How I became a professional vintage furniture Up-cycler

How I became a professional vintage furniture up-cycler

It all started around 10 years ago, really slowly at first and then I got bitten by the bug!

We’d just bought a new home which was so exciting; upsizing from a 2 bed to a 4 bed house with space was a thrill I won’t lie, but with hardly any furniture we needed to get shopping and quick!  We bought really well made wooden furniture mostly teak or mahogany … I know… but this was 13 years ago!  The great thing about our buys, was the fact we’d bought quality furniture which meant it was perfect for upcycling and painting.

And I painted and painted; bookcases, side tables, a TV unit, chest of drawers, wardrobe and benches, tables and chairs; in fact my husband warned visitors that if you didn’t keep moving you’d be in danger of getting painted too!

A few years later, baby came along and I juggled working full time as a marketing PA for a large corporate company with being a parent.  I then worked part time for a while and honestly I just lost the love for working in an office.  I realised I needed a flexible work-life balance which I know sounds corny but I knew I needed to change my routine to fit in with my priorities; to be able to take my son to school, see his school plays, go for tea and scones after school, and yep make time for a few Zumba and yoga classes too!

So what did I do?

I learnt lots of new techniques and skills; I watched You Tube videos when I needed to, I refreshed my painting technique, I learnt how to refurbish chairs, how to decoupage and how to distress mirrors to give them that vintage look.  Just anything I needed in my armoury to expand and grow my interest and my business.  I set up my online shop Little Gecko Interiors, joined fantastic selling sites including this one, and of course Facebook groups.  I also spent time learning about social media and yes I’m still learning every day!

Something which I definitely echo with my own customers.  It really pays dividends to provide that fantastic shopping experience.  Before long, I received my first commission from a client; she loved a piece she’d bought from me and it got her thinking; she found that she needed a sideboard painted too!I sourced new suppliers I could rely on and I decided to try out some new paints as well.  One I’m particularly loving right now is fusion mineral paint.  With the shops closed at the time due to lockdown, I found a fabulous online shop, who became my ‘go to’ supplier.  Vintage Attic Sevenoaks had my order packed and ready to go the same day and even called me when a new supply had arrived so I could add to my order.  Great customer service you don’t find too often these days!

So where do I shop?

I’m quite lucky, living close to Guildford in Surrey there seems to be a plentiful supply of furniture on Facebook marketplace.  That’s pretty much where I shop, but of course there are always house clearances, Ebay, gumtree to name just a few.

So here I am now writing this blog!  It’s been such a fun journey and I’ve learnt so much in these last four months.  Of course there’s been frustrations along the way and it hasn’t always been easy, but if anything, I learnt how to do it better next time which means the whole process becomes a whole lot easier down the line.

My online shop can be found at and I do take commissions so do get in touch if there is a particular piece you have in mind.

Happy creating everyone and if you do embark on this path, I truly hope you enjoy the ride!

Issy Tidmarsh x

Little Gecko Interiors

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Issy TidmarshEllen HarrisonPennie Recent comment authors
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How do you deliver the furniture you sell please? I’m very concerned about having furniture items delivered through a courier incase of damage.

Ellen Harrison
Ellen Harrison

I loved reading your blog Issy. Im kind of in the same boat..I’ve got the bug and just want to expand and get somewhere with this. Your story is inspiring x