Did I ever tell you that disgraced 60s call girl Christine Keeler used to hide out in the attic that joins on to mine? Details are sketchy, but local folklore has it that the sex siren at the centre of the Profumo Affair escaped the limelight in my neighbours house, here in very un-attention seeking West Yorkshire.
I was reminded of the building’s scandalous past when I sneaked a cheap vintage sideboard in through the back door last week. This 50s formica china cabinet (below) had a definite 'fur coat and no knickers' vibe to her as she sat looking somewhat disgraced and so very out of place amongst all the solid and sensible brown furniture in the charity shop. Here she is without her pretty little doors on.
Of course I was instantly attracted to this mysterious object, with her shady past and all her untold secrets. Eager to bring her back to life, I handed over the £40 ransom and brought her home to a speechless husband and a few twitching curtains.
The stench of stale nicotine lay heavy on her washed silk interior. Oh and her legs were a bit wonky too. But otherwise this etched glass display cabinet was in my eyes a beautiful relic from a bygone era. A time when it was perfectly okay to show off your best assets, but you should really only get them out on special occasions. (Perhaps that’s where Christine Keeler went wrong?) Anyway, that’s another story. I was determined to give this shabby old sideboard a new life and with my mum’s amazing talent for furniture restoration I’m happy to report that’s exactly what we were able to do.
We decided to replace the original and badly stained washed silk covered back panel with a piece of mirrored glass, replicating more of an art deco, high glamour drinks cabinet.
The glass was cut to fit for £50 and finding a way to fix this on the back of the unit proved the greatest challenge. The rest was just a wash and scrub up and soon it was ready for me to do the thing I do best - accessorise.
Isn’t she lovely? Perfect for displaying my favourite china or pretty crystal glasses and even better given the more unconventional vocation as a highly glamorous shoe cabinet.
So after a good few years in hiding, I’d like to think my new house guest is back to her scandalous best. So much so that next time I come across a shabby formica cabinet skulking at the back of a junk shop I will know exactly what to say. "Get your coat love, you’ve pulled".