my home and garden

unlike so many web-sites these days, we at Linen Lace and Patchwork , being old-fashioned retailers, pride ourselves on our personal and helpful service to our customers. Because many of you are worried about card fraud we are finding more and more people preferring to phone through their enquiries or orders. This method of contact gives a more friendly feel, and many of you have asked, during the course of telephone conversation, what my home is like. So I thought I'd put up a page so those inclined may have a look around both the showroom, my home and garden.

I also thought in this time of financial prudence I'd like to pass on some of my tips on how to achieve a luxurious look without spending much at all. These are tricks I've learnt over the years, long before it was fashionable, from when I first started out in retail - window dressing - over thirty-five years ago. When we first bought our house, every penny went on the mortgage and school fees etc with nothing left over for furnishings so those skills came in very useful. Fortunately those days are long over but I still don't believe in spending a lot of money to achieve an effect and I like to pass this ethos on to my customers.

And as for re-cycling, was brought up on it. My childhood memories of my father re-winding string onto a ball of perfectly symmetry or religiously saving brown paper, methodically smoothing it out and meticulously folding it, stay with me still. Or helping him make logs out of newspaper for the fire, or cutting it up into neat little stacks ready to be strung together with the said string for use in the lavatory. Yes, it does all sound a bit Monty Python but was a great way to learn never to waste anything.

Jean Gibson 01268 793336 or 07767 403276

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YouTube video. Jean Gibson of Linen Lace & Patchwork showing how to dress a decadent bed... YouTube video. Jean Gibson of Linen Lace & Patchwork showing how to dress an antique bed...
YouTube video. Linen Lace & Patchwork house and garden... You Tube video with Gibson & Sons - builders & carpenters


jean gibsons blog, stories, adventures and musings

new!! blog jean gibson - the patchwork queen

the life and adventures of a slightly eccentric Essex retailer called Jean Gibson

youtube video: my beautiful Maine Coon cats Loki and Cruella



stripping walls

After thirty years finally get my new bedroom and garage extension. Plans were passed in 1988 and footings were dug at that time but we couldn't continue for financial reasons.

My son Toby Gibson of Gibson Builders has been responsible for the total build from scratch, an impressive job and quite remarkable. If you're interested in having a bedroom that's very stylish and a bit different you can contact him for a friendly quote on: 07581 098825 or leave a message and he'll get back to you. He also fits kitchens, bathrooms and garden landscaping.

Donna his partner, proved to be a very hard worker and it was she who stripped the wallpaper, some of it over eighty years old, so no mean feat. Well done!!


stripping walls
Toby dreaming of building a glider.....

Toby gazing at the lovely view up Essex Way, no doubt dreaming of escape and Friday night and a few beers with the lads.

Before we can continue with the side two-story extension the main power cable must be moved 10ft as it is below the new roof line. The saga was quite unbelievable and caused me a considerable amount of stress and expense, you can read more about it if you click on the link:

Two days later I was burgled:



view from outside
dormer in

To cap it all having got the framework up for the dormer Toby had to take it down again and cut up the wooden floorboards I'd been hoping to reuse, in order to put in two main supporting beams under the floor. Even though they weren't on the architects drawings. So yet more additional and unexpected costs......

So July wasn't a great month.........



roof tiles on dormer Bowed but not broken, we continue and so excited as the new dormer windows go in and Toby tiles the dormer roof. Which turns out to be a lot more difficult and time consuming that I'd thought. But he did a fantastic job. extension dormer
extension Lots of cupboards in the new bedroom, something that was seriously lacking in the old room. Not an inch of space is wasted. extension
 window knocked through to new extension The moment when Toby knocked through the old window and could finally get out to walk in the new extension was massively emotional. I'd waited so long for this moment, over twenty years. As I stood on the roof of the new garage and surveyed the lovely views looking out over the Benfleet downs, I thought how lucky I am to live in such a lovely part of Essex. at last new dormer window in
view from the roof up towards the water tower

