From roomier pieces like library cabinets down to a biscuit tin to squeeze in a corner, here are some innovative vintage solutions to help you generate some extra storage space at home.
Coffee tables don’t just provide somewhere nice to enjoy your caffeine fix… in the modern home they meet many different needs. For some, coffee tables are stylish focal pieces around which the rest of the room is centred. For others, a coffee table might serve a more practical purpose such as holding magazines, somewhere to put your feet up, or the perfect place to style your favourite accessories! You should find a coffee table to meet your own specific needs, and luckily they come in all shapes, sizes and materials.
Tick tock, tick tock… In the digital 21st century we so rarely need a clock anymore. Instead, we’ve replaced them with screens! Screens are practical enough when it comes to keeping track of time, but they certainly lack the charm of the traditional clock. It’s easy to forget the fabulous intricacy behind clockwork mechanics, these pieces are a feat of brilliant design and craftsmanship.
What does the kitchen of your dreams look like? Perhaps it’s decked out in a glorious colourful hue or is a calming neutral space with lots of white. It goes without saying that we can’t resist a gorgeous historical kitchen, which of course isn’t complete without a rustic antique larder or a set of weathered deep pantry drawers…
Cary Jones is an enlivened interior designer based in New York. So far, she’s had an eclectic career working across industries from catering to film production but is now making waves in the field of interior design. Cary has a spirited approach to interiors and believes in creating thoughtful yet characterful spaces by layering unusual textiles, vintage and custom-designed furniture and a happy dose of colour into every project.
Cary welcomes you to take a look into her own Greenwich village home, which is an eclectic treasure trove of artistic finds and curious vintage accessories. It’s hard not to detect Cary’s rambunctious wit and playfulness as you look through this photo collection of her home. It was great fun to hear about the ongoing process of making it home and all about life in the Big Apple. Read on and maybe you’ll feel inspired to finally hang up those pieces you’ve found on your travels too!
Hi Cary, how would you describe your home to someone who has never seen it?
Honestly, my description is always the same…”It’s a lot.” And I don’t mean that in a negative way, because my home does make me happy. But there is a lot going on! And people generally ask me to explain at which point I say you should just come over.
What are the main inspirations behind your decor?
I would say half of my apartment is about necessity/organization and the other half is about fun. I work from home, so I have a lot of files, samples etc so I needed a place to store them. That meant the sofa side tables had to go because I needed another bookcase. I once had a desk but realised that I work more at the counter height dining table, so the desk was sold. And then pieces have come along bit by bit. So I don’t know that I have any real inspiration, it’s just what I seem to be feeling at the time. I honestly can’t remember why I decided to paint my bedroom black but once I did, I thought the room needed a red headboard… so I got on Etsy and started looking for things I could paint. Actually, I’ve painted a lot of my pieces so that might be the driving force! I love being crafty and so I make up projects. I bought my living room chairs from Craigslist and then spray painted them on my roof. I also found the bench in my living room on Etsy, then had it painted and recovered in a gorgeous Christian Lacroix fabric. The two dressers in my bedroom were all Ikea pieces for which I bought new legs and hardware and then repainted in my kitchen…that made for an asphyxiating few days…!
What would be your advice for someone who has just moved into a new place and doesn’t know where to begin?
As a designer, this is a conversation I have with every client. Living in New York, most of us aren’t blessed with a lot of excess square footage, so I think it’s really important to figure out how someone/a family lives and go from there. Meaning, if people love to entertain, what does that look like? Is it an eight person dinner or will you have cocktails in the living room? If TV viewing is what a family wants to do in the living room, then we need cosy and less formal furniture. And also be realistic, for example, are people going to be putting their feet up on the coffee table? If so, don’t do a glass top. I think paying attention to how you live is really important. After that, figure out the floor plan and tape out the pieces they are considering to make sure it all fits and the flow feels right. And if someone is really lost, then they should hire me! Hah!
Where do you live and what do you love about it?
I live in New York City in Greenwich Village. It’s a really charming area with a lot of buzzing energy. I live in a building that was built in 1900, so it definitely has a lot of character. And by character, I mean leaning staircases, interesting temperature control issues, etc. But also great windows and original fireplaces (non-working) and I absolutely love it. I’m on the penthouse level…which in reality means the top floor of a five story walk-up (hah!) so I get a lot of great light and that’s a hard thing to come by in the city. The owners of my building have a restaurant on the first floor. It’s an old school Italian restaurant that has a very loyal following to the point where you will generally see the same faces at the bar every night…a bit like Cheers. Although I will outgrow my space, I can’t imagine living anywhere else.
