My granny had a bureau. It was a great solid piece of furniture with the requiste pull-down desk at the front. And inside, a world of cubby-holes, drawers and hiding places for childhood secrets. Through the years that bureau was a post-office; a babychange table; a shop; the place I did homework and revised for examinations; and for one glorious summer it was the headquarters of the imaginary cleaning business that my brother, cousin and I ran. For that summer, we were Reckitt and Coleman. We had the headed paper to prove it. (A small insight into the Munkie pysche here: my imaginary childhood company sold cleaning products. Not magic wands, princess dresses or fairy cakes. Go figure.)
Needless to say, the allures of a bureau have long been calling me. And the wonderful people at Freecycle always come up with the goods. I collected a fabulous old bureau from a family who had had it for a while but no longer had the space. The gentleman of the house told a lovely story of falling asleep as a child whilst his father worked at the desk, and hearing the characteristic jangle of the hinges as the desk folded up. It had since been used as a toy box for his own kids and was not the bureau it once had been.Once my Moon Munkie was done using it as a climbing-frame-cum-hiding-place it was time to begin the work.
Never having done a project like this, I took it really slowly. It took the whole summer, first dismantling, then sanding, undercoating and 3 coats of Overtly Olive later, it looked like new. Inside I went for a girly combination of raspberry pink wood with green polka dot paper backing. (Thanks to the kind people of B&Q Bury St Edmunds who understood my plight and inisted I cut a sample of wallpaper long enough to finish the project rather than buy a whole roll.)
I’m still not entirely happy with it. I don’t like the uneven way the paint has worn. It’s beginning to look more shabby than chic. Additionally, I wish I’d chosen a softer, more relaxing shade of pink. But it’s a corner of my own to read bible, study, plan lessons, write letters and drink coffee. A rose scented soap from my (incredibley talented) friend Ruth sits in one of the cubby holes and wafts me to a summer place each time I open the desk. It’s a calming place to be and it’s reassuring to know that if the urge ever grabs me , I can return to my roots in the glamourous world of cleaning product sales.