Left: view from the roof looking out towards the water tower


Right: view from the roof looking out towards the marshes

view towards the marshes
view of vicarage hill

Left: view towards Vicarage Hill


Right: aerial view of my beautiful garden and showroom nestled amongst three hundred years old imposing and majestic oak trees.

aerial view of my beautiful garden

Toby is an innovative highly-skilled carpenter, builder and craftsman. Dormer ceiling was originally meant to be a flat to run apparel with the existing but he suggested the cathedral pitch in the ceiling which will accomodate a stunning chandelier and give a feeling of height and interest to the room.

The extension finished and painted white by Donna. Memories still linger of her nimbly clambering up on the roof to paint the chimney as the gap was too narrow for anyone else to squeeze in.



the house finished
what it looks like now

The inside of the dormer and the pitch as described above, a lot of intricate plastering but really worth the effort and extra cost.

Huge crystal chandelier: the piece de resistance.

another view of dormer pitch interior
new bedroom View from my bed as I have my morning cuppa. from bed
bed with satin bedspread and sequinned pillowcases chandelier bedspread satin
chandelier bedroom bed display
bedroom with bosie my beautiful lilac point British shorthair cat Walls painted Farrow & Ball Calamine. Floorboards lime-washed and varnished, enhanced by Bosie, my beautiful Lilac point British shorthair kitten..Bedspread Paisley Cream quilted bedspread available in all sizes up to super king. Battenburg Lace Monsoon throw at bottom of bed. Sequinned euro pillow at top of picture part of the Malmaison luxury bedlinen range by Sheridan. Cushions various bedroom pink
new bedroom Bosie, still a kitten and lucky to be alive, a few days after being hit by an idiotic speeding male driver right outside my house, a powerful argument for traffic calming measures as this is the second cat I've had that's been hit in exactly the same spot. Unfortunately the last cat Marley wasn't as lucky as Bosie. bosie feeling a lttle depressed in his splint after car accident
bosie and loki taking it easy Bosie recuperating on my silk satin bedspread after his accident but not averse to still tormenting poor Loki: my handsome Maine Coon Tortie. Bit of an old boy now but still gorgeous. mirrored furniture and cushions
custom made wardrobe

Custom made by Toby Gibson, wardrobe and shelving all painted in Farrow & Ball calamine satin finish eggshell paint.

The view from my bed looking out over the Benfleet downs

view from bedroom window


Steps leading down to the dressing room, again painstakingly hand-made by Toby, I wanted something different.

custom made steps leading down to dressing room
dressing table   bedroom at night
bedroom night Mirror and chair for more like this click here bedroom with night lighting

Our showroom at bottom of garden nestling under massive 300 year old Oak trees.

I just love my new custom made porch on the showroom, it's utterly transformed it. Made from recycled sustainable timber, hand-routed barge boards, with red cedar shingle roof, architectural re-claim ridge tiles. Newel posts. Lined with tongue and groove. Built-in bird box and perch. Works carried out by Dovetail & Mitre - specialist carpenters for the discerning customer who wants bespoke empathetic design, something unique and cares about the planet. Highly recommended. Not just builders - visionary artists.

This was originally a '50's holiday chalet we bought years ago. My then partner John had the idea to convert it four years ago to make a superb showroom for our lovely stock. Mick and John practically re-built it, keeping only the original Canadian Cedar cladding. put in a high beamed ceiling giving a light and Eastern American feel to it.




Mick hard at work drinking a beer - no that's a joke Mick if you're reading this!! He actually performed miracles working on the showroom, taking on a project everyone else had trashed. For that alone I'll be eternally grateful.

RIP. Mick McWilliams who sadly died 10th July 2010.

Courageous, hard-working, unpretentious, family-loving, principled, a thoroughly decent man. it was an honour to have met you Mick. Thank you.

