When asked, I often describe my interior style preference as Scandi with a bit of vintage mixed in and it’s funny how when you look back at your Pinterest boards, there is inevitably a visual link between your pinned images that defines your style.  If you look at my own Pinterest feed, there’s plenty of old mixed with new, clean lines and varied textures, muted walls with pops of monochrome, a hint of the industrial softened with a vase of flowers or soft wool.  Definite Scandinavian influences there, but with a lived in, vintage vibe, too.

In particular, I’m drawn to a bit of Danish midcentury style and love old pieces brought back up to date.  I have a pair of Ercol carver chairs that are patiently waiting to be transformed with a length of wool fabric, possibly a soft heather grey herringbone weave or navy blue edged with a striking yellow.  I can’t decide which, but their time will come…

It follows then, that when a couple of weeks ago one of my lovely neighbours contacted me to say she thought she had a piece of furniture I’d be interested in, I couldn’t resist popping over for a peek (despite the fact that eldest daughter was imminently heading off to her Spring school concert and we were in the middle of a rather rushed tea – you know that situation when stress levels are kind of high?! – however, some things have to give when it comes to potential new decor finds!!)

For those that know me, I’m never one to turn down a preloved piece of furniture that has every potential to be made loveable once again and this piece was no exception, in fact it was perfect!  When I arrived at my neighbour’s house, I was delighted to discover the piece of furniture she was looking rid of was an authentic G plan teak sideboard/wall unit dating back to the 1970s. I just had to take it!  Needless to say, my other half immediately deemed it ugly and dated, however thanks to my addiction to the aforementioned Pinterest, I had other ideas…

This is the unit in its original state (it would have had glass doors on the LHS but these had broken so had been removed).

70s G Plan wall unit


I had been planning to move two rather out-of-place white Ikea Billy bookcases out of our drawing room, one into our kitchen/living space and the other into my eldest daughter’s bedroom to house her books and trinkets, so I had been looking out for a suitable unit to go in their place.  I just knew this could work, so I set about searching for some upcycling ideas on Pinterest.  I loved this look in particular as it just transforms an essentially dated piece of furniture into something bang on trend and rocking the Scandi/midcentury look that I’m loving at the minute.

So, armed with my trusty paint charts, I headed off to find some blue paint to resemble that in the Pinterest image I’d been inspired by and decided that Farrow & Ball’s Stiffkey Blue was the closest match. It’s a gorgeously deep, moody shade of blue with a beautiful warmth to it which looks amazing when teamed with greys and ochre yellow.  Ideal for my drawing room’s grand decor plan, then!

I had the paint colour-matched at a Johnstone’s decorating centre and I think it’s a really successful match, however I would always recommend that you buy a sample pot of your chosen shade to test colour likeness first.

Farrow & Ball Stiffkey Blue


Firstly, I gave the cupboard doors that were being painted a light sand with a fine grit sandpaper, then I removed the doors, cleaned them down with soapy water and painted on a coat of wood primer.  (I used this one from Dulux for the job).

G plan unit primed


Here are the doors with one coat of paint on.  I opted for an oil based paint with an eggshell finish, which went on like a dream with the mini roller!  I used a 1/2″ brush for cutting in around the handles, first.

Stiffkey Blue on cupboard doors


After the second coat, I left the doors to dry for around 48 hours, just to be sure they were completely dry and  no longer tacky to the touch.  You could even leave them for up to five days, but I’m way too impatient for that!

Anyway, here is the final result, which I must say I’m pretty chuffed with.  To go from back-of-trailer-on-the-way-to-the dump to fully functional, sleek, modernised piece of furniture in a couple of days!  It’s a piece of furniture that I hope we’ll treasure for years to come.

G plan unit in stiffkey blue 3

G plan unit in stiffkey blue 2

G plan unit in stiffkey blue close up

G plan unit in stiffkey blue 1


And not only is it a great place to house our paperbacks… but it’s also a fabulous drinks cabinet.  What’s not to love?!  My darling of a husband also bought me a bottle of my new favourite Shortcross gin, distilled here in Northern Ireland, to pop inside. (If you ever get your hands on it, it’s delectable served with Fevertree tonic and dressed with blueberries, raspberries, a wedge of lime and a sprig of mint. Go try.)

G plan unit stiffkey blue drinks cabinet


I love how it has an on-trend, yet classic, midcentury feel and that easily recognisable Danish design.  As a standalone piece, I just think it really works and although we are using it predominantly to display books, you could stack magazines, framed prints or even a collection of ceramics along the shelves.

What do you think of my colour choice?  Would you have chosen something similar or do you run a mile from ‘charity shop’ furnishings?!!

Hopefully this inspires you to try something new next time you’re contemplating a preloved piece of furniture. At least my hours spent on Pinterest have at last been fruitful!!

Have a lovely bank holiday Monday.

K x


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4 Comments on A 1970s G plan unit brought up to date

  1. That blue is gorgeous and brings the unit bang up to date. Great project resulting in a beautiful and useful piece of furniture

    • Thank you Susan! I’m really thrilled with it – now I’m wondering what I can paint with the blue paint left in the tin!

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