Fab Five - Brass Door Handles

Last week I began the process of replacing our chrome door handles with brass ones. I'm so happy with the three new ones I've installed on the top floor, and keep having to go and look at them again. I know, I'm sad like that.

We'd previously had the cheap and not so cheerful ones that the builders put in to 'match' what we had elsewhere in the house. Let's just say they weren't my favourite things.

However, I've realised what a slippery slope this is. I now need to replace the hinges, the latch face plates, door strikes, and I've also been eyeing off all the light switches and power sockets in the whole house with a great deal of contempt.

I think I'll be slowly working my way through the house from the top to the bottom, to spread the financial pain, and the pain of the somewhat tedious work too.

The door handles on our bedrooms and main bathroom doors are a contentious issue, because the doors are really old, but not good old. They're rubbish old, and I'm a bit torn because three of four of them need to be repainted, and I'm loathe to put the work in, when actually I'd like to replace the doors themselves along with the handles. See? Slippery slope.

I totally copied my friends door handles by the way. She knows, and we're good. We have very similar interiors taste, so these things happen.

There are some great contemporary handles to choose from, but still not a huge variety, especially at the more affordable end of the spectrum. Chrome is still vastly more widely available than any other finish, and I imagine that lots of retailers believe (and wish!) that the brass trend will be over soon, so they don't need to worry, but it's not going anywhere!

I would love to see more affordable brass finish options available, and not just door handles either - things are still pretty lacking when it comes to modern brass taps and showers (and let's not forget sink traps, plugs and so on).

Okay, I'll stop banging on about it now. Here are my favourite five brass door handles...

French For Pineapple Blog - Fab Five Brass Door Handles

Oh, and you might notice that I've not chosen any with an 'antique' brass finish, because I hate I'm really not keen on that finish. It's polished or satin brass for me thanks. I generally prefer a satin brass finish, but as the UK as a whole hasn't really caught up yet, polished will do. I have number three, and though I might not love them quite as much as some of my other picks here, they were the most affordable of the bunch.

1. M Marcus Delta Square Rose Polished Brass - Luxury Handles
2. Lever Handle in Polished Brass - Buster + Punch (brand spanking new and available for pre-order)
3. Manital Calla Round Rose Polished Brass - Builder Depot
4. Croft Teardrop Brass Knob - Cheshire Hardware
5. Aldaba Innova Satin Brass Square Rose - Cheshire Hardware

Are you Camp Brass, or still happy in Camp Chrome? Am I just a complete fool for trends, or can you see the allure of lovely warm brass too? Come on, chime in!

P.S Don't forget to come back for Wednesday's post, because I'm FINALLY sharing my plans, moodboard and colour choice for my NEW STUDIO! Whoop!

Fab Five - Coffee Tables

I recently purchased a gorgeous, slightly-knackered-in-a-good-way, gold and glass 70's coffee table for our living room which I'll show you very soon. Just a few finishing touches to do in there first. Or maybe I'll show you the progress or it may never happen. Hmmm.

Out of the many, many coffee tables that I looked at, it won ultimately because it was the right price, the perfect dimensions and most importantly, it has a shelf, which for someone who likes pretty things and for things to look pretty, but can't have a styled coffee table because their nearly four year old son uses it all the time as a race track and general play and eating surface, is perfect - styled shelf underneath / empty top = happy Mummy / happy everyone!

I considered round, hexagonal and square, but rectangular works best with the layout and usage of the room, and much as I ADORE marble, we're not a coaster kind of house and I didn't want to be uptight about it getting stained or etched. Our coffee table is also our dinner table on Friday evenings, so glass is the safest bet for us with our lifestyle.

I did a LOT of looking around before I purchased, and I fell in love several times so I thought I'd share my favourite five with you. I know, I'm so kind.

Practical issues aside, any one of these would work beautifully in my living room, and I love them all. Perhaps one will work for you...
Fab Five Coffee Tables - French For Pineapple Blog

1. Couldn't believe my eyes when I saw this Hex beauty from Next. It ticks so many boxes - hexagonal, smoked glass, gold finish.... What's not to love?! 

2. Adore this chunky brass and marble oval number from West Elm, who have a great selection of coffee tables. My friend Kimberly from Swoonworthy has this one, and I have big-time coffee table envy. The materials, the shape, ah, so much to love.

3. Another glass and brass finish (sensing a theme here?!), from Within Home. Love the Chinoiserie feel of this Halston one. Über glam.

4. The simple lines of this Gilmore Space coffee table at Fusion Living let that beautiful marble do the talking. I do love a simple box framed coffee table. They actually look great with (neat) stacks of magazines underneath too.

5. I couldn't resist throwing in a fantasy entry - a bit of window shopping never hurt now did it? This divine 70's piece from Talisman is a real timeless beauty. 

So it's safe to say that I only have eyes for brass (or brass finish), marble and glass when it comes to coffee tables these days. Totally irresistible.

Do they tick any boxes for you? Or do you prefer a more understated coffee table? I'd love to hear from you!

Brass Pineapples!

Retro brass pineapple - French For Pineapple Blog
Image: Gary Houlder for Brass Pineapples

It's not news that pineapples continue to be a huge trend in interiors, but did you know that a site called brasspineapples.com has just launched, selling, yep, you guessed it - BRASS PINEAPPLES?!

That's right, you no longer need to scour ebay for hours or days on end in hopes of finding the perfect one, only to be out-bid at the last minute, because now you can buy one any time from a lovely fashion stylist called Sophie Kenningham who launched the site last week.

