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Story of the Narnia Wardrobe

During Lockdown, we are keeping our hand in all things creative by FIXING things! This week, I am renovating a 1950’s executive desk with a beautiful teak veneer top which has been badly stained and water damaged. I am an experienced buyer but my first love is to rescue old, unique things and bring them back to life.

This takes me back to recreating CS Lewis’ Narnia in the Belfast City Hall in June 2018. You can’t have Narnia without the wardrobe right?! The challenge was to transport 200 American visitors through a seemingly ordinary Victorian wardrobe into the show stopping wonder of Narnia. All I had to do was find a seriously good looking, exceptionally tall and robust vintage piece to restore.

Someone had given it half a dodgy makeover.

I found this old dear in a house clearance lock-up, it was in a very poor state but it was a good height, the correct vintage and it weighed an absolute ton!

Well at least I know now it’s definitely not made from MDF!
Showing a lot more potential now.

It took a week to strip, sand, wire wool and varnish it back to its past glory. To add internal height, we adapted the doors by gluing the 5″ base to the door, removed the bottom drawer, shelves and the back and reinforced the weakened structure with L-shaped steel brackets.

Here is PJ working on reinforcing the structure of the wardrobe having removed it’s back.

Side wings complete with false skirting and a ply top were added to the back of the wardrobe to look like an old bedroom wall. I found the perfect vintage wallpaper for the fakey wall in Thomas Kelly’s of Ballynahinch.

Almost finished, varnish is dry, a 6 Footer can walk through and ‘she’ is absolutely beautiful.

We carefully wrapped her up on the day of the event and it took four strapping men to carry her up the stairs to the first floor of Belfast City Hall.

Go right at the top of the stairs boys!
6 hours later…….. Guests arriving any minute!

It’s all about the detail, the wardrobe was totally authentic, even on the inside with a collection of vintage trench and fur coats. It’s now back in the store, wrapped up and waiting for another outing. Who’s up for a Narnia themed wedding or party? Give us a call if you are!

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