The Orchard Blog

July 29, 2014

Great British Bake Off Add Your Caption Competition

Filed under: Great British Bake Off,Shabby Chic — The Rustic Scribe @ 2:58 PM

Terms & Conditions:

Competition closes at Midnight Wednesday 6th August 2014.
Only one entry per household.
Entries can be made via Twitter or Facebook.
Facebook qualify for the competition, the entrant is required to: i/ Comment on the post. Ii/ Like & Share the post
Twitter: qualify for the competition, the entrant is required to i/ Comment on the post. ii/ Re-Tweet competition post.
Any entries made after the closing date or entered via a different method will not be valid.
Three winners will be selected and announced on Facebook and Twitter after Friday 8th August 2014.

Prizes will only be delivered to UK addresses. Prize is not exchangeable for cash, gift voucher or any other item. This competition is not open to employees or contractors of The Orchard Home and Gifts, any person directly or indirectly involved with The Orchard Home and Gifts, or those involved with the running of the competition, or their direct family members.

Entrants will be deemed to have accepted these terms and conditions and to have agreed to be bound by them when entering this competition. This competition is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook or Twitter and Facebook/Tiwtter shall not be liable for any losses whatsoever arising from this competition and/or the Prize. You are providing your information to The Orchard Home & Gifts and not to Facebook. The information you provide will only be used for the purposes of this promotion, unless you opt-in to receive future marketing communications from The Orchard only. Your personal information will only be used as set out in The Orchard Home and Gifts privacy policy.

June 27, 2014

What to look for when choosing a kitchen dresser

From modern or shabby chic through to rustic and traditional, a kitchen dresser is not just a practical storage solution but a piece of furniture that can set the whole theme for your kitchen; something that can be personalised when filled with all your favourite pieces of crockery, glassware and precious kitchenalia collected over time.  It is a piece of who you are as an individual or a reflection of the family that lives within.

So where to start? First you need to establish what the dresser will be used for.

Is it for display? Then open shelves are definitely the way to go, maybe something like this from our French Brocante range

french brocante





Beautifully distressed and when painted in a darker colour than a simple cream or off white this dresser creates will offset your favourite pieces, whilst the ornate fascia acts to enhance the framed effect.  With The Orchard’s bespoke furniture service we can tailor this piece to the dimensions of your home and we offer it in eleven different paint colours.  French Grey and Pale Mint are proving to by hugely popular this year for this piece but we personally think Black is the way to go in kitchens this year.  If you’ve seen the dining table used in The Great British Bake Off you will know what we mean.  A large antique black dresser or dramatic black table will make a real wow statement!


Need a little more in the way of storage?  How about this from our Old English Painted Collection?  Hand made here in the heart of England this is very much a signature Orchard shabby chic furniture piece.  Combining lots of practical storage along with decorative design this piece delivers in buckets on the William Morris maxim about filling your home with only beautiful and practical things.

Old English Painted Dresser


Painted in classic antique white for the text book shabby chic look, this traditional dresser will compliment most kitchens.  Again we can custom build such a piece for you.  We recently undertook a commission for a version with tall doors and no drawers in the base.  We have also produced 4 and 5 door/drawer sizes so don’t hesitate to get in touch to discuss your requirements, we can accommodate most requests.  You can also fill out this form with your specification and we’ll come right back to you with a quote;- Bespoke Enquiry Form.  Best of all you get to choose your own handles on our Old English pieces from our on-site collection of door knobs and pulls.


Need something a little less shabby chic?  For a cleaner finish, straight lines and bundles of storage our French Country dresser can’t be beat.

French Country Dresser


The French Country dresser is fantastic for offering both display and storage space with its deep drawers for cutlery and other bits you’d rather not have on show.  This piece is also available in a larger 3 door size.  Furthermore the top surfaces on all our French Country furniture pieces are made from reclaimed wood.  Bundles of character and ethical to boot!


Looking for something a little grander?  Then look no further than our Vintage Pine Large Dresser.

Vintage Pine Large Dresser


Featuring a glazed storage area this piece works particularly well in a dining room.  The top piece lends itself perfectly to a drinks cabinet.  Glassware can be stored in the cupboards to the left and right with all your favourite tipples stored in the central area. Note the detailing on this piece, the ornate plinth, the arched door trim and the rich, deep colour of the wood.  Gorgeous.


Remember it is not essential that your dresser matches your kitchen cabinetry but it should compliment it. This could mean opting for a dresser painted in a contrasting shade to give your kitchen a bespoke feel and creating a focal point.

