Fab Five - (Sexy) Desks

You did know that desks can be sexy didn't you? Good. And who wants a sexy desk? Well, I do actually.

As you may know, prettying up my studio is on my mind, and on my list. I currently have this Ikea Micke desk which is perfectly fine, but pretty and sexy it's not. I have a (not so) secret plan to relocate it to Edie's room and get rid of her smaller version of the same desk, so you know, if I do that I'll actually need a new desk.

I recently wrote a post that included a Dream Studio moodboard. It wasn't meant as anything more than that - a bit of a fantasy, but I love that moodboard so much and can totally imagine my studio taking that direction, and now I really want to bring that vision to life!

Sadly in real life I don't have the funds for either the desk or the chair that are included on said moodboard, but a girl can dream. And she can also DIY.

I want a desk that will be light in the space but at the same time make an impact and be a feature, so something with a clear(ish) top is the way to go, and I love the idea of an a-frame/sawhorse/trestle base in an unexpected material.

So here's my selection of the best, just in case you're in the market. And yes, I have included the dream one, because I just couldn't help myself.

Oh, and an explanation about number four. You have to use your imagination here as it's not a great picture, but I really wanted to include it because these are acrylic/perspex/plexi-glass or as I like to call it lucite (because it makes me sound cool and in-the-know), a-frame bases. And I love them. These were made to order for a (very lucky) customer of Argo Plastics who can make just about anything you can dream up out of acrylic. I'm told these were about £1400 for the pair (le sigh). They're made from super thick 40mm acrylic, but could be made in a thinner material too, which would obviously bring the price down. Just imagine these with a gold smoked-glass top. Oh yes.

Fab Five Sexy Desks - French For Pineapple Blog

1. Sonnet - Safavieh Couture a.k.a 'The One'. I was awestruck when I stumbled upon this. Love, love, love.
2. NIC - Habitat I would be sorely tempted to spray the white bases gold or even give them the faux gold leaf treatment.
3. Kipling - Andrew Martin A more industrial look, I'm loving this one too. Super cool.
4. Double A-Frame Bases - Argo Plastics As I said above, use your imagination, because these lucite legs totally rock.
5. A-Frame - Andrew Martin A chunkier silver take on 'The One', it's pretty damn awesome too.

Treasure Hunting in Brussels - Jeu de Balle

Sacred Heart of Jesus Statue Close Up
At the end of July we visited Brussels for a few days to see my sister-in-law, who lives a ten minute walk from the famous Jeu de Balle Flea. Jeu de Balle is a daily market established in 1919, in a beautiful old square, with lots of interesting treasures to be found (if you have the time to rummage!), surrounded by cafes, bars and restaurants. It's not massive, which I like as it's not completely overwhelming. You can start at one corner and methodically(ish) weave your way around the organised chaos in under an hour if you don't stop too long at each stall, making it doable with both kids and others in your group that might not have much interest in this kind of thing!
Jue de Balle Flea Market

Jue de Balle Flea Market

Jue de Balle Flea Market
The last time I visited the market was maybe eight years ago, and I said exactly the same thing to my husband again this time - 'One day, we must drive a van over and really do the markets properly'. That's something I'd really love to do one day when Baxter is a little bit older - a family road trip to France and Belguim to do some real treasure hunting. It's frustrating not being able to bring lots of finds back because of the size or weight, so I'd love to have that restriction removed.

I know that my 'treasures' will make a lot of you reel in horror, but we all like different things, right? It's what makes the world go 'round. Luckily for me my husband 'gets' the majority of the things I like. Call it a Madonna hangover, from my rebellious teen years, as I'm not religious, but I've long been a sucker for religious iconography, so when I saw a cluster of about fifteen Sacred Heart of Jesus statues at the market, I was instantly drawn to them. They were a decent size, averaging 40 cms tall (16 inches), and I figured they'd have a hefty price tag on them, even though some were in better condition than others, which is actually part of their charm. They look like they've been around for a long while, but I didn't have the time to ask the dealer anything other than the price as I had the kids with me and they were losing their patience!

