Category Archives: Vintage Home Living Blog

How it all started…

I’ve always been interested in DIY, but that was taken to a whole new level when we bought Pendower nearly 9 years ago!

The property was in dire need of complete renovation and we were naively completely undaunted!

We’ve carried out most of the work ourselves, taking several years and lots of blood, sweat and tears. As we’ve put rooms together, I’ve up-cycled some of our current furniture and added vintage pieces on a budget. This made me realise what really interests me and instilled a desire to one day have my own vintage business.




A new beginning…

I’d like to say a big Thank You! to all you lovely people who have read my previous blogs and the interest that Vintage Home Living has had since I set it up over 2 years ago. Shortly afterwards, I went to work for a new business that grew impressively, taking up more and more of my time, to a point where I had no spare time to follow my own dreams.

Last week I said goodbye to my colleagues and have taken the plunge to living my vintage dream!

My aims for this site have not changed over time and I will be updating it, adding the shop and sharing my news, views and stories!

Thank you for your continued support! x


At least one job finished!

Golly, it has been a very busy year at work and my blog has been sadly neglected, but I’ve given myself a nudge and promise to post more often in future!

Lots of things have been happening at the VHL house since my last post!

The old office has been turned into a lovely teen space for step-son and his old room is slowly evolving into a new craft room.

Hubbie kindly found all of my collected horde and stacked them up for me to see – unfortunately, there was no room to move, so I’m trying to sort those items I want to give attention to first. I look at each piece and have this urge to love it, but I can’t love it all at once! Once I’ve conquered the furniture mountain, I’ll keep you posted!

We decorated the hallway. well, I say decorated, we started on the hall and worked our way up to the landing as far as our bedroom, where the paint pot now sits…

IMG_1554In defence of our inability to finish the hall, I moved on to making a new front door curtain and window blind for the landing, while Simon moved on to the back garden as soon as the warm weather arrived. The mud pool will be no more….

IMG_1566I did, however, finally get round to finishing the utility room – it’s only taken 5 years… I had no excuse, the tiles and paint were under the sink!  The room has a lovely utilitarian feel and I’m really pleased with the outcome.



It’s very exciting!

Well, that was Christmas and New Year, done in a flash once again. Now the longing has started to welcome spring. This winter has definitely been the windiest I can remember, and although it’s reported to be the wettest, it hasn’t seemed to me like the monotonous pouring of some winters. However, I must concede that when it falls, oh boy! Bucketing it down has been the correct description. Our little back lawn that I was so proud of last summer currently resembles a swimming pool. Whilst I’d be happy to have a swimming pool, the outdoor mud version in our British weather not so appealing. We may have to rethink the back garden this year…..

When we renovated the house, I chose the back bedroom on the first floor for my office as it has an – albeit, distant view of St. Michaels Mount – in my view that’s enough! Now I say ‘my’ office, but Hubby had very definite designs on this space and it didn’t really suit my requirements.  The last couple of years have been spent working less at home and my desire to have more of a craft room has grown. My stepson jumped at the chance to have my old office as his bedroom, so we are in the process of freshening it up and turning it into a teen space.

This means that I will soon be turning my stepsons old bedroom on the top floor into a large craft space, where I can renovate small pieces of furniture, have my sewing machine permanently set up and an area for creating new ideas.  It’s very exciting!….


The Sofa Project…


When the weather started to turn Autumnal, I mustered up the enthusiasm to carry on with the sofa re-upholster, which has been an on-off project for the last year. It wasn’t so much that I didn’t want to finish it, just that everyday life got in the way and being such a novice meant that as soon as I got back into the swing of it, it was time to do something else! I decided therefore, that I would commit myself to it fully, on my days off, ignoring all but necessary housework and Mum jobs, with plenty of time to get it done before Christmas. Then a little brown letter plopped through the door ordering Jury service and its completion was suddenly a little urgent.

Well, it was the kick that I needed and after several days of holing myself up in the dining room with a favourite cd and a mug of coffee I emerged triumphant at my accomplishment and totally done with it!

This was my first sofa re-upholster and I’m self taught, so it’s not perfect, but I am really thrilled with the finish and would urge anyone to have a go. I completed the look with some cushions to match the curtains I made last year.


Now that the weather is hot!


