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Posted 16 November 2020
Due to the current climate, many of us have spent the majority of our 2020 indoors. For some that means getting used to seeing the same old rooms in their house everyday. For others it’s an opportunity to perform some interior decorating.
Like with any year 2020 has bought its share of new design trends, many of which would benefit from - or even require! - the integration of antique furniture.
In this blog we’ll be taking a look at some of 2020’s newest design trends and recommending the perfect piece of antique furniture that can be used to compliment them.
In a trend that is unlikely to shock anybody that’s been paying attention to the news this year, many office workers have spent a majority of their year in their ‘home offices’ - whether that means an actual room in the house or simply working from your sofa.
This has meant that the home office has been receiving more attention than ever when it comes to interior design - as its not held to the constrictions of a corporate office you can design it in any way you see fit.
For example, while a desk and chair are essential for any office, designers like those found on Elle Decor recommend adding a lounge chair for ‘moments of concentrated reading and thinking’, such as our Biedermeir-style Baltic sofa or Chippendale-style mahogany armchair.
Alternately, those looking to bring an ornate flair to their office may enjoy the aesthetic touch of an antique clock or antique fireplace as we start heading towards the winter.
While you should obviously watch out for clutter, try to fill your home office with comfortable, aesthetically pleasing furniture if you’re working from home - if you’re going to spend so much time working there, you should try to enjoy yourself at least!
There has been a resurgence of interest in retro and vintage furniture in 2020, spurred on by aesthetic movements on the internet like Cottagecore. Many budding interior designers are choosing to forego more modern, complicated furniture in favour of a more simple, rustic look.
Homes and Gardens note that vintage designers want to ‘reference the look rather than slavishly recreate it, using strong colours, favourite pieces and a less-is-more approach for a vibrant, cohesive aesthetic’.
As mentioned in our blog on Cottagecore and rustic cottage furniture, homeowners can try and recreate a rustic vibe at home with an antique French cupboard, antique mirror or chest of drawers - items with simple yet functional designs.
Antique lighting has been a popular interior choice this year - charming designers in both the Wall Street Journal and Ideal Home, who appreciate the intricacy of the designs in contrast with the simplicity of the light the fixtures are providing.
While this style of lighting has existed for hundreds of years and a bulb may shine brighter, the light from an antique chandelier or wall sconce can bring an atmosphere to a room like no other light source.
Whether you’re using wall lights or chandeliers, antique lighting is the perfect choice to bring class and elegance to your home.
Westland stocks a wide range of antique lighting, from lanterns to table lamps, all of which can light up your home both literally and figuratively.
Finally, a common interior design trend in 2020 has been mixing old and new furniture, antique mixing with the present day to create a whole-new look.
Designers at Elle say that homeowners ‘are over the ‘one-stop-shop’ design resources and are taking the design of their homes to the next level by getting comfortable with mixing and matching old and new and even purchasing locally made souvenirs while on their travels to help tell the story of who they are’. And what better way to mix old with new than to introduce antique furniture into your home?
Whilst making sure to take notice of the design and space of your home, adding an antique piece to your home - whether it’s a small sculpture or as big as a dining room table - can not only provide a sense of elegance for your home but also create a unique style for your home.
While interior design trends are always changing, it’s heartening to see that so many of them in 2020 are compatible with our stock of antique furniture. If you feel your home is missing that vital antique piece to make its style complete, then feel free to visit our Willesden Green showroom.
If you’d like to know more about anything in our collection please do get in touch.
Posted 19 October 2020
If you’re looking for a new aesthetic to inform your home decorating, have you considered cottagecore?
Since its introduction, cottagecore has taken social media by storm, appearing across TikTok, Instagram and even the videogame Animal Crossing!
The term, first coined on Tumblr in 2018, describes a visual style encased in nostalgia for western farms and cottages: Beatrix Potter, bakery and, of course, antique furniture.
This means a focus on simple, rustic wooden designs favouring functionality over detail, often paired with a gingham or checked fabric.
If you’re interested in cottagecore designs, or would like to furnish your own cottage with a more rustic look, we’ve created this guide to point you in the right direction.
‘Cottagecore has allowed budding interior decorators to explore their rustic side and shine a light on a simpler style of decoration’
The first thing to consider when choosing antique furniture for any space is whether the furniture will be able to fit - you wouldn’t want to waste your money on a piece twice the size of the room it’s supposed to be in!
This consideration is especially true when it comes to cottages. Cottages often have lower ceilings and smaller rooms than more modern property, so large pieces can sometimes dominate the space.
It’s often helpful to take a measurement of your rooms before buying furniture for your cottage - this will give you the chance to plan out positioning and allow you to get a general idea of what pieces belong in your cottage space.
Part of the appeal of cottagecore is the rustic aesthetic - the return to simpler times and visuals (while admittedly many of these visuals are being shared over TikTok and Instagram).
This appeal to simplicity and nostalgia can also be reflected in the lighting you use to decorate your cottage - using, for example, antique lighting.
Alternatively other wall-mounted Victorian mirrors will help to complete the period look wherever they are situated.
No modern Victorian living room is complete without the right lighting to complete the unique atmosphere.
Rugs are a fantastic way to bring the rich colours and textures of a Victorian living room to life.
The use of antique lighting in a rustic or cottage setting can add character and go well with other period features. It’s less anachronistic for a vintage table to be lit with an antique lantern than a modern lamp!
If you’re looking to integrate antique lighting into your cottage we would recommend the following, among other pieces in our collection:
This appeal to simplicity and nostalgia can also be reflected in the lighting you use to decorate your cottage
For an example of these (or some other lighting ideas), please visit our antique lightingpage.
As well as antique lighting, you could also consider introducing antique mirrors to your cottage as a way of adding light to your space.
These would be especially useful in dark corners or hallways - if your cottage is in the middle of the countryside it can be comforting to have as much light as possible when night time comes around!
As mentioned in our previous section about scale, the pared-down design of cottages can mean that they often are lacking for space - meaning there aren’t a lot of places you can hide your everyday clutter!
With this in mind it’s useful to look at antiques that offer you storage, for example an antique cupboard or chest of drawers. This should give you the chance to clear away your belongings whilst maintaining your stylish, pared down aesthetic.
Of course, what we’ve said in the scale section still holds true. If you’re planning to buy a larger piece of antique furniture for storage make sure that it can fit inside your cottage - or else you’ll have twice the amount of clutter to deal with!
Large pieces can sometimes dominate the space of a cottage
While cottagecore may be a relatively new design movement, it has allowed budding interior decorators to explore their rustic side and shine a light on a simpler style of decoration - one which can be made even more stunning by the inclusion of antiques.
We hope that this guide to creating a rustic look for your home or cottage has been useful. If you’re interested in any of the pieces mentioned above or would like to search through our collection please take a look at our website.
Used in the creation of everything from fireplaces to outside tables and chairs, cast iron has been a popular material of the modern home since its popularisation in the 18th Century.
But what is cast iron? Where did it come from? And what’s the best way to utilise it in your home?
Cast iron continues to be a stylish and durable material that brings a level of style to any room it’s included in
To answer all these questions and more we’ve created this comprehensive guide to cast iron antiques.
If you’re interested in purchasing a cast iron fireplace for your home be sure to take a look at our antique fireplace collection.
Cast iron is made from ‘pig iron’ (iron with a high carbon content). The iron is melted down and poured into a mould before being left to cool. It is a brittle metal that, as it is resistant to damage from oxidation, can be used to fashion a variety of antiques used both inside and outdoors.
Due to cast iron furniture’s size and weight it is more suited to items that are likely to remain in one place in the home. This can include:
An entire bench or chair can be made from cast iron to create an ornate piece of furniture
The earliest examples of cast iron can be found in China dating back to the 5th Century BC, being used to make ornaments, weaponry and houses.
It eventually made its way to the West in the 15th Century, where iron workers used blast furnaces to create cast iron cannons for the English navy.
In the 18th Century, casting methods (and furnace temperatures) had evolved to the point where the production of intricate fireplaces and furniture could be made using cast iron at a rapid rate.
This eventually led manufacturers to produce cast iron fireplaces and furniture that was both stylish and affordable.
At Westland we have a wide variety of cast iron antique furniture available for you to use throughout your home. This includes:
Cast iron fireplaces - As a durable yet affordable material, cast iron is used in a number of fireplaces and fireplace styles, ranging from Victorian fireplaces to Rococo and Art Nouveau designs.
Some cast iron fireplaces function as an ‘all-in-one’ fireplace due to the implementation of an internal grate. This allows the fireplace to have both interior and exterior functions, which makes it easy to install.
Regardless of how it’s used in or outside of the home, cast iron continues to be a stylish and durable material that brings a level of style to any room it’s included in.
Cast iron can be used to fashion a variety of antiques used both inside and outdoors
We hope that this guide to antique cast iron has been useful. If you want to know more, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us - we’re always happy to talk antiques!
Posted 25 August 2020
Designing a modern Victorian living room is the perfect way to strike a unique balance between your favourite newer decorations and special antiques.
There’s little need to worry about a clash of styles if you combine modern elements with those of a Victorian living room carefully. The general consensus is that there was no single exclusive style in the Victorian era, so there is certainly leeway for creativity.
