As the interiors world moves away from the minimalism of Scandinavian style and is increasingly opting for lavish, 1970s-inspired schemes boasting layers of anecdotal design, many style-conscious homeowners are looking to the world of vintage and antiques for aesthetic inspiration.
We at Topfloor have always enjoyed blending old and new.The Ottomania collection takes inspiration from the 14th century while Script is a direct reference to the centuries-old craft of Arabic calligraphy brought to life in the artwork of Hassan Massoudy.— and although there is endless beauty in the eclecticism that nostalgia brings, there are also a few important considerations required to avoid turning your home into a dust-laden museum or archival blackhole. These leading industry voices have shared their top tips for flawless procurement and decoration:
“Every good home must have at least one old piece, be it vintage or antique, it helps break the monotony of just using modern furniture,” says Interior designer and judge on The Great Interior Design Challenge Daniel Hopwood. “I love trawling through the internet for old furniture and artefacts. For the glamorous and expensive 1stdibs is it, but for more localised sourcing I go to Panomo where I recently sourced a 19th century Venetian bombe commode for my own home. You have to try Ebay too, I found a pair of French 19th century gilded armchairs with perfect upholstery — the cost? £500.”
Mary Claire Boyd, who is fair director of The Art & Antiques Fair at Olympia, argues the importance of making friends. “Build up relationships with dealers. Once they know you and you know them, they will be willing to find things for you based upon your taste and budget. Discovery is often the hardest job so enlist their support as they are most well placed to do so. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and capitalise on their vast expertise.”
“Don’t be afraid to examine a piece thoroughly, even if this involves crawling under a table or examining the back of a cupboard,” says antiques dealer Appley Hoare. “These are good indicators as to whether the piece is genuine or not. Don’t hesitate to question the dealer about any restoration, the item’s age and provenance. Beware of newly painted items as the paint may hide unsightly restoration, badly stained wood, or worse still wood worm.”
Rebecca Robertson, interior designer and co-author of ‘Collected: Living With The Things You Love‘, has an easy-to-follow rule for those new to styling vintage and antique pieces. “Group objects by colour. This is one of my favourite tricks. Antiques instantly become unified and, unlike a museum, you don’t have to organise by geography or time period — you make the rules.”