The wardrobe story

Hooray! We now have a wardrobe!

If you read my previous post you’ll have seen that Jean-Louis and I had been on the hunt for various items of furniture, but the all-important wardrobe was proving to be illusive. We were feeling quite frustrated and definitely rather tired of living out of our suitcases!

So after looking around at various places we finally found a beautiful, solid timber wardrobe in our local Brocante (used furniture and bric-a-brac store) for a mere €140, about $200 (Australian). It looked like it may have been sitting in the store for ages, but somehow we’d missed it – there were certainly plenty of visual distractions around, like animals, junk and dust everywhere. But thank goodness we finally spotted it.

‘La Grange’ the characterful brocante in Meyrargues, two villages away from our village of Jouques.
This place is a bargain-hunters paradise – but with loads of junk to sift through too!

Initially we started looking at single door wardrobes as we knew that it would be tricky to get a really large furniture piece up our very narrow spiral staircase. Luckily one of the elderly chaps in the brocante enlightened us to the fact that the double-door wardrobes could disassemble completely, whilst the single-door ones could not! How weird was that! Of course we promptly changed tack and continued by looking at all the double-door wardrobes.

As we had a shallow spot to fill, a lot of measuring-up of various wardrobes took place.

After having measured quite a few lovely old pieces and finding them to be too tall, too deep, too wide or not really to our liking after all, the one we finally settled on was just right in every way – as well as in very good condition. Solid timber, probably nut wood (walnut, called ‘noyer’ in French), which is highly prized in France for furniture making.

Found it! This is the one! Just look at those perfect bevelled-mirror doors – not a scratch!

We transported it back home ourselves, in our trusty Renault Megane station-wagon (we’re so glad we bought this type of vehicle to enable us to carry all the items we’ve purchased, as it has saved us so much money on delivery!). But first the guys at the brocante showed us how the wardrobe pieces came apart – all three of the old fellows working there helped us – they really seemed to enjoy showing us how to do it.

First things first – off with its head!
Then off with the doors – such a clever hinge-system these old pieces have.

Once we had the wardrobe home, we then had to disassemble the main part ourselves, take all the pieces up our very narrow old spiral staircase, and then of course re-assemble it! Hmmm, perhaps we should have thought to number each piece first?! 

Home at last and up the stairs with it we go, piece by piece.

That’s when the fun and games really began! Especially as JL also had no appropriate tools – ours still had’t arrived from Australia and were probably still on a ship somewhere in the middle of the ocean. So, to bang the dowel pins into place, Jean-Louis used an old hammer-head that he’d found in the attic! A true DIY-er has to be resourceful, that is for sure!

It was a big effort but so worth it.

I hope you’ll enjoy this story in pictures . . . 

Looks like a flat-pack system – invented long before IKEA mass produced the concept!
JL’s camping head-lamp came in handy! Every piece is joined together with very tightly fitting dowel pins.
The frame almost together – no more wobbling around.
Shelves in – look at those lovely little drawers! We didn’t receive a key for the left-hand one unfortunately.
Doors going on – spring-loaded metal pin-system that is ingenious once you understand how it works.
Complete – and oh so beautiful. No hanging space but a perfect fit for the niche we had available!

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