Adding a Little French Vintage

P7380025I am quite sure that anyone who lives in an old house, centuries old as opposed to decades old, has asked themselves at least once “Wouldn’t it be nice to live in a nice new modern house?” A house where everything worked and nothing leaked. A house where the drafts were kept out and the windows didn’t rattle. You see, these old ladies, whether grand old dames or more modest affairs, take an enormous amount of upkeep, they tend to be something of a drain on one’s resources and as my mother in law always told me, we live with them, always aware of the next thing that needs to be replaced or repaired, the next job around the corner.

But, and there is always a but, they are very rewarding. However, not everyone can live in a 200 year old house full of original features. That doesn’t mean everything has to be new though. Adding little vintage elements around the home can make all the difference.

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Mixing old with new is often a match made in heaven. This is one of my favourite reading spots

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The table is from the mid 1800’s and the bronze lamp is very old, I remember it in my grandmother’s study. However the shade is from Ikea! I know everyone loves to hate Ikea, but it does have some fabulous items, the trick is to use them very sparingly. I had been searching for a similar style shade for over a year, I just could not find exactly what I wanted and I came across this in Ikea in Portugal, the black matt fabric contrasts well with the gold, of all things to bring back from a trip abroad! But here you have it, a 19 euro shade surrounded by genuine antiques.

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One of the places we all tend to spend a lot of time is in the kitchen and cabinets come in all shapes and sizes. We have mixed old and new. I cannot deny I actually love our modern cupboards and drawers that we installed. I enjoy the soft touch close, the clean lines and the fitted interiors. I would hate to be without my Kitchen Aid for baking and the Magimix for when there is a lot of chopping to be done. However, it’s something of a conundrum, wanting a vintage home and embracing antiques whilst needing modern elements and all the practicality that 21st century design offers.

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Fortunately the vintage magnifies the stark lines of the contemporary and likewise the modern item enhances the time worn elegance of vintage.

P7370760I have always really enjoyed styling our homes. I am absolutely no expert, but I know what I like and I know my own style. I very strongly believe that our homes speak for us. A room should be welcoming, a place where guests instantly feel at home, a place you never want to leave. A place where you can make yourself a cup of coffee and just stand and look and think, yes, I like it here, I am happy. Little things should speak to us, something we have inherited, or something we have bought because we just love it, or something with a long history behind it. Everything should have a story.

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Our home is a complete mixture, we have some very old inherited antiques, that go back to our great great grandparents and beyond.

P7380014Some things are vintage finds that just spoke to us and had to come home with us. Some have cost more than others, some we have had to work on at length. We have sanded, painted and reupholstered,

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and we have had to be creative. These three paintings are all inherited from a cousin of my great grandmother’s who was quite a well known British Victorian watercolour artist. However, when we hung them they looked lost on the old stone walls, so we came up with the idea of sitting them on a picture rail and this is where we had to be a little inventive. This was an old iron bed rail we had in the barn which we spray painted gold, the result was just what was needed.

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A very recent find is this mirror. I saw it and pounced on it! It stands nearly 4 foot tall and it was sitting out in the rain, unloved and unwanted. The price was an absolute steal. But it needs a LOT of work. It dates from the second world war and is very likely of German design. This is where my knowledge ends and now I need your help because I know many of you are very talented.

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I don’t want to completely restore it and take away all of its character, but it does need a little TLC, the question is how to do it? Have any of you worked with plaster and decorative moulding? Daughter number 2 is very talented with this sort of thing and I know she will help with the fiddly bits, but how to do it? Any ideas would be very much appreciated, because this is way beyond my level of expertise. I have hung it in our guest house and it looks fabulous but I would love to make sure that no further pieces fall of and take care of it.P7380045P7380047P7380046

Recently we have been busy hunting down new treasures at the plethora of brocantes which spring up at this time of year. There is always plenty of choice and it is wise to allow plenty of time for browsing!