How long have you lived in your current home?
Almost 8 years.
Do you have a favourite piece of furniture or artwork?
I really do love it all, but the bookcase sculpture by Mike Stilkey is probably my favourite. It’s the first ‘expensive’ piece of art I ever purchased. I went to a gallery opening…had some wine (or maybe a lot of wine) and bought it. I don’t regret it for a second, but it was a big purchase for me at the time. There’s a reason they serve wine at those things…it works! I should probably start bringing wine with me to client meetings…
Get to know Cary with these quick facts…
My style icon is Steven Gambrel.
A recent find for my home are two African Bronze Cats from Benin. I found them at the flea market…they weigh a ton.
An indulgence I’d never forego is chocolate, for sure.
The last music I bought… I’m terrible with music, I listen to audiobooks.
If I had to limit my shopping to one city, I’d choose Nairobi… I was there last June and fell in love with the fashion.
The sight that inspires me is a mountain view…not a specific one.
The best souvenir I’ve brought home is any piece of art/clothing or jewellery that I’ve found on a trip. But looking at my walls now, I love my Whirling Dervish from Istanbul. I also bought a dress from Eric Raisina in Siem Reap that is ridiculously amazing and unique.
An object I’d never part with is my allergy medication. Sad, but true.
The artist whose work I’d collect if I could would be by Kari Serrao. I love her encaustic, anthropomorphic portraits. I will buy one…I just want a HUGE one and I can admit that I don’t have a space for that right now.
My favourite room would be in the Deer Mountain Inn in Tannersville, NY. Pretty much every room in it! It’s a mansion that was once owned by the Colgate family and has since been turned into an inn. It’s an old Arts and Crafts style building that has basically been hosed down in William Morris prints, Kilim rugs and fireplaces galore…a truly magical spot in the wintertime.
The last meal that truly impressed me is any meal by my sister. She cooks Michelin Star worthy food and I can eat it in her living room wearing sweat pants.
I’ve had a few careers in my life… co-owner of a catering company, film producer and now designer…this one is my favourite, so I intend to do it for a while!
My personal style signifier is as much colour as possible.
The best gift I’ve given recently is a cat sling I gave to my mother for Christmas so that she could wear her little kitten, Scotty, around the house. It was hilarious…unfortunately, Scotty didn’t find it quite as funny.
And the best one I’ve received is… hmmm.
The books on my bedside table are a stack of decorative ones and I’m currently reading The Tusk that did the Damage by Tania James.
The best way to spend a Saturday is cycling upstate to an adorable B&B in an even more adorable small town in the Catskills.
Follow Cary’s projects on Instagram @caryjonesdesign
Cary has a fabulous talent for breathing new life into old items… which is a great way to put your stamp on your belongings! You might feel inspired by this collection of already upcycled vintage finds, or perhaps you’d like to have a potter through our collection of wall art and film posters. Enjoy!
Title image: Tagger Yancey IV, Instagram @ty_iv
Will Scandinavian chair icons ever go out of style? We doubt it. Timeless aesthetic and superior craftsmanship promise plenty more trips around the sun for these vintage, culture-shaping beauties, so we might as well do our homework and learn more about the most significant Scandinavian chair designs of all time.
Join us on the walk down the memory lane and get inspired!
What cultural cliches spring to mind when you think of the 1950s? It might something along the lines of Elvis Presley, A-line skirts, old school Hollywood, the Red Scare or, more cheerfully, diner milkshakes. For us, the 1950s are all about furniture design! The middle of the 20th century saw a world slowly recovering from the psychological fatigue caused by the world wars. Our way of living had changed significantly, even homes had become much smaller with the widespread introduction of apartment blocks. The 1950s were the age in which space-conscious household items like the ironing board and sofa beds came to be! In a move away from bleak recent history, mid century designers grew bold in their approach to colour and form. They experimented with sleek contours and curving furniture which was much less austere than earlier designs. The public love of colour and print also soared, from polkadots to chintzy florals and bright plains of block colour. This selection of eye-catching armchairs is a brilliant example of 1950s design in all its glory… we’ve had a think about how some of the most famous singers of the fifties might have expressed their love for them too. Spot the lyric!
“Fella, I only have eyes for these yella chairs!’
