My 5 favourite vintage finds, and where you should be vintage shopping!
For as long as I can remember I've had this obsession with vintage. I grew up in an old Victorian village right next to Beamish Museum and spent much of my childhood surrounded by history. Everything, from the way people dressed to the way they built and decorated their homes fascinated me.
I'd dreamed of living in an old victorian house, much like my parents and decorating it full of old world style. As I got into my early twenties my taste started to change. I found myself drawn more and more to the sleek, modern, light styling that the Scandinavians nail to an absolute T! When Max and I first viewed our house, a new build, It was a dream. Everything was white from the walls to the kitchen units, the woodwork... everything! I was in heaven and totally excited to start decorating or modern, minimal, Scandi style home.
Then one day a friend of mine told me she was going to Tennants Auctioneers and furniture auction and asked if I'd like to tag along. Of course I was totally up for it so off we went. We arrived to a beautiful, brand new building set it acres and acres of beautiful Yorkshire countryside and we walked through a towering, stone pillared entryway into a pristine, all white entry hall with a huge sweeping Y shape stair case. In the centre of the staircase stood a huge, golden eagle with its wings fully spread out and perched on an onyx pillar. We walked down a long arched hallway, lined with about 10 antique grandfather clocks on each side, I literally could have stared at each one for an hour. We walked into the Auction showroom where there was oil paintings, gilded mirrors, antique furniture.. everything you can imagine and more! I was in heaven and whats more, I had this sudden realisation. In the excitement of moving into a modern newly built home, I forgot how much I loved vintage!
We spent the whole afternoon there eyeing up everything on display. I couldn't make it to the auction the next day so just for the fun of it I placed a couple bids on some things I liked and left them with reception to be entered. The next day I rang up and low and behold... I was now the proud owner of a set of 12 leather bound, gold gilded encyclopaedia's dated 1902, and what did I pay? £10!!!! What was I planning to do with them? I have no idea! But that was it, I knew immediately that I wasn't ready to give up on my vintage obsession.
I found while decorating our home that it is surprisingly easy to make vintage and antique pieces work in an otherwise very modern home. So, to cut my rambling short, here are my 5 favourite vintage finds and where I bought them!
5. Vintage Union Jack Flag - £15.00 from a Charity Shop
Probably not the biggest news flash to most but charity shops are a haven for vintage finds. They're full of old nick-nacks and furniture and you can even find some really expensive little treasures. Charity shops are usually a hit or miss situation and you have to wade your way through a lot of not so great things but definitely my fist stop when it comes to vintage shopping!
4. Metal Grain feed - £15.00 from Ripley Castle Decorative Home & Slavage Show.
If you don't live in the North Yorkshire area then I definitely recommend travelling for this. They hold the fair for a weekend every May and September and there are around 30 independent sellers, all selling vintage, reclaimed and salvaged items. If you're good at bartering then this place is heaven for finding some real bargains!!
3. Fighting Bantam Cocks - £14.00 from eBay
eBay is my go-to for vintage finds! One option ebay offers on some items that alot of people are not aware of is the 'Make an Offer' tab. This is bartering heaven. You can make an offer lower than the sellers asking price and they have 48 hours to respond. The seller can then either accept, decline or make an alternative offer on the listing. You can exchange offers up to 3 times on each listing so its ideal bartering territory! Don't fret if this option isn't available on an item you are looking at as it is entirely down to the sellers discretion if they want to allow this. There are stil tons of amazing vintage bargains available on eBay!
2. Singer Sewing Machine - £2.00 from Northallerton Auctioneers
No that isn't a typo, I actually did bag this beauty for £2.00! This particular auction visit was an unsuccessful one. Id gone to the viewing the day before, placed bids on a couple of items i fell in love with and returned the next day in hopes id won them only to find I'd won absolotley nothing! Out bid on every item! Shocking!! However, the friend I went with was extremely lucky, she won about 5 bids! I went with her to help carry all her new finds to the car and I spotted this sewing machine looking rather sad on an empty table. The auctioneer happened to be in the room so I asked him if anyone had bought it. He popped the number into the computer and told me it had not received any bids. I asked him what the reserve was and if I could buy it and he told me the words that still make me smile to this day.. "There is no reserve so you just need to pay the fee.. £2.00". I thought I miss heard him but before I even considered asking him to repeat, I was lugging it to the office £2.00 in hand! I also learned these things are surprisingly heavy, but totally worth the arm strain though!
1. Hand carved wooden trunk - £100.00 from Tennants Auctioneers.
Kind of a funny story to this one. Although from Tennants Auctioneers, I did not bid on this myself. A friend of mine put a £100 bid on it not expecting to win, and she did! She took it home and used it as a coffee table for a couple months then when I set my eyes on it, it was love at first sight. The trunk is about 300 years old, completely hand carved and although a lot of people think it is from somewhere in the Middle East or Bali, it was actually hand made in good old Yorkshire! I spent probably half an hour running my hands over all the detail while she explained to me that she didn't feel that it worked in her room. Fast forward a couple weeks to a Sunday night over a few too many glasses of red wine and I once again stood eyeing it up and explaining how great it would look in our bedroom. She immediately agreed and said... "If you really love it that much you can have it for the price I paid". Miracle! Literally the next day her husband and Max were giving it the old Chuckle Brothers "to me, to you" into our house. You can probably imagine already but it weighs about the same as a Range Rover and getting it up our awkward, curved staircase was touch and go. I stood having palpitations while they battles for about an hour but it made it up, it is in its place and it probably will never be moved! It hold the title as my number one favourite piece and it makes me smile every time I look at it!
So there you have it, my top 5 places I recommend vintage shopping! If you aren't from the North Yorkshire area though, don't fear! There are tons of places online where you can shop for some really cool vintage pieces too, and its worth doing a quick google search for Auctioneers in your local towns!
This is a list of a few of my other favourite online sources for vintage finds, click on the name to be directed to their website (their instagram pages are linked alongside):
So what are you waiting for? Go check these incredible shops out and have browse for you own vintage treasures!
Till next time, JT.