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When your stairs say no.

sophie cartledgeComment

The item that i get asked most about in our house is our daughters wardrobe. So i thought i’d share how i did it, why i did it and my love hate relationship with flat pack.


Never liked it. Not so much the putting together, strangely i quite enjoyed that bit, that's a bit like a puzzle with glue. An advanced Blue Peter challenge, with something more useful than a cardboard kaleidoscope to show at the end of it.

 I just never quite got it. The cheapness, the mdf, the veneer, the cardboard with a seam for the drawer base, all being held together with a bit of pva and plugs. I remember as a kid being horrified at my mums bedroom furniture choice. If you can imagine Emily Bronte does flat pack, you’d come somewhere close. However was that going to last? Why why why would anyone knowingly part with their hard earned money for this? I’m not sure its normal to have such a strong opinion on matters of furniture construction at such a young age but i guess its not surprising that i have ended up upcycling the good old stuff.

One too many jumpers and your cardboard bottom would be sagging like a gooden, you'd soon be losing your favourite pants for the next few years as they disappear through the gap of no return only to gather more dust than you ever thought could exist in your home.

 Never mind that really important receipt for that really expensive thing that you really shouldn't have bought. Yep gone too, for ever. Or at least until well past its return date. 

Then there’s IKEA flatpack. It is sturdy, it is easy to put together, you can definitely afford it and grab yourself a bag of dime bars and a 50p hotdog for the journey home whilst you’re at it. That would be once you have wrestled with your purchases and played that well known high adrenaline fueled tetris game called 'Is this coming home with us?’ This struck me as quite funny given that Gillis Lundgren apparently came up with the idea of flatpack because he couldn’t fit a newly purchased table in his car without taking the legs off…

Anyway i digress. I’m here to tell you about how a second hand ikea bodo was the answer to all our storage problems.

The style of wardrobe that i would have gone for. This one is from  Mid-century Friends  who stock the most incredible range of vintage furniture.

The style of wardrobe that i would have gone for. This one is from Mid-century Friends who stock the most incredible range of vintage furniture.

The daughter needed a wardrobe. As we have already discussed, i did not want flat pack. But, our stairs laughed at me. “NONE SHALL PASS” they shouted with their curves and low ceiling all in the wrong places. None shall pass. I hear you stairs but tell me what to do? They were most unhelpful. I wanted her room to have a vintage scandi feel to it and really wanted an old wardrobe, an old small wardrobe, an old small gentlemans wardrobe, a nice vintage wardrobe… I think you get the idea.

It wasn’t going to happen. Then one morning i was scrolling through gumtree, which is a daily ritual of mine, (its a goldmine of vintage treats waiting to be discovered). I saw this…


I squinted, closed my left eye and imagined it with the black fabric removed and painted a different colour. This could work. The stairs would let this one pass, in tiny sections. It could also, given the fact that it was wood and metal mix it up enough in her room and give it a bit of modern with the vintage. She would HAVE to keep it tidy which could be a problem but given the fact it was only £10, I went to collect it.

I gave the wood and the metal a light sand and used hammerite ‘copper’ (which actually looks more old gold) and little greene paint company’s intelligent matt clay mid. It’s a great finish, matt but wipeable and far more durable than a chalk paint.

If you were doing something similar you could use spray paint but make sure you prime and then spray your colour of choice.

The hammerite is brilliant because although it takes time to paint, the finish is really long lasting and anti rusting. There are still no scratch marks to be seen on it four years on, despite it regularly being manhandled and overloaded by its owner.

To give this piece of flat pack it’s due, it took minutes to put back together after the paint was dry, requiring no knowledgeable DIY assistant, just me and Alan the key.

I had a couple of retro suitcases I picked up for £3 each in a charity shop a while back, they were too cool to pass up with their orange and blue stripe. I had imagined myself carrying them along a train station, scarf tied under my chin on some chic weekend away, you know the usual daydreaming of a more spontaneous exciting life but for now I have set them about multi tasking. One hides away my old wedding dress and the other out of season clothes. They look good, are practical and entirely justify every charity shop purchase from the past or future because it will ALL come in handy one day…

You could equally use old leather cases, trunks or patterned boxes to do the same.

I also recently picked up some white wood hangers from Aldi £3.49 for 10 which I think have finished it off nicely.

Simples, a super quick transformation, ideal for an impatient transformation enthusiast.

Here are a couple of my favourite before and after IKEA hacks that have been done using an Ikea Rast chest of drawers and PAX wardrobe. Great inspiration that just might trigger off ideas for re-using furniture you already have or that commonly pop up on buy and sell facebook sites, gumtree and ebay.

1. Ikea Rast

2. Ikea Rast make over by Pati Robbins

3. Ikea Pax

4. Ikea Pax make over by Erin Kestenbaum

So there you have it as much as flatpack has not been my first choice for furniture it has definitely in this case saved the day and made me eat my ‘i’m too good for flatpack’ words. Like they say, there’s a time and a place for everything and that Ikea Bodo definitely has a place in our house.

Thanks IKEA, thank you gumtree , thank you to the nice man that sold it to us and thank you for reading.

