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Local & Community

Preloved Member – Restoring Furniture

Emma is a Preloved member who restores and upcycles items of furniture. In light of Restoration Day, we asked her to talk about how she chooses her projects, where she finds inspiration and what restoration means to her.


I started my passion for restoring furniture not long after my mum died as a way of focusing on something creative and to keep me busy during a difficult time.

For me, choosing the right furniture comes from doing research into what is hot and what is not in relation to interior design. I am mad on interior design magazines and those that take tours around some of the most gorgeous homes. From these I not only get a sense of different styles, colours and pieces that help me decide what to buy but, more importantly, what to transform pieces into.


Many talk about the difference between restoration and upcycling, but for me it is always restoration that I undertake. You are either restoring the furniture to its original condition or you are restoring it so it can then be transformed into new ‘clothes’. This especially was the case with this reproduction writing bureau as it was in some need of love and attention.

Writing bureaus are having somewhat of a renaissance, with many people wanting a more traditional piece of furniture rather than the bland flat pack computer desks that fill the market currently. This is why I searched for the right one. This particular writing bureau I bought from an auction site and chose it for its sleek lines, design and its beautiful Queen Anne legs.


I never really decide what to do with a piece until I actually see it in the flesh. By looking at it I start to vision in my head what I want to do with it, so when I bought it home I could see it needed some attention: some of the handles were loose and needed re-fixing with new screws and the wood was heavily scratched in places.

Due to this I decided to paint the piece with chalk paint and change its overall look. For the undercoat I used a cream colour, but on top I used Vintro chalk paint in a colour called ‘Pebble’. This meant that when I distressed the edges of the drawers and the cabinet it showed both the cream and wood giving it an aged look.


I painted the handles that I fixed back on in a gorgeous and lavish gold; I also added gold mouldings giving it an overall sophisticated chic look. This not only restored but transformed this piece into a gorgeously sophisticated French chic style writing bureau which was snapped up in a day!

So why not give restoration a try? With the wealth of furniture wax, paints and mouldings available out there you can really take a very ordinary piece, or one that needs work, and restore and transform it into something beautiful. But be warned it can be extremely addictive!


Emma sells some of her inventory on Preloved, this is an amazing telephone seat she restored recently. It was barely onsite before someone snapped it up! Stay tuned for another post of Emma in the upcoming weeks.


Emma Haddock

Emma Haddock

Community User

As a disabled person and wheelchair user, Preloved member Emma uses painting furniture as a way of dealing with pain and discomfort. She also works for a local charity supporting parents of children with disabilities and additional needs, and uses her talents to show parents how to upcycle and restore furniture.

She is the owner of The Shabby Shed and restores and upcycles furniture in St Anne's Lancashire. You can find her on Facebook by searching The Shabby Shed St Annes.