I'm no expert, and I have no idea if such statues were/are mass produced, but I suspect so. They're plaster of paris (chalkware for my American readers), so a decent weight, but as they're hand-painted, even if a gazzilion and one were made from the same cast, each one is still unique in my book. They have no markings, and I've not had much luck finding out much about such statues online. But I do know one thing for sure, and that is that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and for some reason I find them totally mesmerising. The colours are fabulous too - the powdery blues and silvers contrasting with the bright coral, deep red and bright greens. Ugh, I die. These are going to look amazing in my new look living room. More on that very soon...

I was so surprised, no, gob-smacked at the price, that I even forgot to haggle. There was just no way of hiding the delight on my face when the dealer offered me one for €20, two for €30, or three for €35! Needless to say, three of them came home with me. The guy at the front, is in the best condition, the other two have both been beheaded (!!) at some point and had their heads glued back on. Regardless, for the price tag I just couldn't help myself.
Sacred Heart of Jesus Statues
My other purchase was this hand-made lucite and brass lamp, which again, I was powerless to resist. I actually bought this from a vintage shop near the market, not the market itself, which was in an old poultry shop - it had the most incredible tiled walls and some of the original shop fittings, and I'm so annoyed with myself for not taking any photos in there. Anyway, the lamp got knocked on the way home, and the fitting has come loose, but it wasn't great anyway and didn't allow for a shade to be added easily, so I'll be replacing both the fitting and the flex, and adding a shade, to transform it into something completely unique and fabulous. I paid €30 for it, which some might say was too much for a piece of turned lucite and a bit of old brass, but I adore it. I'll do a post on it's transformation really soon.
Brass and Lucite Lamp - French For Pineapple

My purchases did make the journey home slightly more interesting than I'd have liked, but as you can probably tell, I'm smitten with them. I love finding treasures when I'm travelling, that add to the story and evolution of our home. I wonder what I'll find in Formentera this year?!

Oh, and by the way, my blog has been nominated in the Amara Interior Blog awards. Yay! If you enjoy reading it, I'd really appreciate your vote. Click right here to do so, it's quick and easy, I promise!

Now excuse me while I go and have a little boogie to Like a Prayer in my living room...

Confessions of an eBay addict

I'm an eBay addict. My addiction goes through phases of being 'worse' and 'better', and sometimes lies dormant for a several months, but I'm often in the throes of a buying frenzy, and can sometimes be found listing stuff to sell too. Though it's fun selling, nothing beats the thrill of the last second, adrenalin-rush-inducing, bid. Especially when you win.

Lately I've been on a bit of a bender, which is directly related to my being on a mission to whip our house back into shape, as it's been somewhat neglected over the last few years (which coincides with the arrival of our littlest).

I realised that things were looking rather average in pretty much every room. You know when you're so used to seeing things that you don't notice them anymore? And then when you do notice them you realise that not only do you not like them, but you actually hate them? Yes, that. That's been happening loads, so I'm having a big shakeup round here. You may know I'm currently revamping our kitchen, which is of course taking way longer than anticipated due to a barrage of illness going around in circles in our house. Bear with me though, it will be finished(ish) in about three weeks, then I can finally show you the fruits of my labour.

Most of the things I buy on eBay fall into the decorative, furniture and DIY categories. I often giggle when I see what my husband is looking at as we share the same account, so our watch list is combined, and it couldn't be more varied. Whilst he's looking at Japanese denim, vintage workwear, skateboard paraphernalia, and bicycle wheels, I'm looking at vintage ceramic lamps, brass side tables, tiles, spice racks and wicker chairs. We have an unspoken rule, that neither of us can comment on what the other is currently stalking. And it is a form of stalking.

My friend Kimberly over at Swoon Worthy wrote a great post about how to become an eBay ninja. I proudly put myself firmly in that category already, but if you're not and you want to be, I suggest you study this helpful guide.

