The trouble with owning a gite is that you put so much time and effort into keeping that sparkling clean and in top notch condition that you run out of energy when it comes to your own home. It tends to get a little forgotten about. However, now that the holiday season is over, we’ve got a bit more time for our home, as well as our various other enterprises.
I love browsing around Gavroche, which is a large, old factory building in Boussac full of second hand stuff. Given the area’s very elderly population, well, let’s just say house clearing is a good business to be in. The building is full to bursting with what the kids bluntly call ‘dead people’s stuff’ but what I prefer to refer to as budget-friendly items requiring rehoming. And well-made budget-friendly items requiring rehoming at that. A lot of the things are very old so there’s little if no ‘Made in China’ flimsy rubbish.
There are always fantastic pieces of furniture there – huge carved dressers and wardrobes, solid beds, tables too heavy to move without a crane, ornate chairs and – my favourites – bedside cabinets that incorporate polished marble tops. We bought a matching pair of these for the gite a couple of years ago and I’ve been coveting one ever since. Finally, with time to think again, we got round to getting one.
Here it is. My new bedside table. It’s gorgeous. It has the beautiful reddish marble on the top but the cabinet is also lined with a paler marble.
No wonder it was so heavy! And look at the legs – carved and painted at the base.
There’s a good chance this is a piece of Louis Philippe furniture. Dark wood and polished marble are the trademarks of that. This is well made, hard-wearing practical furniture which was produced between 1830 and 1848, in the early days of ‘mass’ production following the industrial revolution. Also when Louis Philippe, Duke of Orleans, was France’s leader after Charles X had fallen from favour. He was France’s last king (Napoleon was its last monarch). Read all about him here. He may only have lasted eighteen years on the throne, but his furniture will go on for a few more centuries.