Charity Vintage: 50s kitchen cupboard

April 25th, 2015

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Vintage 1950s kitchen cupboard with drawers and painted red top

Homemakers Community Recycling* is currently selling this lovely little vintage, floor-standing 50s kitchen cupboard. Its ‘buy it now’ price of £30 is very fair but they’re open to offers. And, if your not local to Abergavenny and/or you’re not able to collect, they’re happy to arrange delivery with Abbey Couriers (who we’ve used in the past and are very happy to recommend).

We regularly feature 50s kitchen cupboards on our Charity Vintage series. They’re very popular, we love vintage free-standing kitchen units, they’re practical, attractive, built to last and importantly – very affordable! If you have a small or awkwardly shaped kitchen, pieces like this one are perfect.

*Homemakers Community Recycling helps reduce landfill within Monmouthshire and provides affordable furniture and household items for those in need

Gimme Five! Bookshelves

April 24th, 2015

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selection of modern bookshelves

We’re in desperate need of some new bookshelves. We’re great hoarders of magazines – we keep them for inspiration and for cutting up and using on moodboards.

Our ever-growing collection of lovely interiors and cookery books is dotted all around the house. We have them in almost every room; stacked up high in piles on the floor, on tables and on each side of the bed.

The recessed floating shelves in our sitting room are mainly given over to displaying our collection of vintage pottery and enamelware. Even this is interspersed with little stacks of books here & there! We like free-standing shelves as we’re always rearranging the furniture to give new purchases a temporary or sometimes permanent home!

We like modern, sculptural, minimalist but striking bookshelves that look like works of art in their own right. The Ptolomeo bookcase is great because it makes use of often under-utilised vertical space. Our favourite though, is the bright yellow SD2.o; unusual, asymmetric and with a sense of fun!

  1. Vitra ESU shelf 4OH By Charles and Ray Eames: £2,108, Heal’s
  2. SD2.0 Shelves limited edition Factory Yellow by Andy Murray Design: £350, Bouf
  3. Loki 5-shelf bookcase: £195, Habitat
  4. Polygon shelving unit, walnut: £299, MADE
  5. Ptolomeo bookcase by Bruno Rainaldi: £1,095, The Conran Shop

Cakes & Bakes: Coconut brownies

April 23rd, 2015

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stack of home-made coconut brownies with mug of coffee | via @hisforhome #recipe #chocolate #brownies

Justin and I share similar tastes in a lot of things, desserts are not one of them. He prefers lemon tarts & drizzles – cream cakes too. I adore chocolate fudge cake, death by chocolate, chocolate brownies… you get the picture! We do occasionally have common ground; we both like carrot cake and baked vanilla cheesecake.

coconut brownie ingredients | via @hisforhome #recipe #chocolate #brownies

Last week I was lamenting his lack of love of brownies when he said, “Coconut brownies might tempt me.” That was all the encouragement I needed to whip up a batch.

coconut brownie dry and wet ingredients | via @hisforhome #recipe #chocolate #brownies

I made it with cocoa instead of the usual dark chocolate and used less butter than would be usual as I wanted a dryer, less dense and chewy texture.

coconut brownie dough | via @hisforhome #recipe #chocolate #brownies

He hasn’t said whether he liked it or not. All I know is that it didn’t hang around for long! :-)

sliced home-made coconut brownies | via @hisforhome #recipe #chocolate #brownies

Click here to pin the recipe for later

Coconut brownies
Yields 9
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Cook Time
30 min
Cook Time
30 min
Ingredients
  1. 75g/2½oz cocoa
  2. 75g/2½oz dessicated coconut
  3. 150g/5⅓oz caster sugar
  4. 50g/1¾oz plain flour
  5. 1tsp baking powder
  6. pinch of salt
  7. 175g/6oz butter
  8. 3 eggs
  9. 1tsp vanilla essence
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 150ºC/300ºF/Gas mark 2
  2. Grease a 20cm² / 8inch² cake tin
  3. In a large mixing bowl, combine all the dry ingredients and make a well in the centre
  4. In a small bowl, microwave the butter for about 15-20 seconds to just liquefy but not cook. Allow to cool slightly
  5. Lightly whisk the eggs in a measuring bowl before adding the vanilla essence
  6. Pour the wet ingredients into the well of the dry ingredients and combine well using a spatula
  7. Pour the batter into the greased tin and bake for 25-30 minutes
  8. Allow to cool in the tin before slicing into squares
  9. Can be stored in a cool place in an airtight container for about 3 days
H is for Home Harbinger http://hisforhomeblog.com/

Everything you need to know about building your dream home

April 22nd, 2015

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The Glen self build by Reid Architectsimage credit: Reid Architects

Did you know that almost 20,000 people a year in the UK fulfil their dreams and construct their own homes? The website Self Build suggests that as long as you follow some basic guidelines this vision can become a reality for all.

