Herbie goes bananas!

Firstly, let me recap. We bought a huge renovation project back in February, in a lovely village called Cranfield. It took an age to find the right house as our demanding list exasperated all the estate agents. We wanted:

  1. Somewhere we could renovate not wanting to spend a premium for someone elses work (and as Mr YVL is a carpenter this obviously made sense)
  2. Somewhere we could add value too
  3. Somewhere in a village
  4. Somewhere near good schools (there were only 3 upper schools in the whole county I wanted to live near)
  5. Somewhere with a large garden as we grow our veg and have chickens
  6. Somewhere with a double garage for our camper van
  7. Somewhere where I could work from home and keep a lot of my stock
  8. Somewhere detached
  9. Somewhere with 4 bedrooms
  10. Somewhere where we could live with 4 adults in the future as we want to be here for a long time.

Phew, you can see why it took a while to find it! But we did, and last February we moved in.

It’s a 1920s house which hasn’t seen work since the 60s. It is our Patterned Palace (check out the blog here) with an array of swirls and patterns. It even came with it’s own starburst clock, lights, and phones that were thankfully left for us!

So slowly we have started to renovate. First job was to stabilise the chimney breast which had been removed and not supported. Mr YVL did that quickly himself. He then mended the holes in the roof and insulated the loft. Good job!

Next we did our bedroom. We were not planning on doing this as we had decided to start the garden first. We needed to dig the veg beds, plant all the fruit plants we divided from our last home and most importantly, give the chickens their new home.

One day I was feeling down about waking up in all the mess so I started to strip the wallpaper. Mr YVL came home from work, saw the wallpaper half down, got a little excited and took over! 2 weeks later the room was done with the lovely FiFi wallpaper from Sanderson. It’s an old 50s print which was found in someones loft! Read all about it here.

Next up was the playroom. Giving up one of the reception rooms was an excellent idea. No more CBeebies for me in the adults lounge! There was a horrid old gas fire which we couldn’t remove as it was integral to the boiler, so we built a cover. This is now a huge shelf for the vintage Fisher Price toys!! This room isn’t as bare as it looks here…it is now full of toys and pictures!!!

Next was the lounge. A white and teal retro affair all based around a Mucha print. Read all about it here.

Now to the present. This Christmas, Santa brought Herbie a bedroom! Anyone that has followed this journey will know that his room was by far the worst. The previous owners had removed the chimney breast from the room and left it unsupported. They then added french doors to an upstairs room with no balcony. On top of this was a wooden lintel which had rotted. This meant that the wall had dropped slightly. To add to this they hadn’t bothered to install a radiator so the room was damp from condensation. It was smelly from this so they locked the door and forgot about it. I remember when we looked round the house it was the room I didn’t fancy going in to even look at!

So, all that has been repaired by Mr YVL of course (clever man). A window has been added and of course, heating!

When we were moving we asked Herbie (only 2 years old at the time) what he wanted his room to look like. He thought long and hard putting his finger to his mouth in a comic thinking type way! He then announced “I’ve had a good idea!”. “Go on” we said.

“I would like a camper van room”. So a camper van room he has!

It’s full of modern stuff of course (the only room so far!) but there are some lovely handmade touches. Our friend Kim made 3 canvas paintings for him.

Caroline from Dotty’s Heart (read all about her here) made him a picture for his door.


I had made a canvas of photos of our camper van, Florence!

There is even a great photo of us a few years back in a Herbie beetle!

His campers are all out on display including his 1970s Fisher Price one.

And of course, no room can get away without a 60s light, a retro mirror and a bin!

So, on Christmas Day Herbie got his room and yes, he went bananas!

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Didn’t we do well, again

We had a great Christmas here at Your Vintage Life. And now it’s the clear up after 3 days of children mayhem! Before all the pressies get put away I thought I’d share some of the vintage ones (i.e. the best ones!).

Firstly the kids. Boy did santa bring a lot of toys….and clothes..and biscuits! When Herbie was asked what his favourite present was he thought long and hard. “I love all my presents” he said. “I really liked my biscuits”. Clearly the way to a boy’s heart is through his tummy!

Herbie got a new bedroom from Santa but I will leave that to another blog! He also got a train set (modern one) but there was room for a little bit of vintage. The 1980s Polaroid camera was a real hit. You load it with plastic discs that run over a wet sponge when they fire out. Just like old Polaroids pictures….flap them about a bit until they dry and a photo appears. It’s in great condition having lasted over 30 years….Herbie managed to drop it and chip it after only 3 hours!

Kitty fared much better in the vintage stakes. She got her retro fabric tortoise I blogged about some time back (read about it here). She got heaps of Fisher Price toys….a 1970s television, 1980s roller and the best of all…the 1960s pull along snoopy dog. She loved this, and has walked around pulling it since about lunchtime of Christmas day!

Boxing day the vintage continued with dolls and a lovely 1950s pram. She didn’t seem to get a look in though as her cousins (all boys) spent the afternoon pushing it around the house!

Then there was Mr YVL. The great thing about our job is we find vintage clothes all year round so I have collected 3 polo shirts dating from 50-70s. He put the caramel one on straight away so that was a hit!

He also got a Mucha calendar. Any regular readers will know we have a few Muchas in our lounge. He was an art nouveau artist but enjoyed a resurgence in the late 60s.

Yes, a calendar is a practical present but  with all the vintage fairs next year and inevitable children’s parties it’s probably about time he knew in advance what’s happening!

His last present was a Gaudi diary. We both love his architecture…..

and so we can see more of it as I have booked a very rare weekend off for us both to go away to Barcelona. I wonder where the flea markets are there????

Then for me. I really did well! I received 2 pieces of furniture for the house, one retro, one vintage.

This G plan stool with leather seat it gorgeous and sits perfectly in our lounge. (Read all about it here).

Then this 1950s fold down table is gorgeous and in amazing condition. Not sure where this will go yet but I’m sure I will find somewhere. It reminds me of last years folding 3 tiered table he bought which we featured this time last year (Read about it here)

I am dreaming of a pantry when we get round to doing the kitchen. A small cupboard full of shallow shelves filled with glass jars and tins. I have a huge collection already but hey this pantry in my head needs more! So more I got!

And Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without some Taunton Vale. This is the first year that I have been bought some though. It’s a chopping board to match all our storage jars, butter dish, tea towel etc etc!

Then there was 2 vintage dresses including the 10p 1950s dress I have blogged about before. This brown one is a Peggy French dress in mint condition. It has ballooned sheer sleeves, matching belt and a pussy bow neckline.

Finally the best present of all. A DRGM bracelet covered in rhinestones. We have been researching it since and all we know so far is it dates pre 1945 from Germany. It is truly stunning and ones things for sure…..I am a very lucky girl.

Now back to the cleaning and tidying……(not feeling so lucky now huh?)

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.