Before I get to the excitement of the lard box, I wanted to show you these tiles. When we took the carpets up recently to have our floors sanded, the original hearth tiles were too cracked to use and so I had to find an alternative. I loved these ones above as soon as I saw them and when I arranged them on the floor I realised that the hearts and feeling of symmetry mirrored that of the wall hanging above. A totally happiness inducing coincidence.
Last night I finally stripped back the footstool below which I'd bought a few years ago. The fabrics were horribly stained and frayed (I bought it at an antiques fair), but I loved them so much that it's taken me a long time to bring myself to strip the fabrics off and reupholster it.
When I finally got through the many layers of fabric down to the inner layer of wood I was stunned to find that this very sturdy little lidded foot stool was actually...a wooden crate for lard. Not only was it a curious and unexpected discovery, but I found it very amusing that this lard container had found its way by stealth into the home of vegetarians. The upholstered box has always felt so proper and well made that seeing it in its stripped back state reminded me of how easy it actually is to create loveliness out of what is essentially rubbish. In the last two years this stool has flitted between being a laundry bin, a foot stool and is soon to go by the front door for an interesting new purpose (more on that next week). I could happily have several of them around the house and now that I've realised how simply made it is, I'm intending to recreate it many times over. I can already foresee myself becoming whipped up into making what will be considered by everyone else in the house an overabundance of them...like a strange collection of china figurines...only larger, more utilitarian and harder to hide from onlookers as they eventually find their way through the front door barred by rows of footstools. I need more lard boxes. Does anyone know of a good source for such a thing?
I felt compelled to research the lard box and found that it appears that it may have come from around 1890 and found its way over to England from America. (And yes, I realised afterwards that it's best not to strip a very old box over a pale rug, but luckily the sawdust and lint did all come up. Avert your eyes, Mama).
Because this box has had uses in so many different rooms in the house and blended in well in all of them, I wanted to find a similar fabric. I chose a woven material that has a cross-stitched look to it and shares the pinky cream tones of the original.
And here it is in its last week as a foot stool.
Oddly, when I went to find a picture of the footstool as it had originally looked when I'd bought it in May 2011, I came across a photo of this room before the colour red had infiltrated it. I couldn't believe quite how different it has become without my really noticing. I think I am now officially a person whose whole house is not cream.