The word ‘vintage’ often goes hand in hand with twee, chintzy prints and fussy French furniture, but if you’re after something a little more unusual then industrial vintage might just be your bag. This stuff isn’t always easy to source, so I was pleased to come across Hertfordshire-based online dealer, Quirky Interiors, who specialise in upcycled and reclaimed pieces such as zinc-topped tables, distressed wooden cabinetry and cast iron sewing machine benches. They’ve supplied many a chic eatery and retailer, including Selfridges&Co, Harvey Nichols, The Riding House Cafe, Roti Chai and more. Have a look at some of their latest arrivals below… there isn’t a shabby chic dressing table or retro floral print in sight… I promise.
Today I discovered Polly Granville, a rather wonderful new upholstery company based near Brockwell Park in South London. Specialists in upcycling and reinventing old furniture, they scour country for unusual vintage and antique pieces, which are then stripped back and lovingly reinterpreted using both modern and traditional methods. They often collaborate with City & Guilds upholsterers, specialist craftspeople and designers, to ensure that all pieces are sympathetically restored and completely unique. And, not only do they create beautiful one-off designs, they’re also happy to take on commissions – so if you have a much-loved piece of furniture that’s in need of some TLC, they can help you bring it back it to its former glory, or even give it a contemporary makeover. Check out some examples of their work below…. and they’ll be showing at Midcentury Modern (Dulwich College) this Sunday if you want a closer look!
I happened across these old apple crates in a fabric shop outside of London, which is possibly why they were so cheap (£12 a crate). This might sound like a lot for a musty old bit of wood, but if you look online, people are charging a lot more. In my view, if you’re on a tight budget, a few characterful crates look far nicer than a cheapo bookcase, and are much more interesting to look at. You can check out the imaginatively named Crates 4 you for good ideas of what to do with them, but I’d have a browse on eBay or similar for bargains as I’m not sure £17 for a wooden crate counts as a thrifty find! You can also get the same effect with old wooden wine boxes, which you’ll be able to pick up for a lot less. Happy bargain-hunting!
Tucked away in the Kent countryside, The Retrobarn is the ultimate destination for beautifully-restored mid-century furniture. The brainchild of TV producer Justin Linnane, this rambling converted barn is filled to the brim with classic pieces and beautiful objects, including vintage glassware and lighting. And it’s not the kind of stuff you find hanging around in thrift shops or dusty home clearance places either… Justin specialises in sourcing 1960s and 1970s pieces with strong emphasis on rare Danish and Swedish designs. Even if you aren’t a serious collector, there’s all sorts of affordable objects and accessories you can pick up which will bring a little mid-century magic into your home. And, even if you don’t end up buying anything, it’s worth the trip just to check out the stunning surroundings and turn green with envy over Justin’s idyllic country bolthole.
The Retrobarn (Langdon Abbey Farm Workshops, West Langdon, Kent, CT155HJ)
Lavish Habit in Balham is my new weekend treat. Perfect for a tea and cake fix, this quirky little cafe and shop sells everything from tasty sandwiches to restored retro furniture. Pretty much everything you see is for sale, so if you happen to be particularly taken with the table you’re sitting at, you can take it home with you! The furniture – which is a mix of vintage finds and contemporary designer pieces – is a little out of my budget, but if you have a bit of cash to spare, and you can’t face trawling thrift stores and vintage shops for hidden gems, then Lavish Habit is the place for you. And there’s a whole host of other goodies and gifts on sale as well, not to mention the beautiful homemade cakes and exotic teas. On my last visit I sampled some scrumptious carrot cake and enjoyed a wonderful blackcurrant and hibiscus tea. Delicious!
Lavish Habit (75 Bedford Hill, Balham, SW12 9HA)