It's all about upcycling
A new home doesn’t have to mean new belongings - blogger and Persimmon homeowner Joanne Derrick shares how she incorporates pre-loved possessions into her interior style.
All images provided by Joanne Derrick
I love all things early twentieth century, being particularly keen on Art Deco-inspired design, so I was happy to make use of much-loved family furniture in my own house, my beautiful Persimmon Corfe in Wiltshire, where I’ve lived with my family since 2016.
Recently my dad who’s 86 and has dementia has gone to live in a care home. It’s been an emotional time but he’s happy there and it seems to be the best thing for his needs. We’re selling his house, and so my four siblings and I have been having a clear out. My brothers haven’t wanted to take much furniture or possessions, but my sister and I have kept certain items, especially those with a sentimental connection.
I have grown to love the cabinet Dad had in his living room which used to belong to my grandma and grandad in their 1930s bungalow in Bristol. I loved my grandparents, so I’m pleased to have something that reminds me of them, especially my grandma, who I fondly remember helping with the veg on a Sunday morning when we’d visit, the smell of roast beef and starched tablecloth filling the kitchen. My husband and I moved our little eBay bureau upstairs onto the landing and found we had the perfect space behind the sofa for the cabinet.
A new lease of life
Cocktail cabinets and drinks trolleys, particularly those with a 1920s Art Deco-vibe, around the era of my grandma’s cabinet, are very on trend. So, once we’d found the key (Dad had squirreled things away around his house!), I was excited to fill the cabinet with our glasses, drinks and the accessories we’d accumulated over the years to create our very own cocktail cabinet.
I installed a magnetic battery-operated remote-controlled light at the back for a touch of drama. Once I’d filled the shelves, happy with the light illuminating the gorgeous gold backing panel and setting off the crystal and glasses, I set about styling the top of the cabinet.
On top I placed an antique pink vase that I bought second hand a few years ago, and then a Next ceramic jar in a blush colour. To keep the cocktail theme, I bought a mirrored tray online. This display looked great over Christmas with some candles and the light up bottle my lovely mum got us. I’ve since added a picture frame filled with one of the Japanese art pictures from my 2021 calendar. If I like something I will always find a way to repurpose.
Second hand style tips
To fill your own display cabinet, pick a style you like and then gather objects you have around the home. See which colours and designs work together, then throw something in that is slightly ‘off’. For example, if you have a lot of nick-nacks of a certain style or colour, try something bold and contrasting to make your display pop.
Charity shops are excellent places for antiques and interesting curios from other eras and are not too expensive. I’m never brave enough to try them, but car boot sales are good for unusual finds too. If you have a lot of glass to display, some backlighting is a great way to enhance the sparkle and adds a sense of decadence to the room.
I’d recommend looking online at Pinterest and interiors features or in magazines for inspiration. I was late to the Downton Abbey party, avidly watching the series in lockdown. Having become a Downton fan, I used the show as my inspiration for my cabinet, channelling Lady Mary and Lady Edith in their glitzy London flapper phase. I’m keeping my eye out for pretty early-20th century glassware, as I found a renewed liking for crystal when I saw the Grantham’s table set for dinner.
My dad, it turns out, is a bit of hoarder. His house always looked clean and tidy but once we started opening cupboards and began exploring, it seems he didn’t like to throw things away. Best find was a car bumper in the loft - yes, really! And for me personally, my Bionic Woman flask last seen circa 1982. More recently we found my Silver Reed manual typewriter which the kids, my two teenagers, are fascinated by.
So, dig around in the loft and check out your local charity shops and jumble sales, for what is one person’s rubbish can truly be another’s treasure.
Find more articles from Joanne over on her blog, newbuildoldstyle.uk
And check out her Instagram @newbuildoldstyle
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