Furniture dealer Sophie on swapping a career in fashion for antiques.
Meet Sophie, one half of an East London couple passionate about collecting antique furniture. Founders of Stowaway London, we wanted to hear more about what they do, their own treasured pieces and what they’re loving in London.
How did you end up doing what you do?
Sam has been doing this since he left school at eighteen when he joined his Dad buying and selling antiques. Sam and I started Stowaway London about four years ago now, at the time I wanted to leave the fashion world and the antique lifestyle was very appealing.
I left fashion and started Stowaway London because I really wanted my own business and to be my own boss. Fashion had lost its fun and creativity for me and furniture – which I have always loved – was new and exciting. Fashion, furniture, design and art all encompass each other and when you have an eye, you have an eye for it all I think. It was great timing as I wanted a new career… Sam came along and said, ‘I sell antiques. Want to make a brand/business?’ and I just jumped.
Favourite piece you’ve ever sourced?
I loved finding a pair of Morris & Co Sussex chairs as they were hidden and tucked away. Also the timing was great as we had just been to his museum in Walthamstow the weekend before, so it all felt very meant to be. Sam’s piece is a 1960’s foosball table that came in just before the World Cup so the games at our house were made even more fun!
Describe your own home in three words.
Eclectic, characterful, cosy.
You have friends visiting. Where do you take them?
Do you have a piece which goes with you wherever you move?
Yeah Sam… and then a Victorian elm stool which belonged to his grandmother which he grew up sitting on.
What do you love about working with antique furniture?
Sam likes working with things that are old and have character. For me it is the same but with the addition that the quality of the furniture is so much better and it is environmentally friendly.
Any great tales behind the pieces you collect?
Last year we brought a beautiful desk and when cleaning it Sam found a folder that had slipped behind the drawers. It contained a note which said that the desk belonged to and had been designed by G. C Grindley, who was a well known psychologist. It was exciting to find that and then research the guy. The provenance made a great desk even more special.
If your home was ablaze, what would you run back to save?
Sam would most certainly have my arms full with the stool, plus many swords and knives (he collects antique weapons) and a few other antique trinket boxes he’s had for a long time. I would grab my jewellery box which has my treasured bits in including my great grandmother’s hat pin.
Dream dinner party guests?
Go to winter beverage?
Early mornings always require coffee.
Velvet sofa or leather sofa?
Which famous person’s home would you love to sneak peek into?
Aino and Alvar Aalto, they are a bit of a designer power couple.