When furnishing and styling our homes, buying brand new is often the easy option. It’s generally a quicker route to picking up exactly what we want, with the exact measurements, colour etc. But, a home filled with exclusively new things can sometimes feel a bit uniform. This is where vintage comes in. Something old can provide a home with added character, a touch of uniqueness and perhaps even a story to tell.
With antique stores, vintage shops and flea markets currently closed due to the pandemic, we must turn to the world of online to find our vintage gems. Beyond these days of restrictions, shopping online is of course useful for those of us who don’t have the time to scour markets or don’t have easy access to these types of stores. On closer inspection, the online space is bursting with websites offering vintage finds for the home. While eBay or Facebook Marketplace are fine options, there are also many small businesses offering curated selections of wonderful pre-loved treasures without you having to go on a treasure hunt. Here, Sara Hesikova brings you 15 online destinations offering some of the best vintage homewares and furniture, all based in and shipping from the UK.
Founded in 2010 by sisters-in-law Sarah and Sally Wilkie, Home Barn is named after the 17th century tithe barn in Buckinghamshire it occupies. Filled to the brim with vintage and upcycled furniture, homewares and other objects like antique terracotta vases, apothecary cabinets and European bread boards, the founders often refer to their barn as ‘the new curiosity shop’.
What the store has become most known for are its reclaimed dining tables, made from pine timbers that are over 150 years old and in their previous life were part of architecture structures of period buildings. Each table is unique and shows signs of wear and tear, staying true to the age and history of the wood and making for a rustic feel. The duo works and supports local craftspeople who make the tables and matching benches for them.
& Daughters Interiors
A family business, & Daughters Interiors is a specialist in mid-century furniture. Run by three generations of women, each piece of furniture is carefully restored in their studios before going off to their new homes, to which they add richness and soul.
A former art director and one of the owners, Catherine Ferguson brings her previous experience and an eye for style to the table, believing that good design can be affordable and doesn’t need to break the bank. Their online store features many accessible pieces and the founders never stop searching for hidden gems.
Buying vintage is the best option for the conscious consumer and sustainability is high on the priority list for & Daughters Interiors. That is why they ensure that there is no waste involved in the process.
Lovely & Co
Based in Lewes, just ten minutes away from Brighton, founders of Lovely & Co, Enzo and Lucy Amico, bring their shared music background to the selection of pieces that eventually end up on their website. Inspired by music and believing in ‘mixing it up’, the pair’s offering is a mix of a little bit of everything, stocking design classics alongside more obscure pieces. From the 30s to the 70s, industrial to rustic, Danish to Indian, everything goes – as long as they like it and would have it in their own home. And it seems that many share Enzo and Lucy’s aesthetic and point of view as their customer base includes the likes of Soho House, Louis Vuitton and Polpo.
Oh So Retro
Grown from the love for mid-century furniture, Oh So Retro started as a weekend market stall in London and expanded into an online family business based in Yorkshire selling vintage furniture and home accessories. Apart from selling stylish mid-century pieces which are a staple on the site, founder Caroline Dill has since introduced a bohemian collection with lots of bamboo, rattan and wicker furniture, as well as a range for children. The store offers many products for the little ones in our lives who are often forgotten when it comes to vintage, whether it’s a children’s desk, chairs or a little shelving unit.
Oh So Retro also offers a finding service so if you have something very specific in mind, they are there to help you find it.
Louisa Grace Interiors
Founded in 2013 by husband-and-wife team Jamie and Claire McFadyen, Louisa Grace Interiors was built on the couple’s passion for antiques. Named after the middle names of their two daughters, the store is spread across three barns in Surrey, filled with antique and rustic vintage furniture and homewares.
Everything in the barns can also be found in their online store. The selection consists of mainly French and some English pieces. The company offers the option of customising their charming vintage furniture, whether it’s a paint job in a colour of your choice that would best fit your home or changing the handles.
Louisa Grace Interiors also provides an interior design service for those that don’t know where to begin.
Even outside of lockdown, many people simply don’t have the time for several trips to markets and antique dealers. Sandrine Zhang Ferron, the founder of Vinterior, recognised that as she put herself through a three-month-long hunt for a yellow chair in a Scandinavian style for her home. Sandrine decided to quit her job in finance and start Vinterior, an online marketplace for vintage furniture where customers can browse products from many different sellers curated to different tastes, styles and budgets, all in one place. Vinterior started with 200 products from 12 dealers, nowadays it holds over 200,000 pieces from around 1600 independent traders.
One of these traders is Absolutely Nice Vintage started by friends Damian Sealey and Mark Howlette. Their Cumbria-based store specialises in sleek mid-20th century furniture, homewares and artwork. Every object comes in excellent condition, lovingly restored by local craftsmen to their former glory. All of the items are also available on their own website.
Stone & Sage
Stone & Sage conveys a message to its customers of ‘preloved is the new loved’, which is also the company’s ethos. The collection of whimsical Alice-in-Wonderland-like homewares and other decorative objects evoke a sense of nostalgia, perhaps reminding you of something that your grandmother had. That is where founder Sophie Harvey’s own inspiration to open her store comes from – her grandmother who she spent many summers with as a child and who loved vintage ornaments and homewares and old black and white films.
