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In the Frame

7 Dec

I’ve already talked about how style is subjective, but, for me, nowhere is this more magnified than when it comes to choosing art. Whether it’s a bold typographic print or a set of family snaps, hanging something on your wall is a massive statement about the kind of person you are.

With that kind of pressure it’s no wonder that lots of us make safe choices or settle for empty walls. Go to a gallery or a chic lifestyle boutique and it can end up costing a fortune; shop on the high street or a run-of-the-mill online retailer and you can get the feeling you’ve plumped for nothing more than identikit art.  There’s no doubt about it – genuinely individual, affordable art isn’t easy to find.

What’s more, once you’ve found a piece to set your pulse racing there’s still the business of finding its perfect position, and – the real challenge – a frame to give it the presence it deserves.

I’ve done quite a bit of research recently, and there are some stunning, original, breathtakingly beautiful works of art available if you look a little off the beaten track. And, even better, they are significantly less pricey than their high street equivalents. In fact, there’s a whole underworld of talented designers coming up with clever creations available on websites such as etsy, and directly through a multitude of individual blogs and websites. {I’ll share some of my favourites with you in a future post.} The thing is, they almost always recommend hanging these prized pieces in an IKEA frame.

Now, I’ve got nothing against IKEA. Go there lots, love it, have bought tons of IKEA frames in my time {little tip for you though – Ribba frames look miles better painted in an accent colour picked out from your picture}. But, there is an alternative…

Original vintage frame

Discovering this little treasure in a junk shop started my rather passionate love affair with old picture frames. This one has been left untouched – it’s too gorgeous to cover a single inch of its faded gilded detail. But even the most wonky, dusty, dilapidated frames can have a new life with a lick of paint. Match that with an original piece of art that has character, originality and bit of personality and you have something that can hang on your wall with pride.

Thought you might like to see a couple of my recent projects {available to buy where marked}.

Framed butterflies {I’m for sale – get in touch for prices, dimensions and further details}

Large butterfly collage in vintage frame


The original frame {picked up from an interesting dealer at Fontwell racecourse} housed a rather austere canvas print of Sir Winston Churchill, but I’m afraid he got consigned to the cast-off pile. I repainted the frame in Annie Sloan Old White and brought back some of the intricate detailing on this fantastically chunky and unusually deep frame. The interior is a collection of vintage detail butterfly postcards embellished with buttons and sequins and sat on scraps of threadbare hessian.

Small framed butterflies {I’m for sale – get in touch for prices, dimensions and further details}

Small butterfly collage in vintage frame

This is the kind of frame just crying out for something pretty to live in it. I painted it with yep, you know what, added a little wax for a creamy finish then rediscovered some of that delicate gilding underneath. For the image I chose a vintage style paper and used a decoupage technique to add some flying butterflies for a collage-y feel.

Antique chair prints {I’m for sale – get in touch for prices, dimensions and further details}

Antique chairs print

Antique sofas print

Both these frames and the prints came from Ardingly antiques market. I chose a Duck Egg Blue for the frame {Annie Sloan, of course} and followed that colour scheme through into the prints by adding a delicate wash of colour to the architectural style sketches. A dramatic mount with black interior gives this classy little couple a graphic finish.

Commissions {contact me if you have something similar in mind}

A friend of mine came across my collection of frames {casually stacked and cluttering up my hallway} and asked if I would frame two of her recent acquisitions – a sweet Rob Ryan original and a Clerk Ink Well letterpress poster.

Rob Ryan in vintage frame

For the Rob Ryan I chose a decorative little gilded number, painted it in Annie Sloan Old White and gave it an antique white mount just so it could be shown off in all its simple, endearing splendor.

Clerk Ink Well poster in vintage frame

The letterpress poster makes a bold statement, so it had to be something grand in dimension, but unfussy in its detail for the frame. It’s been deliberately knocked about and distressed for bashed-up appeal and I couldn’t resist giving the pared back print an unashamedly self-confident mount in berry and black to match its cheeky {fabulous} sentiment.

