Sunday, January 16, 2011

furniture restoration

Well, all I can say is that it's just as well decluttering wasn't one of my new year's resolutions (it totally was, but we'll ignore that...) because I have been taking home other people's rubbish again. Just a few days into the new year, I walked out of my house to go to the supermarket and almost immediately walked right into a haberdasher's counter that was being thrown out and was lying on the pavement in the rain. I have always said how much I would love to have one of these (and Graham has agreed) and there it was. I was all on my own though and didn't know what to do. I couldn't carry it home myself and I didn't want to leave it in case someone else took it. Just as I was contemplating standing guard for 2 hours until Graham came home from work, the man who was throwing it out came out of his shop to tell me that I could have it if I wanted it but I had to get someone to help me and take it away now. We struck a deal in the end that I would take all the drawers and the glass top away just now and would come back for the unit in a couple of hours. The unit was only about 150 metres from my house, but it was 150 metres up some steps and a very steep hill. I began lugging the drawers up the hill two or three at a time. It was hard work, but nothing compared to the glass counter top which weighed approximately half a tonne and was taller than me. I did a lot of sweating and grimacing and huffing and puffing, but I got that home too. It took me over an hour to complete the humphing, so I went back to ask the nice man who was throwing it out if I could leave the unit outside his door for half an hour so that it wouldn't get picked up with the rubbish before Graham could come and help me to carry it. The nice man said that was fine and came to help me carry the unit the five metres or so to his shop door. And I couldn't even lift it. It was sooooo heavy! With much struggling and the help of a very strong Australian woman, we finally moved it to the shop door and I set off to tell Graham I had some heavy lifting for him to do on his way home. Fortunately Graham was excited enough at the sight of the unit not to mind helping to carry it. The man from the shop lent me a pair of gardening gloves and we flexed our muscles and set off up the stairs with the 20 tonne beast. I could literally only go about a metre at a time before having to shriek, "Stop! Put it down! Put it down!" like a big girl's blouse. We did make it home eventually, though it was not easy.
The main unit is still sitting in the close waiting for me to clean it up (and is attracting much "oohing" from neighbours, which I'm sure will turn into "arghing" if I don't clean it and take it inside soon) and the drawers are taking up the entire floor of my craft room and preventing me from doing any crafting. Unfortunately, four drawers are missing. Annoyingly, I think someone must have taken them just before I got there because the man who was throwing it out said it had all the drawers. My mum reckons my uncle (who's a joiner) will be able to make me replacements though. I have no idea where I am going to put this piece of furniture once I have cleaned it up and part of me wishes I'd never seen it. The other part of me, though, is delighted beyond belief to have made such a great find.
Last week we were in a beautiful new shop called Pierrot et Coco. It's full of lovely things, but is worth visiting just to see the owners' talent in interior design and window displays. They had a haberdasher's counter as their cash desk (beautifully cleaned up and renovated) and as I was pointing it out to Graham and getting excited at how lovely mine could be, we got chatting and told the shop owners about my find. They were almost sick with jealousy and recommended I sell the thing on eBay for a small fortune, which is what they had had to pay for theirs. Tempting as that is, I've made up my mind - I'm keeping the baby! Even if I have to rearrange my whole house/life to fit it in somewhere...
Most of the drawers still have labels on them. Baby bibs...
baby frocks...
jersey suits...
and, saving the best till last, a drawer for jumpsuits!

I have really got to pull my finger out and get this thing cleaned up... but I think I am going to go to the cinema this afternoon. Coming from a family of stutterers and stammerers, I feel duty bound to go and see The King's Speech. Perhaps I will don the old rubber gloves this evening.


  1. What a find! I am actually green with envy, as I would LOVE one of these. You deserve it after your epic trek with it! Can't wait to see it all cleaned up - hurry!

  2. I'm thinking I'll have to turn my home into a shop. It's hard to think what to store in it otherwise, or how to set it up so you can see in the glass side but still access the drawers side... I think the reason I have not attempted to fix it up yet is that I am a bit overwhelmed by it all. It's definitely exacerbating my general feeling of not being able to relax in my own home because nothing works/fits how it should. Hopefully it will all be worth it in the end! :)

  3. OMG!!!!! You lucky so and so!! What a fabulous find. Can't wait to see it all restored :) If you ever need to find it a new home.......... :D

  4. Once it's inside my house, it will never be moved again. It is truly a beast!

  5. WELL DONE YOU! Maybe you could have like a 'craft bar' in your sitting room and play cafes, cocktails and shops ALL AT THE SAME TIME! Wow, I really want one... I was just introduced to P et C by my best pal the other week - did you see the origami stars kits? and the alphabet bags?! and the huge and unusually flavoured lollipops??

  6. For some reason the unit has been making me think of cocktails too... Long-term we're thinking of rearranging the hall (though this means throwing out things I don't want to part with) to create a lounge/bar area and using this unit as a divider/storage for olive forks and fancy napkins. Goodness, I love cocktails.

    EVERYTHING in Pierrot et Coco was gorgeous. We bought some circus and strongman plasters in super-cute tins, some playing cards and some stickers, but I wanted so much more. Imagine winning a supermarket sweep type experience in there. Drool...


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