 Sophie x

Another blog...why?

sophie cartledgeComment

They are all at it.  Blog writing. Yep, expressing their ideas and creativity out in the internet world for you to read. Tips for you on where to shop, DIY ideas saving you time and money and often thrown in with that, a great sense of humour.  Some people be dissing this, as though there’s no real skill involved and who needs another blog writer. That’s like saying, who needs another type of chocolate, i mean who knew that chocolate and sea salt was a thing, until it was a thing? Or who needs another variety of wine…right, said no one ever.

Blogs are the same thing people, they are all down to personal taste, whether you like that style of writing and if what they write about is of interest to you.

So here i am, embarking on my first blog, rather hoping you might enjoy reading it, wanting to let you know the kind of stuff I’ll be writing about and why i think i might be a good person to do that (i did say might).  I’m slightly a lot terrified and yet excited in equal measure. Apparently you are supposed to continue with such plans when you feel like this so here goess….

What I will write about

I want to share with you ideas on how to decorate your home on a budget, how to find your style and own it, how to create a unique home that feels like luxury without the price tag. Different wall finishes and paint techniques, how to revamp furniture that you own already or family hand me downs you just can’t bare to part with, top tricks on how to source and find the coolest of items at a steal.

Why I will write it

Completely unnecessary reference to and picture of Jim.

Completely unnecessary reference to and picture of Jim.

My middle name is budget. Sophie budget Cartledge. We grew up in a two bed on a council estate, the only remotely posh thing about it, was that it overlooked a golf course. My mum was a single parent and money was pretty tight, so having the latest reebok trainers, joe bloggs jeans and naf naf jacket was not an option. By the time i got to senior school, i had visited the local charity shops several times over. Out of nowhere I fell head over heels in love with everything 60’s and 70s (also about the time i fell in love with Jim Morrison strangely enough) and realised that whilst i couldn’t have what everyone else did, i could have something completely different. I bought fake fur coats, pointy collared shirts, flares, the bigger the better, not only do flares make you look like you have really, really slim thighs they also hid my ginormous size 8 feet. (I was only 5 foot 4.) Suede waistcoats in forest green, anything that was highly patterened / nylon was a must have, not to mention my collection of tweed jackets with leather elbow patches, i was basically a geography teacher from the 70’s without the beard. This would have all been ok had it been 1971 but this was 1991. At least 20 yrs too late and boy didn’t they let me know. I was the constant source of jokes ‘born in the wrong decade ha ha ha’. But that was a ok with me, i couldn’t be like the other kids, didn’t want to be like them and was far happier in my second hand granny smelling clothes than i would have been in some cheaped up version of whatever best clothes mother could afford, from Tesco’s or C&A.

Why am i talking about this?

Well this taught me some pretty awesome life skills pretty on. I think that’s when i realised that i could have an alternative more individual look with a price i could afford, this for me has transferred over into other areas of life, like interiors. There are so many beautiful accounts on instagram but with furnishings with a huge price tag attached, they make your eyes melt to look at but you know that you would only be able to own that coffee table if you sold off everything you own. Wheres the fun in that?

Then. Nothing wrong with it, what some might call ‘pleasant’. But. so. not. us.

Then. Nothing wrong with it, what some might call ‘pleasant’. But. so. not. us.

When we bought our 1930’s semi over four years ago, our youngest was 6 weeks old, i was on maternity leave and we were catapulted back into tightsville all over again. Everything we did was driven by funds or rather lack of them and necessity, which strangely enough has a way of making you think more creatively as to what to do with a space or where to source things from. Nowt like a bit of pressure to make you solve a problem. Anyways four years on, the house is by no means finished but we have managed to decorate most of it and furnish it with the majority of items from the tip, ebay, facebook buy and sell sites and gumtree. It has since been featured in a number of places, online, in magazines and even in a book. This blows my mind but just goes to show what you can do with not a lot.

Now. Not everyone would find this ‘pleasant’ but we love it.

Now. Not everyone would find this ‘pleasant’ but we love it.

Whats in it for YOU

Time. Money. Ideas

I can’t promise to give you more time or money..but hopefully by reading this blog, the stories and tips will help towards you saving your time and your money and mean that you can have a home that you are happy with, sooner than you think. Sometimes all it takes is an idea, which sets off another idea in your mind and you’ve solved a mammoth interiors dilemma.

Are you buying your first house and the deposit has stolen all of your money and the mortgage promises to run off with a massive wack of your salary every month from now until you are sixty or at least the next two years anyway until you can get better interest rates…maybe?

Would you like to hear some tips on how to make your place look like your place and not like somewhere your parents lived in ‘82 without having to get into debt to do it?

Perhaps you live in a modern house but would really like that vintage look but aren’t sure how to make it work?

Or perhaps you are just an interiors geek, like me, that loves reading about other peoples homes and how they have done it.

Whatever the case, a huge massive thank you for reading this far. I am well grateful. I hope you enjoyed it, would love to hear your thoughts, feedback and any interiors or 1960s fashion related queries for that matter.

Sophie x