The final and probably the most important tip: Be sure to check your measurements thoroughly before purchasing your dresser as a dresser that’s too big will unbalance a room and reduce the feel of open space.  You’ll also want to not only check your available space, but the space required to display items such as plates and jars on the shelving areas and the height clearances for the cupboard areas.

To see more kitchen furniture and unique storage solutions be sure to check out our Shabby Chic Furniture pages.  To fill out a bespoke enquiry click here or if you’d prefer to discuss your requirements with us we’d love to talk furniture with you over the phone.  You can reach us Monday to Friday on 0845 643 0363, ask to speak to Mat or Jo.


June 18, 2014

Shabby Chic Furniture – A Potted History

Filed under: Shabby Chic — The Rustic Scribe @ 4:43 PM

It is probably some twenty years since the convoy of canny Brits trawling the brocantes of France first began. Their goal…, to import pieces of old French furniture to sell on in high end British antique shops and auctions.  With a seemingly endless supply of rustic country farmhouses clearing out once cherished possessions it became the thing to do if you were in the trade.  (A little known fact is that a well known, multi million pound English reproduction furniture businesses was born less than twenty years ago from such humble beginnings.)

A signpost to a brocante painted on a rustic old bicycle

Which way to the market!?!

With our French neighbours living so close word quickly spread across the industry and you would often hear as many English as French voices trawling the markets and auctions of Normandy and beyond.  What was once considered exclusive and for the wealthy quickly became more commonplace but this did nothing to quell demand.  Nor was the supply exhausted.  With France a much bigger country than our own and with many natives leading simple rustic lives in idyllic farm houses the type of product we English craved was to be found everywhere.

A rustic looking shop front in France

Needing a new angle, the cannier, more creative and talented amongst the shabby chic furniture hunters began to renovate the pieces they were bringing home.  Simple, vintage sideboards and rustic dining tables were scrubbed down, sanded and repainted to look almost new.  Paint styles and paints themselves developed, the eponymous chalk paint evolved and a whole new genre of reclaimed French furniture began appearing on British high streets in the best furniture and antique shops.  Along with growing awareness of Rachel Ashwell’s design mantra shabby chic furnishing was the interior design trend.

A white painted kitchen furnished in a shabby chic style with a rustic dining table in the centre

Textbook use of shabby chic furniture in a kitchen

Many still consider shabby chic furniture a relatively new concept, indeed perhaps only now is it breaking into the mainstream.  Just recently we have witnessed one or two tv documentaries featuring those heading across the pond in search of vintage treasures to bring back to our shores.  One of those shows, curiously titled Dirty Weekenders, featured Richard E. Grant who set out to “experience the world of the people who spend their time rifling through the barns, cowsheds and French farm attics, looking for pre-war treasures to bring back home.”   (the show is still available to view on the Channel 4 Player, see the link below)

Actor Richard E Grant browsing items in a brocante

Richard E Grant browses a vintage lantern in the show Dirty Weekenders

Thankfully the world has moved on as has the shabby chic furniture business.  No longer must we rely on a trusted, elusive contact to come up with the next rare gem.  No longer must we wait months on end for that perfect vintage sideboard to be discovered in some rural barn in Brittany.  Better still no longer do we need to pay vastly over the odds for what a French Mademoiselle was only too happy to part with for a handful of Francs!

Shabby chic furniture may not be mainstream, and to be honest we are thankful for that, variety is the spice of life after all, but the accessibility of the genre is much, much better.  Via clever craftsmen, manufacturing techniques and new paints and finishes we can create reproduction shabby chic furniture that looks as good as the originals that inspired it.  Better still, as pieces can be made from newer wood; they are much easier to look after and should last as many years as their ancestors.  Many of our favourite pieces combine a little of the old along with the new, we love a reclaimed wood table top sat upon new, freshly painted wooden legs.

A white distressed painted wooden table with a reclaimed wood table top

Combining the best of old and new, our Reclaimed Timber Painted Dining Table

Furthermore here at The Orchard we can make shabby chic furniture to order.  Imagine finding the perfect console table in a Brocante after years of trawling across the continent only to find it is two centimeters too wide for your alcove!  No longer need this be a concern; we have our own French Brocante, the name for one of our most popular furniture collections, which is home to over fifty classic, shabby chic furniture designs.  From bedroom to kitchen, living room to study, we have a piece for every requirement.  Each available in a range of twelve distressed paint finishes and available on a made to measure basis if our standard dimensions aren’t quite right for you.

A two door, two drawer French styled cupboard with distressed paintwork

Our Brocante Narrow Two Door Buffet

To see our French Brocante range click here, to submit a made to measure enquiry click here.  If you’d prefer to discuss your requirements with us we’d love to talk furniture with you over the phone.  You can reach us Monday to Friday on 0845 643 0363, ask to speak to Mat or Jo.

