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Honest chats: stylist Roddy Clarke on making a home which nurtures both people and the planet

Roddy Clarke is a designer, stylist and interiors journalist. Keen to know Roddy’s thoughts on combatting a throwaway culture, we asked him all about his own life and the small ways in which he is managing to steer his home towards greener pastures.

Seven British G Plan Designs You’ll Love.

G Plan is often one of the first brands which leaps to mind when thinking of mid century vintage furniture. Celebrated for its sleek and simple designs, G Plan plays a proud part in the history of British 20th century furniture design.

Beautiful Valentine’s Day Gifts that Double as Decor

We’ve rounded up a selection of beautiful Valentine’s gifts that are also useful, and will add to the romantic mood of any home for years to come. And, just like you are used to, they come with a story.

Three reasons why you should love Chinese vintage and antiques.

Three reasons why you’re going to fall head over heels for Chinese vintage and antique furniture.

Meet the vintage dealer: Hannah from Everything But The Dog!

Raised by an antiques dealer in a house full of amazing vintage furniture, it was probably inevitable that Hannah and her partner George would also begin to collect interesting pieces which caught their attention. A few years ago, it spiralled out of control and thus Everything But The Dog was born! Sit down with Hannah to hear about how she set up as a young vintage collector.

First of all! Is there a story behind your business name?

Billy the sharpei

There is. People often ask us if it has anything to do with the band ‘Everything but the Girl’ but it doesn’t. It actually refers to the fact that you can buy anything in the shop except our beloved sharpei Billy. He’s still the main attraction.

You’re going for coffee with a designer of your choice, who do you pick?

I would have loved to have gone for a coffee with Bruno Mathsson. He sounds like a maverick and his work is amazing.

What would be your dream vintage find and why?

The Spanish Chair by Børge Mogensen. Didn’t even have to think about that one!

Favourite piece you’ve ever sourced?

Tough one. We  recently had a Bror Bojie ‘Junker’ chair that we re-upholstered in pink velvet. It looked amazing. It didn’t hang around long which suggests someone else agrees with me. 

Any great tales behind the pieces you collect?

We found a Tripolina chair at a yard sale when we were on holiday. We just bought it because we liked it, we had no idea it was so old and collectible.

Number one thing to look out for when sourcing vintage furniture?

Understanding what a seller means when he or she says “good condition”. Suffice it to say we don’t always agree with their assessment. When we were getting started, we made the mistake of taking people at their word only to find out a lot of work was required. Establishing how much time you need to put into something comes with experience. 

Which pieces do you think will be popular in the near future?

We’re stocking some postmodern items at present. We think it’s about to start trending.

What part of being a furniture dealer do you most enjoy?

The sourcing, for sure. Few things are more enjoyable than a successful buying trip. 

Describe your own home style in three words.

Cosy, nordic, natural.

You have friends visiting. Where do you take them?

We’ve just opened a new showroom in Walthamstow. There are some great spots round here. We’d probably start at the Mirth, Marvel and Maud followed by a pizza at Sodo

Best thing about living and working in London?

Stratford Westfield… kidding. It might sound weird but we still love delivering furniture to our customers. We get to see so many London homes and all the amazing things people do with them.

If your home was ablaze, what would you run back to save?

A screen print by Hannah’s Dad

The dogs! I’d probably also grab the screen prints my dad did after he graduated from art college. Don’t tell him I said this, but they’re actually really good.

And finally, what are you looking forward to in 2019?

Making the most of our new space and getting embedded in the Walthamstow community. We think it’s going to be a good time for us.

Have a lovely browse through the Everything But The Dog collection here.

Meet the vintage dealer: clock collector Russell from London Timepiece.

Meet Russell, a vintage dealer of clocks! Russell’s wonderful studio is a real cabinet of curiosities, filled from top to bottom with historical clocks. He invited two Vinterior team members to visit and they had a brilliant time exploring the collection and chatting to Russell about life as a clock collector!

How did you end up doing what you do?

I simply found myself doing this. It came from many years of selling antiques and collectibles as far back as the early 80s. I had a stand in Brick Lane when it was only antiques and collectibles. Later I had a stand at Greenwich Antique Market. From these beginnings, I started to specialise in clocks, lighting and mechanical oddities.

Do you have a favourite designer/artist and why?

Paul Nash. Nothing whatsoever to do with clocks but a brilliant lifetime’s work in several media. To my eyes, quintessentially English.

What would be your dream vintage/antique find?

A Paul Nash.

This is a lovely piece. Nash was quite an important English surrealist and this piece epitomises the surrealist ideals with a wonderful sense of the English countryside.

Best piece you’ve ever sourced?

A massive double-sided English factory clock from the 1950s. It is now in Australia. 

Any interesting tales behind the pieces you collect?

