If Tables Could Talk…

If Tables Could Talk…
If tables could talk, what would yours say?

Upcycling another kitchen table, I wonder what stories it would tell if it were able to talk? I think about the families and friends who have gathered around the table over the years… What conversations, debates, arguments and silences would have taken place across the table top? And I think about the occasions and celebrations that would have taken place around the table such as Christmas dinner, birthday parties and romantic anniversary meals.

 

Some delicious food would have been served, as well as some bad! There would have been many cups of tea and coffee poured, as well as some spilt. Clinked glasses and toasts. Lazy Sunday breakfasts with time to read the paper and rushed midweek breakfasts with not enough time to eat.

Family laughter and tears of joy as well as squabbles and dinners eaten in silence.  Homework, baking, sewing, writing, kids playing and more activities besides. Maybe even a businesses that started from the kitchen table?

I can almost hear the voices, laughter and tears as I continue to sand and although the marks magically vanish I don’t feel as though I’m erasing memories, I’m giving the table a new lease of life so it can go on to be the centre of family life for many years to come.

 

 

 

I wonder what secrets your table could tell?

Have a good week.

Jo x

 

 

Moving into Corbridge Antiques Centre

Moving into Corbridge Antiques Centre

Things have moved on. I’ve now joined Corbridge Antiques Centre, showcasing vintage and preloved furniture as well as some quirky home accessories. I’m giving Reloved by Jo all of my time. No part-time job and no caddying for my golf pro hubby. My working life is now all about furniture, styling and interiors. I’m working with people who want to improve their interiors and people who appreciate lovely furniture, whether it’s well made pieces, vintage or antique. It’s a pleasure that I never tire of.

I’m no longer showcasing a few pieces within a small shop, I have my own area within the Antiques Centre and this suits me perfectly. It means I don’t have to be on site to sell my furniture and home accessories as Alison manages and takes care of sales which frees up my time to source and up-cycle more lovely finds. With the weather being so good this time of year, I’m taking full advantage and working outside whenever possible too. I will however enjoy popping in on a regular basis.

  

Moving in day turned out to be one of the warmest days of the year which my son, who was helping me, found quite exhausting. It was very exciting all the same. Corbridge Antique Centre has a lovely atmosphere. You can wander round at your leisure, it’s relaxing and friendly. The stands within the centre are very different so it makes for an interesting place to browse.  I had chance to meet and chat with some of the other stall holders who were very nice and complimentary of my work and I also met the neighbours from RE, a quirky home accessories shop and couldn’t help having a quick look round myself! Corbridge shop owners seems to have a camaraderie and Corbridge itself has such a nice feel.

I spent the following morning unveiling and pricing my stock. As well as my much reloved vintage furniture, you’ll find new cushions made from vintage fabrics, French baskets, antique mirrors, quirky lighting and cake stands (as seen in the movie Paddington 2).  I’m hoping my stand will have an impact on most people who walks through the door.

      

  

I’m very excited to see how my first month pans out and very pleased to have a presence within the village of Corbridge. The draw back (if there is one) is that Corbridge is a very good place to shop so I could end up spending more than I earn!

I’ve already been made to feel very welcome and I’d like to make you feel welcome too by inviting you to pop in and see my work. I hope you like it as much as I enjoy creating it.

Have a good week.

Love Jo x

 

 

A Little Bedroom Romance

A Little Bedroom Romance

Wouldn’t we all welcome a little more romance in the bedroom? Well this beautiful French dressing table will certainly give your bedroom scheme a romantic feel. I love the curves and elegance of this beautiful piece of furniture.

I bought this dressing table from a French dealer at an antiques fair. It’s just the style of furniture I like so it was a pleasure to work on. I chose a soft grey from the Farrow and Ball range. Cornforth White in an eggshell finish. It’s now one of my favourite shades of grey.

The handles were in a good condition and just needed a clean. They’re very pretty and the antique gold colour works well with the pale grey.

I lined the drawers with a paper similar in colour to the paint. I like to finish off pieces of furniture so they look and feel as nice on the inside as they do on the outside.

A pretty bedroom scheme for this dressing table would include white, pale greys and pale pinks, creating a very elegant and feminine feel. I would dress the room with a few gold accessories such as an antique gold mirror, photo frames and candle holders.

