One of my favourite things to do in my spare time is browse Ebay for hidden gems for the home. There is such a huge and diverse range of products to be found, it's easy to lose hours just looking. My latest big purchase came early this year, once the Christmas decorations had come down, and I was faced with a huge gaping tree-sized hole in my living room. It still felt bare after a few months, and just made me feel sad that it wasn't Christmas anymore, so I decided I needed something to fill the hole.
The space is straight in front of the door, so whatever I put there would be the first thing that you notice when you come into the room. Because of this I wanted to buy something that was pretty and interesting to look at, but also useful as we don't have huge amounts of storage space. For me, the logical thing to buy was a cocktail bar. Like most other people (I imagine) I dream of throwing debaucherous cocktail parties, soundtracked with french jazz, that go on until the sun comes up. After looking around for a few weeks I realised that they were all going to be a little too big for the space, and was probably not the most practical piece of furniture to have in a not-huge living room.
So, I decided instead on the cocktail bar's cousin - the cocktail cabinet. There is a HUGE selection on Ebay, and that is the hardest part about finding one. I knew the type that I wanted, definitely glass fronted so that you can see the things inside. Not too high, so that you can use the top of it as a surface or prepare drinks on it. On legs, as I think the ones that sit directly on the floor look a little clunky. This one that I found dates from around 1940, and was only £20. It was up for a little more, and I bartered her down a little, (something that is fun to do on Ebay, but absolutely hideous to do in real life).
The main problem and expense with buying furniture from places like Ebay, is the shipping. Unless the seller is located close enough for you to drive to, most of the time you need to order a courier. After doing a bit of research, I decided to use Anyvan, a website where you can simply enter the pick-up and delivery postcodes and what needs to be collected, and people will bid on your job. I think it's a really good concept for a website as it's individuals or small companies you will be using, plus you get to choose the person you use based on cost and when they can do the job. There is also an option to simply put in the Ebay product number to make it even easier as you wont need to detail what it is being collected.
The cabinet arrived when it was due to with no problems at all, it was exactly as it was described and I was really happy with it. I initially intended to take the fabric from the back wall down and replace it, as I wanted to freshen it up, but I haven't got round to it yet. To be honest, the fabric is really pretty and it's quite a big job, so I probably wont bother now (I definitely wont bother).
Then comes the really fun part - filling up the cabinet! This mainly involved a really expensive online alcohol shop (being mindful to only buy spirits that would fit on the bottom shelf!) and transferring wine glasses from our cupboard to the cabinet. We have since been given some beautiful cut-crystal champagne glasses from my lovely sister, and the matching brandy glasses we bought from an antique fair at Hatfield House (next fair September 21st). The playing cards I got from Bar Nightjar, a lovely bar with great live music, each card has a different cocktail recipe on.
I think it's a really interesting and fun piece of furniture, when people come round they always go and look at all the things inside of it and are surprised that I bought it so cheaply. Quite a few people seem a little dubious about buying furniture from somewhere like Ebay, but I say just give it a chance, I have never experienced a problem. The only problem I do have is where I will put my Christmas tree this year.