People often say, 'you find the best stuff, you're so lucky', or 'I never find anything good on eBay'. I say YOU'RE NOT TRYING HARD ENOUGH. You have to really want to find the good stuff, it won't find you. It's not uncommon for me to look at hundreds and hundreds of listings when I'm looking for something in particular, often over a period of weeks or even months.

I think that for me, a huge part of my eBay obsession is that it serves as a substitute to going to antique shops and markets as I just don't have the time, and couldn't think of anything less relaxing than doing so with two children in tow even if I did have the time.

So, here are a few(!) things I've bought over the last two years, where they are in our house, AND the prices I've paid for everything!

A pair of ceramic Chinese Foo Dogs (or Temple Dogs) - £40.00. They live on a glass and chrome trolley also from eBay in the living room.

A solid brass vintage panther - £5.51. He's a recent addition, and currently hanging out on the new kitchen table (not from eBay!), but he'll most likely move into my studio.

A pair of antique brass Welsh guards coat hooks - £4.99. These will be tea towel hooks in the kitchen.

A pair of ceramic Staffordshire Spaniels - £26.59. They live on the dining room sideboard. I love their ridiculous faces!

A 1.4 metre piece of vintage chinoiserie linen - £11.40. I've just made a huge decorative bolster cushion from this for our bed.  I have some left over, so might make some smaller cushions too.

A grey sheepskin - £22.00. This is new, in fact it just arrived this morning, and it'll cosy up a sofa in our living room. It replaces an old cream one that was a victim of the recent spate of illness in our house.  I won't subject you to the details - it wasn't pretty, but what a brilliant excuse to buy the grey one I'd been wanting.

Oh my god, I'm like the very hungry caterpillar!!

Not pictured, but in the spirit of this confessional post, here goes...

A seventies or eighties lucite side table on castors - £49.99. Love this, a total bargain.  It's in our living room.

A seventies chrome and glass trolley - £51.00. Again, in our living room.

A mini wicker chair - £26.00. May have paid a little too much for this, but it's adorable.  It hangs out in Baxters room, with a teeny green zebra print cushion I made for it.

A pair of lampshades custom made with Sanderson fabric to die for £70. These are so beautiful. I found this woman who just happened to have the perfect amount of Sandersons Rainforest fabric in green to make me two shades. These are on some eBay lamp bases (surprise surprise) on the dining room sideboard.

A wicker side table - £20.00. I spray painted this black, and it's currently my bedside table, but we're switching rooms (again) soon, then it will become a plant stand in the studio or kitchen. I need to get a piece of glass cut (maybe smoked or mirror) for the top as it's a bit wonky.

A huge vintage ceramic Wedgwood lamp base - £20.00. I adore this lamp and it was a complete bargain. It's a golden mustardy colour, and I bought a huge silk turquoise lampshade to go on it. That wasn't a bargain by any stretch. With the shade it stands just shy of 70 centimetres tall (about 27 inches), so it's a real statement piece, and looks great on the lucite side table in our living room.

A vintage ceramic chinoiserie lamp base -  £12.00. This lives in our bedroom.  It's a yellow/mustard colour and currently has a purple shade, which actually works really well, though it was just one I had hanging around.  I may change the shade when we move rooms.

Several other lamps - some more successful than others, so we won't talk about that!!

Most recently, this week in fact, I won a pair of antique bedside cabinets which are ready for a glossy coat (or five) of paint which you'll see in due course, for £51.00 (plus £39 for a courier delivery). That's quite a big spend for me on eBay, but I've been searching on and off for years for something like these.

Oh, and a wicker rocking chair, FOR NINETY-NINE PENCE! Okay, so I haven't laid eyes on it in the flesh yet, as my father-in-law has kindly collected it for me, but it was photographed dreadfully with hideous filthy cushions on it, and I think it might just be a total bargain.

So, am I done on my eBay spree?  Ah, not likely.  I'm currently stalking a piece of furniture for my about to be re-vamped studio, and I'm always on the lookout for a nice but relatively cheap wicker Peacock chair for my daughters bedroom. And a million other things I don't even know about yet.