June 2, 2014

The Orchard Visits The Vintage Rooms In Derbyshire

Filed under: Shabby Chic — The Rustic Scribe @ 2:20 PM

Earlier this Spring a couple of members of The Orchard team paid a visit to the shabby chic oasis that is Dale Road in Derbyshire. The first thing that strikes you as you enter Dale Road are the elegant shop facades from the time when Matlock was an Edwardian spa town.

The Orchard Visits The Vintage Rooms In Derbyshire

Visible on both sides of the road you are reminded of days gone by, helped no end by the fact it is a road lined with vintage, shabby chic and antique shops. The Vintage Rooms is undoubtedly the gem amongst this treasure trove. The area and this store in particular has long been a mecca for vintage lovers and those who like things a little more rustic.

The traditional shop facades on Dale Road, alluring even when wet!

The Vintage Rooms holds an eclectic mix of antique, vintage and contemporary items and shabby chic furniture with both French and British styles mixed with modern takes on vintage inspired pieces; this truly is an Aladdin’s cave of lust worthy items, a treasure trove and a feast for the eyes. The list doesn’t end there, you can add war memorabilia, vintage industrial pieces, even rustic farming tools and breweriana so there is something for everyone not just shabby chic fanatics!

Just one small corner of vintage delights inside the store.

Despite the sheer volume of stuff it’s all arranged so beautifully.

The shop also stocks a wide range of home accessories, textiles, painted furniture and a myriad of decorative and collectable pieces, it’s almost impossible to leave without parting with a little cash!

You name it, they have it, from pretty to practical and everything in between!

As you continue through the shop there is even a vintage style kitchen set up in the back. It houses a gorgeous display of painted shabby chic furniture and sideboards, wall shelves and units, not to mention a variety of accessories from similar eras.

The retro kitchen in the back of the store, chock full of shabby chic kitchen goodies.

You could visit The Vintage Rooms twenty times over and still not have seen all the wonderful pieces it holds. I just see this as an excuse to keep going back for more! A stop here is an absolute must if you are ever passing through. As its en-route to the Peak District The Vintage Rooms can be just the start of a great weekend away!

It looks even more alluring when Instagram’d up!

For more information on any of our shabby chic furniture or other vintage products please call 0845 643 0363 or email

Shabby Chic Storage Solutions For The Home By The Orchard

Filed under: Shabby chic storage — The Rustic Scribe @ 1:04 PM

At the very heart of shabby chic style is the concept of pretty yet practical. But this design style is so much more than just that, it also embraces the old, the reclaimed, in many ways it was the originator of up-cycling. Taking something tired and old and make it beautiful and useful again.

For many a shabby chic styled home can mean a cluttered home however we believe it needn’t be this way and who’s to say you can’t have shabby chic storage pieces?  In fact, here at The Orchard we would argue that the genre offers a whole host of storage solutions in clever, beautiful and most importantly practical ways.

Shabby Chic Storage Materials Used By The Orchard

Whether you want to call it recycling, up-cycling, being environmentally friendly or just plain old common sense, we love to source products that perhaps began life in a different way.  Here are just a few examples of our unique shabby chic storages pieces made from differing materials;-

•    Reclaimed Wood Apple Crates – Old pieces of timber are collected, cleaned up and stained before being assembled into traditional apple crates.  Sometimes called bushel boxes, the number of uses for these crates is countless.  Stack them, mount them, group together or just one sat on its own.  They are so versatile.

•    Industrial Vintage Cloakroom Bench – This piece is a shabby chic storage classic.  Reclaimed, aged steel is formed into a cloakroom unit just like the one from your school days.  Throw in some reclaimed Mango wood and you have a vintage statement piece for your home, so very practical and so very stylish.

•    Mariner Trunk Coffee Table – Another signature shabby chic storage piece.  This piece really embraces the pretty and practical concept.  Wood reclaimed from old fishing boats is formed into this stunning storage trunk which doubles up as a coffee table!

•    Paisley Park Jumbo Bag For Life – Just one of a number of designs we stock here at The Orchard, our Jumbo Shoppers are made from recycled plastic bottles.  Again the number of storage uses here are countless, bed linens, bath towels, kid’s toys, the shopping, take on a picnic, store away winter clothes.  It’s such a big, strong bag it does the lot!

Whether you are storing books and magazines, towels or linens, plates or glassware we have a shabby chic storage solution for you.  From new Oak to reclaimed wood, aged metal to crackle glaze ceramics we try to offer something for everyone.  So take a stroll through The Orchard’s collection of storage solutions, you are sure to find something you need and love.

For more information on any of our products or to make a sale please call 0845 643 0363 or email

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