Tuesday, August 9, 2011

A Modern Vintage Challenge...

Here's a photo of our spare room looking pretty OK. It gets scruffier at times, believe me! The look is cheap IKEA plus old favourites - a faintly vintage look with the aim of pleasing everyone - guests, Ben (more '70s cottage modern than me) and my pupils - many children and younger teenagers work in here with me for their lessons. My baby blanket is on the bed, on top of a thrifted crochet throw, a modern machine-boutis cover and our very favourite but now ancient duvet cover (circa 1993, I think).

Beautiful American hand-crafted lampshades, given to us as a wedding present,

sit with a few interesting bits and bobs on either side of the bed we made when we got back from our honeymoon.An oil painting by a friend (another wedding present) and a photo of Talkin Tarn, given by church friends when we left Brampton, Cumbria, sit above shelves of children's books, used for both teaching and nostalgia. Other books that guests might enjoy tuck in where there's space.

My grandma's oil painting of Brixham, presented by the Soroptimists when she left the town after years of service, is above the bed. It preserves the Brixham of the 1970s that I hold in my memory - I stood at the top of those stairs holding a collecting tin with my grandma so many times - the Royal National Lifeboat Institution, The Royal Society for the Protection of Animals, The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, ('Try to look like a rescued child, my dear - they might give us more...'). I also counted the steps up with increasing exhaustion when returning from trips around the town. You can see why I hankered after this painting so much...So, in this mild yet memorable mish-mash, the old desk I picked up for 30€ really didn't stand out too badly. OK, it was a bit wobbly, and when the handle fell off I replaced it with cord, which confused some of my pupils, and anyone with longer legs might find them slightly stuck under the drawer, but it worked OK...

Until last week, when a lovely 12-year old girl I teach (we'll call her Student X, she'll enjoy that) phoned me up and asked me if I wanted her old desk. The conversation went like this:


Student X: 'Floss, we've done up my bedroom and I've got a lovely new red desk from IKEA, and I was wondering if you'd like the old white one - I expect you remember it?'


Floss: 'Student X, are you telling me that your old desk is nicer than the one in my spare room?'


Student : 'Well, I don't want to be rude, but... yes.'


Floss: 'OK, I'll come and pick it up on Monday. Thanks very much!'

Thus, a sleek, white, modern desk is now nestling into a corner of our spare room. It is bigger, stronger, and better for teaching.


See how it goes with the vintage mirror Ben and I picked up decades ago in Cumbria...

This is my first real test of the excellent principles set out in Emily Chalmer's latest book, Modern Vintage Style. She looks at how an eclectic home filled with things you have, plus things you like, plus things you collect, can be the best of all worlds, and not a meaningless mish-mash. I knew when I read/sighed/dreamed over this lovely book that I wanted to interpret this style in my own way. This desk is my first opportunity. Thanks, Student X and Emily Chalmers!

Now, friends, any ideas?


Sherri B. said...

Your spare room is lovely with so many special things from your past. I especially enjoyed the gifted painting to your grandmother and the story that went with it.
So nice to have students with an eye for decorating too!

Maggie said...

Hi Floss,
I love to read posts like these, it allows me to indulge my nosyness!
Thanks for stopping by earlier

A Trifle Rushed said...

I just love the idea of modern vintage style! My amazon wish list is getting longer!

wendz said...

If you removed the mirror and put a collection of mixed size frames, old and new, making sure there are some floral images in the mix, you'd have an interesting modern vintage corner. The chair/s you use there could also be brought into play.