Victorian fireplaces and relevant accessories, as well as Victorian mirrors, are often cornerstones to help set the right mood alongside your modern decor.
A Victorian living room with a modern twist could feature a wide range of impressive antiques.
Victorian fireplaces and Victorian mirrors, with antique rugs and other furnishings - combined with modern lighting and decorations, for example - inevitably look stunning.
If you’re looking for Victorian living room ideas which can blend in seamlessly with more modern tastes, consider the following:
Victorian fireplaces, whether made of marble, stone, wood, cast iron or other metals, serve as impressive centrepieces of any modern living room.
A Victorian style living room should ideally feature an eye-catching antique fireplace, mantel or chimneypiece at its heart.
Aside from surrounding the fire, Victorian fireplaces have another key purpose - displaying your treasured possessions such as beautiful vases, family photographs or perhaps an antique clock on the mantelpiece.
There’s a wide range of additional accessories which can be added to Victorian fireplaces to complete the look - such as fire grates, screens, andirons and chenets.
One of the most practical features of a typical Victorian living room is a club fender - it can provide extra seating space for entertaining and is also an excellent place to warm up after a cold winter walk.
Today mirrors are often used to make rooms look larger and lighter, and Victorian mirrors are no different.
A beautiful 19th century overmantel mirror above a fireplace adds grandeur to a Victorian style living room.
Comfortable underfoot and available in a large variety of sizes to suit any space, they can give your Victorian style living room an especially luxurious and cosy feel.
For the finishing touches, other Victorian living room ideas are to add some additional antique furniture and decorative items alongside your more contemporary possessions.
Perhaps a mahogany armchair, rosewood table, oak sideboard or leather room screen would fit perfectly into your Victorian style living room. A blank wall could look less bare with an oil painting or leather panel.
Alternatively something smaller such as a gilt bronze or marble clock to sit on a surface could be the last piece of the jigsaw to complete your Victorian living room.
There’s little need to worry about a clash of styles if you combine modern elements with those of a Victorian living room carefully.
Aside from a club fender, dressing a bay window with cushions is another opportunity to create a cosy seating area in a Victorian style living room.
Whether for entertaining guests, reading or watching the world go by, a welcoming-looking and well-furnished bay window adds another dimension to a Victorian living room. It can also help draw attention to the view and natural world outside.
Finally, no modern Victorian living room is complete without the right lighting to complete the unique atmosphere.
This could either mean thinking carefully about the positioning of your furniture depending on where the best light is currently, or potentially adding antique lighting such as a candelabra.
There are many features of a typical Victorian living room which can be embraced to help create the modern Victorian living room of your dreams.
Well-placed antique rugs, furniture and other decorations alongside more contemporary furniture will add to the overall ambience.
As one of the key cultural figures of the period, William Morris, once said:
Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.
When investing in antique furniture, it’s vital to ensure you’re buying from reputable sellers - by checking their customer ratings, or if they’re members of organisations such as LAPADA.
If you’re interested in bringing more of a Victorian style into your modern living room, take a look around our website. And if you’d like to know more about anything in our collection please do get in touch.
Posted 03 August 2020
Buying a piece of antique furniture has the potential to transform a home. An antique is not only an interesting and stylish design feature, but every piece has a story to tell. While trends change, antique furniture remains timeless, making it the perfect addition to the contemporary home.
For many people, finding and identifying antique furniture is a rewarding hobby in itself. Whether you’re a newbie or a seasoned collector, browsing flea markets and antique fairs for the perfect piece is often half the fun.
An antique is not only an interesting and stylish design feature, but every piece has a story to tell.
The world of online antiques can seem daunting - but with a bit of research and some practice, anyone can start collecting and buying beautiful antique pieces. We’ve gathered together some of our most helpful resources to help you find, identify and buy the perfect antique furniture for your home.
There’s nothing like the feeling of finding that special one-off piece after trawling through antique shops and vintage fairs - but shopping for antiques online can be just as rewarding.
There are some amazing antique deals to be had online, but finding them takes a bit of know-how. Doing some background research, choosing a trusted seller and haggling on price are all wise moves if you want to bag a bargain.
Find out how to look in all the right places, ask all the right questions and become an expert at online antique shopping with our top tips.
The world of online antiques can seem daunting - but with a bit of research and some practice, anyone can start collecting and buying beautiful antique pieces.
A well-chosen piece of antique furniture can become an instant focal point in your living room. The perfect antique can refresh tired decor, turning a generic room into something remarkable.
There are several things to consider when picking out antique furniture for your living room. What sort of look do you want to present - grand, playful, elegant? What will work with your current space? If you’ve found something you love, is it in good condition?
If you take the time to choose carefully, an antique could both enhance your current decor and be a stunning centrepiece in your living room.
Learn how to pick out the perfect antique furniture for your living room in our blog.
We believe that even in the most up-to-the-minute homes there’s a place for antique furniture. Combining antiques with modern decor can create a bold and surprising space with its own unique identity.
Whether you’ve discovered an amazing antique find or want to show off a beloved heirloom, there are things you can do to create a sense of balance between old and new. Considering size and perspective, coordinating colours and introducing textiles and lighting that complement your look can all create a sense of harmony.
For some in-depth tips, check out our guide to combining antique furniture with modern decor.
There are some amazing antique deals to be had online, but finding them takes a bit of know-how.
Much of the appeal of antique furniture is in its ability to make a statement - but vintage pieces often have practical uses too.
With many antique pieces there’s more than meets the eye. Hidden storage was popularised by Italian cabinetmakers in the late 16th and 17th Centuries, with the technique imported to Britain and America by the 18th Century.
The prospect of finding a secret compartment can be part of the thrill of owning antique furniture. It can be great fun hunting for concealed storage spaces in a new antique piece - in this article we show you how.
One of the most fascinating things about antiques is the way they reflect the traditions, trends and craft techniques of the people who made them.
An antique speaks volumes not just about when it was made, but about where it was made as well. Every country has its own unique heritage - so it’s not surprising that the types of antiques that are most popular vary a great deal from place to place.
Find out what the world’s favourite antiques are with our infographic.
So you’ve decided you want to start buying antiques. Great! But what next…?
It can be difficult to know where to begin when you first take the plunge into the wonderful world of antiques. Where do you find them? How do you know you’re getting a good deal? How do you spot a fake? And what actually counts as an antique anyway?
With many antique pieces there’s more than meets the eye.
Our no-nonsense beginner’s guide explains everything you need to know to get going. Start learning about antiques now.
There’s no doubt that a stunning piece of antique furniture can give your home the wow-factor - but it’s important to choose carefully to make sure your antique fits in with your decor.
An antique that you fall in love with in the shop may not have the same effect in your home. Think carefully about how it will complement the rest of your space. Consider colour and style, remember that less is more and don’t be afraid to give antique pieces a revamp if they don’t quite fit in.
Get more top tips on integrating antiques into your home in this blog.
Antiques are often thought of as a way to make a bold statement inside the house. We’re not arguing with that, but there’s an amazing array of stunning pieces for the garden too.
Architectural antiques can make a garden sing. From antique drinking fountains to Victorian wrought iron garden chairs, antiques can give any outdoor space that little something special.
Check out this blog for some expert tips on how to use architectural antiques in your garden.
Whether you shop for antiques online, at fairs and markets or in antique shops, you need to know what you’re looking for if you want to spot a gem.
It’s important to know how to check for signs of quality craftsmanship, look for damage or replaced parts and identify reproductions. The last thing you want is to fall in love with an antique piece only to find out it isn’t really what you thought it was!
Find out what you should be looking out for when buying antique furniture.
No matter what your home looks like or what your budget is, the perfect antique for you is out there somewhere
Hunting for, buying and owning antique furniture is a real joy. No matter what your home looks like or what your budget is, the perfect antique for you is out there somewhere - you just need to find it!
We hope our tips and articles help you along the way in your antique journey. If you want to know more, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us - we’re always happy to talk antiques!
Posted 30 April 2020
Our antique fireplaces are wide ranging in their historical period, manner of decoration and in their embellishments. We believe that fireplaces help to centre focus when entering a home and tie in numerous elements around it.
However, during summer, fireplaces lose the function that they had in winter. Many people tend to abandon the care of this central component until the season has finished. Here at Westland we want to highlight the actions you can take to give your fireplace that much needed care it deserves. Be it an inspection or a creative decoration - here’s what to do with your chimney during the summer.
As fireplaces are inactive across the summer months, the season is a key time to inspect it for wear and tear - as well as any possible creosote build up. We would recommend asking a master chimney sweep to do this, as there are elements to a chimney which an untrained eye will certainly miss.
If your fireplace requires any maintenance then a HETAS registered professional should undertake the work.
Summer is a great time to rejuvenate the look and feel of a room, especially if it's beginning to look tired after a long winter. Beginning with an unexpected area such as the fireplace can open up opportunities to be inventive and fresh with your choices.
Often we don’t tend to think about how the mantle can accentuate an antique fireplace, especially as it is designated as a place to sit family photographs, birthday cards and more. However, why not spruce it up with some botanicals which match the colour of your fireplace? A contrast of daffodils or yellow tulips can bring out the white in a modern fireplace feature. Botanicals are also a great summer addition which will help to warm up an empty centrepiece.