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A vintage bike from WWII

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These teddy bears were just asking for someone to love them. The one on the right reminded me of my mother’s childhood bear which she had given to me. It was a Steiff, the most aristocratic of teddies and it sat on the back of an old sofa in our farmhouse kitchen in the UK. This was when Roddy and I were first married and we had a yellow Labrador named Rosie. She was an angel and came most places with us. On one occasion she was left at home, and we returned to find the teddy bear completely demolished, stuffing all over the kitchen floor and the fabric torn to shreds, far beyond any possible efforts at repair. It was the only thing she ever chewed, but at least she had good taste!IMG_8198

And there are always some surprising finds, local hams and Kangaroo saucisson! When we got talking to the vendor he told us that kangaroos now live in the wild in France, who would have known! They escaped from captivity and now live in the forests outside Versailles and their numbers are multiplying!IMG_8187IMG_8188

Quite a few of the items here and plenty of other French finds are available in our Etsy shop. We have strived to always keep things at truly affordable prices and we are adding lots of new items today. (I wish I could say they are already up and for sale, but time has been scarce this week, you know how it is, the children are on spring break, there is always someone wanting something or to be driven somewhere. So I am spending the evening photographing and listing, please check back in a few hours and thank you for your patience!) But it will be worthwhile, remember everything is a one off piece and once it is sold it is sold. I know shipping is always a problem because of the cost so we will always combine postage costs with more than one item and if you are unsure just ask. There are plenty more things to come, we are adding all the time so please check back often! In fact this coming weekend will be one of early  morning starts and treasure hunting. We will be up with the lark and out of the door at sunrise!

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We have always, since the beginning, only shopped for things we would want ourselves. It is a simple rule that we have stuck to. Some end up being actually quite hard to part with! They find their way onto a shelf or a corner somewhere in our house whereby they take up temporary residence until someone claims them and gives them a permanent home. Remember if you are passing by this way do give us a call and drop by and browse in person, we would love to welcome you with a cup of coffee or a glass of wine whilst you shop!

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www.ourfrenchlifestyle.com
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108 thoughts on “Adding a Little French Vintage

  • Even in my 18 year old house, things have started breaking down. It is work to be a homeowner. We love antiques too and have found ways to incorporate them into our “newer” house. OK, kangaroos in France? That is wild! In the west prairies of Texas, ranchers raise African animals for hunting, but I have not heard of any of them getting loose.

    • I think perhaps different things go wrong in older houses, the pipes gurgle and the Windows rattle, the floorboards creak and the front doors which I simply adore are as draughty as anything, but wouldn’t change it for anything. I agree with you being a homeowner is hard work! Who would ever have dreamt we would have kangaroos in France in the wild, we did a double take when the man told us and then got into a long conversation! Xx

    • Thanks so much Patricia, we need to do a little bit of everything. I have some of the pieces which fell off once it dried out and was at home. Other places I think we just need to blend a little, I want to leave some of the white but maybe not all of it. I shall certainly look up the rub and buff, thank you xx

  • Your home is just gorgeous Susan, such good taste! I also love a mix of old and new, it adds such character to a home, I couldn’t imagine having all new. I also agree that you can mix in a little Ikea, they do some really great homewares, I have lovely hand blown glasses I bought ages ago that would cost a fortune elsewhere. They also do the odd collaboration with designers too.
    Re your new mirror, I can’t help, but it is beyond fabulous!

    PS. I had to check it wasn’t April 1st when I read of the wild kangaroos in France!☺ Xxx

    • Thanks Janet, I agree, the two do go hand in hand and the odd IKEA thing is very useful at a price which is also very affordable, of all the bizarre things I actually love their scissors! I am glad you like the mirror, I just had to have it and was so shocked to see it just lying in the rain, no woodworm at all, which is always my biggest worry with the older finds. Who ever would have guessed wild kangaroos in France and if they have adapted to living there who knows, maybe they will spread all over the country! Xx

  • What wonderful treasures. I love when things have a backstory. It does make life more interesting. It seems comforting in a very special way.
    Ali xxx

    • I totally agree with that, I love to carefully move the duster over the antique furniture and just see the shine on the wood and marvel that it looks so wonderful after two hundred years, if only we aged like that!! Xx

  • Love your story so much. Your pictures are beautiful. I totally know the feeling. I live in an 1895 small Queen Anne Victorian in Texas & although it’s not decorated with furnishing that far back. I do have a painting from 1895 & a table from that era, but my furnishings are from the early 20’s, 30’s & 40’s. I love the 1930’s. There was not a laundry room added on to the house, you had to go to unattached garage & that got old, so that had to be added, but only in an exceptable way through the historical society. My house is fun with its original bedroom wood floor & its many colors. I couldn’t dream of any place else.

