Katie from The Vintage House That Could is back with us today sharing her hints on the best places to go to bag the most stylish vintage treasures.
Vintage is a word that is banded around a lot these days but what is it? Well it is really simple, second-hand, pre-loved, old! “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure” and I love treasure! I am literally in my element the moment I walk into an antique fair or flea market, it’s like all my Christmases have come at once. Charity shops and refuse centres are equally as lucrative except possibly less romantic! As are skips but I will come back to that later…
So, I love old furniture & objects, I always have. I mean there is definitely a place for high street buys and I am a sucker for new cushions and bedding from H&M and IKEA but for me it is important to live in a home where vintage and high street sit happily side by side. I love objects to have a history shown with wear and tear. Chippy old paint and original fabric is heaven. I also love the memory of where I sourced it and believe it or not I can remember the price of every piece.
Flea Markets & Antique Fairs
These can be a little daunting for some people, many assume that everything will be ‘high brow’ antiques and way over their budget and yes there are fairs of this nature – I don’t go to these! My favourites are Newark and Malvern Flea, you can find more info about these and others on IACF. I have also been to great ones at Leicester race course run by Field Dog Fairs who run others around the country. In this room my precious rocking horse and blue table, £30 & £5 both came from Newark and the cute little pink cupboard £5 came from Malvern. There are also some really pretty fairs such as Decorative Living Fair and Home and Vintage Brocantes and these make for a gorgeous day out too! Other tops tips are keep your ears to the ground for schools or industrial units closing down, most of the time they are going to throw things straight in a skip! That’s where my wooden drawers came from and many other things too. Olivia’s bed is a Victorian pine piece, now painted but such good, solid quality. We paid £100 for this 15 years ago and its still going strong for saying its over 100 years old.
Car Boot Sales
Find your local car boot sales and get there early! Trust me waking up at 6.30am on a Sunday really isn’t for everyone and there is also the danger that your efforts will be fruitless but then some days you strike gold. This bread/cake bin was one of those finds, better than any new ones and the peeling paint makes it even better. We use the loaf tin above for bits and pieces but that was another car boot find. My favourite things to get are old books, which I use as props and china. My advice is, get chatting to the regular sellers and let them know what you are looking for, you never know they may have it squirreled away somewhere.
Refuse Centres & Charity Shops
We have a really good refuse centre near to us affectionately known as ‘the tip shop’ These are all over the country and hold some amazing treasures. The good thing is that the money goes to charity in the same way as a charity shop and they usually have more furniture and bigger pieces. Many of the pictures on my wall are from charity shops, sometimes I paint the frames and sometimes I don’t need to. The lampshade was second hand and I recovered it using small squares of vintage fabric glued on. Nearly all of my vintage cups and saucers are from either the tip shop or charity shops. Many people ask where the storage unit is from and this was also from an old school that was being demolished so I just went in and asked for various pieces. This was used for storing wool in the textile room!
Online Action Sites
For those of you that prefer to shop from the comfort of your sofa then this is for you. When the weather starts to turn and the prospect of muddy fields doesn’t appeal then I turn to this too. I have spent hours searching for just the right piece like the cocktail trolley, which everyone needs by the way! The old school desk in Olivia’s bedroom was another online find, already painted and a right bargain. Remember most people just want their unwanted goods gone, so you will very often get a really good deal. The large cupboard in the workroom was a steal for £40, just remember you will need to collect it or arrange a courier.
These are another of my favourite places to visit. Sometimes stock can be very pricey though so you need to have a good rummage. I have purchased lots of things for the garden in salvage yards like the stepladders, the cast iron planter, old terracotta plant pots, galvanized buckets etc. It’s like a treasure trove especially if you don’t mind a bit of dirt and cobwebs!
Skips, Tips & Junk Shops
Basically don’t be afraid to go in anywhere, admittedly it is illegal to take out of a skip without the owners permission, so ask, they won’t say no, they are probably happy to make room for more junk. There are treasures everywhere if you are prepared to look for them. I have so much stuff now but I love every single piece. I love that it was free or cheap! And I love that I have been able to put it to good use. Our home is a collection of things that make us happy and I don’t think I would get the same thrill if I hadn’t worked for it a little bit. Haggle! Barter! Plead! Happy vintage shopping.
If you love Katie’s style as much as we do then be sure to check out part one of her beautiful home tour. We’ll be back next week with more gorgeous photos from the upstairs and outside. In the meantime please do share your favourite haunts for shopping vintage.