Regent Road self build by architecture:mimage credit: architecture:m

Start with a legal search

The budget is always important, but so is the availability of your chosen building site. You may have seen the most desirable plot of land in the world, but it’s no use starting to dream of house building until you have verified that the land can be used for building purposes. If you’re planning to build overseas, then you should use the services of Vanner Perez Notary Services who can offer translation as well as legal services for land and property purchase overseas.

Wedge House by Soup Architectsimage credit: Soup Architects

Set a realistic budget

Don’t just take the cost of the build into account. It’s a good idea to remember that very few building projects run to plan, so, if possible, include contingency funding within your budget. You’ll also have to include the cost of a good architect, planning permission fees with the local authority, as well as your own living expenses while the project is ongoing.

If you’re a good organiser, then by all means take responsibility for project management yourself. If you feel at all uneasy about this role, then appoint a manager for your self build. This appointment could save you money, and you’ll be confident that all aspects of the project are being completed to your satisfaction.

passivhaus self build by Forrester Architectsimage credit: Forrester Architects

Getting a mortgage for your self build

You can’t build your own home unless you have the financial means in place. Special mortgages for self builds are available but you’ll also need to have funds or savings of your own in order to get the project started. The Build Store website is an excellent resource for accessing building societies and other information concerning finance and self building.

The most popular type of mortgage is the ‘advanced stage payment’ that will release the funds before the build starts so that you can get going with the job. Funds will continue to be released at regular intervals throughout the project. The ‘arrears stage payment’ mortgage only allows money to be released after each stage of the build is completed. This might not be such a good option if your workforce needs money in advance in order to proceed with the build. You’ll have to prove that you’re able to maintain the mortgage payments whilst the project is in progress.

New House, Stow self build by Jefcoate Anderson Architects Ltdimage credit: Jefcoate Anderson Architects Ltd

Enjoy your project

Despite worries about finance, builders and a thousand and one other niggles, building your own dream home is rewarding. You’ll end up with a house that you have planned to suit your tastes, and your family’s needs. Many self builders have slashed their utility bills by designing an eco-friendly property; others have created innovative gardens around their new home. The possibilities for creating the house of your dreams are endless. Once the project is completed you’ll be able to sit back and enjoy the benefits that come from building your dream home.

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Italian glass jars

April 21st, 2015

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row of vintage Italian glass jars

I’m always on the look out for nice kitchen storage jars – well, to be honest, it’s usually Justin who’s keeping an eye out on my behalf at the various auctions & markets he visits.

vintage Italian glass jar

He brought these beauties home last week – very superior in quality to my normal offerings! I know they were quite expensive, but he’s not divulged the exact figure as yet.

vintage Italian glass jar on its side

They’re Italian and date from the first half of the 20th century – 1920s to 1940s kind of era.

vintage Italian glass jar showing its paper label

They’re a fabulous shape – quite modernist. Remember that early black & white Flash Gordon series? They remind us of Zarkov’s rocket ship from that… or something out of the film Metropolis.

gold coloured lid of vintage Italian glass jar

We’re not sure what exactly they were used for, although we’re certain that they were on display in a shop or café. They’re large enough to hold a wide variety of products. Coffee beans maybe – or luxury chocolates. Perhaps even cigars?? They don’t smell of anything, but the lid interiors have a distinct staining – it looks a bit like coffee or tobacco.

gold coloured lids of vintage Italian glass jars

Let us know if you have the definitive answer!

22 Apr 15 | update: We think we’ve got the answer. The paper sticker is a tax certificate indicating that tax has been paid on the products inside – this manufacturing tax on spirits was introduced in 1926. The jars probably contained something preserved in alcohol. This would most likely be fruit such as peaches & cherries.  Thanks to Peter, one of our regular readers, for his information.

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