Hello Beach Cottage ladies, some pics of the family room from me, the low-down on vintage ladders and how to weave a bit of vintage into your decorating…yes this room has had a leetle bit of Beach Cottage foofing, so shoot me…
I must say now though, if you have very young kiddos, husbands who feel the need to raise their eyebrows at your escapades with home decor or crazy pets, you may want to step away from the screen right now.
So this is a question I got from a reader recently regarding how to use vintage furniture in your home
I have been reading your blog for a while now and love it I always enjoy it when you find old furniture and slowly I have been changing things in my house to a more vintage style. I do not live by the beach but I am near water and have also been adding nautical items.
I have been also been making trips to op-shops and second-hand markets and the other day locally online found an old ladder, similar to the one I have seen in your pictures, I bought it, collected it, and then when I got it home I just didn’t know what to do with it. Then you posted about climbing on top of yours for when hubby got home, that sure did make me laugh out loud, I won’t be doing that but I was wondering what to do with it?? Do you have any ideas on what I can do with it, I just can’t seem to get it right?
Well now, this is an interesting one isn’t it Beach Cottage ladies and I have been in this situation before myself…when you get the happy dance feeling in a second-hand shop when you come across a lovely item that you can actually afford to take home, when you clap your hands together in glee when you find something pretty special that no-one else will have and money so cannot buy (like my old Hungarian refugee seafaring trunk that I found at a garage sale) or something that has been loved and worn by life with that special patina that only time can bring.
At that stage of the hunt all is tickety-boo and you feel the elation of your find, you are high on your purchase, you skip out to the car and load it in, or bribe any random passing males to give you a hand.
When home on the drive, you are still on this thrifting-induced high and the neighbour’s net curtains twitch yet again at the crazy English lady who moved in a few years ago and continues to fill this cottage as if it is a tardis
And then,..doom…you bring it in and lean it somewhere, you try it in the Lounge Room, you lug it to your bedroom and in desperation you drag it around and prop it in the bathroom, hoping for inspiration.
You find none and sadly your new, to you, piece of pre-loved, with a life, bargain vintage find, actually finds itself down in the depths of the garage with the cans of white paint, the old photos and the spiders.
So here are my ideas for how get ready and to use vintage ladders in your home
1.Clean It Up
Take a good look at the condition of the piece – I have found lots of these now and have them propped here and there….you want to look for pieces that are ultimately chock full of vintage signs of life – this one is stamped by the carpenter, splattered with paint, tied with random and aged jute and overall is scuffed, pitted and rickety…money cannot buy those things (well not my money) and so wanted to preserve those things and left it as it is.
However these vintage ladders are often filthy, to put it mildly, by their very nature, they will probably have been sitting lost and forgotten in the back of someone’s shed for thirty years…they will be covered in grime and dust and their make-up of choice will be dirt.
But it’s really easy to clean these babies up and I have now about my person, a tried and tested formula, you can find it here…please remember I am far from a professional here, I lust after, search and bring home to this old cottage many a vintage piece or six and I have found a way to clean them up so that I am comfortable having them in the house…my way of doing it suits me, take it as you will.
2. Paint it
If the condition is not that good or you don’t have anything vitnage to ‘save’ or quite frankly you just don’t fancy it in your house unless it is much cleaner and fresher…well then paint it…
The beauty of a vintage ladder is that it is rustic and you don’t have to be either fussy or a professional to get painting it right. Did anyone say can of spray paint? And let us not even talk about drips shall we? We all know on here, us regular Beach Cottage Girls that drips are part of blogging, and as the Real Girl Amateur DIYers…we love drips, they say home, they say life, they say I found this, I loved this, I did it in my spare time and I brought it back to life.
You can paint it to co-ordinate with your look or in a contrasting colour to pop against a neutral decor…I have seen vintage ladders in a more modern (but neutral) setting to mine where the ladder has been painted a pillar-box red, or turquoise or go the more shabby faded paler colours like pink and baby blue.
3. Find some space
OK, so I have a teeny tiny old cottage, if there is one thing this place does not have it is an abundance of space, but, you do need to find a space where this can ‘sit’ without lots around it…I have tried them ‘layered’ up and that seems to just create one old big pit of clutter…if you have a bigger than house than me, which I can assure you is not hard, then putting it up in all it’s glory is great..
4. Use it as Storage
I use these in our bathrooms to store towels (for this use I prefer the cleanliness of painting) but you can use them for all sorts…I have also used one for scarves and have seen them used for jewellery, books and magazines (hung by the spine). If you are handy you can also add shelves
5. Use it as a display piece
My favourite way to use these is to dress them up…whatever your look, they sure do give you bang for your buck…I have done all sorts with mine..there was once when they were graced by lemons (find that here), but mostly, for my coastal beachy decor look I like to combine a nod to the nautical with the odd shell or similar and then combine with fresh flowers…best thing is, all so very easy, on both the pocket and the old brain.
So that’s it from me, I hope you enjoyed my ideas for using vintage ladders in your home, I love them and it’s great to be able to collect things that add a bit of individuality and character to your home that is not in every other homey boutique that you walk into or in every magazine or blog that you open…and isn’t there nothing worse than opening a blog to a new post that just so happens to look so very much like another?
My best piece of advice is if you see a vintage ladder on your travels, girlfriends, lace up your spikes and sprint, do not walk, RUN, do not pass go, go directly to the vintage ladder, pushing out anyone standing in your way eyeing it up too, snatch it to your body and do not let it leave your person until it is sitting in your home dressed up to the eyeballs and sighing at its new life.
Be seeing ya next time
p.s. if you are new here, join the BC Club for updates, sneak peeks and more…just pop your email addy in the box xo
and the ladder on the deck here