While all this was going on I also had massive subsidence work being carried out on the house. No kitchen, no furniture (all in storage for three month duration) no floor, no water, no privacy, yadder yadder.

Then just when I'd finally got straight, which took about six months, I had to pull out of the shop where I had been trading for fourteen years so had to start all over again.......And of course none of this would have been possible without John.....he gave me the strength to keep going along with some very good Bordeaux. So a big thank you John.


We installed a wood floor and I gave it five coats of varnish. doing one every morning before going to the shop. We took some of our old shop fit with us for sentimental reasons, including wooden units from a very old retail chain called Pollards. The owner, Lionel Pollard a really lovely man, gave them to us and said he hoped they would bring us luck.They certainly did that.

The interior of our showroom. I painted the antique wardrobe and the old wooden Pollards retail units to match the beamed ceiling.


French antique bed and a dresser unit which I also painted, which we had used for our till and wrapping in the Leigh on Sea shop.

Draped across bottom of bed and also hanging in foreground, a white cotton crochet lace bedspread £195. On the bed Henley patchwork bedspread double £195. Sacha white crochet lace pillowcases £15 each.



At base of bed antique towel rail with patchwork quilt folded over. Resting above it euro pillow and patchwork pillow sham.


In the house, a French victorian day bed which my daughter Celia suggested we should get reupholstered in cow hide. We bought these from Argentina and have to say think it's worked well, though the upholster's of Prickett of Leigh, said it was 'challenging' to do. But I wanted something different and love the look. The Persian rugs and various other oriental items were bought in Sharjah souk during our time living in the Emirates in the '80's.

The remainder of my furnishings were bought from flea markets, boot sales and junk shops years ago when you could pick up all kinds of wonderful things for next to nothing.

My Victorian swivel office chair found on a site while Bill was project manager on the then new Post Office at Bank, also reupholstered in cow hide.


Beautiful flowers in foreground from John.

Fun idea to brighten up a washing machine that couldn't be hidden. Having priced up integrated appliances, felt as the machine was only a few years old would wait until it broke down before buying an integrated one. So raked out the sticky based plastic and made some circles designs. It's not finished but you get the drift. Followed through painting circles as a border

kitchen And followed through on the worktops. Which are old work tops painted with water-based quick drying acrylic eggshell paint. Surprisingly resistant to scratches and easy to wash. coming soon: our very own handmade and individually painted Gibson Beehive composters, our own take on traditionally crafted garden composters that are both attractive to look at in the garden and ecologically sound. Don't throw away food scraps, lawn mowings or fallen leaves. .Make your own compost, it's simple and very satisfying. turn your garden and kitchen waste into valuable nutrients for your soil, your garden will thank you. Watch this space!!!
kitchen Seatpads on the kitchen chairs are Dotty in Blue. Floral bedspread on chair used as throw, while I decide what to reupholster the chair in. Cushions Monsoon. Teal 'Oriental Circles' curtains just in view on right, kitchen



The kitchen: which I wanted to be different to any other.Having trawled dozens of kitchen showrooms, couldn't make up my mind nor could I afford real wood, which was what I'd originally wanted. So mixed up old junk shop finds and new units and painted them all to tie in together. A temporary fix but love it. The huge ceramic treble sink sits on a wooden slatted stand. The Art Deco glazed wall cabinet, which is filled with Deco china, I've had for years and painted to match. The worktops are old shop fit and again painted to tie in with the overall theme.

Window treatment, Malabar fabric 'Candy Stick'.



kitchen new

Seven years on finally finished the kitchen think it was worth the wait.

