Tuesday, 23 July 2013


Some spare rooms are charming, some are not much more than areas for storing surplus furniture and others are temporary work rooms, sewing rooms or studios which never reach any status; I have recently had the pleasure of making a new spare room out of the first floor showroom once used to display my old French textiles. I already had a rather pretty, if fanciful, Zoffany wallpaper with raspberry red butterflies flitting over a cream background; the toile curtains were already there, a favourite chinoiserie design of elephants, palms and pagodas, also in the same shade of pinky red, so furniture was the priority. The room is a Georgian square one with high moulded ceilings and two sash windows on two facing walls and a door leading to the ensuite bathroom. which we installed two years ago with this conversion in mind. The carpet is a light mushroom and all the woodwork, including shutters, white. First was the bed, which I bought a long time ago at a French fair during the lunch hour, when the family were tucking into a large spread on a big table and very reluctant to show their goods. I spied one toile end lying about on the grass (pretty grubby) and asked if there was any more to the bed; The dealer got to his feet very reluctantly and dragged out the other end from his van - were there any side pieces to hold a mattress? oh yes! also hidden in the big van! and what was the price? Perking up, he said I could have it all for 100F. I then riposted that the toile was in a shocking state and I would settle for 70 - deal done! It all sat with me for many years till I tackled it with vim, actually ogygen powder, Vanish, and vigour! The toile responded wonderfully as it was strong linen and could take a scrub of Vanish and many rinsings and came up a treat - the frame needed a base and I found an excellent business, 1 minute off the A303 at Percombe; Wessex Antique Beds, Stoke sub Hammdon, TA14 6RD which fitted a new smart blue/white ticking base at very low cost, and finally, I tried for the first time a 'memory' foam mattress in French 4' size, with washable cover, new, from Ebay delivered here in two days, only £60; I was so pleased with my Ebay purchase, I thought that as I find it difficult to leave home at present to go to auction rooms, I would use Ebay to furnish! The treasure hunt was on!

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