It can also be good to think about what furniture you may already have in the room. A bench or chair could be easily moved in front of the hearth to allow for additional seating space. This is also a neat trick to accommodate those numerous guests invited round during summer. Temporary shelving may also alleviate some needed space.
We’ve highlighted some decorations that can be used around the fireplace during the summer, so now we’ll take a look at what can be done within it.
A decorative screen can help to cover up your fire and give it a unique look. It could be colour matched with the fireplace exterior, and also partnered by a certain pattern or texture. Using a diamond locked grid can look elegant - otherwise a floral decoration will help to bring in a summer feeling.
Likewise, a bundle of wood in the fireplace can definitely allow the outside, inside. These will fit in well to a fireplace interior in a traditional setting. Some short cut logs will make the fireplace look less empty and add a rustic look to its decoration. For a more modern touch, tie together birch twigs to create a contrast of white and brown which looks good above a lightly coloured mantle.
Finally, think of adding some books in your fireplace. Stack or order them neatly within the hearth. Candles can be either used as decoration or to give off a minimal amount of heat during the summer months. Other summertime fixtures that could be placed within the fireplace could be statuettes or even flower pots.
During the summer your chimney and fireplace can really come into their own. Recognising the benefits of a thorough inspection during this season will save time spent during winter maintenance. Decoration can also liven up the appearance of an antique fireplace; dedicating thought and time into what can be placed upon the mantle or on the hearth floor can have brilliant results. Remember, summer needn’t be a time to neglect this beautiful centrepiece of any room. If you’re thinking of adding a new antique fireplace or mantle to your home, then have a look at Westland’s comprehensive collection.
Posted 15 April 2020
With a history spanning back millenia, the humble mirror has a rich and versatile past, a story preserved in the antique mirrors we see today.
From the mirror’s origins 8,000 years ago, different cultures have made mirrors out of copper, polished stone and bronze to name a few - ending with the aluminium-backed mirrors we all have in our homes today.
Nowadays, antique mirrors have both stunning aesthetic decorative purposes and practical applications.
Not only do mirrors amplify natural and electrical light, they are masters of illusion; making spaces appear and feel so much bigger than their physical dimensions.
And despite their transition from being rare objects owned only by the few to being commonplace possessions, the mirror’s decorative popularity still endures to this day, and none more so than in rare and authentic antique mirrors.
Scientists date the earliest mirrors to Anatolia (modern-day Turkey) circa 8,000 years ago.
Back then they were crafted from obsidian, a type of volcanic glass, which was ground and polished until it reflected images, albeit darkly and distortedly.
All across the world in the following millenia the mirror appeared again and again in different forms.
They were made from polished copper in Mesopotamia and Egypt from 4,000 to 3,000 BC, in Central and South America made from polished stone from 2,000 BC onwards, and also appeared in China and India made out of bronze and copper around the same time.
Techniques for creating mirrors advanced along with society. It was the Venetians that popularised mercury mirrors, so early (pre-18th century) mirrors of this manufacture are likely to be Italian.
These were made by coating glass with a mixture of tin and mercury.
As a general rule, earlier mirrors tend to be slightly smaller, or with sections of mirrored glass, as there was not the ability to produce single sheets of large glass until the late 18th century.
Only the very wealthy could afford very large panes of glass. .
For this same reason, throughout history floor length mirrors were very rare. The majority of people never saw their full reflection - unthinkable in today’s modern age.
The success of Venetian mirror makers was such that it was said the French court of Louis XIV sent spies to Venice to steal their secrets.
The spies must have been successful as France soon became renowned mirror producers in their own right!
One of the first uses for the new-found ability to create Venetian mirrors in France was creating an enchanting hall of mirrors in the Palace of Versailles, featuring 357 mirrors titled the ‘Galerie des Glaces’.
The French did not keep such a monopoly on their mirror-making secrets, and techniques spread to other countries soon after.
In the early 19th century, a new, safer method of mirror-making was invented, using silver nitrate to replace the highly toxic mercury. This soon replaced mercury altogether.
Today we use aluminium in mirrors. It’s light and cheaper, and crucially, not poisonous!
Earlier mirror frames tend to be made of carved wood or carved wood and gesso.
They are called giltwood mirrors if a thin layer of gold leaf has been applied over the carved surface
Pine and gesso is a more common material, the detail being made from wire and gesso. A thin layer of gold leaf is usually applied over the top.
The Rococo style, or Late Baroque style, began circa 1730.
Rococo wall mirrors are characterised by their heavy, ornate frames. The complex frames were sculpted in plaster and often gilded.
Derived from ‘Rocaille’, which was originally a method of decorating using concrete, pebbles and seashells, Rococo style uses natural forms like shells, and floral/leaf motifs.
The Regency era took place between circa 1811 and 1820, at the end of the Georgian era.
English Regency mirrors were more angular and simple, often with architectural columned frames.
Overmantel mirrors are designed to fit over a mantelpiece, usually resulting in a flat bottom edge that runs parallel to the mantel.
French overmantel mirrors are some of the most decorative mirrors.
They are often very tall, intended to sit above fireplaces in rooms with very high ceilings.
English mirrors of the 18th century often draw inspiration from Thomas Chippendale, with fine carving and a light frame.
Chippendale style furniture was recognised for its innovative design and high quality and was influenced by the Rococo style, which resulted in ornate gilded mirrors.
Chippendale style mirrors are most often naturalistic in form.
They are generally made of mahogany, but are also made of walnut, cherry or maple.
Victorian mirrors were made during the reign of Queen Victoria, between 1837-1901.
Mirrors of this period often adopted styles of periods past, and were known for being grand or elaborate.
Victorian mirrors are usually the most heavily carved, with bold decoration.
The Victorians didn’t solely favour gilt, but often opted for woods such as mahogany or rosewood.
When buying an antique mirror it is always important to check the glass for any damage, chips, cracks or scratches.
It is also desirable to have the original glass that the piece was made with. This might be mercury glass which is particularly sought after.
A good way to identify mercury glass is to see if there is a slight sparkle to the reflection behind the glass.
Mirrors have a long and interesting history that stretches across the world and dates back centuries.
It is this rich history and the unique characteristics of each style of mirror that makes antique mirrors an attention-demanding centrepiece for any room.
If you’re looking for a beautiful antique mirror, Westland London have a wide and varied selection to choose from. Check out our stunning range here.
Posted 24 March 2020
Fireplaces are the heart of the home - or should we say hearth of the home?
What started as a few branches on a cave floor has transformed into a magnificent piece of art that can enhance almost any home.
But one thing remains unchanged: it remains a focal point for friends and family to gather around, especially on a cold winter’s night.
An antique fireplace is a splendid centrepiece, one that will be there for years to come.
Therefore it’s important you buy the right one.
Here’s our simple guide to choosing the perfect antique fireplace:
The first fundamental question when choosing your antique fireplace is where it is going to go.
For most people this is the living room - but you don’t have to be like most people.
There’s nothing stopping you from placing an antique fireplace in any room you want, whether it be a dining room, kitchen, bedroom or even a bathroom.
What room you decide to put the fireplace in might be determined by practicalities.
For instance, you might put it in a room that’s always cold or a weird nook where there’s a chimney breast.
The reality is most people are limited to where a chimney (or some other suitable vent) currently exists. Unless, you’re willing to pay to put one in.
You don’t want a Christmas tree scenario to get home and find that it’s too big.
A fireplace is not like a Christmas tree - you can’t just cut the top off.
Here are our top tips to prevent this from happening:
What happens if you’re in the shop and you’re still not sure if the fireplace is the right size? In that case we suggest measure the fireplace in the shop and then measure it out at home .
Remember, bigger is not always better - make sure the fireplace you choose is appropriate for your space.
You may want a fireplace that is contemporary with your house. Fortunately, there are many antique fireplaces to choose from.
At Westland we offer fireplaces from a number of different periods, ranging from the Renaissance to Art Deco.
If your house is a listed building, then it is likely that you will need to choose a fireplace of the same period, and you may also require planning permission.
That being said, antique fireplaces do not have to be exclusively installed in older homes. .
The choice can also be overwhelming, but we’re here to guide you from the curves of the Rococo era to the square lines of the Victorians.
You may also want to think about the material you are using.
We offer antique fireplaces made from a range of different materials; such as marble or cast iron .Marble is beautiful and comes in numerous colours, so there are plenty of options to suit your interior!
Marble fireplaces do tend to be more expensive, so if you are on a budget, a wooden surround can be a good option, as it can be painted any colour, and even painted with a faux marble effect if desired!
Whether you’re shopping by era or material, our website contains a variety of fireplaces (as well as many other antiques) that would be perfect in any home.
A fireplace is essentially a decorative surround, so be sure to know what is happening with the interior of the fireplace first if you wish to set a fire.
You will need to know what kind of fuel you wish to use – if any – and also check its suitability with a HETAS registered engineer.
You can then choose a variety of options for the interior, such as a fire grate or even a wood burner.
When making your mind up, there are a few questions you need to ask yourself:
We hope you are ready to choose the perfect antique fireplace for you and your home. If you’re searching for inspiration, why not give our Willesden showroom a visit?
