Antique Sheet Music Flourishes

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Art deco (c.1908 to 1935)

Art deco began in Europe, particularly Paris, in the early years of the 20th century, but didn't really take hold until after World War I. It reigned until the outbreak of World War II.


  • geometric and angular shapes
  • chrome, glass, shiny fabrics, mirrors and mirror tiles
  • stylised images of aeroplanes, cars, cruise liners, skyscrapers
  • nature motifs - shells, sunrises, flowers
  • theatrical contrasts - highly polished wood and glossy black lacquer mixed with satin and furs


  • art nouveau - deco kept the nature motifs of its predecessor but discarded its flowing organic shapes and pastels for bolder materials and colours such as chrome and black
  • cubism -painters such as Picasso were experimenting with space, angles and geometry
  • early Hollywood - the glamorous world of the silver screen filtered through to design using shiny fabrics, subdued lighting, and mirrors. Cocktail cabinets and smoking paraphernalia became highly fashionable

Get the look

  • Furniture - choose strong, streamlined shapes for furniture and in single pieces rather than suites.
  • Fabrics - stick to plain or geometric fabrics and add highlights with cushions also in one solid block of colour.
  • Floors - plain polished parquet is perfect for floors. Linoleum in abstract designs or black and white chequerboard vinyl tiles are also typical.
  • Rugs - floors would have been overlaid with a large rug in geometric patterns. These were often handmade by artists such as Duncan Grant (of Bloomsbury Group fame).
  • Fireplaces - fireplaces should be rectangular and bold. Surrounds were often tiled in pink, green or beige. They were made of concrete and not many survive today.
  • Colour - halls suit bold colour schemes such as silver, black, chrome, yellow and red. Creams, greens and beige, or oyster and eau-de-nil suit living rooms and bedrooms.
  • Cupboards - cabinets, wardrobes, etc should be in pale veneered wood and simple shapes in keeping with the light, airy feel.
  • Design - the stepped profile is the epitome of the art deco shape, found everywhere from uplighters to picture surrounds. Also look for zigzags, chevrons and lightning bolts.
  • Lighting - lights featuring female figures holding the ball of the lamp are typical and good reproductions abound. Also look for chrome, a brand new material at the time, and glass. Glass would have been etched, sandblasted or enamelled rather than coloured.

Sunday, 25 September 2011

My Garden Project
You may look at some of the pictures of my garden before I started this project and wonder what possessed me to purchase the property in the first place.   There was actually no garden to speak of, just a long yard with an outbuilding which was the garage/workshop but as usual I had the foresight to see the potential.
  As you can see there was a lot of work to be done.  I came to an agreement with my neighbours to demolish the brick wall and recycle the bricks to make block paving and in it's place we installed some nice wooden fencing with concrete posts and base.  The cleaning of the bricks was painstakingly slow but well worth it in the end.
So I set to with the help of my father every weekend to chip the mortar and paint from the bricks.  I decided that because the garden was long and narrow the pathway leading to the top needed to be curved to add interest and detract from the length.  This made the job more complicated because the bricks had to be cut to adapt to the required shape.    

The pictures below show the site once the garage was demolished and the block paving work had begun.  I was already excited at the transformation.   Once the block paving was completed I painted the brickwork cream to match the rear of the property.

The garden is still evolving and there is still further work required to bring it to completion but I have a nice collection of containers for my herbs and plants purchased on my travels including an old tin bucket, bath and belfast sink and I am always on the lookout for items that will add interest.  I can honestly say it was worth all the hard work because I now have a garden to enjoy during the summer months, a far cry from the dingy back yard inherited with the purchase of the property.

Sunday, 4 September 2011

Lounge Refurbishment update 
I have been a busy bee over the past few weekends making some new curtains for my lounge.    I decided it was time for a change and the swags and tails of 8 years had to go. Down they came and much to my amazement I sold them on e-bay, and am happy to say that they went to a new home where they will be appreciated for years to come.

Being on a tight budget I scoured the shops for some ready made curtains that I could adapt.  I eventually found some with a lovely Art Deco design at the top and matching cushions, which suited my style perfectly.  I purchased 2 sets of curtains at 66" wide by 90" drop, now I had to get my thinking cap on because the actual finished drop required would be 115".  Not to be deterred I purchased a further pair of curtains in black of a similar weight and matching colour and dismantled them, cut them into four pieces and stitched them to the bottom of the new curtains to bring them to the desired drop.  I made a pair of tie backs for the centre drapes from ribbon and added a tassel trim.

The curtains were slid onto a new pole fitted some weeks ago, wow what a transformation.
Before with Swags and Tails
After Swags and Tails were sold

Thursday, 4 August 2011

From shabby to chic in 3 weeks 
My lovely sideboard which has stood in my dad's garage for years has finally had the opportunity to be brought back to life.   I would never have let this lovely piece of furniture end it's life in the skip and it has been on my wanted list for years.    It finally arrived at my home approximately 3 weeks ago in a rather dilapidated state and I started work on it immediately.  First I gave it a quick sand down and then painted specific areas with petroleum jelly before painting with the first coat of paint.     I have used Ivory eggshell finish paint from the elements of colour range by Fired Earth.