Custom made hand-painted in Paint & Paper Libary 'Bluebird' on solid Maple doors and cornices fitted with glass knobs. All work carried out by my talented son Toby of Gibson & Sons Builders website tel for a free quote for any work you may require.

hanging pot rack Heavy duty chrome hanging pot rack using heavy chrome chains made to order must be installed into roof beams. Designed and made by Toby Gibson who can supply to order and also fit if required. For a quote please tel: 07581 098825 and ask for Toby hanging pot rack

Cutting edge design with stunning Gorenje white induction hob, oven and hood designed by Karim Rashid. What sets this apart from most kitchen appliances is the LED technology, the lit stripe which can be changed to suit the mood with a choice of six different colours.

kitchen oven
kitchen sink Toby the builder's idea using reclamation Victorian tiles cleverly left ungrouted so they can be changed around. I've deliberately mix-up the styles, a bit of Deco here, a bit of fifties kitsch there. kitchen tiles

Chandeliers again both French, we had these in our old showrooms and were too good to leave. My beloved wood burner, bought from a boot sale, which I've had for 20 years. It makes the approach of winter a thrill which never dies, as I get my new delivery of logs for the season and light the fire watching the daylight fade. A lovely pair of spelter horseman figures either side of the hearth which I bought for £2. Those were the days.


Gorgeous turquoise Dogs of Fo figures on sideboard were a much coveted present from Bill, who used them as a bribe to get me to pursue a job interview for Abu Dhabi television as a newsreader. Which I subsequently got. Amazing times. The huge soapstone Buddha which arrived back in the UK smashed to smithereens thanks to British Airways. And which I lovingly restored. Persianl rugs on wooden floors Sharjah souk. Cobwebs courtesy special effects.

Bit of an impromptu change around this year thanks to Toby and Donna. The teal bedspreads used as throws and cushions were Donna's idea and look brilliant. Unit under the stairs built by Toby to house all my techie toys and wii fitness board - unused - by me that is but used extensively by my grandsons Toby jnr and William. Toby and Celia's old school hats on antlers painted turquoise and magenta.

My mother's antique chair, a work in progress to be re-upholstered - inshallah!

Pimp's day bed moved into bay window. Black and white blinds added last year as a contrast to the wine and teal colour scheme and pick up the black and white cowhide day bed upholstery. .

Foreground fish tank coffee table, far more interesting to watch than the tv. New addition, Blackamoor found at a boot sale.

patchwork table Patchwork pouffe reupholstered by me using beautiful silk and linen Malabar swatches and finished with turquoise bobble fringeing. patchwork table
fish tank Mum's chair finally given a makeover and junk shop sideboard painted fish tank


Pictured above my treasured coffee table fish tank which I'm fascinated by and a real conversation piece. Much more interesting than television.

Lloyd Loom chair found in skip, much to the horror of my then young children, on school run. Alexander Palace bird cage made by Gibson family. Curtains blue white check 'Bahir' by Ashley Wilde. Various lace and patchwork cushions

Dining room papered in Sanderson'William Morris 'Suva'. Curtains 'Jaipur' . Dining table original glass and chrome early '70's. Chairs care of church through Barbara, a friend of the family. Piece in bay found in ex's garage last year when doing up his house. Various china pieces on glass shelves, Royal Doulton, Worcester, Derby, Meissen etc found in my earlier days touring round antique fairs and boot sales.
My old bedroom which although small wanted to create a cosy yet luxurious and dare I say decadent look. Employing the same principle I screwed cup hooks into the ceiling and slotted a brass pole through and attached a silk and velvet throw to it with ring clips. This was to hang above the bed. I attached a second throw on the same pole and took it across the ceiling using the same method with the pole and ring clips. Either side I fixed two further brass poles and hung velvet curtains to complete the four-poster effect.

A closeup of the fixing, I used a beaded runner to create a luxurious pelmet and hung heavy gold tassels so that it's right 'over the top'. For outrageously luxurious bedpreads go to luxury superking bedspreads .