It’s been a while since I last posted a blog – its been a bit hectic in the VHL household. Local elections, redundancy and then (thankfully) a new job have rather taken precedent. As always there’ s something to be done, but it’s a lovely afternoon and nothing pressing, so I’m allowing myself the pleasure to write.

The hot (note: not warm – but hot!) weather has drawn me out of doors. The sofa renovation not quite yet complete, stands abandoned in the dining room while I turn my attention to the garden. Only a few months ago I was whining to my Husband about how awful I thought our little back garden was. Its only colour was the fading Camellia flowers, long wet grass and brown bare beds, but now the summer plants are in full glory and with the addition of a few annuals, I must concede that it’s looking quite lovely.

The gardens have been evolving slowly over the last couple of years. Mainly due to the fact that if we’ve had any dry weather, we’ve had to utilise it to carry out house or garden furniture maintenance. Of course, the purse strings are another factor. Whilst watching garden makeover programmes on the television, full of excitement and anticipation to practice the same, it soon turns to a little envy of the fact that those program makers spend a small fortune on their planting, whereas our budget is a little more restrained!

I try and pick up bargains like supermarket buys or post flowering shrubs and trees that are selling a little cheaper.

I’ve been trying to remember to take photographs, so that during the winter months I will remember where my perennials are and plan my summer planting around them, whilst there’s still plenty of summer bedding plants in the gardening stores. Unfortunately, this year, I waited until it was in full spread before plugging the gaps, but there wasn’t a lot to choose from, so the colouring is a little hap-hazzard!

I came home one day last week thrilled that I’d managed to pick up some bargain spring flowering shrubs to give the garden some early colour next year, only to realise that having already filled the spaces with some odd coloured verbena, I actually had nowhere to plant them!

Maybe I’ll go back to finishing the sofa….


An oil cloth armchair?

Some days are sunny. Cold, but sunny. Spring is tempting us with the slightest touch of sun on your cheek before the wind slaps it off again. The buds are forming, to prove that the twig like structures are really still alive and the birds practice their best ‘pulling’ calls between gusts.

Having finished all the sofa surfing, hand stitching jobs for the moment, I must return my attention to the sofa standing barely dressed in the dining room before the weather is warm enough for gardening again.

A couple of years ago, we were given a three piece suite that had belonged to Simons Grandmother, who had sadly passed away. It is lovely to be given vintage furniture and we were delighted to receive the suite but you then have to find places for items that you might not have originally worked into your interiors scheme. Having only recently bought new sofas for our lounge when we renovated, we decided to split the suite up and placed each piece in a different room. The armchair that ended up in our breakfast room was immediately adopted by our canine girls and after a few months began to look and smell a bit doggy. Not a nice smell in any room, but especially not next to the table where we eat most of our meals! I thought about making a loose cover for it, that I could throw in the washing machine but realised that I would have to make two, one on and one in the wash, plus that would be double the cost and effort. Then I had a brainwave – I’ll re-upholster it in oil cloth!

“Nooooo” I can hear upholsterers across the land shouting! As well they might. It was not one of my cleverest of ideas. I have only upholstered one armchair previously (the other in the pair), so not what you might call experienced and the problem with oil cloth is it’s not very pliable. Most probably the reason why you don’t see furniture covered with it?

Anyway, having purchased my cloth – that’s what I was doing! I stripped the chair and the sofa at the same time hoping to finish both before Christmas,  but sadly I ended up having to mothball the sofa over the festive season.IMG_0459

As time goes on, I know that if I don’t get back to finishing the sofa soon, I’ll lose the will to, just like the window seat cushion. I was sitting in the car this morning waiting for the troops to board when I noticed the sofa springs and hessian through the window. Not a good look!


Window seat

I always have a project on the go.

Something I can pick up whenever I get a few hours and want to turn my attention away from the everyday chores. It’s at this time of the year when the sun is shining and the spring flowers are smiling, belying the outdoor chill, that I yearn to be out in the garden, but actually there’s not a lot I can do out there at the moment and it’s too flippin’ freezing! So, I’m finding things to do indoors whilst sitting in the sun that’s coming through the lounge window.

There’s a perfect sunny spot on our sofa that’s a great place to sit and tack. Now, I love making home furnishings, but I’ve got to admit that I really don’t love doing the tacking bit. In fact I positively hate it! Anything that can make it less tedious, is good for me – sitting in the sun, favourite tunes and a nice beverage and I’m away!

