Checks and balances

I have often mentioned my preference to shop locally and we’re very lucky here, that so many of the shops in the town are still independently owned and are really very good.  There’s the usual selection of charity and second-hand shops and so on, and a few chain stores – newsagents, Boots and the Factory Shop are all that spring to mind, plus the Co op a mile from the town centre, but you can do most of your day to day shopping right here.

The very useful little dress shop just closed, unfortunately, apparently through lack of business. I bought most of my clothes there, though I don’t buy a lot of clothes and no one could keep going through my custom.  The only clothes I’ve bought this year have been there – a skirt and a dress a couple of months ago and a few things back in the spring, but my (I guess) £250 clearly wasn’t enough.  And, over the past decade or two, we’ve lost our book shop and shoe shop although, whilst some shops haven’t lasted, others selling similar produce have started in their place.

One of the oldest and best shops in the town is the furnishing/haberdashery/etc etc shop.  The double-fronted shop front doesn’t give much indication of what’s inside – the dress materials and so on are only the start of it.  To the left, it goes back two rooms that are filled with carpet samples and, behind that, there’s furniture.  To the right, there’s a room of fabrics – the last thing I bought there was heatproof material to go under the cloth on the french polished library table we use as a dining table, but I’ve had curtain fabrics and all sorts of things there in the past.  And behind that, there used to be – and probably still is – a selection of fairly traditional nightwear and underwear.  I haven’t been in that part since my mother died, but she bought a really lovely dressing gown there to keep her warm and cheered during her last winter.  In the front, there’s dressmaking stuff and bedding, gloves and various small household accessories and upstairs there are beds and mattresses.  It really is fabulous.  And LT and I spent half an hour or so being shown samples by John, the eponymous proprietor and came home with two pattern books and five samples, four of which we pretty soon dismissed.  So now we have to consider whether the fifth is the one we want.  It’s very good quality pure wool and expensive, and it’ll last us the rest of our lives or as long as we live here, so we don’t want to regret it.

Indeed, I’ll show it to you.  The check doesn’t stand out quite as much as it seems to on the photo.  We might have liked something a bit more autumn leaf-ish and we don’t want completely plain.  But this might fit the bill.  Any thoughts?

13 comments on “Checks and balances

  1. Beryl Ament

    I do like it and am glad it will suit your “heavy domestic.” The question I would ask, especially in light of your mentioning something autumn leafy, is how will it look in spring, summer, at Christmas? It certainly is warm looking and attractive for Autumn and I love the idea of plaid. On the other hand, I am totally useless at home decorating. Where is Martha Stewart when you need her?

    Reply
    1. Z Post author

      Well, it actually isn’t too far from the colour we’ve got here already, which we do still like. I don’t think we want a “colour” – green, blue, pink, that is, but a bit stronger than neutral. And there’s a very low ceiling, so anything too dark won’t suit either. Although the sample is about 2 foot square, I’d really like a bigger one!

      Reply
  2. Kipper

    I like it. It looks cozy and welcoming. Out of curiosity, how is it cleaned if it gets dirty or Eloise has a furball on it?

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    1. Z Post author

      Pure wool carpets are usually easy to wash, I just sponge up stains and use a steam cleaner when it needs overall cleaning.

      Reply
  3. Blue Witch

    Just a word of caution – unless the room has totally straight walls that are totally perpendicular to each other, the perceptual ‘jarring’ of non-straight walls with straight lines on the carpet risks looking very odd. The carpet fitter won’t be happy as he’ll have to make the decision about which wall is parallel to the lines and which aren’t.

    Plus plaid/tartan will date more than a ‘less trendy’ alternative. Wouldn’t something more ‘mottled’ be better with cats?

    Unless the price you’re paying is very much better than the RRP quoted on the site you link, I think that is an extortionate amount of money for carpet. You can get equal quality for a lot less. All very well buying local, but…

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  4. Z Post author

    Anything but straight walls here of course, but we weren’t too bothered about it – however, having carefully checked the available widths of other samples, we picked this at the last minute and didn’t check, and it only comes in 12 foot widths, which is far too wasteful. Others were in a choice of widths, including 3 foot, and the room is nearly 18 feet wide. So back to the drawing board.

    We tried a mottled-ish sort of thing and it was awfully dull. We may end up with plain and a rug at this rate. I agree about the price, startling. Wightman’s is usually good value, so I wouldn’t think we’d be quoted that. I’ve looked on the John Lewis website but didn’t find anything I liked there. More searching required.

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  5. Madeleine

    Considering the cost of carpeting have you considered new parquet flooring? We had this laid in our dining room, replacing a stained wool carpet, the cost was less than carpet, underlay etc. It is much warmer as the floor boards underneath were boarded over with marine plywood before the herringbone pattern was stuck down. The room is about 22 square metres, also the original 1934 parquet in our hall was sanded, repaired and sealed, total cost was £2320.00.

    Joseph who did the work is not VAT registered, very high standard, London based though.

    Also, much more practical flooring in a dining room when the grandchildren are here, no concern about moths, neutral colour which suits all interior design and it will outlast us and the house.

    I blogged about this back in July, without mentioning costs.

    Reply
    1. Z Post author

      My daughter suggested a wooden floor – a machined wood floor was Russell’s and my housewarming present to them in the house where they are now. It’s a massive room, 80 square metres or more and the thought of recarpeting it periodically made wood a much more sensible option; had to be machined as they’ve underfloor heating. As you know, the other two rooms here have wooden floors and this does too, under the carpet, but the boards aren’t good enough to expose. They’d all have to be taken up so that new boards could be put on the joists – I don’t think parquet would suit this house. The work and mess involved is daunting. The carpet I linked to is a pretty daunting price and most others seem to be half that. As Tim is away for a couple of days, we haven’t returned the samples yet and I’m looking at the others again.

      Reply
  6. Chairwoman Ros

    I love it. I like carpets that you can put with virtually any other colour, and that fits the bill perfectly. Autumn leavesish sounds great in theory, but could become tiresome. My m in law had one and it became intrusive.

    Reply
    1. Z Post author

      I like it and, when I do like something, I don’t get tired of it – I’m not being trendy, don’t know if plaid is trendy – my family’s reactions have varied. But having no choice of width does rule it out, I’m afraid; also it is ludicrously expensive. At least we’re getting an idea of what we do and don’t like.

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  7. Blue Witch

    These days they rarely take up old wooden floors to put down new… they simply (as Madeleine says) board over them and lay whatever wooden flooring you choose on top.

    There are places that will make a carpet to any width you need – and I suspect they are much cheaper than this.

    Would Berber carpets suit? Very hardwearing and can be textured or mottled-y which hides a multitude of sins…

    Reply
    1. Z Post author

      We simply can’t have the floor built up any more than it is. Nothing thicker than a carpet could go over the present floorboards. So even if we wanted a wooden floor, it would be a very much more disruptive job than laying a carpet. We’re going to keep looking 🙂

      Reply

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