    • It sounds absolutely gorgeous Deborah and I can imagine any additions you have done have been done in the original style as the historical society will have insisted on, which always makes everything look wonderful. It is fun to think that these old houses have been preserved for so long and continue to be lived in and loved. Our house did not have a laundry either when we moved here, it used to be outside in the what we now use as a summer kitchen where the well water is and where there is a fire to heat it! We made a small room that was just some sort of storage room into the laundry and it works rather well. Xx

  • Your place is most people’s ideal of a rural idyll. Tt looks lovely and very welcoming. You clearly have a great eye. Or should that be eyes?

  • You have a beautiful home. I also love to mix older pieces with new. We often go to our local troc where one can find all kinds of treasures, as well as a lot of tat! Our house in France is relatively recent so we are trying to add character through the interior. Wish us luck!

    • Oh yes there is always plenty of tat, but sometimes it is just people selling things to make a little money to help out and if they are able to do that then good for them, that’s the way I look at it. The fun thing is hunting down those treasures isn’t it. Sometimes we are lucky and sometimes we walk away empty handed but it will still have been fun. I am sure you will succeed with your house and as I believe the old and new mix rather well you should have lots of fun, the best of both worlds! Xx

        • Totally agree with that, it is that anticipation that is just so much fun, even if we come away with nothing. It’s like going to the candy store as a kid, never knowing quite what will be available. But when you fall for something you know you are going to love it for a long time. Do you have a garden to enjoy as well? Does that need ageing too? xx

          • We have a lovely garden here which leads down to the Canal du Midi but I do like to add quirky pieces here and there! We found a wonderful marble top bistro table with cast iron legs in our troc which will live outside.

          • I love finding things like your old table, sounds perfect for this wonderful weather we are finally having! Quirky pieces make everything a little bit more fun. Totally envious of your garden leading down to the canal!! xx

    • just read the running comments here – I too am quite jealous of your access to the canal AND the lovely bistro table. Of the few things I have never (quite) forgiven Hero Husband was a rectangular bistro table with marble top at a local brocante before we even bought our house, at €35 a steal but I got ‘handcuffed ad led away’ by him and am now for more than 10yrs making do with the two round mini marble-top tables I bought in UK. I so could have used those two elsewhere and would have ONE usable table in the kitchen, but NO! 🙂

      • We had two gorgeous marble topped bistro tables with cast iron bases. One got lost in a move, how can that happen I wonder and the second, the marble top got smashed in a move! At least we have one base still which actually forms a wonderful desk for Millie in her bedroom!! xx

      • Oh no! That table at your local brocante sounds an absolute bargain. It took us over a year to get ours, we’d already missed out on two by hesitating. They’re obviously in demand!

    • I will certainly let you know if I can find a way. This is just what this is doing and as it is in the guest house I am worried that people will knock it, but it also looks so good in its new home! I am determined to stop it getting any worse at the very least! Xx

  • Hi Susan, Do not repair your mirror. Only paint the white and obvious spots. The product Rub and Buff will turn an ugly brown after a while. Your better off panting the damaged spots with an acrylic paint, probably a soft black will work well.

    • OK, thank you Gina, we do have to find a way of sticking some of the loose bits as there are bits that are about to fall off. Then after that, yes I agree just paint the most obvious worst places and leave the rest, it all adds to the character. Xx

  • Being new around here and only making my first comment last week I am delighted to find this post today, all about my most favorite of subjects, interiors and antiques, loved everything here.

  • OMG that mirror is Amazing, now what do you call a steal? 50, 100 ?? It is fabulous and well worth restoring, I hope you find the answers you are looking for. Sadly I can admire but I can offer no help!!

    • Thanks Shari, a steal really is a steal in this case, for way less than 100! Super happy with it and I will find a way to make it at the very least in a condition where it won’t get any worse! xx

  • Reading the last comment perhaps I have to help. I would certainly wait until you are sure it is completely dry and then gently brush the mirror frame with a soft brush so that any other loose pieces come away. Better whilst you see them than not. Then you n the d to reattach them with a good quality hot glue. Then I would simply use again a good quality acrylic gold mix s with black and just touch up the odd place where necessary.

