Monday, 17 January 2011

Farmhouse Kitchen Table: Before & After

The finished table.

I just wanted to do a quick before & after post on this lovely kitchen table I restored for a client. The table had originally belonged to the client's grandmother and she had memories of sitting there doing her homework after school and having supper with her family. It meant a lot to her that the same table and chairs are now in her home after all these years. There are some photos below of the table top and the two tables leaves when I picked it up. Sadly the years hadn't been so kind; the original polish had worn away and there were lots of oil stains, ink stains and white heat marks which you would kind of expect given the usage over the years. 

This is the first leaf with a large white heat stain.

This is the second leaf with a few smaller ink and oil stains.
And this is the main table top with numerous stains!

To start this process I went to work on the main stains on the table top and the two leaves. The client specifically requested that it not be returned in a pristine condition as she wanted the table to retain some of the markings that had developed over the years. So I didn't take them too far back - just enough to kind of even it out. There were some deep scratches that I grain-filled but I left most of the smaller ones alone. 

Once the stains were removed, I polished the surfaces using pale shellac. I think I did about 20 coats in the end. Since the client didn't want it too perfect I left it at that - just enough to match it to the table legs which had retained the original polish. 

Here is a photo of the main table top surface and the second table leaf once the stains were removed and the final coat of polish was applied:

Table top with polish on.
The second table leaf with polish on.

I left the last coat of polish to dry over night. Luckily the room I use as a workshop has the boiler in so it's relatively warm and dry. I waxed the table top and leaves the following morning using some clear wax polish (a blend of carnuba and beeswax) and then left it to sit. I delivered it the following day and buffed the wax polish once I was at the client's house where I also went over the legs and base of the table. 

Here are the photos of the finished table:




I think the finished table looks great and best of all the client was really happy with how it turned out - another happy west egg customer... such a good feeling!

Thanks as always for reading and for your support. Have a great week! 

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Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Honest Scrap Award


I feel very honoured to have been given the Honest Scrap Award by Dale Luckwitz at Daddy's Matchbox! Honest Scrap is a pay-it-forward internet meme that allows bloggers to be recognised and in return recognise other bloggers they feel demonstrate qualities of heart, soul and sincerity. The West Egg blog is still very much the new kid on the block so I am extremely grateful to Dale for this recognition - thank you! 

The rules are as follows:
  • List 5 honest things about yourself.
  • Pass the award on to 5 bloggers who you feel embody the spirit of the Honest Scrap award and whose blogs you find brilliant in design or content.

So here are my 5 honest things:
  1. I live in an army married quarter because my husband serves in the British Army. I actually thought I'd hate it but I love the sense of community and camaraderie among my fellow army wives.
  2. The worst job I've ever had was having to dress as a cranberry to promote cranberry juice in a supermarket in Newcastle-under-Lyme.
  3. My favourite film of all time is All The President's Men.
  4. We have a 2 year old pug called Alfie who is completely obsessed with food and snorts like a pig. 
  5. If I had to go on Mastermind my specialist subject would be Fleetwood Mac (greatest band in the world ever). 


And here are the blogs I'd like to nominate for the Honest Scrap Award:
  • The Langar Hall Blog by Imogen Skirving keeps readers up to date with the weekly happenings at Langar Hall. The description "a true original - subbornly English, deliciously stylish and quietly eccentric" applies as much to Imogen as it does to Langar. Imogen is the ultimate hostess; friendly, charming and completely unique. Imogen writes and posts great photographs about everything going on at Langar - from the attic sale at nearby Chatsworth House to the chef's latest culinary accomplishments. This blog certainly embodies the honest scrap philosophy. 
  • I am a huge fan of the Katy Elliott blog which is a daily lifestyle blog about an artist renovating a 257 year old house in Massachusetts. It features design ideas, home product resources and recipes by Katy. Although it's a well established blog it is incredibly honest and reflects the roller-coaster ride of such a massive renovation project on a budget. 
  • The Hungry Cyclist blog is by Tom Kevill-Davies who basically loves to ride his bike and loves to eat. He has written books and featured in numerous articles about his adventures around the world. Tom has a real gift for writing and photography and as a result the blog features the most extraordinary array of posts and recipes. It is brilliant.  
  • Lee Rotbart started the Little Leaf Guest House blog when she and her partner Danny decided to quit their jobs in London and buy a guesthouse in St Ives. It is a really thoughtful and amusing account of their ups and downs as they move out of London and follow their dreams to run a guest house down in Cornwall. This blog is almost brutal in it's honesty and a very worthy nomination for the Honest Scrap Award.
  • Ruth Tapping's Oh So Vintage blog has great vintage inspiration for the home. It has fantastic photographs and Ruth features different vintage finds, makeovers and recipes as well as home decorating tips as she re-decorates a new home. I love it because it's uncomplicated and personal at the same time. 
So there you go, the baton is passed on! Thanks for reading.

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Monday, 10 January 2011

An unlikely hero...


Morning all. Just a quick post to say thank you to Dom & Rob at Escape the City for featuring West Egg on their fantastic website and making me hero of the week! Escape the City is an online community set up to help people who want to leave their corporate jobs and do something that makes them tick. It is an amazing resource for anyone thinking of leaving their job - it has great advice and really inspiring stories from people who have done something different. 

You can read more about me and the set up of West Egg here http://www.escapethecity.org/heroes/Louisa_Blackmore

The website is coming along nicely and the payment gateway is almost there. I had no idea there were so many moving parts in setting up an online shop... seriously steep learning curve for me. My to do list has stretched to 3 pages now so better get cracking! 

Thanks for reading and for the continued support, it means so much. 

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Tuesday, 4 January 2011

What's in a name?

Firstly happy new year and all the very best wishes for a happy, healthy and prosperous 2011! New year for me was spent with friends at a beautiful 17th century farmhouse in Devon, a very relaxing break with lovely walks on the beach and lots of food and drink - can't go wrong really. Back at west egg HQ now and so excited about what 2011 holds!

So, what's in a name? Apparently rather a lot. It seems the name "west egg" has created rather a lot of interest from here, there and everywhere so I thought it might be useful to explain how I came to use this particular name for the company. 



The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald is a most beloved novel and one I return to time and again. The narrator Nick Carraway and Jay Gatsby live in West Egg, a fictitious town based on the town of Great Neck where F. Scott Fitzgerald lived during the 1920s. Nick lives in a modest cottage next to Gatsby's mansion; a "factual imitation of some "Hotel de Ville in Normandy". A monstrous fake French mansion which perfectly mirrors the misrepresentations and fakery of Gatsby's character. The cottage on the other hand is small and the interior is styled simply, with lots of mis-matching wooden furniture and muted colours. For me, it is the perfect blend of comfort, charm and simplicity and sums up the style of furniture and accessories I love to find, restore and pass on.

So I hope that clears it up. I hear there is a remake of the film in the works which is very cool. I hope they get it right! 

Thanks as always for the messages of support, the website will be up and running very shortly. Watch this space. 

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