I love antique markets and shops, drift shops and car boot sales. That intoxicating combination of old, beautiful things and the potential of finding a good deal. Strolling around a busy antique market on a sunny morning with a friend, a coffee in one hand and a that perfect white (heavily discounted) soup tureen in the other…
Obviously, the reality of treasure hunting is normally a little less perfect. No coffee, as the queue was just too long to wait. Probably for the best though as there are no toilets nearby. And a relative high chance of raining too. Oh, and those great finds at amazing prices? Not that often. Mostly overpriced junk, smelly clothes and unsightly pine numbers from the 80’s. But then there is that little glimpse of hope of finding something amazing.
5th best vintage find: fireplaces
Unfortunately, all the original fireplaces had disappeared from our house over the years, so we needed replacements. And when you can’t have originals, the next best thing is to find reclaimed ones! Vintage cast iron fireplaces were an Ebay find. Black one in the living room got sandblasted to remove all the rust it had been collecting in someone’s back garden and then polished black. The two other fireplaces are just for decorative use and had been stored indoors so no sandblasting was required, just a lick of white paint to freshen them up.
Points to consider : whilst ebay has a good selection of reasonably priced vintage cast iron fireplaces , most of them will require local pick up. And unless you are super lucky this might mean having to hire a man with a van, which will increase overall cost. Also, if it’s going to be used to burn an actual fire you need a professional fireplace installer who knows all the fire safety regulations. But for decorative purposes, reclaimed fireplaces can be easy and cheap way to add some period charm to your home!
4th best vintage find: rustic metal bowl & other accessories
This might not so useful but is the sort of little, important details that makes your home yours. Different and unique. I bought this rustic metal bowl a couple of years ago. The plan was to grow thyme or rosemary in it, but looks like Ebba has found a new napping spot.
It was from Sunbury antique market, which is held in Kempton racecourse, Berkshire, every other Tuesday. I love going in there! I have to first drop my kids at school, so I never get there especially early, but later is better for bargains anyway.
Points to consider for decorative items: Be picky and choose carefully. Have rather one bigger item than several smaller ones.
3rd best vintage find: Midcentury cocktail cabinet
I was on a look out for this for a long time. I wanted something wooden in my new kitchen, something that would go with the existing dining table and bench, plus I really loved the midcentury modern aesthetics. When midcentury modern furniture became more popular, prices soared and finding anything reasonably priced was hard. After spending lots of time online searching, I found this restored, Danish beauty, reasonably priced from Ebay too, and with perfect dimensions for the space. I was so happy with my find!
Points to consider: just becomes something is trendy, don’t over spend. But if you really have set your heart on something specific, have done your research, and can afford it – just go for it! These are the wow pieces that will make a your home spectacular 🙂
2nd best vintage find: Gilded mirror
My birthday present to myself last year was this gilded French beauty:
My husband and I had a spontaneous trip to the Sunbury antique market, when I spotted this mirror leaning a white van. We asked how much it was, went away, came back to have another look and went away again as the seller was not negotiating the price at all (big part of fun!). We went back one last time, made and offer and came home with it. I just love it, the details on the top, the dainty frame and the slightly shabby gilding.
Points to consider: Antique markets are the perfect place to practise your negotiating skills!
1st best vintage find: vintage street lamp- lanterns
My all time favourite antique find are my statement kitchen lamps. We bought these when we had just bought our house, way before we had a place for them. These are from a little shop called Blighty Antiques based in Cheltenham. They lived in a cupboard for a couple of years whilst we were planning the kitchen extension. Our kitchen island’s size is based on these lamps. They are big, different and I love the contrast they bring to the white, plain and modern kitchen.
Points to consider: like for the number 3, sometimes you just find something that it’s well worth the money.
You can check out some of my favourite homeware shops in here!