We’re always happy to help and to answer any questions you might have.
Posted 19 February 2020
Victorian furniture refers to the style of antique furniture that was made during the reign of Queen Victoria (1837 – 1901). It is often revivalist in style, in that it adopts stylistic motifs from other periods, creating huge waves of revivals with nostalgic nods to the past.
Victorian furniture pieces are valued for their opulence and elegance. Queen’s Victoria’s taste for grandeur shaped the period enormously, and grand and elaborate furniture was in fashion for much of her reign.
There is a rich variety within Victorian furniture, each piece having been influenced by its individual revival. Pieces can be identified via their iconic features which make them authentic to their time. In this article, we explore some of these different styles and take a look at what aspects of Victorian furniture you should look out for to identify them when purchasing pieces.
The gothic period covered the 12th to the 15th century, originating from French gothic architecture in the early 12th century. You can see the heavy influence of the medieval gothic architecture in the 19th century, with the revival style imitating the castles and glorious cathedrals of Europe. Victorian gothic furniture took on this style of detailed carving and geometric forms and became a popular aesthetic in the 19th century.
Intricate carvings mark out this style, with woods such as rosewood, oak and walnut used to craft the pieces. Heavy fabrics would often be used, like velvet or leather, and designers favoured foliate motifs for ornamentation. Design elements also include pointed arches, spires, quatrefoils, trefoils and crockets.
The Jacobean Revival started in the 1870s and combined the trend for factory-made furniture with the Jacobean period. The designs were adaptations of 17th century Jacobean strapwork, and the furniture details would be wide and flat, with ornamental moulding twisted into the designs.
Whatnots were popular pieces of this time, as were spindled chairs, circular tables and storage chests. Fabrics were dramatic, with florals, nature scenes and rich patterns. But the overarching style of the Jacobean revival was rigid, solid-looking pieces with incised ornamentation.
Born during the reign of Louis XV, the Rococo style represented an opposition to the classical forms of the Baroque style. This high style furniture of French influence is known for its love of the natural world, with flora, shells and fruit motifs. The Rococo revival encapsulated the grandeur of the European style, an expression of 19th-century romanticism.
Rosewood and mahogany were favoured woods, and gold finishes were often applied to the furniture. A popular choice for the upholstery was tufting, and the pieces can often be identified by their curvaceous shapes and rounded corners.
By 1850, there was a resurgence in interest for classical and renaissance art, and the furniture of this time took on these influences. Renaissance revival pieces are defined by bold features on heavy pieces of furniture, a contrast to the feminine elegance of the Rococo style. It incorporated the use of masculine arches, animal and human figures instead of natural, floral motifs, and fluted legs that imitated ancient Greek columns.
The Arts and Crafts movement was one of the most significant new style movements of the 19th century, as Victorian designers and furniture makers sought to move away from the increasing mechanisation of production and return to handmade items that weren’t elaborately adorned with unnecessary ornamentation. Designers wanted to recapture the spirit of quality craftsmanship and developed a style to reflect these beliefs. Makers and designers such as William Morris, Edward Barnsley and Phillip Webb are all names to look out for.
Victorian furniture is often perceived as a very formal style of furniture with elaborate detailing. The style can be seen as overly ornate, or dark, but many pieces of English 19th century furniture are far from it. If you are looking for something a little less fussy, then provincial “country-style” Victorian furniture or the Arts and Crafts style is a good choice.
Victorian furniture was often made using decorative veneers, such as mahogany. These beautiful grains were formed from wood that warped or curled, and these decorative pieces of wood would be glued to more stable wood for a stunning and durable finish.
When shopping for Victorian style furniture check that the veneer is in good condition, with no peeling, bubbling or loss, as it can be expensive to repair.
Look out for maker’s stamps or labels, as this can add provenance and value to your items. Good places to look are the drawers and the back of furniture.
Victorian furniture can often be very large, as it was made for rooms with generous proportions and high ceilings. Always measure before you buy!
Posted 16 January 2020
Your living room is a vital part of your home - with the opportunity of introducing a new look or style if you feel like you need a change.
Antique furniture can bring an instant sense of grandeur to any living room. But with a variety of eras, designs and furniture types available it can initially seem overwhelming to add an antique to your home.
If you’re considering adding antique furniture to your living room but are unsure where to start, consider the following:
An obvious way to know if a piece of antique furniture would add to your living room is to see if your current room is missing anything or any of your furniture needs to be replaced.
You may have noticed your current furniture is showing some wear and tear, or maybe you’re feeling that your furnishings aren’t to your taste anymore.
If you’re unsure where to start, at Westland we offer a wide variety of antiques that we think will add to any living room:
If you’ve created a new design for your living room and think one of our antiques may be the perfect fit, take a look through our antiques catalogue .
When integrating any new look or furniture into your home, it’s important that it doesn’t stick out like a sore thumb.
We’ve previously written about how to combine antiques with modern decor, so we understand that there are several factors you have to consider when you’re adding an antique piece to a more current environment such as:
Antique furniture offers a variety of looks, sizes and textures depending on the era of its design as well as its designer.
For example, the geometric simplicity of this White Marble Arched Victorian Fireplace is notably different than the ornate floral design of this Stone Rococo Fireplace mantel.
Make sure you’re keeping all of these in mind when you’re searching for the perfect piece of antique furniture for your living room.
There’s nothing more deflating than buying what you think is a perfect new piece of furniture then realising it doesn’t fit in with your living space.
To make sure this doesn’t happen, make sure to carefully consider your living room before purchasing any antique furniture. This should include:
Taking photos and measurements of your current room to make sure that your antique furniture fits - both stylistically and physically. Make sure you have enough space to appreciate your antique furniture or fireplace
Consider the positioning of your current furniture - your antique furniture may be able to fit, but make sure your current furniture doesn’t suffer as a result! Make sure you’ve repositioned your furniture accordingly if you’re worried your new piece on antique furniture might monopolise the room
Being honest with yourself - a piece of antique furniture can be quite an investment. If you don’t think you have the space for antique furniture at the moment, you may have to wait until you or your room are more ready for a change!
Buying furniture is an investment - especially for such a prominent place in the house as a living room. You don’t want to buy a piece that suits your room just for it to fall apart a few months later!
Therefore it's important that you inspect any antique furniture before you buy it to make sure it’s of the highest quality - and that none of it is missing.
It's important that you check for:
If you want to make sure your living room furniture has a unique look and atmosphere, antique furniture may be the fit for you - as long as you take the time to properly consider and check it first.
If you are interested in any of the pieces on our website, please get in contact or visit our showroom. Alternatively, take a look around our website.
Posted 02 September 2019
When it comes to accessorising your fireplace, making the correct choices can bring new life to an often overlooked space.
Whether you’re looking to make a statement or just add a touch of character, this guide will help to refresh your fireplace with the aid of just a few items.
You can create a more imposing and impressive fireplace through the addition of several items.
By introducing a cast iron fireback, the interior of your fireplace is easily transformed into a striking feature that really catches the eye.
Purchasing an antique fireback can also add a sense of grandeur that can become the basis of further accessorising.
The boldness of a fireback has the additional benefit of offering great contrast to modern furnishings and is suitable for both open and bricked-up fireplaces.
Alternatively, introducing a fire screen will add a depth to your fireplace decorations, and also screen the interior if it’s not in use or a little unsightly!
With potential styles ranging from - but not limited to - Rococo, Arts and Crafts and Art Nouveau, it’s possible to select a fire screen that not only provides the room with extra elegance, but accentuates the qualities already present within the fireplace.
When looking for an easy way to bring some life back to your fireplace, a choice of two simple additions can give the illusion of a fireplace ready to burn!
By introducing andirons or firedogs - such as our own Baroque style pair - you can achieve the look of a working fireplace while maintaining a minimalistic quality.
Another benefit of using andirons is that they can add a touch of elegance that is likely to compliment most fireplaces and there are a variety of sizes available.
Alternatively, if you are looking for something with a bit more presence while still providing life to your fireplace, a fire grate may offer the perfect solution.
The common use of cast iron, steel and brass work well when attempting to develop the character and allure of both room and fireplace.
By simply adding logs to either one of these accessories, you can transform a lifeless fireplace to one that really draws attention and gives off a traditional feel.
It is still possible to add class and personality to a fireplace while not detracting from its overall appeal.
If you’re looking to accessorise your fireplace without making huge changes to it, then certain items will help you achieve this.
Items you can find in a fire tool companion set - such as tongs, poker, shovel and brush - can achieve both practicality and elegance.
Mixing practicality and beauty, bring an element of the fireplace into the room by placing these accessories next to the chimney
Similarly, a log bin can be positioned on the other side of the fireplace, resulting in a more balanced and harmonious finish.
Whether your mantelpiece is wood, marble or stone, an effective way to introduce some shelf appeal is to use this space to display some of your most treasured items.
There are various accessories that you can use to add a personal touch to your fireplace, such as photographs and trinkets.
However, some of the items you may like to incorporate onto your mantelpiece could include sculptures or clocks that can add more gravitas to your fireplace as a whole.
This gives you the opportunity to accessorise while adding elements of your personality onto your fireplace.
When deciding to accessorise your fireplace, it really is up to you how you incorporate certain items to match your idea of a perfect space.
