Wednesday 21 October 2009

Time to Light the Fire ...

Those of you who have visited Dairy House in the winter will know that you need to put on extra layers before you enter the shop! Bearing in mind the original aim of the building was to keep the milk cool before it set off on its journey to London, the concrete floors (on all levels) covered with beautiful black-and-white tiles, the steel RSJs and thick walls have proved 'fit for purpose'.

I have now started 'layering up' before leaving home and am currently on 3 layers. Another few weeks and the thermal vests and longjohns will be brought into use, along with thicker jumpers, wool coats, scarves, gloves and boots!!

As you can imagine, I was delighted to see that one of my colleagues moved his massive bookcase from in front of the woodburner the other day. By the time we get to April the chimney breast is hidden for 6 months or so, but by October it needs to be exposed once again, and the fire lit.

How lucky that this particular dealer currently has 2 leather armchairs for sale. Very comfy, and just right for snuggling into with one of my Welsh blankets on a really chilly day. I do hope they will still be there tomorrow!!

Why not join me in a quick tour ...

The furniture in this room is quite dark and there isn't much daylight. Even less yesterday when I took the photo. Such a grim and dismal wet day, but it doesn't seem to matter to our customers. They still buy regularly from this dealer. A new customer came in (nearly 75% of customers during the last week were first-timers which was super) and said what a shame it was that brown furniture doesn't sell now. I leapt to its defence immediately. Dairy House is renowned for its brown furniture and it's only in the last couple of years that our dealers have begun to sell painted and other decorative furniture to compliment it. For 10 years Dairy House thrived on its brown furniture trade, and even in this current state of uncertainty we are exceedingly lucky to have maintained high sales, generally increasing month on month, and I must say, here and now, that our brown furniture sales are still buoyant.

This doesn't mean that we don't like painted! This is the room that both Niki and Liz like. This dealer has some amazing finds from time to time, and many's the time I've wished I'd been in front of her at fairs!!

Here's another room on the ground floor. Another Liz. She has some more interesting goodies out of camera, including a lovely Victorian painted brass bed.

There's a mix of painted and pine in this room, together with some vintage wooden toys.

Another dealer's decorative items are shown off against the check floor and yellow walls

and adjoining her are the carpets belonging to Red Fox, another of our dealers.

This is a section of another dealer's pitch on the first floor ...

This is the sight that greeted me when I went up to the top floor yesterday. I thought it would be sensible to keep the curtains, blankets, quilts and eiderdowns upstairs as I was rapidly running out of room in the main entrance. The only problem is that customers tend to open them out but rarely fold them up neatly afterwards. I think I'm fighting a losing battle, but perhaps one day I'll win it! The grand plan is to hang all the curtains on the rail. I've managed to put a few up as you can see, but I still have plenty more to hang.

Next to me on the top floor are Liz and Jack. Their old French picture frames are wonderful, and I'm hoping to measure a couple tomorrow, just in case they're the right size for some of my Scheurer fabrics!

Making our way back downstairs we'll just stop off and see what books are on offer ...

Finally, back in the front of the shop is a lovely collection of green Kleenware, some interesting plates and a set of crystal glasses in one of the cabinets ...

... and this last little room has some interesting bits and pieces.

I haven't managed to show you photos of every room as several were blurred. I'll take more and show you those another day. Meanwhile, this has given you an idea of where I go 4 days a week. There'll be an update on the Vintage to Victorian blog shortly with some more photos.