Celebrate age and great craftsmanship with vintage pieces for your home.

Thanks to the infinite reach of the internet, antique and pre-loved homewares are having a major moment.

Europe’s leading platform for the auction of fine art and antiques, thesaleroom.com, sold £128m worth of items in 2017, 21 per cent more than in 2016.

It may be counter-intuitive, but the better served our homes are by the high street – H&M Home, Zara Home and French Connection are all dreamy, accessible and affordable – the more we want to mix up our vibe with vintage finds as well.

As Freya Simms, CEO of Lapada, explained to the BBC: “The next generation of young [antique] dealers are curating a look, they present their stock so that it represents a lifestyle. People see a look that mixes period with contemporary, making that their calling card.”

Journalist and tastemaker Pandora Sykes concurs. Her major prediction for interiors in 2019 is: “that mix of traditional and new... a dark wall in blue or green with a portrait of an old person next to a new coffee table or a funky vase – that kind of juxtaposition.”

From Scandinavian minimalism to garish maximalism; from grand pieces of brown furniture to 1970s rattan; from pretty French armoires to art deco mirrors, there is a vintage style to suit everybody.

Here, we pick 10 of the best websites for wondrous antiques.

LORFORDS ANTIQUES


Lauded by House & Garden, Vogue and World of Interiors magazines, Lorfords has one of the largest collections of decorative and traditional antiques in Europe. Their wares are displayed in wonderful hangars in Tetbury – but their website is comprehensive, easy to use and full of lovingly gathered details about each piece. We’d do anything for the Hollywood Regency Gilded Mirror that’s just arrived.

VINTERIOR


Beautiful, not bland. Nuanced, not new. Unique, not uniform. These are the watchwords of Vinterior, the curated online marketplace for buying and selling vintage furniture. Founder Sandrine Zhang Ferron, who left investment banking to set up the company in 2015, says: “People are bored by contemporary furniture, where they all end up owning the same thing.

“Ikea is convenient and fairly priced, but people are looking for craftsmanship, quirky pieces and longevity, regardless of their budget – although, even the wealthy like a bargain.”

ORIGINAL HOUSE


An eclectic mix of decorative antiques and vintage industrial furniture and lighting is updated every month on this pleasing website (whose glorious, appointment-only showroom is in Gloucestershire). The team behind it says: “Original House intends to help people move away from cheaply made mass consumerism offering properly made pieces with soul that have stood the test of time and will only improve with age.” Doesn’t that just make you want to shop your head off?

ALEXANDER VON WESTENHOLZ


Updated as soon as new stock lands in the lovely Lillie Road shop, this site has been developed in full awareness of the fact that antique dealers today need a strong online presence. Head here for “unfussy English furniture and good-quality, clean, simple taxidermy” and other fabulous oddities.

PUNCH THE CLOCK


Anything goes at Hackney-based antique sellers, Punch the Clock, and their website showcases this perfectly. They specialise in “weird and wonderful 20th-century, vintage, antique, furniture, goods and design from times gone by”. Check out the particularly charming French mirrored side table on there right now.

RETROUVIUS


The queen of the vintage look, Maria Speake – who studied architecture in Glasgow – has been championing the use of reclaimed items since she co-founded Retrouvius with her husband Adam Hills in 1993. The architectural salvage and design business – with its cavernous shop on Harrow Road – is now the go-to for stylish people who want to decorate their homes with repurposed materials. Cinema seats, gilded frames and pairs of teak casement windows are but a few of the gems on the site just now.

ETALAGE


Etalage founders Luci Douglas-Pennant and Victoria Leslie, and their team, have been scouring the globe since 2013, handpicking antique fine-art prints, vintage oil paintings, decorative pictures and other lovely interior accessories. The result is a beautiful online collection of unique pieces of framed art at reasonable prices. That stunningly stylish gallery wall may yet be yours…

MAX ROLLITT


This is a pretty grown-up site, featuring pretty grown-up treasures. Antique dealer and decorator Max Rollitt has been learning his trade since he was a boy. He says: “I used to sit on the stairs in my mother’s antique shop in Winchester and listen to her sell for a profit a piece she had just bought down the road. It was a masterclass in salesmanship.

“Authenticity and craftsmanship are important. But so are less quantifiable qualities such as originality, purity of line and balance. Above all, a piece of furniture should be beautiful.”

Indeed, beauty is assured throughout his site – both in terms of the things he sells and the inspiration he provides.

PAMONO


Pamono is truly a gift. The passionate team behind it believes that “a life well lived means surrounding yourself with beauty and soul”. Consisting of a magazine and marketplace that celebrate vintage and contemporary design, this platform offers loads of great furniture, lighting and accessories sourced from around the world.

TAT LONDON


Set up by House & Garden stylist, Charlie Porter, Tat London is like the charming little antiques store into which you hope to wander on a romantic mini-break – except that its curation of beautiful treasures are all laid out for you online. Think pretty plates, linens and candlesticks that you’d never have the good fortune to stumble across of your own accord. She recently told Style magazine: “It’s a really fun way of selling. I get girls sending me photos of their mantelpiece newly styled with their Tat purchase alongside something from H&M and their grandmother’s ornaments.”

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September 2019

By Becky Ladenburg