    • Thank you Amelie, this sounds like pretty sound advice. I think it might be quite alarming to brush away, even gently, at it, but if bits fall off in a controlled environment then you are right, I can find them and save them. Very good advice and I shall get to work this weekend before guests arrive and it is in further danger! xx

  • Your home is quite beautiful a perfect mix, but it certainly doesn’t look like you have five children in that living room and with those antiques, does that not scare you? Or is it, as I know is so often the way, a room that is very rarely used and one that is for high days and holidays only? That would make far more sense.

    • Thank you very much. Alas it is a sitting room that we actually use every day of the year. I grew up with a sitting room and a drawing room that we used only a few times each year, when my parents entertained and at Christmas! We only have this one room and the children were always taught from a very young age to put glasses and cups on coasters and to respect the furniture, we never moved any china or took any other precautions and it always worked rather well! xx

  • I love to see a collected home, one with bits and pieces from traveling, family, friends and finds. Your house is beautiful! I love your new/old mirror but I know nothing about restoring plaster. HOpefully someone else can help with that.

    • Thanks so much, this is just the type of home I love too, where everything has memories and a story to tell, it makes it totally unique and individual. Much though I love to browse through magazines and drool over instagram photos I also like to keep it very real. Hopefully someone will know something about restoring plaster! xx

  • I loved this post, Susan. I so agree about having a collected home. I cannot imagine having everything brand spaning new and from one retailer. Antiques give a home provenance and character. I cannot imagine living without them That kangaroo looks pretty tasty!

    • Thanks Cynthia, I totally agree, I cannot imagine just going out and buying everything from one or two shops either but I have certainly seen homes like that and ones that make their owner’s happy, so each to their own I guess. We actually bought a kangaroo saucisson, I mean we had to didn’t we! and it was quite delicious and certainly a first for all of us!! xx

  • I agree with remarks above that your home is beautiful, Susan. As we’re in a rental now, we live with decorative things a bit differently from what we would in our own house. We’ve started a house fund for our next (and last and retirement) home and finding that will be a big step, one probably not accomplished for some time yet, as retirement isn’t in our immediate future.

    We have a mix of new and old furniture, too, not so much vintage, though. I smiled at the lamp shade, as my parents have several lamp shakes that are old with the designs picked out on them. They look great, but don’t really shed enough light for my tastes. 🙂

    janet

    • At least you have a plan to look forward to and there is a lot to be said for renting, it certainly can save quite a few headaches! The lampshade really doesn’t shed much light, but in this instance that is what I wanted. It is underneath a window and so in the daytime there is plenty of light. At night I would never really sit there as it is far from the fire, I just love it to browse a magazine if I have a moment during daylight hours. We have so many table lamps around the room that I didn’t want too much light in that corner, just a gentle glow so it works rather well! xx

  • I remember reading about some one who painted a rubbery gel type stuff over the best plaster bits of a mirror’s frame. He let it dry, gently peeled it off and let it cure for a while. Then he supported it from underneath (maybe with sand?), and poured new plaster of paris into the empty molded shape. He let it dry, and turned it out, and voila! There was a new plaster bit to cover the missing plaster spot on the mirror’s edge.
    Then you’d have to find a glue that would hold, and make sure the new shape was flat to the mirror frame.

    • Wow, that sounds like a very good way to do this, I think it might be beyond my limited restoration capabilities! But it is certainly worth investigating, my other thought is to make some small plaster of paris balls and at least that way we can redo the beading around the edges. Thanks for your help, I shall certainly give this some serious thought. I know finding a good glue is key as I have quite a few bits to reattach already! xx

  • Your home is an ideal for many of us. I got very excited seeing some of the blue eggs starring in the kitchen decor! Now I have to say that I was convinced that the fellow at the brocante was just pulling your leg about feral kangaroos near Versailles, but looked it up, and it is true – well, they are wallabies after all, but have been in the forest of Rambouillet now for decades. Amazing!

    • Hi Ellen, we didn’t believe the story of the kangaroos either, in fact we stood and chatted for quite a long time, and like you I checked it out when we got home! Amazing, I wonder will they spread to the rest of the country, whoever thought we would have wild kangaroos in France! I am still so excited by our blue eggs, we have waited four years to find the hens that lay them close enough that we could purchase them! xx

  • Oh sugar! You mean I have to travel all the way to Charente Maritime to meet up with kangas?? Well, I, a ‘poor country girl’ who I am and have to meet up with kanga bangers yes, yes, that means sausages 🙂 !) every week . . .well, in that case rural which I may be as yet, am on an frontline culinary adventure . . . delightful journey as always, Susan . . .

