Treasured

I have spoken earlier in the week about visiting my late Great Aunty Joan’s home to collect some treasures for us to keep and remember her life by. It was not an easy day by any means but I wanted to share some of her things.

You will see that both her and my Great Uncle Jack had great taste. They kept everything, valuing its function and it’s worth rather than spending loads of money on new un-needed things. I suppose they were frugal, but what they had was of great quality and probably not cheap. Their house was full of mid-century furniture in immaculate condition. They looked after their things which for me is fantastic….as I have some real treasures that can continue to live in my home and be appreciated by my family going forward.

My Aunty Joan was very intelligent, she had a degree in Horticultural Studies…which back then was rare for women to be educated. She worked for ICI using her studies as well as enjoying her garden in her spare time. She was a private lady, enjoying reading and her cats. What was interesting in her home was the lack of flamboyant “stuff”. There was not hoards of handbags and shoes, makeup and jewellery..which means the items that were there were treasured and used.

I have her dark green leather Ackery handbag with matching leather gloves and purse. It would have been a non showy piece back in the late 40s/early 50s. I love the colour (how rare is it to find dark green?) and grey silk lining. It oozes quality yet simple elegance.

I saved some soft toys for the children. The home-made elephant is so Cath Kidston isn’t it with its ditsy flowers on a soft needle cord. Paddington bear stands tall above the simple rag doll. I love things like this for our children: traditional and non plastic.

I have 2 pairs of curtains from their home. My Uncle Jack’s bedroom had these 1950s curtains hanging..they will go so well with our kitchen and Ercol day bed which will be in there too. I may hang them or make cushions.

I had ordered brown curtains for our new lounge from Next. But these high quality teal silk curtains are amazing in our new room. They don’t totally match the colour of the room but I think they are perfect.

This patchwork rug/throw is hand knitted and backed on to a quilted base. It was in her bedroom over a table…I think it will be lovely in my little girls room.

Then there was so much retro there too. I wrote about the 1960s bubble vase earlier, which now sits on our Arkana table. I work here so its fabulous to see in the morning when I start work. It has no chips and even its original sticker on.

The 1960s yellow glass mushroom light will hang on the landing.

And the cat, Peach, seems to have laid claim on the red vinyl footstool.

The Ercol chairs will be added to our collection (check out in our blog Ercol-lection).

She had lots of books but I was drawn to this one…what amazing reference material for my writing. I look forward to reading it.

Finally, I brought home my uncles shoe cleaning kit for My YVL. I love this old-fashioned styling.

And here are is a photo of my family. This is my Great Grandma and Granddad, my Grandma, my Great Uncle Jim and Aunty Lily and my mum aged about 10??? On the right is my Great Uncle Jack and Aunty Joan..she is the one holding the dog. My whole family. Minus my Granddad who I presume is taking the photo.

I am so glad that we took the time on Monday, however hard it was. The 3 generations of girls that are left…my mum, me and Kitty…went to see the house one last time.

I’m also so glad I am the person I am…who values possessions for their history, their style and their beauty. These treasures will live on in our home and our hearts.

Treasured things, treasured lives, treasured memories.

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Lounging around

We have finally finished our 3rd room in our house renovation. The lounge has taken a while as there was so much to do and its a double room too.

So lets cast our minds back to how it used to look.


Red swirled carpet with contrasting walls. The woodwork was all painted dark brown.

An office suspended ceiling with horrid tiles was above the whole room. Why anyone would do that throughout the ground floor of your home is beyond me. It didn’t even mask a bad ceiling.

A hatch and awful huge built-in display cupboard with brick surround was a feature. An old-fashioned gas fire and brick surround took over one half of the room. Overall it was dark and gloomy.

The plus points were the retro wall lights and starburst clock that the previous owner left for us. Check out all the original house in our blog “Our Patterned Palace”


So we ripped it all out (except the hatch). Firstly the display cabinet has become a storage cupboard that doubles up as our filing office space! We have some 70s retro filing cabinets for all our bits and bobs here too.

The walls are white except a large teal wall. We based the colour scheme around 2 Mucha prints. Mucha designed art nouveau advertising posters which became popular in the early 70s when the art nouveau look made a comeback. Homes were filled with his swirls teamed with William Morris prints. We also have one cushion with these 2 colours in, so slowly we planned the scheme.

The floors are painted cream the same as all our rooms so far. Add our G Plan teak furniture, 70s rugs and Italian glass and the rooms almost done.

Our 1960s cream vinyl and teak bar is in between the 2 halves of the room with our modern record player behind. The vintage record player is in a teak box beside it.

The swivel chairs were Mr YVLs grandmas, which she bought in 1968. The footstool goes so well which I picked up earlier this year from an antiques fair.

Some of our 1960s medicine bottles have come out of storage (there’s loads more but we havent got to them all yet!). The amber ones were also Mr YVLs grandmas. The large orange West German pot was a moving in present from me to him back in February. And yes, there’s a modern TV…one of the few modern things in the room!

Our 1950s drinks cabinet houses  my glass collection. Luckily we only had one casualty in the move..I love my collection and wouldn’t be without it! The cocktail shakers are gorgeous!

All our William Morris cushions adorn the sofa next to another Mucha print and our orange rocket lamp. We had a sofa in one of these designs back in my family home in the early 70s.

It is 150 years this year since Morris was born!

The new Arkana table and chairs looks great and take pride of place in the other half of the room. This is the adult lounge so this space is now for me to sit at my laptop in peace away from the kids. It sits under our 3 bulb white space age light and our J.H. Lynch print.

It’s called The Nymph: Herbie asked if it was me the other day!

The fireplace isn’t finished yet..it will have a wood burning stove there soon. The curtains are on order.

We have new bookshelves designed and built by Mr YVL.

I love it. It’s still a little bare but give us time it will look lived in and homely.

This week’s weakness

My weakness is shopping. Actually, not just shopping. My weakness is shopping, thrifting, collecting….I can’t drive past a car boot sale without dropping in, I can’t visit a new town without thrifting through the charity shops, I can’t ignore a sign saying “Garage Sale”..to be honest I can’t even drive past a skip without meer-catting my neck up to see if there’s any bounty inside.

So maybe I should share with you my weakness..in fact here is this week’s weakness.

Well this one has to top all others and will probably top all future purchases too! This week the long anticipated arrival of our table and chairs happened. Now this isn’t just any old table and chairs…it is a gorgeous 1960s Arkana table and chairs.

I have wanted one for so long……and now they are here. I love the tulip shaped base..so iconic of the 1960s and their love of all things space age (Check out a recent blog all about it called  “One small step for mankind, one giant leap for our homes”)

It has 4 swivel chairs with red seat pads which match our room perfectly. The table is aluminium with a melamine coated top. The chairs are fibre glass with aluminium legs. Gorgeous! As you can see there is slight chipping to the tulip base…but hey they are 50-60 years old!

Overall it needed a good clean up, but nothing a bit of cream cleaner couldn’t handle. I think the previous owner kept them in the garden (OUTRAGEOUS) so we had to scrub hard.I’m so very happy to have them! They are timelesss yet totally sum up the look and feel of the 1960s. And they are English!

Another thing ticked off my vintage wish list!