One of my favourite ways to pass the time is to do a spot of treasure-troving as I LOVE to rummage through piles of vintage paraphenalia.
I can’t pretend that I’m the best antique-buyer. I am utterly atrocious at bartering but I do remember to take notes and small change and a handful of carrier bags.
When I first started furnishing my house I used to carry around a notebook with various room dimensions and alcove measurements, along with a tape measure so I didn’t miss out on a perfect piece. Now the house is almost complete, I like to have an idea in mind of what I’d like to come home with so that I don’t get distracted and end up buying something on a whim. I try to be really realistic when I buy older pieces too. There are some furniture pieces that are utterly gorgeous but I don’t have the time or expertise to return them to their former glory.
With the lighter mornings and the summer just within sight now is the time to get yourself to an early morning sale to grab yourself a truly unique piece for your home. Here are some of my favourite haunts.
Sunbury Antiques Market at Kempton, Shepperton, TW17 9WE
Last year we were blessed with a particularly gorgeous end of May Bank Holiday. It’s a shame the sun couldn’t manage to keep his hat on for a day longer as my first early morning trip to Kempton was met with heavy rainfall. My faithful troving companion Lindsay and I looked like we had been dragged through a hedge. Backwards and forwards.
Despite the weather we had a fab morning combing stall after stall of furniture, fabrics and kitchenalia ending up with various vases, retro boxes and silverware.
It’s a biggie and people travel far and wide (some stallholders had nipped over from France to sell their wares) but don’t be put off by the size. It’s easy to navigate and as an added bonus perusers get free admission and free parking.
Next Event – Tuesday 27th May 2014
Ardingly Antiques & Collectors Fair, West Sussex, RH17 6TL
Ardingly is is next on my list to visit. It’s a truly massive fair with over 1,700 indoor and outdoor stands. That’s a whole lot of vintage.
It’s £20 entry for both sellers and buyers on the first day, but £5 if you just choose to go on the following day.
Next Event – Tuesday 17th to Wednesday 18th June 2014
Sheffield Antiques Centre, S8 0XL
As we all know, antique hunting doesn’t just happen in the South. When I’m back in my hometown I regularly nip down to Sheffield Antiques Centre and neighbouring Heeley Bank Antique Centre.
I’ve found that their wares don’t have the hefty London price tags and there’s a huge selection, particularly vintage furniture, glassware and garden knick-knacks.
The Vintage Rooms, Matlock, DE4 3LU
This is probably the most beautifully merchandised vintage store I’ve come across. They don’t have a website but their instagram feed is utterly divine. If you have a penchant for French or rustic pieces then this is the shop for you. On the same street there are many other antique and collectable shops so well worth spending the afternoon hunting a myriad of treasures.
Car Boot Sales & Charity Shops
Granted a car boot sale pasting table is unlikely to be curated and displayed like you’d find at an antique fair, however your local car boot is often the best place to bag a bargain. I have a favourite one just down the road from me that starts at 12 noon on a Saturday (hooray for a morning lay-in!) I picked up a candelabra (currently residing on the loo cistern) and soda syphon bottle that I have seen on sale in antique for stores for more than ten times the price.
I’ve always found Charity Shops a great resource for crockery, glassware and cutlery.
It goes without saying that eBay is a fabulous resource for picking up pre-loved memorabilia. Some of my other favourite websites for tracking down vintage trinkets are Sugden & Daughters, Homebarn (well worth a visit to their barn showroom near Marlow), and Goose Home and Garden.
This is just a summary of a few of my favourite places to visit for vintage homeware but there are literally hundreds of stores, stands, fairs and sales all over the country. What are your favourite places to shop for collectables and unique pieces? What’s your best antique or second-hand find? Don’t just stick to home and decor, please share clothes and jewellery finds too.