    • Thanks so much, I thought you called bangers snags, or is that just a Kiwi thing! On that train of thought, we always called swimming things ‘togs’, a real NZ term and still use it to this day, not that anyone has a clue what we are talking about except our own family! But Kangaroo saucisson, that takes some beating, but as you can see from the basket, it was a winner, in fact we took the last one! xx

  • Your home is beautiful and you are getting some great advice about how to repair your mirror.

    When we visited Giverny two summers ago, my husband and I walked above the town on a rural road and saw kangaroos in a field. We couldn’t believe it. Such a strange sight in rural France. I hope they don’t become invasive as so many imported species do.

    • Thank you Lorrie, it is just too bizarre to think of them in the wild here, we literally did a double take when we saw the saucisson and could not believe what we were hearing. I too hope they don’t become invasive. What is to stop them travelling all over the country? it is a worrying thought. xx

  • Have you visited YouTube? You can find oodles of instruction on repairing, renovating, repurposing and more. Our son installs furnaces and air conditioners for a living and offered to fix the dryer when it stopped working. To my amazement I found him sitting on the floor watching a YouTube instructional video on just this subject and voila the dryer was fixed. On another note, I visited Paris and the Loire Valley in April of 2011 and I now realize that I have to get back to see the wild kangaroo in the fields of France. I really don’t need a reason I just KNOW I have to get back to France!

    • You are so right, one can find out pretty much anything on YouTube and google, it is at these times that we wonder what we possibly did before the internet! We have everything at our finger tips, but I thought some people might have some great advice and indeed they have and I am so grateful. Kangaroos is one reason to come to France but there are so so many others for you to come back, hope you can make some firm plans. xx

  • Using an old iron bed rail as a picture rail is wonderfully creative. I do love this sort of solution and get great satisfaction from finding uses for little objects that I have put aside to avoid throwing them out. My children used to adore their ‘useful box’, filled with bits of fabric, old (washed!) plastic bottles, string, cardboard boxes etc, when they were young.

    • Well you know what it is like in France outside of the big cities, one cannot always find just what one wants and even if we could find a picture rail of the right length I doubt it would have been in gold, so this was a perfect solution! Our children had boxes like that too, they were old shoe boxes. They are now stored carefully as I know when they are older they will just love looking back on them. xx

  • We have a similar looking mirror. When we got it we decided you renovate it and boy did it end up being a project. But a fun one in the end. Part of the frame was still the original wood whereas part of it was plaster. And, then there were the parts not there. As we purchased it at a rummage sale for 200 kronor (about 19 euros), we decided to just go for it. First we cleaned it up and blow off the dust. Don’t know if this is proper, but I used automotive body filler to repair the areas that were gone. It worked well, as the filler begins to set you can carve it. Once we finish, we spay painted it with an intimation gold leaf paint. That was about 15 years ago and it still hanging in the entry way.

    • I would say this truly is an ‘engineer in practical action’, Ron 🙂 ! One of your wonderful photos as a PS in one of your posts, please!!

    • Sounds like a fabulous project and another real bargain. Automotive body filler sounds like a brilliant idea, I am gleaning lots of ideas. At the moment I have taken it out of our guest house as we have guests staying! This way I can work on it hopefully this week or next and bring it back to life a little. xx

    • Ron, what you describe sounds very much like what we used a few times for various projects. It’s something coming out of a tube and we used it as ‘liquid wood’ and as ‘liquid plaster’ – very good, not messy at all, relatively affordable and satisfactory. Maybe Susan will look at the French equivalent of them….?! My experiences in this domaine date from Switzerland.

