My shoe wardrobe for a sink

Lulled into a false sense of ceramic security by the fact my mum had a Belfast sink in her back garden (don’t most mums?!), I was expecting a kitchen sink to be one of the easiest things to source.  I would have taken my mum’s, but she is saving it for her own renovation and I decided to go for something much smaller.  Sure, I could have bought new, but having come this far, I was adamant it had to be old and kept searching.  I finally found a bargain Armitage Shanks (Butler) sink by calling local salvage yards on the SalvoWEB Directory.  If like me, you are interested in a reclaimed sink and don’t know your Belfast from your Butler, here is a quick lesson I could have done with earlier…

Traditionally used by butlers, the name ‘Belfast’ distinguishes Butler sinks originally made and used in Belfast as they have a built-in overflow due to the fact that fresh water was readily available in Belfast in the late 18th Century. Whereas in London, ‘Butler’ sinks were designed without an overflow so as not to waste any of the fresh water, which had to be gathered from deep wells.  So now you know.

Armitage Shanks sink, reclaimed worktop Source Antiques  and taps from Catchpole & Rye

Check out these links for salvaged sinks

English Salvage 

Mongers Architectural Salvage

SalvoWEB Directory

©Photographs Reclaimed Woman

Designing my Reclaimed Kitchen – Practical Vs Pretty

Ever practical, I chose a glazed 1940s staff noticeboard reclaimed from London’s Kings Cross station from SalvoWEB to style as my kitchen cabinet.   Not that I was intending to consume as many tubes of tortilla chip Pringles as the decorators, but soon only pretty foods fitting my colour scheme will be allowed in my kitchen cabinet. Ha. Don’t you just love the unrealistic goals one sets oneself in the middle of a renovation.

When I started designing my kitchen, I envisaged a glamorous throwback, a bit of Disco Deco and pretty brass accents.  I bought glass Art Deco lampshades from The Architectural Forum and had my eye on these Jazz Moderne glass panels salvaged from a French apothecary to finish the sides of my noticeboard cabinet.  I lost them to another bidder, but in hindsight it was a good thing as it forced me into more practical open shelves that show off the reclaimed wood from Pine Supplies and my ’40s noticeboard in full glory.

Art Deco lampshades in The Architectural Forum

Jazz Moderne glass panels

my kitchen (before)

It breaks my heart to see kitchens ripped out with no regard for materials that could have been saved, so I challenged myself to reuse as much of my original kitchen as possible – starting with the white appliances.

Sadly mine didn’t come as cool as the above, but this could be considered another tick in the practical box compared with stainless steel, which is hard to keep finger smudge free.  But white appliances are fashioning an impressive come-back.  When designing a kitchen, you rarely go wrong with classic white.  It is clean and cleverly works with both modern and period interiors and can look more retro according to the style of appliances you choose.  White also tends to change with the light from other colours around it.   I am aiming for warm white, surrounded by reclaimed wood cabinetry.  But avoiding rustic country vibes with black and primary coloured markings that come with choosing floorboards salvaged from a school gymnasium.

I may have diverted from my disco Art Deco design, but I’m feeling the ’80s school disco I ended up at.

reclaimed gymnasium floorboards from Historischen Bauelemente designed as doors to refresh my original kitchen carcasses

©Photographs Reclaimed Woman

Tossed but not Sunk

Moments of the first half of 2017 brought to mind the Paris motto, Fluctuat nec mergitur, a Latin phrase meaning “Tossed but not sunk.”

At the beginning of the year our boiler broke, whilst having reclaimed wood shelves installed – which turned into a much bigger job as the horrid MDF storage units being replaced turned out to be rather attached. Cutting into the walls, the MDF cupboards finally relented with plenty of plaster to remember us by.  On the positive side, at least we had the entire contents of the living room crammed into our bedroom to avoid the dust and keep us cosy…Who needs central heating. It is however good to be reminded of the things we take for granted. *she types whilst swishing her freshly washed hair, thankful for hot water for evermore*

But all that fades to comparison with the fact my grandad also passed this year.  There is a fine line between how personal one gets online, particularly as I started blogging to share my flat renovation not my family, but one of my grandad John’s sayings seems pertinent.  “It needs a coat of looking at,” he would say.  Therefore, a fair mention for problems relating to life and wall.

