If you follow me on Instagram you probably saw that I was asked to host the MINI Tour in my home City of Newcastle a few weeks ago which was really exciting.
So what is the MINI tour and what’s that got to do with vintage furniture shopping I hear you say?! Let me explain…. The MINI Tour is five MINIs, one of each available in the MINI range, that travel in convoy exploring Great Britain uncovering and unearthing places along the way that give a real insight into the cities that they visit. They were looking to work with local pioneers that could help provide the nation with their “Insider’s Guide” of their cities. They wanted someone who do things a little bit different, embrace life and live and work their passions…. so they asked me! How lovely is that!!
Looking back I realise that all 3 of my choices have one thing in common…. fabulous interiors….There’s a shock!
Riley’s Fish Shack, Tynemouth.
Located 30mins outside of Newcastle, Riley’s Fish Shack is on the beach at King Edwards Bay, Tynemouth. This is a total hidden gem that’s tucked away, but on a busy day the queues are clearly visible but definitely worth waiting around in. They serve the freshest fish, cooked in a wood-fired oven in the coolest, rustic wooden shack with heaters and festoon’s overlooking the North Sea…. what’s not to love!
Next up: Lane 7, Newcastle
Lane 7 is not your average bowling alley, nope… not a plastic table & chair, stale hot dog, smelly shoe or noisy teenager in sight! I guess you could call it boutique bowling, you could happily have a family afternoon out (which we often do) as it is child-friendly through the day but definitely a grown up’s playground after 7pm. Hang out with colleagues after work or meet up with a group of friends and make a night of it. It has a restaurant, several bars, ping-pong tables, a pool area, beer pong, karaoke, photo booth and oh yes, bowling lanes! The interior has a new York warehouse style feel to it, I thoroughly recommend a visit if you’re in the area and make sure you try their amazing milkshake’s!
Last up: Fern Avenue Antique Centre, Jesmond.
A trip to Newcastle wouldn’t be complete without a stop off at Fern Avenue Antique Centre which is one of my favourite places for Antique and Vintage furniture shopping. They have the stock of 10 different antique dealers under one roof so it is constantly changing and new items are being brought in daily. Each time I visit I’m like a magpie finding new treasures and I could happily load up the car! which is what we did, convertibles are bigger than you think ….
As talked about in my last post, statement furniture is a game changer in any room and antique/vintage/thrift stores are the best places to find second hand pieces. They are often higher quality, made with better materials and have more attention to detail than mass-produced modern pieces. So not only will they be unique to your home, you are also getting great value for your money.
I don’t really think there’s an art when it comes to vintage furniture shopping and I’m certainly no expert but it can feel a bit overwhelming when there’s so much choice. If you feel like everyone else always seem to find the bargains and come away with the best pieces I thought I would try and point you in the right direction.
- First, expect a chaotic jumble of stuff when you arrive so be prepared and make a list before you go of things that you need, for example A side table, a large photo frame, a 1970’s gurgling fish jug…whatever takes your fancy!!
2. Think outside the box, look for things that can be repurposed. For example, use a small table for a nightstand or an old trunk for a coffee table. Unusual furniture in unexpected places give your space its own distinct style. Likewise don’t be put off by the finish or the colour of something. Upcycling is so easy to do, you can easily transform a plain old chair into a beautiful dining chair.
3. Though vintage furniture is unique and inimitable, sometimes it is better to spend time and visit several stores. It is also worth having a quick search online before you commit as you may come across a similar thing cheaper.
4. Look for something with good bones, make sure it’s solid and doesn’t wobble, and the drawers slide open easily etc… Structural damage is difficult to overcome where as paint scratches, dust and dirt can easily be sorted. Examine your potential purchase, look for original details, like original hardware or paint, which add character as well as value.
5. Always negotiate! The price you see is usually the very top price so try to barter them down (I’m not very good at this, especially if it’s something that I love as I get far too excited!) If it’s new in then they might not budge but it’s always worth a try! Also if it has a few defects like paint chips use them to your advantage by bargaining.
Ercol chairs which I painted.
Photo credit – @louisagraceinteriors
Have you had much success when shopping for Vintage furniture? I would love to see photo’s. Don’t forget to subscribe by popping your details in the box below to make sure you don’t miss out on future posts.