      • I am going to check them out this weekend, no time until then, but then I plan to work on the mirror a little next week when the children are back in school, it will be a fun project and this sounds like a good idea xx

    • Thank you, the problem with the mirror is that if anyone knocks it another piece will fall off! So something sort of has to be done, nothing too much, but a little something to hold it all together!! xx

  • As always a lovely blog post…. I am Australian and was unaware that our native Kangaroo – one of the the animals on our National Coat of Arms (the other being an Emu) had taken up habitat in France. When I read this to my mother who is visiting fro the weekend she was truly alarmed, 😏 but being an Aussie Francophile I sort of like the idea …

    • Ha ha, yes Australia has come to France! We truly could not believe it and firstly did a double take when we saw the kangaroo saucisson and then had to question the vendor to check he was not winding us up when he said they were in the wild. Who would even imagine we would have kangaroos here! xx

  • I adore eclectic – the mix of old and new and yes Ikea can come up with some great solutions to interiors. In my old kitchen they had the best crackle glazed kitchen cabinet knobs and oak panels for finishing kitchens. At the back of our little house we almost have all my mother in laws ancient family furniture ready for me to restore this year. Cant wait. Something so enjoyable about bringing old things back into use. We have a mirror in a similar style and state as yours and I need to have a think how to deal with it. At the moment it has a thick almost black varnish all over. I adore monogrammed linen and had to leave a huge case behind in UK as just didn’t have anywhere to store it. An old bike I found – is now in the garden and just for decoration as the colours are lovely. I think its quite old. And from my neighbour I did a barter for an old wheel barrow – that’s going to be used for bulbs.

    • You and I sound very similar, I love old things and repurposing them, but I also do love to add one or two modern pieces too. Good luck with your mirror, I think they become a total labour of love, ours is so heavy I can hardly lift it but it does need some work so that the plaster doesn’t completely all fall off! xx

      • I think you look under gesso plaster repairs and resculp from existing sections. Good luck. I replaced plaster corniced in my previous Edwardian house. Messy job but rewarding. Some bits done on form and some in situ with a bit if sculpting and using moulds.

        • I am rather excited to get started on this when I have a moment to spare. At the moment I just loo at it and then move on!! But it was just way too good to leave sitting in the rain and I am so happy that we rescued it. The project will be fun. xx

  • I wonder if daughter #2 might enjoy trying out a 2-part epoxy mix, to rebuild the pieces of moulding now fallen off? Just an idea.
    I learned of this product recently while searching for tips on how to deal with door trim paint that was flaking off. I live in a mid 1800 Carpenter Gothic home – hurray for the old growth fir beams (resists moisture, no insects…) and the door frames and trim are solid – but, painted with lead paint at one time. Under the water-based paint, there is a lovely pewter colour but – other than stripping and fumes, my only other option, because of the lead,
    is sanding and air particulate.. So I needed an alternative to blend the chipped corners of latex paint with the underlying oil layer and there is definition in the trim itself – it would be like “tractoring” over several hilly mounds, very close together! How would I do that so I didn’t have to repeat the process every few years? Not with drywall spackle – too weak and light in that location and the chipped areas might then crack in another spot, lifting my spackle! Not with caulking for similar reasons, also dries out over time. Youtube to the rescue with This Old House as a starter video. There are products that, when combined, become pliable between your fingers, moving like putty does before application. This 2-part epoxy is paintable (what you do about the finish is a question to be resolved after you bring back the frame’s decorative integrity.) This epoxy is available in a long tube, as used in a caulking gun but last week, after searching locally I found a small package with 2 small tubes. I think the key for me in trying out this product is it’s pliability and it’s strength (and it doesn’t dry out so fast that you cannot fix your mistake or make small adjustments.) With its pliability, small dexterous fingers could form the shapes you need. I suggest a series of small cardboard moulds (2 dimensional) with the correct definition and pressing the “putty” to get the definition first, and then adding each piece to the frame. My husband. created all kinds of these ingenious forms when working with wood; he called them “jigs”. That’s what I would try. Before attaching the new pieces, wet the edges and flat areas where the “putty” will sit to get a good bond. It needs something to grab onto.
    It’s probably painstakingly slow. Maybe worth a try – almost like sculpting!

    • Thank you so much Trish for this fabulous advice, I shall certainly chat to Millie about this, she is very talented with modelling clay, making figures etc., so this should not be too difficult for her. Now your house sounds wonderful, lead paint is a real problem, and something you absolutely do not want to mess with. Good luck in finding exactly what you need and I am quite sure you will. xx

    • We have lead-containing paint too on some built-in stuff but I’m not really worried about it. The family before us had 3 children born and growing up in this house and nothing happened to them, ever! As long as you don’t lick the paint off…. But it’s certainly very good to be careful when working with old paints and your advice is sound. We had a similar kind of 2-part epoxy and I remember that my father wasn’t too fond of it, really fiddley and one had to be super careful. But hey, if it works in the end, you would have a great job beautifully done.