“Can’t help falling in love… with boho florals!”
“Too marvellous for words is how I’d describe this pair of mint velvet dreamboats.”
“The only thing more vibrant than these chairs are my blue suede shoes!”
“My love for green velvet is here to stay!”
“Heartbreak Hotel is where I’m headed if I don’t own these chairs!”
“Good golly, Miss Molly! What excellent chintzy chairs.”
Vinterior has a collection of original vintage 1950s armchairs abounding in variety! Unearth your dream chairs here.
You are moving into a new place – or perhaps thinking your current home could do with a lick of inspiration. It’s easy to create a collection of stunning boards on Pinterest but actually getting started can be a tricky reality. It might seem that the rest of the online world knows exactly what they want and can name it – what even is a Børge Mogensen sideboard? And where do you find one exactly? Design blogs are full of inspiring homes, the owners of which will talk about how they happened across across a piece from somewhere at the end of earth. It can quickly go from inspiring to a bit intimidating.
Pressed for time?
Pressed for time and not keen on navigating the unchartered territory of vintage furniture, many might retreat to the more familiar realms of Ikea. We still think that it is worth making the effort to track down that perfect vintage piece. It needn’t take up all of your free time either, although for some the process of searching for and discovering that one special find becomes a real pleasure! It is so satisfying to unearth something that is completely unique to your home.
We should connect to the items we place into our homes. It makes an immense difference to the way we feel when at home and develops a strong sense of belonging to the space, rather than retreating to an impersonal and uninspiring cocoon every night. Your home doesn’t have to – and probably won’t! – look like a design blogger’s home overnight but it’s 100% better to let the space grow slowly over time rather than panic fill it with impersonal furniture from day one.
Concerned about quality?
Vintage furniture might seem quite daunting for first time buyers. Some people feel that they will end up compromising on quality or durability by opting for an older piece. Fortunately, this couldn’t be further from the truth. The craftsmanship of much 20th century design is unbeatable and the fact that these pieces are still going strong and haven’t buckled after decades of use is testament to the skill with which they have been made.
Vintage and antique furniture is often made from beautiful solid woods. You might notice that some mid century pieces are a hybrid of solid veneers and modern materials like plywood. It’s important to remember that when man-made boards like chipboard and plywood were invented, they were state of the art, cutting edge materials. Everyone from famous Danish designers to normal consumers wanted to use them because of the design possibilities they allowed. The key difference when comparing mid-century furniture to modern equivalents is the concept of flat pack. Pieces made in the mid-century period were fully assembled in a factory by craftsmen who were responsible for the quality of the finished product. This product would then be inspected for defects and not allowed to leave the factory unless it passed inspection.
Modern mass market furniture uses many of the same materials that were used in the mid-century period but very often only the components are made in a factory – responsibility for assembly has largely been passed to the customer. This means that ease of assembly is the over-riding factor in how an item is made, rather than the long-term strength and usability of the piece. Unfortunately this creates weak spots in modern designs. For example, where the joints of a mid-century piece might be dowelled and glued with a high strength adhesive and left for hours to dry, a modern piece will use a quarter turn of some screws to make the same joint – easy to assemble, but nowhere near as strong. In similar fashion, mid-century furniture typically uses proper recessed hinges on their doors, whereas a modern piece is very likely to use low quality kitchen cabinet style hinges which push into pre-drilled holes. These hinges tend to sag after a while, and the holes they sit in create an area of weakness, leading to doors falling off at the least provocation.
Skilled contemporary artisans aside, the high street has definitely back peddled somewhat when it comes to providing long lasting and high quality furniture. Do your home a favour and choose pieces which have been built to withstand the test of time. This doesn’t just go for wooden vintage furniture – the sturdy frames sofas and armchairs can reupholstered in new fabric to give them a new lease of life. This can be great fun too – you can tailor the fabric and colours exactly to your home!
Pretty quickly, you will see how your home takes on a shape and feel of its own. Secondhand doesn’t mean cheap, it means that you own a quality piece of furniture which has been designed to last for generations. 20th century or antique design is also an investment which means that – should you want to do a design overhaul a few years later – you can sell on the furniture and maybe even make a profit!
So, how to get started sourcing vintage furniture? Below are some easy pointers for creating a unique and characterful home, bursting with brilliant finds.