Despite the obvious lies I’ve been told by many dealers, clock provenances are very difficult to provide. That said, I’ve sold a lot of items that were made and hung behind the iron curtain and many English clocks from railway stations.

What part of being a vintage clock dealer do you most enjoy?

Meeting customers. With my increased internet trading, I regret that this is becoming a rare privilege.

Can you describe your own home style in three words?

Practical, industrial, universal.

You have friends visiting. Where do you take them?

Proper pubs with good beer and without music.

Do you have a favourite vintage piece which you take wherever you go/had to keep for yourself?

I have a huge 1940s copper-cased wall clock made by International Time Recorders Ltd hanging in my kitchen.

What is the best thing about living/working in London?

There are people from all over the globe.

If your home was ablaze, what would you run back to save?

A massive collection I have of historical photos of my family that hangs along my hallway. I’d grab as many as possible.

And finally, what are you looking forward to in 2019?

Watching my daughter flourish.

Enjoy browsing through all of Russell’s vintage clocks here.

How to Use Mirrors to Decorate Your Home

A mirror is a true hero of interior design and one of the most effective objects you can use for decorating. Depending on the way you implement it, a mirror can make or break any space. When properly applied, it can bring the energy of calm and refreshment into a room, make a small space appear larger, act as a powerful statement piece, amplify light and help deal with visual clutter. On the other hand, if a mirror isn’t placed strategically, it will most probably produce a visual mess and a poor overall ambiance.

Luckily, getting mirrors to work to your advantage doesn’t have to come with a headache. Read on to discover how to use them effectively within a room.

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.

What inspired the leap from fashion to furniture?stow

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.

coffeeYou have friends visiting. Where do you take them?

The Wallace Collection… hands down the best museum in London. Then back to our neck of the woods with a pint in the Crooked Billet and then food at My Neighbours The Dumplings.

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?

Our grandparents.globe

Go to winter beverage?

Early mornings always require coffee.

Velvet sofa or leather sofa?

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.

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The Return of Folk to Interior Design

 

For a while now, the central focus of interior inspiration has fallen primarily within the realm of Mid Century and Postmodern design. Whilst we continue to appreciate the merits of this aesthetic, we believe it shouldn’t hinder the discovery of other rich and characterful design genres. The annals of design history are coloured not just by formal design movements but also, as Vinterior seller Kitty Walsh puts it, by the popular culture of the past: the things which ordinary people themselves liked to make and do. This is what we call ‘folk’ and an immensely rich area of design which deserves to be placed back under the limelight.

Vinterior is immensely proud of our collaboration with many of the leading vintage and antique furniture specialists in the UK and beyond. After all, our mission is to seek out the remarkable and to shine the spotlight on people, places and pieces with real character, real soul and real stories. Behind the exceptional pieces on Vinterior stand some equally brilliant and highly knowledgeable collectors, who bring life to the stories behind the furniture you buy.

This week, I’m speaking to folk expert Kitty Walsh. As the founder of London gallery and collection Modern Folk, Kitty is bringing fresh attention to folk design, a genre richly woven with vibrant colours, patterns and the echo of many lives lived. We are inspired by the joyful union of colour and print which adorns so many of the pieces in the Modern Folk collection and the instant character which they lend to a space.

But what actually is folk design?

As Kitty explains, ‘Folk culture simply means the popular culture of the past, the things ordinary people liked to sing, eat, drink, make, and do. Folk art is the material part of this culture – from the clothes people wore, to the homes that they lived in, and the tools that they used to work. Just as favourite recipes and songs were passed down from century to century, so were the methods of making particular types of clothing or objects. As each generation added to the knowledge of their forefathers, rich cultural traditions gradually emerged.’

Kitty travels across vast regions of Eastern Europe and Scandinavia in pursuit of finding folk treasures. Most recently she travelled to Transylvania, unearthing rare finds at Negreni, an ancient Romani market in the Carpathian mountains. I asked Kitty about the origins of her interest in folk and what makes it stand out from other vintage genres.

How did you become passionate about collecting the folk genre?

I’ve always been drawn to folk art – I began collecting Norwegian knitwear and folk slippers as a teenager and I used to make piñatas for extra pocket money. Then when I was studying History of Art at Cambridge I found a book on Hungarian folk art in a charity shop and was really hooked.

Why folk in particular?

With the folk genre you get to see the crafts person’s process – it’s great to see how people all over the world have responded to a particular design problem. Plus, I’m a bit of a maximalist so I love the patterns and colour!

What makes folk stand out from other vintage genres?

The stories attached to the pieces – you get such a strong sense of their history. These are pieces from a much simpler time – people had far fewer items in their home and most of them would have been made by people in their immediate community. This furniture marked important moments, when they got married or had their first child, it’s really a record of their lives.

Do you have any interesting stories behind the pieces currently in your collection?