It started with a chair

1 Dec

Two chairs, two totally different styles. Both have inspired me in their own way, so it seems a good place for my Create Vintage journey to begin.

vintage shabby chic chairvintage shabby chic chair












The French country style chair {on the left} caught my eye ages ago. At the time I wasn’t an avid vintage collector, it was a true impulse buy. Let’s be honest, it’s hardly the most glamorous little seat. In fact, forget shabby – it was borderline destroyed. But something about its unassuming demeanor and pretty proportions totally won me over.

I bought a matching pair, and they became my first revamp project. I covered up the tired old oak with a couple of coats of Annie Sloan Old White paint {more about that in a later post} and cleaned up the rush seat. And then I set about bringing right back some of that lovely distressed character. Sometimes I just think the more bashed something gets the better it looks. First mission accomplished, and a taste for resurrection born.

The rather more fancy balloon backed chair {on the right} was something I picked up at auction. By now my chair obsession was well established {and almost raging out of control – you should see my jam-packed garage!} Not only that, but having done a French furniture painting course, and signed up to study upholstery with a group of like-minded revampers, I felt like the challenge of something more formidable. Upholstery is a true skill, and a time-consuming one at that, but re-stuffed, re-covered and repainted I think this curvy-legged creation looks – well – a tiny bit magnificent.

On first appearances there’s not much that links these two chairs – they are from different eras, one is endearingly simple, the other is all carved legs and sumptuous trims. But for me it’s finding the beauty in everyday things that has changed my approach to interiors. Because don’t you think that’s what true style is – mixing and matching bits and pieces that you love, choosing stuff just for the sheer joy of it? Giving new life to something that still has a place in the world. That’s what I hope Create Vintage is all about.

ps: {Expect to see more chairs here soon. I’m working on a cute little decoupage number at the mo… can’t wait to show you. Next time though, we’re talking picture frames!}

Something old, something new…

30 Nov

Hello, and welcome to Create Vintage. Thanks for dropping by!

Someone wise once said, ‘Style is knowing who you are, what you want to say, and not giving a damn.’ Well, I don’t know about not giving a damn {because I really, really hope you’re going to like what you see here}, but I’ve certainly got lots to show, and plenty to say too, so I’ve finally decided to share it.

There’s no doubt about it: style is subjective. Having worked in the creative world of magazines for over ten years, with some of the most talented editors, photographers, stylists and art directors, I know that we all have our own critical viewpoints, tastes and judgment. I’m not saying my radar is impeccable, and I’m definitely no interiors expert, but recently I’ve been on a mission to find stylish, individual furnishings and home accessories that have their own unique story to tell.

My conclusion is that ‘vintage’ offers a quality and authenticity that you just don’t get on the high street. And my approach is simple – I just do the bare minimum to reinvent a fantastic piece for the modern home, uncovering its charm so it can be used and adored again. When you get the right mix of old meets new it’s pure style magic.

All the pieces I’ll be sharing with you, over the next few weeks and months, have been hunted for and carefully re-crafted, or as I like to say, ‘collected and resurrected’. From elaborate picture frames to perfectly pretty tea cups, elegant chairs and endearingly careworn home accessories, I’m going to seek out the future and potential in treasures that deserve to be given a second shot in life.

No destination is too daunting on my eternal hunt for gorgeous things. Whether it’s a cobwebbed cellar or a far-flung junk shop, the occasional moments of delightful discovery make it worthwhile. All my pieces have their own diverse origins, but they all have one thing in common – utter loveliness. I’m not talking antiques, or collector’s items or kitsch little trinkets… All the bits and pieces I’m going to share with you have age and beauty on their side and have proved their credentials to be as relevant now as they were in their prime.

The things I fall in love with are chosen for their originality, usefulness, style or sheer beauty. Forget high-tech, mass-market and factory packed; handmade, vintage and home-crafted is the kind of shopping experience that I think buys you a satisfied smile and gives your personal space some soul. Nothing is run of the mill or mass-produced. Each item I search for is individual with a character all of its own. Some will be given a new lease of life with a personal touch, others will appear in all their outright glory. And if you fall in love with any of the pieces you see here, please get in touch, because almost all of them will be available to buy and make your very own.

Come back soon for my first discoveries, due to be dusted off any day now…

Coming soon…

3 Nov