  • to decorate your home is a very personal thing and though some pieces should have a story behind, then I will call it
    “well done”. I like to mix and match, new and old pieces, inherited or collected from journeys. Kangaroo meat….before
    I dared to taste it the 1st time I couldn’t believe how I will love it.

    • You do just as I do, collect, inherit and mix and match, it makes a wonderfully eclectic mixture which is totally unique. I have not tasted kangaroo meat apart from in the saucisson, but I do love aligator!! xx

  • “I think perhaps different things go wrong in older houses, the pipes gurgle and the Windows rattle, the floorboards creak and the front doors which I simply adore are as draughty as anything, but wouldn’t change it for anything.”
    Me neither. I feel I have been entrusted with the custodianship of this ancient monument and must do my best to look after it. I have sloping floorboards, whistling pipes (when the boiler works), draughts, damp and although when staying in a hotel I find myself thinking “why isn’t my bathroom as warm and comfortable as this?”, like you I wouldn’t swap it for the world.

    • Totally agree. We live with these old houses don’t we, they need plenty of TLC and plenty of nurturing. Yesterday, one of our daughter’s screamed whilst in the sitting room, there was water running down a wall! One of the pipes had broken in one of the upstairs showers, it was totally corroded with limescale thanks to our very hard water! When I stay in a hotel, I love the fact that the bedroom and bathroom are both warm, a steady constant heat, whereas here we go from hot, courtesy of the fire, to cold in the winter. But like you, I wouldn’t change it at all. Besides now we finally have some spring weather, it is gorgeous!! xx

      • Oh dear….. just what we had (and have) in the heating room – water coming across the outside wall ‘thanks’ to the work of our electrician who, when he fixed a few more pipes to the wall, large pieces of plaster came off and keep falling off…… Now we are waiting until we will truly have a hot spell of some length of time before we shall ‘re-make’ that wall and maybe even will have to ‘insert’ the pipes into a thicker ‘new’ wall!!!! The joy of old houses (and quite frankly, often very shoddy work!)

        • I agree. Fortunately there was no damage as the pipework was in between the beams in one corner of the sitting room. Roddy came to the rescue, went to Bricorama, bought the new pieces and all was repaired before I was even at home! But it never rains but pours with old houses! There is always something to fix or something going wrong!! Talking of hot spells, it was 26 here yesterday and 28 today. Yesterday the children were swimming in the sea, honest truth, and it is set to continue until Monday, it feels so good to eat outdoors and feel warm, finally. xx

          • I wish I had a Roddy ….. strictly for the DIY of course 🙂 🙂 I do love him dearly, you know that!
            I know, those temperatures, like a yoyo! Or is it jojo?
            When I visited my son & girlfriend in the mountains of Grison, Switzerland, it was biting cold with a very strong wind…. so I took my winter coat with me, the one with fur around the cagoule…. It nearly killed me several times, first on my way to Paris and got stored in the TGV, than walking to and standing on the platform, awaiting my trains, walking from the train station to my several ‘night places’….. Totally insane. In the mountains, I needed the coat, but the rest of the time it must have been at least 18°C – and coming back to France we had 33° in the shade in our veranda ‘tout de suite’ after. On Tuesday, I dried my two large wash cycles in less time than the washing took. All was either put away to iron or put back in the cupboards the same evening 😉

  • Susan, lovely things and life you have! I was curious about the baskets in the market…I have one just like it and knew it looked French, I guess I can call it a French market basket now!!😊❤️

    • Thank you Debbie. We love our French market baskets, we have several of them and use them for just about everything. For collecting flowers, fruit and vegetables, as picnic baskets and as shopping baskets. They really are the absolute best! xx

    • I wish I had now, but no I didn’t, I thought they looked so cute, took a photo and moved on. It was only when I looked at the photos, days later that I realised I wish I had bought one! Hopefully someone did. xx

      • I am always on the lookout for vintage bottle holders if you should find some, I already have quite a collection, but one can never have too many!