It’s important that your personality shines through and reflects what your home is trying to achieve.
If you’d like to know more about our collection, please get in touch.
Posted 18 July 2019
We all have sentimental heirlooms and antiques we don’t want to part with, but why should we? Mixing modern and antique furniture will help you achieve a harmonious look in your home as well as adding contrast and depth to any room.
Conventional thinking is “out with the old and in with the new”, but we don’t believe that to be the case anymore. Combining antiques with modern decor can create a unique sense of balance and identity to your home.
If you’re interested in introducing antiques into modern decor, here are a few tips to get you started:
Two major factors on whether a piece of furniture will look good in your home are size and perspective. Placing large antiques in smaller rooms (and vice versa) can help to create contrast and character in your rooms - perfect for an unusual or quirky look.
If you’re interested in playing with perspective and you want to bring antique grandeur to a small space, place an oversized antique piece in a small contemporary space. This will create the illusion that the room is bigger than it actually is!
Making an oversized antique table - for instance one of our own Victorian dining tables - the focal point of a small dining room can drastically affect its personality. Complementing the room with modern accent pieces and furniture will then provide a refreshing balance of antique and contemporary that is sure to impress.
Combining small antiques and modern decor provides a unique identity to any room. Whether it’s your own heirlooms or one of our many antique sculptures and carvings, displaying small antiques can result in an unexpected contrast - or even an interesting conversation starter when you have guests over.
Mixing textures, styles and shapes when combining antiques with modern decor seems like a sure-fire way to create an interesting variation in your interior design.
However, juxtaposing too many differing styles may create a confusing (rather than harmonious) aesthetic. To make your design more cohesive, be sure to unite your traditional antique pieces and furnishings under a shared theme, for example their colour scheme.
Colour-coordinating old ornaments and contemporary pieces also creates an interesting display with lots of depth.
While the array of choice may seem intimidating at first, there are several simple approaches to making sure your colour scheme is well-matched.
Neutral colours, for instance, can complement several different eras. Colours such as beige, grey, white or light pastel shades will be able to mix well with both antique pieces and modern decor.
Alternatively, try being bold by choosing vibrant colours such as emerald green or royal blue - these will complement antique wooden furniture and modern decor.
When redecorating and trying to combine antiques with modern decor, it’s important to ensure you combine textiles and styles to bring the look to life.
Introducing natural textures such as fur, wool or alternatively carved wooden furniture helps build character to any room. Incorporating antique ceiling lights, stylish cushions and luxurious throws over contemporary sofas, for instance, will help you create a cosy ambience.
Alternatively, displaying framed pictures on a contemporary-coloured wall can create the perfect contrast to weathered, traditional-style furniture.
Lighting is an easy way to mix the old with the new when combining antiques with modern decor. Adding antique lighting to any room in your home will produce a simple yet beautiful style.
Hanging a pendant lighting or an art nouveau Tiffany style ceiling light in a contemporary space will create an impressive dazzle that will light up any room.
Combining grand antique lighting with a stylish contemporary coffee table in your sitting room produces a similarly stunning, if slightly more refined, result.
Alternatively, if your home is full of rustic antiques try hanging modern lighting to the room to create a powerful contrast. Layered lighting schemes are also essential in providing general and mood lighting with the right brightness and positioning.
Similarly, hanging one of our beautifully framed antique mirrors in your home will gracefully reflect the light and add character to any room.
If you’re looking to add antique lighting or mirrors, why not explore our lighting section and find some hidden treasures?
As we’ve mentioned, combining antiques and modern decor creates a unique contrast, however, mixing different styles in the same scheme only works if the right balance is created.
Creating this balance is less difficult than it seems. For maximum effect, we recommend that you concentrate your antiques to a single area rather than scattering your antiques around the house.
When you’ve bought some stunning antiques your first instinct is to show them off everywhere and anywhere, but concentrating your antiques in a particular location will make that area the focal point of the room.
So to really draw attention, why not move your antiques to a room they can really be appreciated in - the living room or dining room are both likely to get a lot of footfall. If you’ve bought a beautiful antique, be proud and be sure to show off your style.
Posted 25 June 2019
Chippendale style furniture rose to prominence during the 18th Century, and is still popular among collectors today.
The style is named after world-renowned cabinet maker Thomas Chippendale. Chippendale furniture was the first English furniture style to be named after an artisan rather than a monarch, recognised for its revolutionary designs and quality.
Chippendale, born in Yorkshire in 1718, made his fortune in London in the mid-18th Century. In 1754 he published a book of his furniture designs, The Gentleman and Cabinet Maker's Director. The catalogue cemented his success and influenced the tastes of society in England and further afield for many years to come.
Following the Director’s publication Chippendale received large-scale interior design commissions from wealthy and aristocratic clients, and many other cabinet makers reproduced his designs and emulated his style. As a result, Chippendale furniture was produced in Hamburg, Lisbon, Copenhagen, Dublin and Philadelphia.
The designs in Chippendale’s Director combine elements of Gothic, Rococo and Chinese styles. From the 1960s, Chippendale was influenced by the distinctive Neoclassical style of architect Robert Adam, with whom he collaborated on several projects.
The influence of Gothic furniture was evident in S-shaped curves and pointed arches carved into the backs of Chippendale-style chairs, and into the wooden glazing bars and pediments of bookcases.
Chinese styling can be found in the pagoda-style pediments of china cabinets, and glazing bars carved with fretwork. Similar fretwork can be seen on the edges of tea tables, and on chair backs and legs. Some Chinese Chippendale furniture was ‘Japanned’, or coated with paintwork imitating Asian lacquerwork.
Today, the term ‘Chippendale style’ generally refers to English furniture made in a modified Rococo style.
Chippendale’s Rococo-influenced designs were in part a reaction to the staid formality of earlier periods, although he adapted the elaborate French style for the somewhat less extravagant English market.
His Rococo designs include French chairs based on the Louis XV style, embellished tables and ornate gilded mirrors. Perhaps his most famous design is the broad-seated ribbon back chair, which featured a centre support made up of highly decorative carved ribbons and a cupid’s bow-shaped back rail.
Original Chippendale furniture pieces are rare, and can fetch extraordinary prices at auction. However, the Chippendale style of furniture remained popular over two hundred years in the UK, Europe and America, and it’s possible to find beautiful Chippendale style pieces from the 18th, 19th and early 20th Centuries.
A distinctive feature of Chippendale style furniture is the Queen Anne-style Cabriole leg - a graceful, serpentine leg ending in a distinctively-carved foot. These feet include the lion’s paw, the club, and the ball and claw, which look like an eagle’s talon clutching a ball.
Chippendale style furniture is generally made of mahogany, but can also be made of walnut, cherry or maple.
Our collection includes a number of beautiful pieces in the Chippendale style. This beautifully carved 19th Century oak mirror is made in the Chippendale Rococo manner, with shell, rocaille floral and scroll work typical of the period, while this giltwood mirror, circa 1795, is topped by a large mythical Ho-Ho bird with its wings outspread and framed by gilt acanthus scrolls, rosettes and foliate details.
This rare pair of satinwood commodes, circa 1900, features a delicately carved top drawer over ornately painted lower drawers and panelled side cupboards.
Posted 10 November 2017
As the days grow shorter, lighting becomes an increasingly important feature in our homes. For style, atmosphere and drama, antique lighting can be the perfect choice.
Here is a selection of some of our loveliest lighting, guaranteed to create a welcoming ambience…
Our site features a range of unique antique lighting options
The most well-known and elaborate form of antique lighting is the antique chandelier. Evolving from their initial cross-timber designs to more elaborate fare involving cascading glass, brass and crystals, chandeliers continue to be a popular form of lighting to this day.
At Westland, we have a large variety of antique chandeliers. These range from the intricate metallic designs of this Tudor revival-style iron chandelier:
To the flowing glass of this 1930s neoclassical basket design, crowned with palmettes on the corona from which hang strips of faceted glass beads and spear-like drops:
While we all may have an idealised picture in our head when we hear the phrase ‘antique chandelier’, the vast variety of designs over the years means that regardless of the location you should be able to find a chandelier that suits you.
Antique lanterns… often suit a doorway, staircase or porch
For more information please visit our antique chandeliers page.
For an intricate design that takes up less space than a chandelier we would recommend looking at an antique wall light, or ‘sconce’. An evolution of the wall mounted torch from medieval times, the wall light saw a number of revisions as the years progressed. No matter the year, wall lights are always able to bring a unique charm and character into a room.
Our showroom displays wall lights from a number of different eras, from Georgian to Victorian to Art Deco.
Those who prefer a more classical, elaborate approach may seek the design of a piece like these Pugin Silver Plated Gothic Pair Wall Lights:
However, you may be looking for a more unique design, such as this antique chinoiserie lacquered wood two light wall applique, the pagoda canopy over a painted folkloric Chinese scene from 1930s England:
Or this pair of very large cast iron Art Deco post mounted street lights, part of a range of the early "Bell Top" designs made by the Revo Electric Company Ltd. Tipton (one of the earliest manufacturers of electric street lighting).
Whatever the design, a wall light brings a well-designed, intimate light to any room.
Find out more on our antique wall light page.