So, yet another piece of furniture, Reloved by Jo, that I’ll find hard to part with. I wish I had the space to keep it!

Have a great week.

Love Jo x

 

 

Going Green in More Ways Than One

Going Green in More Ways Than One

Going green had a double meaning for me this month. As someone who is passionate about up-cycling, my work is obviously good for the planet and with the introduction of a lovely new green paint that I couldn’t resist, I literally was ‘going green’ with this job.

Bought at auction, I’ve been sitting on these chairs for a while now – excuse the pun! Chairs at auction are plentiful but not always in sets of six. The shape is also quite simple which attracted me to them.

When a new paint colour is introduced to the market that I like, I think about the stock I have and what, if anything, would suit that colour. That’s what happened in this case and these chairs immediately sprung to mind.

Originally dark wood with tapestry covered seat pads. This is how they looked before I started work.

Pre-loved chairs

Chairs always take longer to up-cycled than people imagine they would. They need sanding, priming and at least two coats of paint. I also then apply a matt varnish for a little more durability. Then there’s the upholstering to do…  All worth the effort though as you’ll see here.

Green vintage chairs   Back of chairs   Looking good with white-washed table

The Fern (Autentico) is lifted by the use of Jack Black (The Little Greene Paint Company) and Almond (Autentico) and the fabric brings them all together. Although white and greys are still very popular, I enjoy using different colours as it keeps my work refreshing and I like up-cycling furniture in colours that you can’t buy off the shelf. My work is bespoke after all.

Botanical fabric

These lovely hand-painted chairs would suit an older style house, I can imagine them in a dining room or maybe a garden room sat around an old oak table. They would look fabulous next to a vintage dresser similar to this one.

Black painted chair and vintage dresser

So going green in more ways than one has been fun. It’s now Spring, that time of year when gardens are starting to come to life, so have these botanical chairs.

Have a lovely week.

Jo x

Where Old Meets New

Where Old Meets New
The Brief & My Vision

I wanted to create a light, bright kitchen that would be a pleasure to work in, a joy to eat and relax in. A living room, not just a kitchen. I wanted a kitchen that is on trend but one that wouldn’t date easily. As I’m a furniture stylist and up-cycling is a passion of mine, it also had to include some old and pre-loved pieces of furniture. I wanted white and greys to give the feeling of light and space and a mix of natural woods for warmth and character. I love grey and natural wood together.

When I’m up-cycling furniture I usually have a vision of the finished piece in my mind. Sometimes that vision changes as a piece develops but on the whole, I usually create what is in my head. I worked the same way with my kitchen. I had a vision in mind before I started and knew exactly how I wanted it to look. However I would advise creating a mood board, it’s far easier to show people what you want rather than try to explain sometimes.

 

The Structual Stuff

My new kitchen was doubling in size and needed structual work. This included knocking down a wall between the kitchen and utility, taking out the garage wall and moving it back 5 feet to give us the room we needed, raising the floor and ceiling and taking out the window and back door to install large French doors. Quite a big job. My garage was to become my new workshop which needed electrics fitting and a door through from the kitchen. A thermal electric garage door was also on my list to keep me warm (and working) in the winter. These photos were taken at the start of the building works.

Kitchen Design Before - Reloved by Jo 2   Kitchen Design Before - Reloved by Jo 3

Kitchen Design Before - Reloved by Jo 4   Kitchen Design Before - Reloved by Jo 6

Budget, What Budget?

Once I had decided on the style for my kitchen, the budget was set. This soon disappeared as the kitchen progressed. There were certain things that I really wanted, i.e. wooden worktops, quality units, nice flooring, etc. and although I don’t mind shopping around for a bargain, I’m not very good at buying something just because it’s cheaper. It has to be right too. For the work that was being carried out the budget was quite tight and I knew I would go over on this occasion to get the kitchen how I wanted it. However, a good quality kitchen is definitely an investment.

 

The Design

The units were more or less staying in the same place with the addition of a large breakfast bar and room for a table, chairs and a dresser. I wanted a white kitchen. One of good quality, shaker style with a wood grain. Sounds simple, however finding pure white (non-gloss) units was almost impossible.  I could have bought chalk white, antique white, dove white, in fact any shade of white except white! So I ended up choosing a bespoke, paint to order kitchen from Matthew Charlton blowing the budget for the units straight away! However, the units are good quality and worth the spend. My advise when choosing cupboard doors is to take them home and look at them at different levels, in different lights. The same goes for worktops and flooring. Don’t just look at samples in your hands, in a showroom, you’ll get a false idea of how they might look when fitted.