The sideboard was coated with 3 layers of paint in total then I proceeded to rub it back with sand paper in specific areas to reveal the dark wood beneath and give an aged effect.  The shelves inside , the inner panels of the doors, the base of the drawers and the top have been finished with wallcovering in "Lilac" dark linen by Laura Ashley.  Once dry the wallcovering was treated with 2 coats of clear varnish to protect it from everyday wear and tear. 
 The final addition was a set of pretty black ceramic door knobs.  The sideboard now forms part of my new scheme in the lounge and has also given me the opportunity to display my set of Art Deco cards and pictures that I have been collecting and framing during the course of the past few months.
I am certain that my grandparents would be very proud if they could see their piece of furniture brought back to life and being put to good use in my own home.

Sunday, 19 June 2011

Work in progress - my lounge
Some time ago I introduced you all to the commencement of  renovation work to my lounge, when I removed the old blue carpet and cleaned and stained the floorboards.  Four weeks ago I placed an order for a new sofa and advertised my two old terracotta sofas for sale.  Here I am four weeks later with old sofas moved on to a new home and a gorgeous new sofa and tub chair now in situ.   I did have second thoughts about ordering cream furniture but now it is in place I definitely think I made the right decision.

The new scheme is now starting to take shape.  I have a new black chandelier to be fitted, and  new curtains which are soon to be delivered.  I can't wait to bring an old sideboard from my parents house which I will be renovating to blend in with the scheme.  Future plans also include the purchase and fitting of a fireplace to create a focal point in the room.  The fireplace and chimney breast wall were removed many years ago by a previous owner.

I will keep you all updated on future developments as work progresses, in the meantime thanks for dropping by and watch this space.

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Take two old rusty lamps 

I have been having a clear out in my cellar recently and I came across these two old rusty lamps which I thought had great potential for a revamp.  I started by rubbing over them with course wire wool to remove any loose rust before applying a special paint for metal which acts as a primer and undercoat.

This was left to dry overnight to ensure that it adhered sufficiently to the metal.  Though I have a confession to make, they were then  left unattended for over a week due to other commitments, before adding a coat of Fired Earth "Verd-Antique" in a matt finish.  I will have to give them a second coat of "Verd-Antique" for a more polished finish but I am sure you will agree a little time spent on these lamps has brought them back to life.  They will look great lit up at night for a summer evening barbeque.  

Sunday, 22 May 2011

My Back Garden    
I find myself taking advantage of the nice weather we are having nowadays and have taken to planting out some new herbs, rearranging existing ones and setting seeds in unused pots and containers.

I even recycle old containers for use in the garden.  As you will see from the attached pics I have used an old Belfast Sink which is bursting with thyme and I have recently planted some parsley in the same container.  I have also made use of an old tin bath and bucket in which I have planted mint and chives.   My plants and herbs appear to be thriving at the moment due to the warm climate.  Today I have made use of some aluminium cans which would have gone to recycling, I made some drainage holes in the bottom and I have planted out some chilli peppers and this space.

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Transformation of an outdated bathroom 

This is another large project undertaken on my home, the task involved removing the old out of date burgundy bathroom suite, blocking up the back door to utilise a wasted passageway and to install French doors leading out to the garden, this would also become my new back door.  

The project required new plumbing in the shower room and plumbing for the washing machine, which was to be relocated from the kitchen into the utility room, a new partition wall to separate the shower and utility rooms and new lighting and sockets,  plasterwork and tiling.  It was only a small area and it was important to utilise every inch of space to the maximum.   I decided on grey slate tiles for the flooring, grey emulsion paint and a colour called Lime Sorbet as a contrast colour with black tiles in the utility area and white tiles with black trims in the shower room.  The shower room has been finished with chrome accessories and a beautiful 1920's figurine print.   Grey and black striped curtains add the finishing touch in the utility room and I am sure you will agree it has all come together well.

The shower room   

The utility room   

Thursday, 21 April 2011

A herb cabinet revamped
My herb storage cabinet was looking well past its best and had been hidden away out of sight for a few years.  I thought I would devote some time to rejuvinating it and putting it back to good use.

I set about giving the cabinet an undercoat with Dulux "Overtly Olive" then left that to dry before applying petroleum jelly in random spots where the furniture would experience wear and tear over time.   Once this had dried I applied a top coat in "Craig & Rose Chalky Emulsion" from the Authentic Period Colours Range.   The next step was to line the inside of the drawers, I used some pretty wrapping paper designed in charming vintage prints and pastel colours.   

I then proceeded to sand down the cabinet to reveal some of the olive paint beneath and the original wood colouring to give it a chabby chic appearance.  I typed out some labels and fixed these to the drawer fronts with glue.  The cabinet is now fit for purpose once more and has been put to good use to store my herbs.