No matter the year, wall lights are always able to bring a unique charm and character into a room
Antique lanterns are a smaller lighting choice than chandeliers (many are smaller than wall lights) that often suit a doorway, staircase or porch. Commonly erected in brass with glass shutters - which are sometimes painted, dyed or styled - lanterns are a popular lighting choice for any home.
Homeowners may pick something akin to this Georgian brass hall lantern if they’re looking for a more traditional lantern design. This lantern features a brass cage, suspended by four arms and holds bevelled glass:
Those looking for a more colourful or ornate design may seek this antique leaded glass Victorian hall lantern, with its tinted glass and design aping exaggerated nature:
If you’re interested in acquiring a lantern for your home be sure to visit our antique lantern page.
Our site features a range of unique antique lighting options, whether you’re interested in Victorian ‘Wee Willie Winkie’ candlesticks:
This charming Louis XVI style grey marble and ormalu table lamp:
Or even a pair of Art Nouveau seven branch bronze candelabra with elaborate marble plinths:
These are all available on our other antique lighting page, so if you’re looking for a unique lighting experience for your home be sure to give it a visit.
For style, atmosphere and drama, antique lighting can be the perfect choice
As the nights start to draw in earlier due to this time of year, antique lighting can be a great way to keep your home bright whilst bringing in an air of style and atmosphere.
If you agree, be sure to visit our Willesden Green showroom, take a look around our website or get in touch - we're always happy to chat antiques!
Posted 29 March 2019
Aside from being visually stunning, the ability of antique furniture to make a statement is often part of its attraction. Vintage pieces can also have practical uses, with hidden storage and secret compartments adding to their appeal.
From the late 16th Century and into the 17th Century, Italian cabinet makers popularised this sort of multi-purpose furniture, which reached English and American makers by the 18th Century.
Part of the appeal of hidden storage in antique furniture is its thrilling use in fiction as a concealer of truth and a keeper of secrets. How many times have you seen a secret compartment housing a classified document or a love confession in a book or on television? If you bought antique furniture now could you discover a similar hidden storage secret?
Nowadays, we often rely on banks or safety deposit boxes to secure our money or private possessions, but furniture before the turn of the 19th Century would be built with secret compartments and drawers ideal for stowing away items that might have been targeted by petty thieves or prying eyes.
Finding pieces with this additional space can often be part of the joy of antique hunting. If you have a small living space or like to live a clutter-free life, hidden storage in antique furniture can be useful for storing those hard to place items (read our Marie Kondo article for more inspiration on how your antique furniture can provide the perfect storage solution).
Antique desks and secretaires most commonly have inbuilt hidden storage, but you may discover other pieces of antique furniture have carefully considered secret compartments as well. Whether it’s a hidden safe or panels, false bottoms or secret pigeonholes, there’s lots to discover when it comes to hidden storage in antique furniture.
The secretaire, or secretary bookcase, was first introduced in the early 18th century and was most commonly used as a piece of writing furniture. They not only proved practical but also acted as a grand statement and focal point indicative of the homeowner’s wealth.
Aside from this, a secretaire was also popular for its secret compartments - ideal for holding money, jewels and private documents. The pigeon holes and drawers at the front of the secretaire often also included hidden storage at the back, which were purposefully made invisible to the eye. This made it ideal for holding personal possessions that its owner wanted to keep locked away.
In other secretaires, the central cabinet could be removed to reveal more secret drawers. If you’ve recently invested in an antique secretaire, you might want to use this antique storage system for any trinkets or heirlooms that you don’t necessarily have a day to day use for but wish to keep somewhere safe.
You may occasionally find access to hidden storage with the use of a key, which can also unlock several other compartments.
The only hard part can be finding the hidden storage in the first place! Examining the grooves and surfaces of the front cabinet with your fingertips can help. This way, you may be able to locate a hidden spring which will then allow you to access the central interior
A Victorian bookcase isn’t just a showstopper in a hallway - it can often have hidden storage too. This multi-functional purpose can add to its value and charm.
Some Victorian bookcases have in-built books which were originally used to hide secret compartments and drawers and occasionally even a Gentleman’s bar. Today, this could still be used as a modern drinks counter suitable for a nightcap at the end of a dinner party.
You may find hidden storage in the form of a built-in safe too, which once upon a time would have stored important documents and money. Today, this could be used to store precious jewellery or important banking documents that you would rather not leave lying around the house.
It can be fun trying to locate the hidden storage in antique furniture, and part of your journey with any new piece might involve exploring and understanding its original functionality.
An antique sideboard may have secret drawers which can today be used for cutlery or other kitchen items, and using vintage furniture to store utensils can be an added attraction. Alternatively, you might find the accessible drawers have a false back with additional storage behind, which at the time of origin would have been perfect for storing small pieces of silver or gold.
After desks and cabinets, you may find the occasional antique chest to be a treasure trove for hidden storage. Vintage chests, which you may find useful for storing towels or bed linen, may have a false bottom which can be removed to reveal a further hidden compartment. German cabinet makers would often paint the woodwork to help further conceal the moveable ends and hidden compartments.
Nowadays, you might find this the perfect compartment to store jewellery, keepsakes or photographs.
A vintage coffee table or nightstand might have a hidden drawer or false bottom underneath, perfect for storing paperwork, newspapers or magazines, which will help keep your home neat and tidy at all times.
While some pieces of antique furniture can have hidden storage, there are other ways to use antique furniture to create space in your home. If you are short on storage, a Victorian iron bed is usually much higher than a modern bed, meaning more boxes can be stored underneath.
An antique bureau is also ideal for storing away clutter or trinkets at night, and can be unfolded to be used as a conventional and practical desk space or a dressing table in the day
Hidden storage in antique furniture is just one of the many charms it holds. Next time you’re at an antique fair and sizing up a piece of antique furniture with hidden storage capabilities, consider what might be hidden underneath and see if you uncover any secrets!
Posted 30 January 2019
Since the start of January KonMari fever has been sweeping the nation.
The latest trend of #newyearnewme has seen people getting rid of their possessions by the bin load.
If you’re one of the few who have escaped the Kondo frenzy here’s what you need to know.
Marie Kondo is a Japanese tidying guru and the bestselling author of ‘The Life Changing Magic of Tidying’ and ‘Spark Joy’. Through her books and her consultation business, Marie teaches people how to tidy their homes once and for all.
Her KonMari method relies on the principle of keeping only the items in your life that spark joy. By taking each and every object that you own into your hands and passing it through the ‘joy check’ you can create an ideal life in which everything you own sparks joy.
This January, Netflix viewers watched in awe as Marie helped to transform the lives of her clients by simply tidying up.
Despite having a band of loyal followers and cult of Kondo converts, the show and Marie’s method have not gone un-criticised.
Collectors and maximalists alike have pushed back against the suggestion that minimalism will make us all happy.
The fact remains that despite the image presented on Pinterest and Instagram, living in a show home will not bring us all joy.
But Kondo understands that. In fact, it’s precisely what she’s saying.
Many of the naysayers who have taken to criticising the advice presented in the Netflix show have not taken on board the main point of the KonMari method: that you must keep whatever sparks joy. For a minimalist this may be very little. However, for a maximalist this can be as much as you like.
So without further ado, here’s our top tips on how to KonMari as a Maximalist and spark joy with your antiques.
The first step of the KonMari method is to discard, by category, all items which do not bring you joy. Starting with clothes and working your way through books, miscellaneous “komono” and sentimental items, at the end you should be left with only those things which spark joy for you.
The next step in the method is working out where to store your joyful items.
Marie Kondo recommends storing like with like so that even the smallest of items are easy to find. This can sometimes be a struggle in modern drawers which are wide and spacious and require dividers if things are to be kept neat and tidy.
Fortunately, with their quirky compartments and small drawers, antique furniture can provide the perfect KonMarie solution to clearing up your komono and keeping your home full of character.
Tiny draw cabinets like the one shown below can provide a perfect solution for stationary storage, nails and screws or even work as a medicine cabinet.
When it looks this good you don’t have to worry about hiding your storage solutions away - present them proudly in a convenient and aesthetically pleasing place.
If you’re a lover of antiques - and especially if you frequent any of the UK’s plethora of antique fairs - it is likely you will have accumulated a lot of treasures.
Having a lot of items needn’t be a burden on your space though. Simply make sure that each and every item is displayed or used to spark joy in your life, so that you can get the most out of your prized possessions.
When collecting trunks and unusual pieces of furniture the temptation may be to place them in a corner or out of the way so as not to impose on the rest of the house. Although this may seem the most practical solution for daily life, it won’t necessarily help to spark joy.
Unless you’re a dealer planning on selling on your antiques, then they’re there to be used and enjoyed! So dust off the cobwebs and get creative.
We love using trunks as coffee tables. Not only do their interiors make the perfect space to store board games and blankets, they also make a striking addition to any lounge and provide a focal point to gather friends and family around.
One of our favourite Kondoisms is the practice of unpacking your bag at the end of every day. If you’re a maximalist and have a lot of bags, then this tip can save so much time and help keep your accessories looking their best.
At the end of every day be sure to completely empty your bag and put your essentials all in one place, wash out your coffee cup and put any moisturiser or cosmetics back in their place. Then you can give your bag a quick dust down, thank it for all its hard work and put it back in its place. Then if you go for a different look the next day you can pack your new bag with ease.