White painted floorboads, easy and very cheap to do. Use a long handled roller and several coats of ordinary white vinyl emulsion, don't waste your money on expensive floor paints. Very hard-wearing. And easy to mop over. Did this long before it was considered chic, great as a means of reflecting light, making spaces appear bigger, and because I was hard up the time. At the windows Rosamantica printed and lined voile curtains, also available unlined. Also used as a net panel Rosamund net panel which is a copy of an antique French lace panel.
Canopy effect in both bedrooms is extremely easy to replicate. This one uses two Flemish Tapestries but you could also use quilts or throws. Make sure they are the same width as your bed. In this case the bed is a double so the throw is 54" wide. All you need is two holes drilled for cup hooks and a pole. Use gold leaf ring clips and fix the throw to it even spacing it out evenly along the width. Repeat the process at the other end of the throw determing first how far you want the canopy effect to go out to. Heavy red curtain tiebacks complete the look.  
Bathroom shown only to demonstrate that although the design is horrendously out of date, by being a little inventive I find that after thirty years I still like it. It will have to be ripped out soon enough but as the first room I see in the morning, it still cheers me. Again, lots of items in here that I literally found, ie were free. such as the rattan chair and lloyd loom laundry basket. The voile pleated blinds I made. I didn't want to hide the lovely view from the window. A whole box of Spode china was dumped in a box by the roadside. Beautiful tureens, plates and gravy boats now displayed on the shelves. The sea-side theme border is American and I still love. Even though borders were naff even then. I don't follow fashion at all. Preferring to be different.


Victorian bath filled with tree ferns and plants was originally used by us thirty years ago, in the house, long before considered chic. Though cracked enamel meant it was eventually relegated to garden which I actually prefer. Gorgeous Georgian urns were first treat to myself after ten years of retailing, therapy that was worth every penny and repaid itself many times over. Flanked by Miscanthus grasses....the fish pond which is an ongoing saga and now something of a joke in our family. My son Toby lovingly tends to it and never gives up. And neither do I.......or the neighbours cats!!!

Originally railway workers cottages, the house was in an appalling state when we moved in.

These days people would live in a caravan on site but back then we had no choice but to live in it while we set about ripping it apart. I brought up two very young children in it. There was no heating, hot water, cupboards, kitchen so no cooking facilities. I had no automatic washing machine and to bath the children would push an old single tub washing machine into the bathroom on extension leads. Fill it with cold water and use the machines heater to heat the water then pump it into the bath. Then we would take it in turns to have a bath int the same water, no one stayed in it long as the tiny bathroom was freezing. Health and Safety would have a fit these days for doing something so dangerous. Particularly as the house wasn't earthed and the wiring was around sixty years old.

Front of house, masses of colourful blooms to enjoy. Tumbling out of barrels and any other containers I could usefully employ.

Staircase runner by Malabar now discontinued.

Snow covered remembrance corner with plaque thoughtfully donated by my friend Mark commemorating Dad, Mum and my brother John.

Just had to run out in my dressing gown and take photos of the startling and incredible scene found on waking. I don't like the cold but this wonderful snowscape I couldn't resist, even more so when the sun came out. The light was dazzling. And makes for a perfect runup to Christmas.
My Christmas tree with the perfect snowy background.
And interesting to see two extremes of the same landscape, well it appeals to me anyway.
At last after a such a long harsh winter: spring and the tree's bursting with vibrant blossom.
View of the garden from upstairs.  


My beautiful daughter Celia - film star!!


My handsome boys: Toby snr, Tobias jnr and William


lace tablecloths
voile curtains
cashmere blankets
sale room
superking bedspreads
traditional quilts
percale bed linen
antique beds
kitchen and dining
fair trade quilts
william morris
luxury furnishings
my home
silk satin sheets
duvet covers
patchwork quilts
children's bedlinen
white linen
luxury superking
bedroom sets
tub chairs
lace bedding
seat pads
flemish tapestries
egyptian cotton
malabar fabrics
nursery cot bedding



Telephone: 0044-01268-793336 or 07767 403276



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site designed and built by Jean Gibson
Tel: 01268 793336 mob: 07767 403276