A great example is our beautiful painted wedding chest, dated June 1891. It would have been used to carry the bride’s – Kata’s – possessions to her new home. But you get the same sense of history with the more minimal pieces, like a so-called bachelor’s table covered with knife marks.

Which is your favourite piece and why?

It has to be the ‘fancy country’ wardrobe – it’s so full of life! It was made in Transylvania in the mid twentieth century and is covered with flowers, fruits and birds. I’d love to know if the painter was thinking of William Morris’ strawberry thief when he painted the cheeky birds.

Kitty’s Modern Folk collection is bursting with folk curiosities, from intricately patterned chairs to simple carved wooden chests and vibrant glass paintings. I love the unique imperfections found in vintage and antique furniture for their ability to spark conversation and how they speak of crafts loved, lives lived and memories lost. What I find particularly special about folk furniture is that each piece is created with such purpose and to provide a sense of place. We can keep these exceptional pieces of furniture alive by bringing them into our homes so that our own unique family stories become woven around them.

View the Modern Folk collection here.

 

Portrait of Kitty taken from Wharf Magazine.

 

 

Bring Seasonal Glamour with these Wintry Jewel Tones

Summer may seem like a distant memory as Autumn swells around us, but that doesn’t mean that we should be any less creative with bringing bold colours into the interior space.

At this time of year, many make a departure from playing with bright summer prints in favour of calming Scandinavian natural hues. We become more inward, seeking the comfort of our homes over the wintry weather baying at the front door. Shades of russet and cinnamon lend immediate warmth to a room but we shouldn’t set the bar at cosy neutrals.

The Autumn season is a rich time to introduce dramatic and bold colours into our homes. The natural landscape around us is bursting with dewy moss greens, glowing amber, dark rich burgundy and damson reds. These jewel tones allow us to create a space which large_slipper-cocktail-chair-in-olive-green-ice-velvetis both dynamic and intimate in a season made for retreating into cosy spaces. I have curated a collection of eye catching vintage pieces which make for a happy marriage of these autumnal hues and textures.

Embody the richness of the season by referencing a variety of sumptuous materials like velvet, leather and rosewood. Curling up on a wintry night on a velvet sofa (an Old Fashioned in one hand, optional) is the perfect antidote to a busy day. For years velvet was dismissed as being a bit outdated, so we’re thrilled that this supple and gorgeous fabric has made a such a glorious return to interiors, adorning furniture which is both sophisticated and cosy. Not to mention that it is incredibly tough and durable, rendering it a great choice for both the domestic and commercial realm. Whether bright or muted, velvet shows off colour beautifully and is a fantastic way to add a statement dash of colour to a space. A brightly coloured velvet sofa is not for the faint of heart, although a less commanding pair of velvet cocktail chairs will also provide a playful yet sophisticated note to your home.

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Chestnut or chocolate coloured leather is another rich seasonal hue to bring autumnal flavour to a room, serving to complement cooler fabric tones of emerald green, moss and teal. Leather comfortably spans the spectrum from traditional to contemporary, all the while providing a comforting yet stylish dose of warmth. This could be in the form of a statement sofa – think the revered Chesterfield– or a cosy corner chair, preferably situated close to the fireplace! For a more relaxed feel, opt for a warm chestnut or caramel leather. A cooler tone – go 70% cocoa chocolate, or darker if you dare – will large_pair-of-brown-leather-chesterfield-wing-chairsprovide a more formal air. Rosewood is another glorious material readily available in many enticing forms, from mid century sideboards to exquisite antique desks or bureaus. For those who have already gone bold with moody charcoal or dark interiors this winter, rosewood – indeed any warm-blooded wood – will serve sleekly to break up the space. This rich wood offers a satin-like sheen, creating a dynamic contrast with other fabrics and leathers in a room.

If you’re set on the furniture side, consider adding playful touches of jewel-like colour through accessories. This can be a brilliant opportunity to get experimental with introducing other diverse materials without committing to making too much of a statement. Glass is famous for its ability to ensnare brilliant flares of colour, whether this finds itself in the form of a large bowl on the coffee table or a set of vibrant coloured amberglasses on the dresser. Styling a corner with smaller items is a discreet yet highly effective way to slowly introduce bolder colours into your home and you will quickly notice how a colour palette begins to take shape. If you’re feeling more confident, there are many exceptional pendant lights and sconces to be found, like these stunning vintage amber Murano wall sconces above. These not only catch the light with their deep amber tones but suspended from the wall, the tubular design naturally adds texture to what can sometimes be a fairly bland or neglected space.

So, this season is not to be wasted! Summer naturally appeals to our desire for colour and pattern, but the colder seasons offer equal inspiration in the form of glowing jewel tones and succulent materials. Whether playful, sophisticated, glamorous or cosy, jewel tones lend themselves generously to all interiors. Many of them are to be found on Vinterior… assembled in this collection are but a few of our favourites so keep an eye out for more jewels as they appear!

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