An old fashioned writing bureau or keyhole desk makes the perfect place to store your daily essentials and makes a striking addition to the hallway.
Vintage tins and jars are a firm favourite of amateur and professional collectors alike. Whether they remind you of your grandma’s house or their colourful imagery just speaks to you, why not put them to use?
The pleasure of owning these pieces will multiply if you give them a purpose and a reason to shine too.
Maybe you have an old Tetley tea tin or you’ve inherited a selection of vintage tobacco tins. Rather than being additional clutter these heirlooms are actually the perfect receptacle to help organise your home.
Not only do they look great, it’s also a much more eco-friendly option than going to a homeware store to buy new dividers!
Use tins in dry areas and for items that aren’t liable to leak so that you can keep your tins from rusting. They make great sewing boxes or a neat place to keep all your shoe care products.
If you’ve got a selection of wooden boxes you can use these in the kitchen to keep your oils and spices organised and easy to access.
Anything that sparks joy can be a welcome addition to your home. Having a check of what is meaningful in your life doesn’t mean getting rid of everything you own. You can still keep hold of the items you cherish and create a harmonious, tidy home.
When collecting antiques it can be easy to put them on a pedestal above other types of furniture or decoration. But putting your antiques to use can give them a new lease of life! We’ve enjoyed exploring how the principles of KonMari can work for a maximalist interior full of colour, texture and, most importantly, joy!
We hope this has inspired you to see how even as a maximalist you can KonMari your home using your antiques.
Posted 21 December 2018
Festive traditions are all part of the joy of Christmas, whether they are customs inherited from the family or those that have culturally transported through the years.
However, Christmas conventions have evolved over time, and like everything, seasonal fashions come and go. If you’re wondering how to inject a little vintage Christmas into your home this year, we’ve put together some ideas to help you bring the past into the present this December.
A very vintage Christmas tree
Often the Christmas tree is the centre point of the home, and this has been the case for centuries. If decorating your evergreen is something you look forward to every year, you won’t be alone, and while tastes have certainly changed over the decades, that’s not to say you can’t bring back some retro decorative styles.
Presents haven’t always been the only thing to find under the tree, and if you’re hoping to bring a little vintage Christmas to your home this year, transport your living room back to a bygone era with a miniature landscape. Often known as a putz, these were popular in the early 1900s and 1920s, when they would typically depict scenes from the Bible or a Christmas village and would fit snugly under the tree branches.
That’s not the only vintage Christmas idea you can adopt this year. Another popular tradition of the early to mid 20th Century was to have a toy train set circling underneath the tree, which dazzled children for hours. The Lionel Corporation produced these toy locomotives, which reaches their most popular in the 1950s.
If you’re looking for some vintage Christmas decorations for your tree, look back over the years to see how you can evoke a little nostalgia in your home. Harken back to the Victorian era when glass garlands first became popular, when they were draped around the tree to catch the light. A cheaper alternative was to make garlands from papier mache, or to hang lametta (a precursor to tinsel) from tree branches instead. Hanging lametta from your tree in front of a roaring fire will inevitably bring some magical vintage sparkle to your home.
You could also invest in some glass baubles or figurals, which first hung off branches in the early 20th Century and were used to reflect the candlelight on Christmas trees in the early 1900s. These were still going strong in the 1950s, when they came in bright colours to match the sparkly aluminum Christmas trees that were at the time in fashion. Investing in brightly saturated glass and synthetic baubles would bring a retro air to your home this festive season.
Authentic, home made decorations such as stringed popcorn, paper chains or cut out snowflakes brought the family together in the 1920s, while spray on snow became fashionable in the fifties. Such vintage Christmas decorations can easily be brought into the home even today.
Wooden ornaments were also popular, so keep a lookout for any mini vintage Christmas santas, rocking horses or toy wooden soldiers for your tree this year.
While Christmas tree lights have been around for many years, candles were once used to light up the tree instead. For a touch of vintage Christmas, invest in an antique or wooden Christmas candelabra to recall the days gone by.
Vintage Christmas inspiration for your well-loved antiques
If you have a passion for antiques, don’t forget to dress them this Christmas. A vintage wooden ladder looks fantastic when dressed with Christmas lights, while a renaissance style wrought iron jardiniere would look truly festive when filled with glistening baubles.
Take tips from your ancestors and dress your antique fireplace mantel with Victorian inspired red-dressed wreaths. Dress doorways and archways in a similar fashion, by adorning them with artificial poinsettia flowers and green garlands.
Other vintage Christmas traditions
Christmas stockings have to be one of the most well-loved festive traditions, and nowadays they’re often seen as purely decorative. In the early 20th Century, stockings would contain fruit and candy canes, and perhaps a small wooden toy. The image of stockings hanging over the fireplace will give your living room a vintage Christmas feel, although quite often they were hung at the end of the bed instead, as fireplaces were typically needed to provide warmth, heat and light.
Christmas Eve traditions have ranged from retelling ghost stories to singing carols both inside and out. If you have a box of old books in your attic, why not dig them out? A vintage copy of ‘A Christmas Carol’ will delight every child the night before Christmas and will evoke memories for its adult readers, too. If films are more popular in your household, the classic ‘It’s A Wonderful Life’ is still very much loved, but will nevertheless bring a vintage Christmas feel to your home this December.
Posted 03 December 2018
With the long nights drawing in we’re more likely to be spending time in the comfort of our own homes. While it may be dark outside, antique lighting can bring you all the illumination you need this winter.
Lighting is a key element in the home, whether for practical purposes or to help create the perfect mood. It can be purely decorative or entirely sensible, ornate or simple, big or small; whatever your tastes and requirements, antique lighting can offer answers to many problems as well as add real character to your home.
Before you begin looking for antique lighting, try and work out the natural light in your home. Identify spaces that need illuminating, or whether there’s a particular area that could do with a helping hand.
Whether it’s a statement fitting or a practical purchase you’re after, we’ve put together some antique lighting ideas to help you find the perfect piece.
Antique lighting can really set the tone of a room and often, when selected carefully, can be its central focus. Dramatic or statement lighting will not only illuminate your home this winter, but may really command the attention of anyone that enters it.
Chandeliers create a real sense of drama and there are plenty of antique chandeliers to choose from.
Over the winter months and festive period we may find ourselves welcoming more people into our homes, and dining rooms can become the chief gathering place for family and friends.
An exquisite 19th Century gilt bronze chandelier over a dining room table will bring a sense of opulence to your winter dinner parties and create a real warmth.
When considering the scale of antique lighting and the size of your chandelier, it’s important to consider factors such as the size of your room and table and the height of your ceiling. Hang the chandelier so that the bottom of it is roughly around 70cm from the table. You want the chandelier to be the main focal point, but it needs to feel in balance with the rest of the room.
Neoclassical crystal chandeliers set against a statement dark wall or hanging in a hallway can create an impressive impact as soon as you enter the home, while the warm glow from the antique lighting will ensure guests feel invited.
If you’ve time to plan ahead, organising the rest of a room around a special piece of antique lighting can help you create the hue and warmth you’ve got your heart set on. For something completely different, a 1950s pendant light will transport you back to a glamorous time gone by.
While antique lighting can be used as the cosmetic jewellery of our home, it can also be used to illuminate areas of the home that require a little helping hand, be that in the kitchen, bathroom or over a desk. When buying antique lighting, don’t forget the purpose of a room; while you may be drawn in by the beauty and splendour of a one-off piece, we sometimes need to think practically about where and how we will use it.
In the kitchen, consider using pendant lighting or glass bell-shaped ceiling lights to hang over work surfaces or kitchen islands. Not only will these help you illuminate your kitchen to make cooking easier, but they’ll also create a light and airy feel, which will be welcome in the dark winter months.
Juxtaposing sleek lines with more ornate items remains on trend and is one of our top fireplace ideas for this winter.
Alternatively for a more stylish statement piece, opting for art deco chrome and glass ceiling lights can create a real impact.
If you often find yourself working well into the evening, some task antique lighting in the study or living room will ensure you don’t strain your eyes, and the more concentrated hue from a desk or standing lamp can create a real cosy ambience to your home. Classic antique brass or restored Victorian oil lamps are subtle but effective features and can provide a pool of light in an otherwise dark room.
Whether you have a nook to fill, a hallway to illuminate or a piece of art to highlight, antique lighting can help you create the right glow using wall fittings and sconces.
For something subtle, Victorian or Edwardian brass candle sconces can help complement a roaring fire when used to illuminate either side of a chimney breast. If you’re hoping for something with more impact, don’t be afraid to go big. Gothic revival multi-light wall fittings will light up a room as well as make a statement.
If you prefer antique lighting a little more ornate, opting for wall lights in Rococo or Neoclassical style will create an atmospheric home this winter.
You may have a modern living space, but that doesn’t mean you can’t install a bit of history amidst your contemporary interiors. A staple piece of antique lighting can really add character and a unique charm to your home, which is particularly important in the winter months when we spend more time indoors. Be adventurous and don’t be afraid to mix the old with the new, clash colours or cross decades.