I will leave you with my love of the year so far, MyBuilder.com.  You can post a job and find trusted builders and tradesmen in minutes. Plasterer, gas engineer, I almost had them all in one week.

Me in my happy place, Paris  /  Brooklyn Flea Market

©Photographs Reclaimed Woman

Are you ready for your bathroom reno?

Think you are ready for your renovation project, then prepare to neglect your usual e-com candy for sites like Broken Bog.

My daily scroll of choice was Style.com when I started planning my flat renovation, which has since been discontinued as Condé Nast partner with Farfetch for a firmer future in content plus commerce.  At least anyone with a bathroom to restore can rest easy with Broken Bog – the destination for discontinued, vintage or retro British-made bathroom ware.

My renovation started when I was woken one night to the sound of my great grandmother’s Deco vase smashing on my bathroom floor.  A few tears, shards of blue glass and the discovery that the vase had also broken my toilet cistern lid spurred me into action.  I sourced a replacement from Broken Bog, but chose pink instead of a direct copy of my old white lid.

The team is really helpful, so call or visit their warehouse in Surrey Hills if you have any questions about your bathroom.

I first got the idea of a mix ‘n’ match bathroom in the ladies at the Ace Hotel in East London (as you do), where  I also discovered Bemis toilet seats.  One of these will be my next purchase from Broken Bog.  What do you think, should we go Coral Pink, Sky Blue, Indian Ivory or Black?

Salvo is another great resource with preloved and period pieces from salvage and antique dealers.  You can also register free and send a Want notification to  their database if you’re after something specific.  Here’s some bathroom renovation inspiration with stock on Salvo.

Hot and Cold taps (and an Edwardian roll top bath) from a private seller

Rare Edwardian cast iron sign Warehouse 701

Radiac Edwardian oak framed shop display cabinet Art Furniture

Art Deco Modernist side table The Rub Antique

Royal Venton Ware corner cut loo Abergavenny Reclamation

Pink Art Deco basin  The Architectural Forum

Bathtub sofa upholstered with cushions made from vintage Welsh quilts Russell Wood Antiques

All listed on Salvo

©Photographs Reclaimed Woman and courtesy of Broken Bog and Salvo

 

Woman, Reclaimed

One year ago I left my corporate fashion job to follow a more conscious life.

My job gave me pleasure and pain, and enabled me to buy my first home in west London. Like a secret diary, I started to blog under the name Style Salvo, following my journey into a more sustainable existence (shoe collection excluded), as head of PR for a shoe brand at the time…. I vowed to do-up my new home with as many old, reused and reclaimed things as possible.

One bedroom, one bathroom, one garden, one kitchen… now my walk-in wardrobe, and one woman taking her first steps into a salvage yard.

One foot in fashion, one foot in salvage, often up to my knees in reclaimed building materials, but refusing to part with my knee-high leather boots, whilst dancing in mud with reclaimed radiators from the roaring 20s.  I started to question, are these industries really so different? Both can be intimidating, but as soon as you cross the facade, you find the heart of great stories. The reason I fell for fashion PR in the first place.

Fashion at an unsustainable pace, ticking-off trends rather than expressing personal taste left me cold compared with the storied pieces of individuality I was dressing my home with.  This is when I decided that I not only needed to claim to love my fashionable life, but actually live it.

Designing my home with reclaimed materials was a style choice as well as an ethical, environmental one. Reclaimed Woman is my attempt to find fashion and home fashions that don’t compromise ethics. A space to retrieve yourself, be real, inspired and conscious, because the examined life is worth living.

Sara Morel