Kitchen Design - Reloved by Jo 2

 Kitchen Design - Reloved by Jo 5

I really wanted solid wood worktops, even though my builder tried his utmost to persuade me not to have them (because they usually go black when sat near sinks, coming into contact with water). However as my job is to work with furniture and wood I didn’t see it as a problem. I treated the worktops before they were fitted with a fabulous product from Treatex. I even impressed my builder and electrician who had to admit what a good job I’d done and how good they looked. So, happy with my solid oak worktops I started searching for a breakfast bar and and found it at Granite Transformations. With a very subtle fleck in it, it was beautiful. Nothing else compared. The difficulty was choosing between two shades which would have both worked. I had to have it. The budget increased again.

Shop around for deals and then buy what you want anyway.

If you’re lucky you might get a deal on your preferred choice. If you buy something purely because it’s cheaper, you’ll probably regret it in the long run. I know I would. It also depends on how long you want to live with it or whether you’ll be moving on. Even the sink ended up being a top end ceramic model but it was in keeping with the rest of the kitchen.

Kitchen Design - Reloved by Jo 4

I did shop around for my white goods, and bought some from John Lewis (who weren’t as expensive as I thought they would be) and some from ao.com – Bang on budget this time.

The finer details matter too. I wanted pewter knobs and handles but they were ridiculously expensive, even for me. But Claire from Matthew Charltons found some ironware from a company called Hafele which were great value and a fraction of the cost of pewter. They look the part and I actually prefer them to the pewter ones. A bargain.

Be brave and creative.

I wanted to use a mirror in place of tiles behind the cooker. A few people thought I was mad but it has made a massive difference to the kitchen. As you would expect, it really opens the room up. At first glance you think it’s an opening into the room next door but then you realise it’s a mirror. A tip when fitting mirrors – If you have old walls I would advise fitting plasterboard on them first so as to give a flat surface for the mirror to sit on. An uneven surface can cause the glass to crack if any pressure is applied. It’s a myth that it’s hard to clean too. Just one little tip though… don’t look in the mirror first thing!

Kitchen Design - Reloved by Jo 3

The ceiling I painted white and used French Pale Grey (161) from The Little Greene Paint Company for the walls. Their paints are so good to use. For the flooring I didn’t want laminate because it’s not as warm underfoot as wood. I couldn’t afford solid oak, however, I was lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time and found a great deal on some engineered oak flooring and I love it. I knew it would look and feel great.

I chose spots with dimmers for the working side of the kitchen with a low watt strip light along the top of the units. I wanted a vintage/industrial look, nothing too pretty and nothing too industrial. I found them hard to source locally and eventually bought a couple of styles online, one pair were quite expensive but perfect and the second pair I wasn’t sure about but they were quite nice too. Being able to try them at home helped me decide.  Yes, you’ve guessed it, the most expensive ones were the ones I chose (why change my habits). With the combination of spots, vintage lights and lamps I can vary the mood of the room considerably.

Kitchen Design - Reloved by Jo 8

Up-cycled Furniture

I may have gone over budget on the kitchen but I did manage to save money on the furniture. The old dresser had been fitted to the wall of our old utility and I thought when the builders took it off the wall it would fall to pieces but when it came away in one piece I was delighted and soon set about up-cycling it.

I took the top doors off, changed the cupboard doors, added a cornice and gave it my magic touch. It cost me very little. The secondhand farmhouse table was a deep orange pine when I picked it up. It had been given a varnish to the top that was extremely hard to remove, but once I’d stripped it back, white-washed and protected the top and painted the legs it was perfect. I wanted all the chairs to be different sizes and shapes with some being painted and some left natural wood. The old oak chair I fell in love with at an antique centre. I was actually scouting for space to showcase my work for Reloved by Jo and came out with the chair and no space! The large wheelback chair I bought at auction for my husband and painted it. Two of the other chairs I already had so up-cycled them in various greys and bought the two light oak chairs for just £7.50 each.

