Last week I climbed into bed and did a quick scan of our local Gumtree on my phone using my usual key-word search: 'retro' 'vintage' etc and couldn't believe my eyes when I saw a retro cabinet listed. These NEVER come up. Almost never. Frantically, I emailed the seller some sort of desperate message to the effect of 'please tell me this isn't sold yet, pretty please, I'll love you forever'. Or something maybe slightly less dramatic than that.
I got a response back the next afternoon asking me to call to arrange viewing/buying so I made the call, tried not to sound like too much of a keeno and made an appointment for the next evening to drive to Belfast and pick it up. I couldn't actually believe my luck. For the small price of £50, it was ours (I'm so melodramatic).
Gumtree is a bit like the Russian Roulette of buying stuff, isn't it? It's a bit of a gamble; hoping that the item is as good as it is in the listing, that the owners aren't murderers or people that chain smoke/have a bunch of cats that pee everywhere.
We were met by a lovely couple at a small maisonette flat in East Belfast. The flat was warm but looked a little empty and we quickly found out that it belonged to the sellers late mother who had only passed away at Christmas. Apparently the cabinet had been with her from she was married in the early 50's and she had loved it so much that she brought it with her to her pensioners flat when her husband passed. The council put in a new kitchen for this lady a few years back and she refused to let them build cupboards along one wall to keep room for her beloved unit. I love that we are looking after it now, keeping it in good nick and giving it a good home to be cherished in. That's the beautiful thing about buying secondhand - the stories, the awareness of the people that have created memories with your stuff before you is something magical.
I always knew the cabinet would be a welcome addition to our attic room that I am now pretentiously calling my 'studio'. It could also have been known as the 'craft room' ('cwaft room', if you're Levi) or 'that room upstairs that Mel dumps all her creative crap in' if you're Dave.
Our landlords converted the attic of our house when they still lived here and they have done an amazing job. They kept the flow of the conversion very smooth to the feel of the rest of the house and even exposed some of the original brickwork (my fav) and there are two rooms. Here's the view going up:
....and Studio Wiggins!
Having somewhere new and pretty to put all my 'making' stuff gave me a good kick up the arse to get rid of all the hoards of supplies that I held on to for those 'just in case I can make something out of it' moments (40 empty loo rolls. Not normal). It was ruthless, especially in the fabric department - but SERIOUSLY worth it. I think it's important to only keep what you really love and would want to use so I have a big pile of fabric I only sort-of liked all ready to go to the charity shop.
It's such a big improvement already, and I have since spent 10x more time up there making stuff since I got organised.
Sorry to go on, but my favourite thing about this badboy is the fold down table - it lowers beside where I sew to just to the right height for cutting material and preparing stuff which is really handy as the table I had been working off has only just enough room for my sewing machine.
The other cool thing is that the unit is also an Alwoods Original - a kitchen company from the neighbouring town and is a sister version of the one we have in our kitchen. I blubbed on about that one here. It's so great to have locally made retro pieces in our home.
Before I go, here's the view looking down from the attic....(look away if you have heights-related phobias)
I am WELL aware that houses like these are rare to come up for rent and am really grateful we live in a house that we love.
*please don't ever make us leave, landlords*