Saturday, 11 March 2017

How to work with what your Mama gave you (in your home)

With it being International Women's Day earlier in the week and Mother's Day coming up, I thought I'd dedicate this post to my Mum and all the amazing pieces of furniture she's passed down to me (albeit via the Aladdin's Cave that is my parent's garage, but that didn't quite have the same gushy sentiment I was going for.) It also dawned on me when I did my recent feature on the fab Topology Interiors blog, that these hand me downs form the base for my home inspo.

I'll share a bit of history on my favourite pieces that I get asked about a lot on my Instagram feed and give you tips on how to utilise your hand me downs!


The Arab Chest
Mum picked this up in Zanzibar in the late 60s. As soon as I was grown up enough to have a house of my own, my parents offloaded a decades worth of end of year school books (remember making those and sticking all your work in them?!) which now reside inside here. If you remove the two right hand drawers, there's a secret drawer that pulls out! I love how it works alongside my vintage record player where I've put one of my favourite prints from Ginger & Fraggle. As you can see, James' pride and joy sits atop it, I shall say no more (although I must admit, watching movies on it with the sound bar and subwoofer blasting is quite something- don't tell him I said this).

The Arab Chest. Makes having such a monstrous TV on display bearable.

Take the drawers out and reveal...

...the secret drawers- nothing to see here, moving on.!


The Cow Skin Drums
So, when I asked Mum for deets on these, she told me that the black and white one was bought by a relative to commemorate my birth in 1987; I came over all regal. It's probably apt that it's ended up with me. The smaller, white one was bought in Uganda, where my Mum is from, in 1983.

An offering to commemorate my birth.

Lop-sided, but well loved.



The Mid Century style table
Not as old as I thought, this was bought by my folks in the early 80s in a furniture store. It was recently storing champagne, wine and lemonade (2014 vintage) in aforementioned Aladdin's Cave. I love how it compliments the legs on my mid century style sofa- legs galore, it's like being at the Moulin Rouge! What's more, it has the perfect space underneath for my gorge Violet and Thistle lightbox! Also, how cute is my handmade concrete tea light holder from Eme and Grey?!

Bet these legs could do a good Can-Can.


Vintage Singer Sewing machine
Mum bought it for a fiver from the Friday Ad in the late 80s and actually used it as a sewing machine, before it was retired to Aladdin's Cave and had several hundred plastic bags shoved in its gaps and endless bottles of BabyBio on top of it. What a fall from grace. Now, it's in my kitchen and I just can't get enough of the gold detail on the machine and the ornate metal frame.

Bought for a fiver. It pulls my black and orange zone together in my kitchen.


Tips for your hand me downs:

Don't upcycle the piece, upcycle the purpose. 
I haven't had to upcycle a single piece I've been given, firstly because I don't have the heart to and secondly because there's no need, I love them as they are. I use my cow skin drums as tables, my sewing machine as a home for my Penguin Classics and table lamp and my Arab Chest as a TV stand (don't get me started on the unnecessarily large TV, but at least the beautiful chest counteracts it... slightly...)

Enjoy them in your everyday life. 
They've stood the test of time so far, my big sister and I definitely abused all of the above over the years when our parents' backs were turned. We used to pretend the sewing machine was a getaway car, so we used to pump the pedal as fast as possible, sending the spindle into overdrive. The drums were jumped on, banged loudly and tipped over. I'm not advocating the same sort of treatment, but use them for more than display purposes, after all, they're in your home, not a museum.

Mix the old and the new.
If you're not after a completely vintage look in your home, there is no rule to say that you can't mix old pieces with modern. It's a great way to bring them into the 21st century. If they're mid-century style pieces, it's even better as it's very on trend, so will blend seamlessly into your home.


Help! I have no hand me downs!
If your parents aren't hoarders like mine, then great places to find hand me downs:
- Charity shops- shopping whilst helping great causes, what's not to love?
- Online- nothing like a good Ebay/ Gumtree trawl.
- Antique shops and markets- great finds to be had, and if you're like me, great bartering opportunities.

I'd love to hear how you've used hand me downs in your homes!
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