the garden – it was becoming a consideration!
With an economy trolley dash to Dunelm plus a necessary bed and sofa purchase we covered the basics. Chau actually came with a TV as every man does!
Having no furniture plus money not being our best friend at the time it was time to think outside the box and get creative.
I was happy with having minimal and wait until we found the right pieces for the house. I usually find that my best finds are when an item literally jumps out at me (as an inanimate object can do) and says ‘take me, I am perfect.
This happened with an old armchair that was looking a little sad in the corner of a junk shop. It caught my eye and it was love at first sight. I had to rescue it and give it a good home. A shampoo and a polish and it’s in pride of place in the living room, complementing the new sofa. Only issue is that I am not important enough to sit on it as apparently its only Alfie our cat who is allowed to use it. He gives you a look of ‘how very dare you’ if we even consider sitting on it!
That one chair opened the flood gates of many satisfying hours in second hand shops browsing, considering, choosing and bargaining. At the bargaining stage I disappear as I can’t deal with the stress. Chau being a born negotiator is delighted with his £2 discount and then you can see me happily bundling another old relic into the car (I mean the furniture, not Chau..!)
A lot of what we bought did need a little TLC before coming part of our home. Nothing that but a bit of sanding, staining or painting could not sort out.
I watched much of the Olympic coverage on TV kneeling on the floor painting our new (old) chairs on a dust sheet in the lounge. Note to anyone who does similar – keep the paint tin well away from your mug of coffee. I have painted my furniture with coffee too many times now as I am not looking what I am dipping my brush into!
After the necessities came the ‘nice to have’ accessories. With cash flow still a challenge we won’t be hanging a masterpiece painting on our wall soon. What to do? Buy £1 frames from ASDA, get creative with leftover paint then frame photographs of your flower of choice or prints of your bear of choice (see the photographs and it will make sense I promise!)
50p old bottles make great vases for flower and why not have an old ladder as a shelf? Believe me you won’t go back to shelving once you have tried it!
Our house is nearly finished – for now.. Mixing 80% old with 20% new has worked really well for us and also for our bank balance. There is a massive satisfaction of placing your tea or wine on your newly sanded and oiled table and know it’s all your own work.
I can’t fit anymore in the house but I have the bug for rescuing furniture so we still buy pieces and up-cycle them to sell on and the profit helps with the weekly food shop!
If we did have more money would we buy new? No, I don’t think we would as our furniture has its own story to tell.