- Look at price versus quality
We think it’s quite easy to get overwhelmed by the sheer choice of vintage designs out there and the process can abound in uncertainty when it comes to judging how much you should spend a piece. The good news is that buying vintage doesn’t have to break the bank. In fact, it is often much more cost effective than going for a current-day piece. It is true that finding a really iconic vintage design can get pricey but it depends on the piece. Unless you’re convinced that you desperately want the original designer chair, it’s easy to find a cheaper – and equally well built – vintage alternative. A famous name doesn’t necessarily equate to the item being made out of better materials. Of course it will do sometimes, but this is why it’s worth checking with the dealer who should be able to tell you about the make up of the design.
These bookcases are a great example of price and quality comparison. On the left is a solid oak bookcase designed by celebrated Danish designer Børge Mogensen, which costs £1,316. Whilst this is undeniably a fabulous piece, the bookcase to the right is also made from solid rosewood and yet costs less than half of the price at £575. It isn’t by a famous designer, but it’s well made and as long as you like the style, that’s probably all you need for now! If you have any queries, just check with the dealer. On Vinterior, you can do this easily by using the button which reads ‘Ask Seller a Question’ on the product listing page.
2. Start with just one piece
We know – this can be difficult. Inspired by the blank canvas of a new home or a room which you’re longing to transform, it can be tempting to try and source everything in one go. There is real wisdom however in the age old advice which says that it’s best to find one piece and let the room grow organically from there. It’s tricky to see how items will go together when in situ and in time you’ll look back at your beautiful home and probably be glad that you gave it the chance to come together bit by bit. On a practical note, there’s nothing worse than ending up with a ton of furniture which doesn’t really fit together and either having to just live with it or try and sell it on again. Less risk and more scope for creativity is a good combination!
This is also a good tip for anyone who is feeling a bit paralysed by the idea of creating a look and doesn’t know where to begin. Don’t worry about the rest for now, just find one piece that you love and start there. There’s no rush and you might find you begin to really enjoy the process of finding pieces one by one. If the room feels a bit bare, get a plant or two until it’s full of wonderful furniture finds. The learning curve will also help you gain in confidence when it comes to sourcing your next piece of vintage furniture!
3. Focus on finding a key piece of furniture
It’s a good idea to start off with one important piece which will set the tone of the rest of the room. This could be a sideboard or a sofa, a wardrobe or even just a coffee table. No pressure though – just because you opt for a 1950s sofa or a mid century modern sideboard doesn’t mean that the remaining furniture must follow suit! Note how the some of the most inspiring spaces are intentionally unbalanced. For advice on mixing and matching different styles, read this blog. Through trial and error you’ll stumble into an stylish array of furniture which you love.
4. Alternatively, start with something small
You don’t necessarily need to start with a really important piece of furniture. Perhaps you want to warm up to a particular style or don’t know yet which look you’re after. The best way to ignite the design process could be to unearth a smaller piece… this might be as simple as an antique plant pot or a beautiful teak mid century mirror. The obvious advantage of starting with accessories is that you can begin to eclectically mix and match style genres to see what works without too high a commitment. We definitely advise putting different design references, or styles, together to avoid anything too matchy-matchy. Get started and browse through vintage home accessories here.
5. Use filters to find exactly what you need
The Vinterior collection of vintage and antique furniture is vast. The number currently stands at 100,000 individual pieces and more are being added everyday by professional vintage dealers from across the UK and Europe. Where to begin?! Vinterior provides filters (example screenshots below) to help you narrow down the search… currently you can browse vintage finds based on price, dimensions, style genre, product type and condition. You might argue that you don’t know yet exactly how you want to narrow the search but even selecting a random category, .e.g. Art Deco between the prices of £50-£500, will highlight some interesting choices for you to peruse. Whatever your budget or taste, there should be a vintage find to kickstart the home you envision.
Keen to start browsing vintage furniture and accessories? We don’t blame you. Start right here and find something remarkable today.
Title image: decoist.com
Can you guess which design we’re talking about? It’s the Togo Ligne Roset sofa, of course! This wonderfully wacky 1970s creation was a rapid departure from even the most unconventional of existing sofa designs at the time. If you’re not already familiar with the Togo, you certainly can’t forget it once it’s on your design radar.
Interior designer Joanne Burgess runs The Curious Home, which exists to provide an expert’s eye when it comes to sourcing salvaged and reclaimed materials for historical home renovations. Joanne’s multi-faceted approach to design has even equipped her with a knowledge of upholstery and she is known for breathing new life into one off pieces by covering them in bold prints!