Based in Suffolk, this is where most of the pieces are sourced from, resulting in a selection of mostly British vintage with a few European items. Sustainability is a big part of the business, pointing out that buying vintage supports sustainable living. Stone & Sage is also 100% plastic-free as no items in its collection contain plastic and neither does any of the packaging.
Bull + Tash
Bull + Tash, also known as Danielle Underwood and Mark Ungar, make a very good point – so much of current design is a copy of older design styles, so why not get the real thing rather than the reproduction? Many of those reproductions are actually of the furniture that Danielle and Mark sell in their store. Sustainable living also comes into play here as buying something that already exists is better for the environment.
Mid century Danish style makes up a large portion of the couples’s collection which is where their individual aesthetics overlap, but Danielle also has a flair for 80s and rattan furniture, while Mark is into quirky 70s pieces. The name of the company also represents the founders, who met thanks to their jewellery background, without having to put their actual names in it – bull stands for Danielle, inspired by her septum ring, and tash for Mark and his distinctive moustache.
Goose Home and Garden
Rustic is the word that describes Goose Home and Garden best. In fact, it is the key word for everything that the store has to offer as each of its genuine vintage pieces will bring a touch of French rustic individuality and coastal lightness to any home and garden, whether it’s a vintage watering can, French shutters or a china sauce boat.
Based on the English coast in Shoreham-by-Sea in West Sussex, Goose Home and Garden was founded by Sarah Kingston who named the store after a nickname she was given as a baby by her older brother which is used by her family to this day. Sarah has always had a passion for collecting antiques, inspired by house sales which she often went to with her mother as a child.
The Antik Store
Coming from a coastal beach town in west Australia, Georgia Randrup and her London-based online shop The Antik Store have become known for all things shell-related, something that Georgia naturally gravitates towards and luckily for her, this particular motif is having a big moment right now. She offers anything from shell-shaped silver trinket dishes to rare 1860s Wedgewood clamshell dessert plates. But besides that, Georgia has a flair for unique Spanish and Italian antique homewares and decor which is exactly what her store is filled with.
Georgia always loved vintage but the idea to start her own shop came when friends started to compliment her vintage pieces and wanted to get similar ones themselves and she noticed a shift in the way people were shopping, away from big high street brands and towards unique items. All of her stock is sourced from small market sellers and charities so whenever someone buys from The Antik Store, they also support these local sellers.
London-based MoseyHome is all about mixing old pieces with the new, striking the perfect balance in interiors. It is also how most of us approach vintage, since there can be such a thing as too much of a good thing. Most of us don’t want a home filled with exclusively vintage and antiques, making it look like a museum. Speaking of museums, MoseyHome was started by Mary le Comte who worked at the V&A for 12 years as an Events and Programmes Manager, developing courses and talks about art and architecture and working alongside artists, designers and curators, as well as one of the biggest collections of beautiful old objects.
Specialising in 20th century design, Mary brings her experience from the V&A to MoseyHome and loves that her items often have a story behind them, be it an art deco coffee table or a mid-century room divider. Alongside her vintage collection, Mary also stocks modern art prints and ceramics by a handful of small local artists, mixing the old with the new in her store as well.
The story of Stedsans started when its founder Penny Oliver befriended Henriette from Denmark. Friends to this day, whenever Penny visited Henriette at her home in Copenhagen she was struck by the simplicity of the white walls, stripped wood floors and a mix of old and new but loved pieces. All of this combined created a wonderful sense of warmth and coziness, in Danish also known as ‘hygge’. One particular thing stood out to Penny though – Henriette’s chairs, each one had a name and a meaningful story. This was the beginning of Penny’s lifelong love for Scandinavian design, particularly mid-century, as well as the 30s and 70s, and ultimately resulted in starting Stedsans.
Penny imports vintage Scandinavian sofas and armchairs and works with a group of upholsterers who restore and reupholster them with beautiful fabrics, giving them a new life. “Stedsans” is another Danish word that English hasn’t quite covered, but the closest would be a sense of place. That is exactly what Penny wishes for her customers to feel and her pieces to achieve by being more personal, having a story and a reason why they were chosen, helping us connect to our surroundings.
Owl & the Elephant
Liz Daborn started her online vintage furniture and home accessories store Owl & the Elephant in 2014. Before the pandemic hit, Liz would go on regular sourcing trips around Europe with her husband, developing a penchant for Scandinavian, industrial and mid-century design.
Some of the most recent additions to the store are framed 1980s Routemaster bus blinds which seems to be very fitting as her husband Mark designs buses for a living. But apart from bus blinds, vintage school desks and cabinets are some of the most popular Owl & the Elephant’s items.
Customers often praise Liz for speedy delivery even during lockdown and describe her as “a delight to deal with”. Liz also has an Instagram account documenting her own home filled with vintage finds, often similar to those available in her store.
Obsessed with all things interiors, Lisa Brass opened Design Vintage in 2012 as a small brick-and-mortar shop on the outskirts of Brighton. Thanks to the support of her loyal customers, Design Vintage has grown into a successful online store with three physical showrooms, including one in London, offering vintage furniture and accessories, as well as pieces from contemporary Scandinavian interiors brands.
The vintage collection largely consists of high-quality cupboards and Hungarian vitrines in black and grey from the 1920s, along with vintage elm dining and coffee tables, complete with authentic imperfections giving the pieces personality.