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Tuesday, 21 October 2008

The Sala Natale Mystery

Holding steady at 12 degrees at the 9am time-point. Cloudy and feeling damp.

In Carmine, what goes up doesn't necessarily always come down.

This is the case in particular with bulky stuff such as furniture, which is generally used until it falls apart and then burned. Two alternative solutions occur to me.

First, when you have decided you don't like the furniture and appliances you bought in your first flush of home-ownership-delight, you can always put the house on the market complete with all the bits and pieces that have come to embarrass you or that don't work so well any more.

A less drastic option would be to give away the bits and pieces you don't want to an unsuspecting neighbour who is too polite to say no, and they will either knock themselves out renovating them or take them down the hill to the dumpsters for you. (Only kidding, guys!)

When we bought the house we have now almost finished renovating (after only six years, two children, three (make that five) cats, gallons of chicken soup, etc., etc.,) we were surprised to find it still mostly furnished when we moved in. One bedroom was completely furnished, and the chest full of immaculately-stored linen. So accomplished were the previous owner's linen-storing abilities that when we moved in after the house had been uninhabited for more than 10 years (and this particular room for much, much longer), we would have been able to make up a bed with snowy-white handmade sheets and hand-embroidered pillow cases without needing to wash them first.

Last weekend, we finally decided to move the wardrobe and chest from this suite from the bedroom where they had stood for so long into our dressing room. We needed the storage there, and the new stufa in ceramica meant that the bedroom no longer worked with the old furniture in it. While moving them we found on the back of both items stickers with the following words : Signor Sala (or Fala) Natale, Corso Vittorio Emanuele 118, Cannobio.



"Who is Signor Sala (or Fala)?", we asked ourselves. The previous owners of this part of the house were named Zaccheo (a pretty illustrious name in these parts, I understand). Could Signor Sala (or Fala) have been the owner of a shop that commissioned furniture from local cabinet-makers? Could he have been a previous owner of this furniture, who sold it to the Zaccheos? Or am I completely wrong to think this is a person's name? Exactly how many generations does this furniture go back?


Answers to these questions could perhaps help us to date the furniture, not for reasons of avarice, but simply for reasons of social history. A quick shufti around the local second-hand stores reveals that plenty of furniture in this style was made (and nobody except us wants it any more). It's very square and quite stolid, but with surprisingly lovely ironwork reminiscent, in my mind at least, of the art nouveau style. The monumental wardrobe, which we had to un-wedge from under the ceiling beams, came with a chest-of-drawers, a bed and two bedside cabinets, and they must have been hell to get up here in the days before the helicopter was invented.

Anybody? Any ideas?

3 comments:

Ilse said...

Louise, why don't you show a photo of that fantastic bed in the guest room that almost requires mountain-climbing equipment to get on top? Ilse

chrysalis said...

Thats very odd, Ilse, I was just about to make a comment to the same effect! It was like a trampoline with all the springing. But soooo comfortable!!! The only thing that worried me was that there might be a stray scorpion lurking underneath!

Louise said...

Hello both - thank-you for your comments. Yes, it was a wonderful bed, wasn't it! You may find something interesting on the subject of scorpions tomorrow...
:-) L

Tuesday, 21 October 2008

The Sala Natale Mystery

Holding steady at 12 degrees at the 9am time-point. Cloudy and feeling damp.

In Carmine, what goes up doesn't necessarily always come down.

This is the case in particular with bulky stuff such as furniture, which is generally used until it falls apart and then burned. Two alternative solutions occur to me.

First, when you have decided you don't like the furniture and appliances you bought in your first flush of home-ownership-delight, you can always put the house on the market complete with all the bits and pieces that have come to embarrass you or that don't work so well any more.

A less drastic option would be to give away the bits and pieces you don't want to an unsuspecting neighbour who is too polite to say no, and they will either knock themselves out renovating them or take them down the hill to the dumpsters for you. (Only kidding, guys!)

When we bought the house we have now almost finished renovating (after only six years, two children, three (make that five) cats, gallons of chicken soup, etc., etc.,) we were surprised to find it still mostly furnished when we moved in. One bedroom was completely furnished, and the chest full of immaculately-stored linen. So accomplished were the previous owner's linen-storing abilities that when we moved in after the house had been uninhabited for more than 10 years (and this particular room for much, much longer), we would have been able to make up a bed with snowy-white handmade sheets and hand-embroidered pillow cases without needing to wash them first.

Last weekend, we finally decided to move the wardrobe and chest from this suite from the bedroom where they had stood for so long into our dressing room. We needed the storage there, and the new stufa in ceramica meant that the bedroom no longer worked with the old furniture in it. While moving them we found on the back of both items stickers with the following words : Signor Sala (or Fala) Natale, Corso Vittorio Emanuele 118, Cannobio.



"Who is Signor Sala (or Fala)?", we asked ourselves. The previous owners of this part of the house were named Zaccheo (a pretty illustrious name in these parts, I understand). Could Signor Sala (or Fala) have been the owner of a shop that commissioned furniture from local cabinet-makers? Could he have been a previous owner of this furniture, who sold it to the Zaccheos? Or am I completely wrong to think this is a person's name? Exactly how many generations does this furniture go back?


Answers to these questions could perhaps help us to date the furniture, not for reasons of avarice, but simply for reasons of social history. A quick shufti around the local second-hand stores reveals that plenty of furniture in this style was made (and nobody except us wants it any more). It's very square and quite stolid, but with surprisingly lovely ironwork reminiscent, in my mind at least, of the art nouveau style. The monumental wardrobe, which we had to un-wedge from under the ceiling beams, came with a chest-of-drawers, a bed and two bedside cabinets, and they must have been hell to get up here in the days before the helicopter was invented.

Anybody? Any ideas?

3 comments:

Ilse said...

Louise, why don't you show a photo of that fantastic bed in the guest room that almost requires mountain-climbing equipment to get on top? Ilse

chrysalis said...

Thats very odd, Ilse, I was just about to make a comment to the same effect! It was like a trampoline with all the springing. But soooo comfortable!!! The only thing that worried me was that there might be a stray scorpion lurking underneath!

Louise said...

Hello both - thank-you for your comments. Yes, it was a wonderful bed, wasn't it! You may find something interesting on the subject of scorpions tomorrow...
:-) L