I met Sophie, by some spooky aligning of the planets through ebay whilst I was stalking (yes, that's right, stalking) some of the fabulous vintage coffee tables that she sells, and it turns out that we live in the same suburb, and have kids at the same school! Small world huh?

When I popped over to see a coffee table, that I went on to buy, I fell in love with her beautiful home, which was not only full of to-die-for furniture, but brass pineapples to boot. When I commented on the slightly over the top number of pineapples, she explained that she was just about to launch her website selling them, so it only seemed right that I should share the brassy love with you too.
Three brass pineapples - French For Pineapple Blog
Image: Gary Houlder for Brass Pineapples

These fab retro cast brass pineapples come in three sizes (biggest is always best if in doubt, but they look amazing as a group of three too), which no bar cart is complete without, as they were originally meant as ice buckets. But bar cart or no bar cart, these are the perfect decorative items to add a bit of cool to any shelf or coffee table too.

I've been asked on more than one occasion why I don't own a brass pineapple, given my not so secret love of pineapples AND brass. Well, I'm as puzzled as anyone - perhaps I just never found the right one. Until now. But I've actually fallen in love with the most divine brass Clam Shells also found on Brass Pineapples. Soooo pretty! I definitely need one of them to go on my new alcove shelves, which are nearly ready for their close up. Or on my about-to-be-re-painted-again-but-don't-tell-my-husband bedside table for jewellery. Little glam touches like this can have such impact.
Brass Clam Shell - French For Pineapple Blog
Image: Gary Houlder for Brass Pineapples

I hear there are a few exciting new brass (of course!) products in the pipeline too, so keep an eye out!

Okay, I'm off on a girls day out with my little lady, where she will attempt (probably successfully) to extract enough money from me for at least five new lip balms, because apparently a hundred and twenty something isn't enough. Then back home to join the boys for the evening, and there might even be a cocktail involved at some point, because it's National Cocktail Week here in the UK you know, so it would be rude not to. Whoop!

A vaguely cautionary tale...

I bought a vintage chest of drawers for our bedroom on ebay recently, which turned out to look an awful lot better in the photos than they did in reality. That's ebay though - it's always a bit of a gamble if you're buying vintage, or anything for that matter, that you've not seen in the flesh.

I probably couldn't accuse the seller of mis-selling exactly, more of using flattering photography / lighting / angles, and a vague description. When it was delivered, I saw that the fronts of the drawers were covered in what I think were watermarks, the drawer fronts were also very faded - and they generally looked old and grotty, as opposed to the old and a little bit glam I was expecting.

I wasn't super disappointed though, as it had great bones and was the perfect size for the space - I wanted the largest chest of drawers I could fit along the wall to maximise storage space, and this is 122cms wide by 95cms high and 55cms deep - a sizeable piece, so was by no means a complete disaster of a purchase as it's flaws were only skin deep.

I had really wanted a new piece to fit the space in our bedroom, albeit a new piece in a mid century style, like this chevron grained beauty from West Elm. I really, really wanted it. In fact, I still do. Sadly though, even with a big price reduction when it was on sale (£949 reduced to £549.95), it was still way above what I could afford to spend, so I had to let it go (let it go..!).

Chevron Grain Chest of Drawers West Elm

I really wanted to have the luxury of smooth running drawers and, something that could just be put into place and didn't require any work at all on my part for this piece of furniture. I already have a huge list of half finished DIY jobs and not enough time to complete them, but alas, it wasn't to be this time. Yes, maybe next time. Back to reality. So, this is what mine looked like on ebay...

Not bad for £120 huh? But this was the reality... Hmmmm, not quite so pretty now, is it?

You can see from the dust in the image above that I'd already started taking to it with sandpaper. Impatient as ever, and a bit of a risky move considering that it's veneer, but thankfully, good quality thick wood veneer, so it's taken a sand perfectly well, and all the marks have come off. You can also see in the image above that the handles were not in good condition at all. They were probably once lovely shiny brass, but that plating was long gone, and no amount of elbow grease was going to make them sparkle again.

I looked into having them re-plated, but it was surprisingly more expensive than I'd thought it would be at around £13 a piece, so a total of £104 for the eight handles - nearly as much as the chest of drawer cost to start with, and I just didn't like them enough to spend that kind of money, so I started the hunt for some replacements. The replacements had to fit or cover the existing holes, which meant my choice was quite limited, in an already limited market. However, I absolutely love the ones I found. I have a post dedicated to cabinet hardware coming very soon, so you'll have to wait for the details, but they were £6.30 each. I'd possibly have preferred a natural brushed brass if it was an option, but I do love their shiny goodness.

I removed the old handles, and sanded to get rid of the uneven faded varnish and watermarks, and filled the existing handle holes with a drill-able filler, as the new holes needed to be precariously close to the old ones. I drilled new holes, and gave each drawer three coats of clear Osmo Oil, before fitting the new shiny new chunky handles... Ta dah!

I'm pretty proud of this one, even though it was very straight forward, because it's made such a dramatic difference, and taken a battered and really average piece of furniture, to something I love and will keep for years to come. Not to mention the fact that we can finally put all our clothes away.

Now remember kids, the moral of this story is that you should probably ask more questions than I tend to when buying vintage on ebay, and perhaps for more closeup shots too. Or just take the gamble, which is quite probably half the fun.

So what do you think? Have you had any ebay disasters that you managed to salvage? Or not? Do tell...