        • Ok, thank you, I will keep my eyes open for you, although I have only ever seen them a couple of times here and they are usually quite expensive, do you have a budget in mind? Have you bought the ones you already own in France? xx

  • I will be in France quite close to you I think. We are staying on the Île d’Oleron in June for a week and we would very much like to come by and do some shopping. How is the best way to contact you?

  • Back from Switzerland and ENFIN having the time to read this post – just before another one is ‘due’…. 🙂
    What strikes me most about your mirror is the beautifully worked decorative glass-trim…. THIS must be preserved by all means. I probably would go for a very ‘neutral’ renovation of the frame, such as just lightly ‘paint over it’ with a fixing colourless varnish, something that doesn’t stand out but subtly holds the precious remains of the plaster bits. Also, if all goes pear-shaped, have a simple wooden frame made (respectively a double frame, with that magnificent deco-band in between). We bought a HUGE mirror with the house, its frame was covered with the wallpaper they had in the entry hall and it took much expletives to get it all off – now it’s an incredibly beautiful, finely dotted, frame (I think it’s walnut but couldn’t bet on it)….
    Back with more when HH’s iPad’s battery is reloaded – it’s down to 6%

    • Ha ha! You know where I bought this mirror for and then when I got home realised it was way too big! But I couldn’t turn it down, I simply fell in love with it and it was so cheap! I like your idea of just painting over it to hold everything in place. I am not too worried about adding new plasterwork, my biggest concern is making sure that no more falls off. The glass is in great condition and so are the side panels. It is also so incredibly heavy, I can scarcely lift it on my own. I have moved it to the garage for a week, so that I can work on it next week in peace, hopefully! xx

  • Back with 86% of battery juice….
    Every one of my homes has been and always will be an eclectic mix of very good timeless ‘modern’ furniture and brocante pieces, ‘sprinkled’ with the occasional cheap but perfectly fitting extra. I have, to just name one item, bought a fine Mackintosh lamp base, I had to rewire it (which was frankly more than a pain in the backside, it was hellish… the cable had to go through th wooden pole and things were stuck in – a long and tiresome and irking time!), and with a wide choice of existing lamp shades I had, none were fit for this beautiful piece – so I went to Ikea and bought a shade which adorns it since then (and after having spent half a lifetime to find fitting pieces for the top too!!!!). It’s the combination of finding something with a great potential that speaks to your heart, the thrill of getting a deal, then the ‘guiding it to its planned purpose’ – and very important for me – every single piece of our home tells it’s own story. EVERY PIECE of furniture, rug, and most of my interior choices too…. Fascinating.
    Sadly, I am not in the lucky position of having inherited beautiful things, the only occasion I could have chosen some pieces of my grandmother’s things I lived abroad. One of my cousins (with excellent taste, it has to be said) took many wonderful pieces and handles them with love which is all that counts. MY heritage to my son was allowing him to copy ALL my photographs while I was visiting him – I couldn’t have given him greater joy…. His flat features many of my photos, and those were just the ones I sent him from time to time!
    I couldn’t believe the kangarou saucisson…. life never ceases to amaze me 😉 I bet it was delicious and so must have thought others, as you were buying the last one! This and kale chips…. 🙂

  • I tend to agree with Kiki about the mirror, which is gorgeous!
    Wonderful find and I probably would have come home with it also.
    I have found when trying to repair something like this many years ago, that unless you are an expert in restoration it can be messed up and disastrous.

    I would find a glue that will secure the pieces which are
    loose or risk falling off later, then I would blend some acrylic paint to get a bronze color as closely matched to the original grorgeous “bronze” color. Make sure the glue you use will accept the paint and not remain white or something. Touch up the white exposed areas of the mirror with the blended paint. Mix your color and test on paper first to get as close to original as you can. Then dry brush on with a very light touch & small artist brush,
    using tiny X strokes; feathered in to the bare spots. You want to try as hard as possible to maintain the old antique look.

    Good luck. This is a lovely mirror and worth the difficult restorative process.
    With my best regards, Patty

    • Thank you so much Patty, really good advice. I have actually brought the mirror into the barn and will start working on it this weekend. I really appreciate you taking the time to give me such helpful information. Now to get to work, thanks again and have a lovely weekend xx

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