From the book Modern Toss.
So, we went to Swinderby on Friday. The idea being to get a decent sized chest of drawers for the bedroom. Here's what we came away with:
Not bad for £280, I thought. There were surprisingly few mahogany chests to be had. Lucky we found this one, that we both liked, and the price was reasonable. It's a funny piece in that what looks like the top two drawers is in fact a cabinet, intended for hat storage. This makes it quite a bit taller than your normal chest and helps fill some space in the room. It's also good for storing lots of clothes, as the drawers are all so deep - not like the rubbish they make nowadays with no room at all.
Swinderby itself was impressive. Hundreds upon hundreds of dealers selling their wares. There's no way you could look round each stall in one day! Not that you'd want to look at all of them. The majority are selling what can only be described as rubbish. There was one guy with a van that had the registration J500 TAT. I'm sure it was one he'd bought himself!
The trouble with buying a bigger house is that it looks empty, even though you've got everything from your last house in it. We need more furniture to fill the rooms out. Tomorrow we are going to Swinderby Antiques Fair to try and source a nice mahogany chest of drawers for the master bedroom.
Swinderby is on all this weekend and is in the East Midlands, close to Newark and not far at all from Nottingham. My mum's a regular and shares the excitement of everybody else who's been there.
The trouble is that you have to take what you buy home with you. My next task is to find us a hire van to get there and back in. This house buying stuff sure ain't cheap...
Below is a picture of our living-room in the house we've sold. It's the same picture used by the Estate Agents in their online and print adverts for our house. It's also the way the room was when The Buyers first came to see the house and then again on their second viewing.
The point of interest is the fire-place. The Buyers were in two minds about. He liked it, she didn't. Previously we'd not thought much about it all, but we soon realised how much we'd miss it if we had to leave it. Like fools we made a fuss of it and, after accepting the offer, we asked the Estate Agents to ask The Buyers if they wanted it or not. We offered to replace it with one of their choice, such was our want to keep it. They declined and said they wanted to keep it. My suspicion is that they think it must be worth more than anything we would replace it with and will keep it for themselves, maybe selling it in the future. Now that we had asked them via the Estate Agents it was expected that we left it. Otherwise, if we hadn't asked at all, we would have had no obligation to leave it. After all, it's not on the list of boxes we tick to indicate if we're leaving things like radiators, gas fires and light switches.
What Karen decided to do, against my advice, is to replace it with one that looks as similar as possible. Hopefully, by the time they notice, we'll have exchanged, completed and be in the new house.
What do you reckon? Here's the replacement fire-place that I've been fixing in today:
If they look hard enough at the photo of the old one they'll work it out. But will they take it that far? They only ever saw it twice and that was months ago. We can tell the difference but we've lived with the old one for years! We even left the original tiles in, which makes quite a difference.
Why bother? Well, the one we want to keep is a lovely original Victorian fire surround. The one we've replaced it with is a cheaper reproduction that doesn't quite look as nice. What we didn't want to risk was never being able to find one with the same character.
Tomorrow I need to get some plaster and "plumb" it in. Karen will then re-paper round it and you'd never know. Although I was completely against the idea to start with (why risk the whole thing over a fireplace!?) I am now confident we've done the right thing.
Legal? I don't know. Can't see how it's illegal though!
All in all, a productive day. I couldn't have done all this without my dad, who drove up in my brother's pickup truck and left with all the parque flooring. Thus saving much-needed space in the truck.
In our bedroom at the moment is a rather ugly chest of drawers from, I think, Ikea. May well be Argos. Either way it's cheap and tacky. It wouldn't be so bad if it had a little more capacity than it does. What is it with cheap, modern chests of drawers!? Why is it that the actual drawers have to be such that they have no capacity to store much at all? if they held more than they did I would be all for cheap drawers.
As it is, I find myself looking for antique chests. There's loads of them on eBay. A few months ago I found one going cheap. It was going cheap for a reason. It was painted and in need of a lot of TLC. The seller had bought it thinking he would one day get round to doing it up (don't we all). I too bought it from him thinking what a great pet-project it would make. Hmmm, late nights in the garage sanding and glueing. Alas, I saw sense and passed the project on to a friend.
My mate, Jason, is a trained furniture restorer. And a good one too. He owes me a favour or two and offered to get the set of drawers looking top-notch for a decent price. Here it is as a work in progress:
As you can see, it needed some imagination but should turn out a nice piece of furniture. Jason has stripped, sanded and waxed one drawer as an example. Nice work J!
The new house will take a lot of filling but I really want to try and do it without any trips to "Cheap Furniture R Us". This cheap crap will never one day be an antique. What from our time will ever be antique?
Cost of drawers=£69. Cost of restoration=£100. Cost of hiring a van after driving to Sheffield only to find it's too big for a car=£35. Cost of years of service from a lovely piece of furniture=priceless!