The armchair lottery

This week I bought two 1930s club chairs on ebay. We picked them up locally from an upholsterer who had them as a project but is moving house so just wanted them gone quickly. I was traumatised when he told me he had thrown the matching 3-seater sofa into a skip lorry. He was a lovely guy and I felt bad that I only paid 99p. On another day even in this (disgusting) state they could have made him £100.00. But it wasn’t another day, it was a Wednesday. They were only ever going to appeal to an optimist or a masochist (I am not a masochist). They appear to have been re-covered by a professional in the late 60s, but I think it has been done out of necessity rather than love. The current fabric is pink, semi-shiny and hideous, and I recognised it instantly from furniture in my relatives’ houses when I was a child. Surely no-one would have just ‘had to have’ that fabric?!



The springs look fine to me – but what do I know? I have started removing all the tacks and staples during my lunchtime so that I can try to template the fabric and chuck out the horsehair. Ambitious, I know, but I have bought some leather and I hope to be able to completely re-stuff and replace everything, using just the wooden frames and the existing springs. The bottom line is that they cost me 99p for the 2, so I am allowed to make errors as I learn. And as Baz said, if we find a quid down the back of one of them, we’ll be in profit!

At last – the date is in sight

The intended completion date is now 20th August. We are excited and relieved, but we will have to let the notaire sign for us as we cannot get over until the week after. The timing means that we will take possession just a few days before my 50th birthday, which is pretty fantastic.

missing finial thing

The plan is to go over and ‘camp’ with sleeping bags and inflatable mattresses for a few days. It’s one way to find out if the toilet works(!), and it will help prepare me for the weeks that I go over alone to get the repairs etc underway. Now the sleepless nights will start, as I start to panic about whether Baz will see potential in the building or be disappointed, and if it is as I remember it…..

What can you get for a tenner?


I was very excited when I saw this rusty chandelier on ebay. It definitely has a touch of the Jugendstil about it. It was honestly described as having two missing, one chipped and one smashed shade and broken glass in the body too, but no-one bid on it and I got it for ten pounds. It’s very heavy too. The guy selling it was so nice that he packed it all up for me (brilliantly, I should add) and wouldn’t take any money for the packing materials. Apparently he bought a very large hotel laundry basket at a local auction and this was inside when he got it home! If anyone knows how to safely remove rust from something like this please let me know, and I will have to find new shades for it, which is a shame as the piece has a very clear style and different shades will dilute this, but it has to be given life again. I may have to look into metal paint, but there is some silver metal coming through where I started with my toothbrush and Brasso. I have done lots of googling but cannot find anything like it anywhere. Daybedsandsilverchandelier 007firststepstorustremoval