Collecting vintage pieces has been a passion of mine for as long as I can remember. Well before I started Fenton & Fenton, I would spend my weekends perusing markets, op shops or even finding things on the side of the road in hard rubbish. I have always been drawn to old objects. I often see beauty where others see flaws, but when you can see past the imperfections and spend some time on restoration you can discover the unexpected – the talking point in a room, the things that make a home uniquely yours.
Wandering through markets and trawling warehouses all over the world is my favourite pastime, and it’s what led me to open Fenton & Fenton over a decade ago – so here are a few tips on how to buy vintage pieces that will stand the test of time.
Search near and far
Vintage treasures can be found anywhere, but you really need to get around town and be prepared to trawl through auctions houses, markets, second-hand shops and online marketplaces. I usually like to narrow my focus and try to concentrate on a few things at a time, ie. lamps or chairs, this can help make it easier to not get overwhelmed. But always keep your eyes peeled for the unexpected.
What makes vintage pieces beautiful is their age and imperfections, so embrace a little bit of wear and tear. I love thinking about their past lives, the homes they have lived in and the families who have enjoyed them. Be sure to always give them a really good once over to make sure you don’t miss any major damage.
Restoration and upholstery
Sometimes vintage pieces have major damage or imperfections that you cannot live with, so do some research on restoration, as you may be able to give the piece a whole new lease on life. However, restoration and upholstery can be very expensive so if something needs a major overhaul check with a furniture restorer or upholsterer before purchasing, as it may end up costing far more than the item itself. Don’t forget to factor in fabric, as beautiful fabrics can also come with a hefty price tag.
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder
Ultimately look for pieces that speak to you, the pieces that truly knock you out! If it’s only ok, or you’re not sure, you can probably leave it behind. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder so if you love it, buy it and make it work. Even if it’s a little out of the ordinary or not what you had in your mind, every home needs something a little unexpected. This is what adds character and makes it true to you.