Antique fireplaces can add a real sense of warmth and light to your home and the glow from a roaring fire can complement your antique lighting. Ornate or grand feature antique mirrors can optimise natural light, while placing wall lights next to them will create elegant additional illumination.
Another alternative to electrical antique lighting is to invest in some antique candelabras. Lighting your home using candlelight will create a seductively warm atmosphere and will have you feeling only too happy to stay indoors this winter. A Rococo style gilt bronze candelabra wouldn’t look out of place on a lavishly dressed dining table, while a Victorian gothic revival piece would be fitting next to any antique fireplace during these cold dark months.
There are so many options for illuminating your home this winter. Browse or stock for ideas and inspiration to create the perfect festive glow.
Posted 19 October 2018
With the weather finally turning colder, there’s no better place to spend those long, dark nights than wrapped up in your own home. Whether you’ve got a real working fire or are thinking about buying an antique fireplace to add something special to your favourite room, there are lots of things you can do to keep cosy this winter. We’ve put together our top fireplace ideas to help you get started.
The changing seasons inspire lots of us to give our homes a bit of a refresh. But instead of picking up a paintbrush why not make a statement this season?
If you want to transform your house for winter, installing an antique fireplace could be the perfect place to start. For the most dramatic effect, choose a fireplace that contrasts with your existing colour palette, such as a cast iron, Georgian fireplace on a plain cream wall.
If you’re already ahead of the game when it comes to winter interior design and have painted your walls grey - this season’s hue of choice - opting for a cream, marble fireplace will really make a statement.
An antique fireplace looks stunning on its own but there’s plenty you can do to get even more out of it this winter.
One of the simplest fireplace ideas is to use the mantel and hearth as a space to display favourite items from around your home – whether it be prints, candles or even a large mirror.
As you’re preparing for the change of seasons, why not decorate the fireplace with pumpkins before making way for a festive display? Mini Christmas trees, wreaths and winter garlands all look great and add a real holiday feeling to the room.
Of course, it goes without saying that you need to take extra precautions about any type of decoration if you’ve got a real working fire.
Just because you’ve got a new build doesn’t mean you can’t fill your home with classic antiques.
A fireplace from the 18th century won’t necessarily look out of place in a minimalist living room, while an art deco piece can still work beautifully in a Georgian house.
Even if your fireplace is just for decoration, the accessories you choose to go alongside it can certainly add a sense of warmth to your home.
A pretty log basket or wooden box full of kindling can add a real rustic feel, while another great winter interior design idea is to add a vase of seasonal flowers such as white roses or red poinsettia on either side of the sill.
If you’re looking for a laid back vibe, there are plenty of fireplace ideas to make the room feel slightly less formal, such as choosing candles in different shapes or sizes and ensuring the decoration on each side of the hearth is slightly different rather than totally symmetrical.
If antiques are your thing then why not treat yourself to a unique, one-off piece this winter?
Fireplaces are full of history and there are so many styles to choose from – whether you go for something in the Italian Renaissance style, an English Gothic piece or a Regency antique. The oldest fireplace held by Westland dates back to the 15th century, so there really should be something for everyone!
If you already count yourself as a bit of an antique collector, find a fireplace that fits in with some of the items you’ve already got, and don’t forget you can add accessories like screens, tongs and baskets to boost your collection.
An ornate fireplace on a plain wall can make a real statement, but if you’ve opted for a simpler design then highlighting the space above it is one of our best fireplace ideas. A large, vintage mirror above the fireplace is one popular option, or you could hang a stylish clock or your favourite painting.
Just make sure you get the balance right – if the item is too small it will get lost by the fireplace, too big and it will become the main focal point. It might take a few goes to get it right, but the final outcome will look great.
Whether you have a real fire or not, lighting up the fireplace will ensure it remains the focal point of your room, especially on those dark winter nights.
One of the most popular fireplace ideas is to decorate the space around it with plenty of candles or festive fairy lights - but for something a bit more permanent, a concealed strip light is also a popular option. Installing spotlights under the sill can also help your home feel warm this winter, or you could opt for a stylish pendant light on the wall above the fireplace to highlight its full potential.
While you might be thinking about which fireplace will fit best with your walls, your floors are just as important.
A patterned carpet is likely to jar with an ornate fireplace, while wooden flooring alongside a pine surround might be a bit too much.
If your current floor isn’t the best match but you aren’t in a position for a full overhaul, a new rug could be the answer. As well as creating a fresh colour scheme, rugs are great when it comes to keeping warm in winter and a lot less hassle than changing the entire carpet.
If you’re thinking about how to keep warm this winter, there’s no denying that a roaring fire is the best option. However, even if you don’t have that luxury, there are still plenty of great fireplace ideas to help you fill that empty space and create a cosy, inviting home.
Stacking logs inside the fireplace gives the room a real cosy feel and it can also be a unique new space for your favourite plants.
You could also try something a little different, including filling it with books, stacking it with trunks/boxes or even installing small shelves and using it to display photographs or other seasonal knick knacks.
It might seem like summer has just ended but now is the perfect time to start preparing for winter and thinking about the changes you want to make to your home. Give some of our fireplace ideas a go and we’re sure you’ll be reluctant to leave the comfort of your own house over the next few months!
Posted 13 September 2018
Searching for that one-off piece of antique furniture for your home usually involves a day spent trawling through a flea market or vintage fair – and there’s nothing quite like finding a bargain you know will be a perfect fit.
But sometimes you just don’t want to leave the comfort of your sofa, especially during those cold winter months, so why not try shopping for antiques online?
With a wealth of items at your fingertips, there are definitely some great deals to be had – but there are a few things to bear in mind before you get going. Here are our top tips to help you start shopping for antiques online.
Shopping for antiques online makes it easier to check whether you are getting your money’s worth. When you find that piece you really like, it’s important to do your research before you buy by looking for similar items on other websites and checking past auction results to see what previous pieces have sold for.
Obviously, factors such as the condition and size of the piece will make a significant impact on price so make sure you are comparing like for like, but there will often be enough information out there to help you make an informed decision.
One top tip when shopping for antiques online is that in some cases the exact same item will be listed by its owner on various websites – and as seller fees can differ, there’s a real chance of getting it cheaper elsewhere.
It’s not only important to find out as much as you can about the item you are thinking of buying – you need to make sure you are handing over your money to a reputable seller.
Often you will be able to view their previous sales and look at reviews from their past customers. Websites will often include testimonials or examples of where their items have been featured which should also give you a helpful insight.
If you’re still unsure, asking the seller questions about the piece should give you a good indication of how much they know and whether you feel confident enough to buy from them.
By shopping for antiques online, you’ve got the opportunity to view and purchase pieces from across the globe – most of which you would otherwise never have seen.
However, before you get too excited, don’t forget to factor in the delivery costs before you agree to the sale. Often items from overseas will cost hundreds of pounds to ship, especially if it’s a large piece of furniture, so make sure you can afford the extra expense.
If you visited a market you would try and negotiate a price, so why not do the same when you’re shopping for antiques online?
If you’re using eBay for example, it’s perfectly fine to contact the seller direct before making an offer. A polite message asking whether they are willing to accept any lower and suggesting a new price has worked for many customers, so it’s definitely worth a try, even if the listing doesn’t include a ‘make an offer’ tag.
Don’t forget to keep a note of your favourite sellers and sites – if there’s something you’ve seen but can’t quite afford then it’s worth checking back frequently in case the price changes or they add more stock that’s geared towards your price bracket.
It’s all too easy to forget where you’ve looked and bookmarking can save you hours of time which you would otherwise have spent trawling through your search history.
Having said that, don't just stick to a select few sites as it’s certainly worth keeping an open mind and seeing as much of what’s on offer as you can.
Buying at auction – even online – can often be a tense affair, so you need to be extra careful you don’t get things wrong.
Prior to the auction starting, make sure you read everything about the item in question, including details of its condition and its dimensions so you know whether it will fit into your home. Look closely at the photographs included and remember you can contact the auction house for more images if you need to.
However excited you are, it’s also worth waiting before jumping in with the first bid – if no-one accepts the auctioneer's first offer it will most likely go down, meaning you can pick up a better bargain.
It’s likely that when you start shopping for antiques online, you will see lots of pieces you like but aren’t quite sure about because you can’t view and touch them in the same way you would in person.
If there is something niggling away at you, make sure you contact the seller directly to ask your questions. Sites like eBay make it simple for you to contact the seller direct and online shops usually have their details in a prominent place on their website so you can get in touch.
Sellers will often have more information about the piece that they haven’t included online and you should ask the same questions you would face-to-face, such as the age and origin, whether there are any manufacturers’ marks, and if it has been restored.
Search terms play an important role when shopping for antiques online so it’s definitely something to keep in mind.
As sellers may not have listed their item correctly, it’s often sensible to begin by searching broadly e.g ‘antique fireplaces’. This should give you a good starting point to do some general research, see the websites that are out there and then help you refine what you are looking for, such as ‘marble antique fireplaces’.
This should limit your search results – making it easier to find exactly what you want – as well as bringing up new sites that weren’t in your original trawl.
Shopping for antiques online is a great way to find that one-off treasure for your home and by asking the right questions, choosing a trusted seller and doing your research, we’re sure you’ll grab a bargain in no time at all.