For years, I had been putting off finishing a cover for the window seat cushion in our bedroom. It’s 1 ¾ metres wide and I just couldn’t bring myself to sit and tack it together, first there’s the piping trim then the piping to the front face and so on… but as cushion covers go, the fabric cost a bit and I couldn’t justify not doing it. Besides, the naked foam seat looked so drab!

Anyway, thanks to the cold sunny days, I’ve finally gotten round to finishing it!


One morning about 5 years ago, I was held up at traffic lights outside a home interiors shop in the town and in the window, not surprisingly, was a display of wallpaper. The rolls were unravelled from floor to ceiling and in the middle was a design so full of colour, it really grabbed my attention. So much so, that I nearly missed the lights! The pattern was bold and colourful and I loved it, but just could not see how it could fit into our quite traditional home.

We were finishing the renovation of our bedroom, some months later, when I remembered that paper. It wasn’t quite what I had in mind though, having dreamed of a serene feeling to the room and already decided on a turquoise colour for the walls. I got hold of a sample, all ready to talk myself out of it, and would you believe, part of the design included the exact colour I’d already chosen for the walls, so I decided to use it as a ‘feature wall’ behind our bed.

I was looking through a magazine the other day and I saw a wallpaper that I thought was just gorgeous and showed it to Simon – “but I’ve no idea where we’d put it?” I whined. “You could always redecorate the bedroom?”, he offered.

We looked at each other and slowly shook our heads – I’ve only just finished making the matching window seat cover! – I now have another sunny spot to sit and tack though.






Hello and Welcome!

Hello and welcome to Vintage Home Living!

This is my very first ever blog post and I’m feeling a mixture of excitement and trepidation! As I type I’m feeling rather sorry for myself with a cold, but as I hate to sit around doing nothing, decided it was time to take that first leap, so here I am, laptop at the ready, morning sun warming my chosen spot on the sofa.

I’ve been yearning to do this for some time, but life sort of got in the way! It’s not until the major renovation works are out of the way that you realise just how much of your time you put into it. Visitors used to say to us ‘How do you find the time?’, but actually, life revolved around it. I could be slapping on lime plaster one minute and checking a roasting chicken the next, but with 3 young children to look after and us both also working, we just had to get on with it!

The children are teenagers now and I work part time. Vintage Home Living is a passion, which I will endeavour to share: our experiences, tips we’ve picked up along the way and offer for sale, items suitable for the vintage home, that we continue to collect, but which are filling our house to bursting point!


When I think about my childhood, I can remember that I was always making things – or as we tend to refer to it now, crafting. Like a lot of children, I loved to make things and in particular turning cereal packets into properties. I had a whole street, with houses and shops. The shops had cling film windows and goods for sale made from dough, resembling bread, cakes and fruit and veg.

Then, when I was old enough to use my Mother’s sewing machine, I began to make dolls’ clothes from scraps of fabric for my more grown up looking dolls. I would find uses for all sorts of things including that little plastic figure of eight piece that is used at the back of a bra strap (I’ve no idea what it’s called?), which made an excellent belt buckle for Sindy.

My parents moved to Cornwall when I was 16 and I couldn’t wait to tackle my new bedroom. Bravely, they allowed me to redecorate it myself. It was the late eighties and black ash furniture was popular at the time. Mum gave me her dressing table stool, which was a brown wood seventies style and I hated it. However, I had a plan. I bought a tin of black paint, a small black ash effect shelf and four connection blocks and turned it into a coffee table. I was still using that table years later when I bought my first flat! Decorating the bedroom wasn’t as straight forward as a bit of paint and paper however. A previous owner had done a dodgy DIY job around the window and I had to learn to mix plaster filler, after pulling out the bundles of newspaper they’d shoved down the cavity. Even at that age I guessed that wasn’t quite the right thing to do!

It was around that time that I started to make my own clothes and bags. As a typically strapped for cash teen, I’d buy clothes from charity shops in larger sizes and take them in myself, or make bags using tablecloths or skirts.

My parents bought me my own sewing machine for my 21st birthday, which was just before I bought my first flat. It was quickly put to good use making Roman blinds and hasn’t really stopped since, contributing to the creation of cushion covers, curtains and upholstery. I periodically give it a little clean and oil and on it chugs.

And on I chug too!!