Unfortunately I couldn’t find old stools in the style I wanted so had to buy new ones. I did buy them in a sale though and as soon as they arrived started sanding them down and painting them to fit my scheme (I can’t help myself.) All bang on budget!

Kitchen Design - Reloved by Jo 7

The Invention Test

It’s hard to choose the best bit of my kitchen because everything counts in making it a beautiful, stylish room. However I’d have to choose my bin as being the best invention within it! I didn’t want a large bin sat in the middle of my lovely kitchen, it would have been a bit of an eyesore. And I didn’t want a small integrated bin that would need emptying three times a day. I was quoted around £175 for a large bin that would sit inside a slim cupboard (that didn’t include the cupboard).

So I set about inventing my own integrated, tall but slim fitting sliding bin. I designated one of my 300mm units to be a bin cupboard from the start. It was a challenge to find a tall bin to fit the space. I bought and returned four bins before finding one the right size at Homebase. A bargain at £24. I then bought a kit from Ikea for £18 which was designed to integrate one of their bins and my builder adapted the sliders from the kit, screwing them into the cupboard and into my bin. We then added an old pull handle and now have a bin that pulls out of the cupboard with ease. Situated at the end of the breakfast bar it’s in the perfect place. It was a good team effort. I love it!

The Nice Bits

When the builders have gone, do your best to finish off properly and dress the room. This might mean shopping around for bits and pieces which is quite time consuming but don’t leave it as it’s likely you’ll go on to start something else and you’ll never finish off the finer details. It makes a huge difference. Buy your glasses, clocks, pictures, frames, cushions, candles etc. I just had to have a large wooden wall clock (even though it cost more than my table!). I’m not a big TV fan, however I thought it would be nice to have a TV in the kitchen to watch whilst preparing meals, eating breakfast, etc. So the TV sits on a bracket that moves in almost any direction so it can be see from wherever you are in the kitchen or dining area. I also have a great sounding DAB radio/CD system that sits on the dresser. It’s nice have choices and make the room comfortable and inviting, after all it’s a living room, not just a kitchen.

My Tip

If you’re in the process of having a new kitchen fitted be open to suggestion but stick to your design if it’s what you want. On a few occasions I had the builders and my husband stood behind me making alternative suggestions. I did listen and give their suggestions some thought but then stuck to my guns if it was really what I wanted. Sometimes this meant more work for the builders but the finer details and the finish have made the kitchen really special and my builder never complained (to me) and is very proud of the results too.

My Team

Everyone that worked with me was great; Patrick my builder of course and his team. Claire from Matthew Charltons. Karen from Granite Transformations. Even the girls at Greggs for making us coffee and bacon rolls when I had no cooker!

I must say I did have the best builders in the North East. Their attention to detail is second to none (absolutely necessary for me as unfortunately I’m a perfectionist). They didn’t take much looking after. I always made sure they had tea, coffee and biscuits to hand and that I was only ever a phone call away if they needed me to make a decision. After the first week of early morning starts they had the pleasure of seeing me first thing in the morning with ‘bed hair’ and no make-up – lucky them. It was entertaining listening to them bicker whilst working and I must say, once their work was complete the house did feel a little empty but lovely to have my beautiful, spacious kitchen.

Kitchen Design - Reloved by Jo 10    Kitchen Design - Reloved by Jo 3   Kitchen Design - Reloved by Jo 4

Kitchen Design - Reloved by Jo 5    Kitchen Design - Reloved by Jo 6   Kitchen Design - Reloved by Jo 7

A big thanks to everyone involved and to Katie Lee Photography for taking these lovely shots.

Love Jo x

From Ducks to Dressing Tables

Back to Work

So after a great break on the Norfolk Broads (which I’d recommend to anyone wanting a complete break as there is literally nothing else you can do apart from drink, eat, read and drool over the beautiful riverside properties as you pass by) it was back to the North East and upcycling furniture.

