It’s not often you get the opportunity to add to your collection with pieces that have a genuine family connection, in fact it’s a first for me. As far as I’m aware, no one in my family has any particular affinity with home furnishings from the 30s and some even consider my fascination somewhat eccentric (dunno what they’re on about!). It therefor came as a huge surprise the receive an email from my uncle keen to hand down some pieces my grandparents had acquired new when they married in the 1930s. I have fond memories of holidays spent as child staying with them in Devon. A huge garden to run around in and homemade shortbread and lemonade were always in abundance. Sadly they both died in 1990s and after 15 years in family custodianship, their old bungalow is up for sale and in need of emptying.
So we’ve just come back from a weekend near Sidmouth sifting for gold. The car was loaded with the usual toddler paraphernalia, so no room to bring back the gorgeous extending ‘magi-cube’ dining table and matching chairs this time. But we’ll head back with a van before completion. In the mean time I’m the proud new owner of lovely oak mounted frame-less mirror and a Grindley Cream Petal teapot. Now I’m going to spend some quality time hunting through my mums old photo albums looking for snaps in which they feature.
2015 is going to yield some fairly major changes in art deco magpie hq. The forthcoming arrival of our second bright young thing has required us to have a rethink about the layout of the flat and presented a September deadline. The plan is to convert a huge dark cellar room currently used for logs and garden tools into a stylish 30’s inspired kitchen diner, transform our existing kitchen (at the other end of the property) into a third bedroom and use the dining room as an office/study. It may all sound a bit extreme, but trust me.. it’s the only way we can get an extra bedroom in a sensible location. It’s bound to end up being a tedious and expensive project, but should be a huge improvement in the long run.
No major work can be undertaken until I’ve had a massive disused oil tank removed. So in the meantime I decided to work backwards by creating my dream study in what was a rarely used dining room.
The walls were previously decorated with a bland pale pastel green emulsion. I had planned to give the room a somber 1940’s austerity feel with some light grey paint, but after a successful pre-Christmas experiment with wallpaper in the lounge I opted continue along a similar path with the study. The chosen design is Cavern in Dove Grey, once again by Graham and Brown. The sample looked great, the first few lengths applied… less so. It’s a very angular geometric pattern that when presented in its full glory is perhaps more suited to a brutalist mid-60’s inspired theme. However, we’d committed so it seemed churlish to back out and rip it off. Papering continued, and as we completed each wall and tested pictures and bits of furniture against it the design rapidly grew on us.
I’ve already got a few decent bits and pieces to use in the room, which I’ve split diagonally to create two areas. One half centered around a burr walnut veneered desk (an up-cycled dressing table) and filing cabinet (will probably be replaced with an oak one when acquired), the opposite side a reading area with a 1930’s Globe Wernike stacking bookcase and a club chair liberated from our bedroom. Everything sits on an original handwoven Chinese Art Deco rug bought on the cheap a few years ago. It’s got a whopping great stain in the middle, hence the bargain price, so I’ve booked some professionals to clean it in a few weeks.
I’m guilty of injecting a pretty eclectic mix of 20th century items with my pre-war paraphernalia here. A 1958 Encyclopedia Britannica globe (originally free when signing up for the complete set), 1960’s Poole Pottery Helios lamp & drinks cabinet along with contemporary artworks, but I’d like to think they sit fairly comfortably together. In addition to the filing cabinet, my wish list includes an original Herbert Terry Anglepoise lamp, an old glazed notice board & a groovy swivel chair of some kind. Other than that I think we’re done here.