Day 20: Changing Rooms (Part IV)

Good morning, people!

Today was the day that I finished off my gorgeous new desk.

Yesterday I primed the whole thing, and then left it to dry overnight.

I started by putting masking tape over all the areas I wanted to do in pale pink, and started with the ‘wine’. 

 The first layer of paint goes on. . .

After a second layer over all the darker sections, I peeled off the tape and started on the ‘rose’.

The final stage is to varnish, to protect the paint, and, of course, to add the beautiful drawer-pulls.

Et Voilà!

From this:

To this:

Lots of Love,

Shopaholic xxx

P.S. Yesterday I reached 1,000 views. Thank you so much for reading!


Day 17: Changing Rooms (Part I)

Do you remember the BBC2 programme ‘Changing Rooms’? I used to love it.

Smiley, smiley, Carol Smillie. DFS sofa-designer Linda Barker. Fuchsia and zebra-print –obsessed Laurence Llewellyn-Bowen.  Good old Handy Andy.

A friend of a friend had her house made over by the Changing Room team. Unfortunately the end result was foul and shoddy; curtains had been hung, in a gravity-defying trick, with blu-tack.

Those were the days.

But this is 2012, not 1997. Although the word is not yet included in the OED, ‘upcycling’ generates a whopping 1,850,000 results on a well-known search engine. In Changing Rooms, there was a certain catharsis in ripping out high-quality, if unfashionable, antique furniture. Instead, cheap materials such as MDF were revered for their very disposability.

Nowadays, though, we are all aware of our carbon footprint, and of the need to reduce the amount of waste being sent to landfill. While the “see it, want it, buy it” mentality is still our society’s mantra, the increased use of websites such as Preloved, Freecycle and Gumtree indicates that some are turning their backs on cheap, throwaway products, preferring to invest in antique or high-quality, second-hand items.

Upcycling is part of this movement. On the web, it is defined as “the practice of converting waste materials into products of greater value” or “reusing unwanted items by turning them into new products”.

In the past I’ve rather snubbed this idea. Generally, I prefer modern pieces over antiques. I also thought that it was only any use if you had a great haul of old furniture stashed away in your loft, bursting with potential. I, on the other hand, am starting from scratch, having only moved out of the family home comparatively recently. If you have to shell out for battered old furniture, you may as well opt for the minimalist, relatively inexpensive designs of IKEA, I believed.

As I mentioned in a recent post, though, I have just inherited a sewing machine table from my grandparents, which I am going to use as my new desk. In contrast to my usual style of plain white or light-toned wood, this is very dark, with brass handles. I began to wonder how I could adapt the piece, to fit in with the rest of my bedroom.

From this…

To this?

I started out by researching how to paint a wooden piece of furniture. I learned that it would require a primer, paint and then a polyurethane gloss to protect the finished article. All very technical!

So, I placed my order with Homebase, and when I get home from another week away with work, I’ll get started. I’ll let you know how it goes!

Day 8: Dream Destinations and… Desks

My housemate is returning home to Brazil at the end of the month, after ten years in the UK. “You must come and visit!” she tells me. Having promised to visit my family in Cambodia, and one of my best friends, who lives in America, I’m steadily clocking up those imaginary air miles. I’ve told her I’ll visit when I have enough money. That’s quite a flexible statement. What’s the definition of “enough”?

Unfortunately, my dream destinations fall pretty low on the priority list at the moment. The laptop I inherited from my (then) ten year-old sister is on its last legs. Two of the keys are missing, so I have attached a clunky old keyboard I inherited from my grandmother. Yesterday, booting up and opening the internet took twenty five minutes.

I tell you what, if my blog goes viral, and I get a six-figure contract with the Times, I’ll buy myself a laptop.

Part of the downsizing I mentioned in yesterday’s post was getting rid of my luxuriously large desk. I love being able to spread out when revising; laptop in one corner, study manual in another, paper to write on in another, and question bank in another. Fellow ACA students will know what I mean… Now, though, the desk has got to go. There’s no way it would fit in my new, scaled-down bedroom.

Within an hour of putting the desk up for sale on Gumtree, I’d had a response. Sold, and fifteen quid in my back pocket. That’s 3% of my loan taken care of!

Serendipitously, my grandparents were getting rid of an old sewing machine table, to make way for a bookcase. (The hoarding of books is a family trait; my great-grandfather was a librarian, see Day 2’s post at Voilà, one new (free) desk!

The local free entertainment on Sunday night started up again this week, after a four-week summer hiatus. It was lovely seeing my friends again at church; although I’m a somewhat esoteric atheist-Christian, I had been feeling spiritually bereft in August. Even if, intellectually, I’m a reluctant believer, I do get a great deal of pleasure, warmth and friendship from my Sunday-evening outing. Plus, to add to my savvy-saver credentials, it is a free night out…

After the service, three of us were discussing meeting at the pool for a swim before work. “Oh, you go to the posh gym” one of them noticed. Yes, I suppose I do. I go the gym that’s on my route to work and back, because it’s pretty much the only way to get myself in there. If I had to take a ten-minute detour to get to the pool, I’d be far too lazy to ever get to the door, let alone do an hour’s workout. It’s something to consider, though, isn’t it? The gym is one of my regular outgoings, and crossing that of the list of direct debits would certainly help the bank balance. I’m not saying I’ll cancel my membership, or switch gyms, just yet. But I’ll think about it…

Thanks for reading folks.