Norfolk Broads,
The Broads
Broads 2
Our first mooring

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Broads 3
Beautiful riverside properties
Friendly neighbours
Friendly neighbours

 

 

 

 

 

 

Unexpected Problems

It’s nice to have something to look forward to after a holiday and I was very much looking forward to upcycling this dressing chest, however, when I took delivery I didn’t realise that the veneers on the front of the drawers had lifted in places and needed more TLC than I’d anticipated.

dressing table preloved
Preloved dressing chest
Veneer problem
Veneer problem

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After rubbing down and painting several times to try and prevent the bubbles re-appearing on the drawer fronts, I ended up cutting them out, filling, sanding and painting again. And, because the dressing table was made up of so many parts that I’d dismantled in order to paint properly, it took an age to put back together again. Still, the final result was well worth it…

 

From Preloved to Reloved by Jo

A very pretty vintage dressing chest painted in Autentico Milk eggshell which is neither white nor cream (I love it). I thought about introducing new knobs but I liked the original ones and sometimes you can take the character away from a piece rather than enhance it by removing bits and pieces so I painted them in the same colour as the chest and applied a gold rub over the top to give them a nicer look.

Full view
Reloved Dressing Chest

 

Top detail
Top detail

 

Handle
Handle

 

Drawers
Drawers

 

Hope you agree. Click here for more details.

 

Love Jo x

Upcycling a Coastal Retreat

Upcycling a Coastal Retreat
Upcycling is more popular than ever, not only for your own home but for second homes too!

Since starting my upcycling business last year (which I love!) I have steadily built up a list of satisfied clients as well as creating beautiful upcycled furniture to sell through my website Reloved by Jo. One of my more recent commissions was to upcycle some furniture for a holiday cottage, The Old Ale House, which is new to the collection of Coastal Retreat’s five star holiday cottages. When the refurbishment started, it was an ideal time for me to remove the old furniture from the cottage so I could work my magic from my workshop, creating bespoke pieces of furniture that would fit the new scheme and it also gave the decorators space to work.

Furniture for this holiday home included a gentleman’s wardrobe, a dressing table that was to be converted into a chest of drawers, a bureau, a beautiful but damaged chest of drawers, an old quirky cabinet, a large built in kitchen dresser and half a dozen old chairs. Repairs were needed on several of the pieces, however generally the furniture was of good quality (which is usually the case with old furniture) just a little tired and dated.

The brief for the furniture was to be ‘quite masculine and quirky with some brightly coloured pieces’. So, after a lot of TLC (prep, priming and at least two coats of paint) this is how the furniture now looks. What were old and tired pieces of furniture, are now quirky, bespoke pieces that help make the cottage extremely inviting.

Click here to take a video tour of the cottage and see my work in more detail and if you would like to book a stay at The Old Ale House (you just might after seeing the video) include the code Reloved5 for a 5% discount!

If you have a holiday home in the North East and would like some furniture upcycling, just get in touch.

 

Love Jo x

Bathroom Vanity

Bathroom Vanity
This beautiful bathroom vanity was remade for sharing!

I love elegant old furniture so when I spotted this sideboard at an auction it was high up on my bid list.

Preloved old sideboard
Preloved old sideboard

A quality piece of furniture made by a company in Newcastle-upon-Tyne in the early 20th Century, it did have some sun damage to the top and was almost too good to paint, however, I had something special in mind for this piece…

Sun damaged top
Sun damaged top

With it’s beautiful bow front, shaped back panel, pretty doors and claw feet I thought it would make a stunning double vanity. I have memories of vanity units from when I was a child, coloured basins sunk into cheap modern units which were considered posh in those days. I had something much more luxurious in store for this beauty.

Work in progress
Work in progress

So, I had a vision (I always start with a vision) and couldn’t wait to get to work. After preparing and priming I applied three coats of Autentico low sheen eggshell in Bright White. Once the taps and basins arrived I had the holes cut, ready for plumbing. As well as being pleasing to the eye, I wanted this bathroom vanity to be practical too so the cupboards and drawers can all be used.

I can now imagine this stunning double vanity in an older house (for all the right reasons) with two ornate mirrors placed above each basin, sitting alongside a roll top bath. It will certainly be a talking point for any guests!

Reloved vanity unit
Reloved vanity unit
Traditional style mixer taps
Traditional style mixer taps
Counter top basin
Counter top basin
Inside view
Inside view

I thoroughly enjoyed upcycling this piece of furniture. It turned out exactly as I’d imagined and I hope it gives the new owner/s many years of pleasure.

Click here to see more of my upcycled vintage and preloved furniture.

Love Jo x