Published on the Vintage Life Magazine website, 3rd April 2017.
Home is where the heart is or, in my case, the collection of vintage bits and pieces that I’ve gathered over the past ten or so years. As I’m sure we all do, I love my home, and not only do I live in it, but I work there and enjoy entertaining there too.
Having passed the collector / borderline hoarder bug on to my boyfriend, our flat is starting to look like a vintage museum, with knick knacks covering the walls, displayed on shelves and stacked up in the hallway (that’ll be his ever-growing collection of Globetrotter suitcases…).
With retro homeware coming back heavily into fashion, you can find reproduction pieces in most high street shops. However, nothing beats having the good ol’ original items that are more likely to be unique to you and your home. Here’s my pick for five of the most essential:
The 1950s and 1960s were blessed with manufacturers such as Meakin, Beswick and Midwinter, all of whom produced fantastically designed crockery. In my home, we use our set of Homemaker plates everyday, although some designs are a little harder to find in such quantities. But have no fear! Simply grab a wall hanger or plate stand and your favourite plate becomes an instant piece of art. And there’s no need to stop at one… this is also a great way to cover an entire wall.
When it comes to vintage ornaments, the more bonkers the better. Similar to the plates, look to the 1950s for some brilliantly kitsch pieces, whether they’re of people, animals or simply an abstract shape. We use our ornaments to jazz up otherwise very boring shelves or mantelpieces, reminding us of the places we’ve found them. Sometimes these figures can also be functional; pictured is a cruet set (for salt, pepper and condiments) shaped like mushrooms!
Artwork and Posters
A house is not a home until you’ve hung things on the wall. But it doesn’t have to be traditional fine art that you put in a frame. As a graphic designer by trade, I love vintage posters and advertisements, and have many on my walls at home. Some signs can be very expensive, so why not cut the cost by finding pages from old magazines, vinyl sleeves, or playbills of the past? If you live in or love a particular city, maps and transport memorabilia also work beautifully.
If you haven’t heard the term already, you can probably imagine what it means; vintage bits and bobs for the kitchen. The great thing about kitchenalia from previous eras is that they’re usually made with brightly coloured and strong materials, meaning they will have aged really well. Even if the items you find have a few bumps or scratches, this simply adds character and proves they’re genuine! Bread bins, utensils, kitchen scales, measuring jugs… my latest obsession is copper jelly moulds. You can find them in all different shapes and sizes and, again, they look great on display too.
The statement piece
Whilst all of the above are fantastic for a vintage home, it’s always great to have one special item that’s a real statement. This is probably going to be bigger and more expensive than the other items on this list, like a piece of furniture for example, but it’ll be worth it. Make sure to find a conversation piece with a great story, whether that’s how you came about having it, or its history before it became yours.
Building a vintage home is a wonderful thing, but remember, it doesn’t have to be done overnight. The joy is compiling a collection over a long period of time, piecing together your story bit by bit. So go out there, explore and enjoy!
Written by Lydia Jones, Founder of Viva Soul London