The joy of hunting for vintage homeware is that element of discovery, chance encounters and salvaging a piece of history. That’s all very romantic… but coming across that perfect one-off piece that fits your budget? Some might say it’s like searching for a needle in a haystack.
Looking at stylish homes filled with vintage ‘finds’, one wonders how easy they were to come by. Did the homeowner just happen upon that perfect mid-century kitchen chair at their local charity shop, whilst walking off their brunch? If you’re in a hurry and not in the habit of shopping for vintage, it might seem like ‘off-the-shelf’ is the easier option.
But don’t be discouraged. With London’s rich history, there are shops full of wonderfully unique vintage and antique pieces, at every turn. You just need to know where to find them…
Opportunities to buy or rescue quality second-hand homeware are increasing and it’s easy enough to buy vintage online. But there are great advantages to getting up close and personal with vintage homeware stocked in your local area. Not only can you keep on eye on any new arrivals, you can check the quality and condition of each piece and you might even pick up a bargain.
So for all you Londoners out there, here is a comprehensive guide to some of the best places to shop for vintage homeware, in and around the capital.
N.B. Many shops will give you an idea of what they stock on their website or social media accounts. Check them out to get a head start, before you visit.
The majority of pieces sold at Little Paris are original French vintage designs dating from the 1800s to the 1970s. All vintage items are sourced from France on a monthly basis. They also stock a range of contemporary decoration and accessories.
The shop sells vintage furniture, lighting and decorative pieces, such as this phonogram from 1890.
Committee of Taste describes their catalogue of vintage treasures as reflecting English post-war utility, the Atomic era, mid-century modern and aesthetically pleasing, timeworn objects.
Check their Facebook page for current stock.
Architectural Forum by Jason and Nadine Davies was established in 1988. The company has been in the vanguard of developments concerning standards within the UK architectural salvage industry.
Prestigious projects in their portfolio include removals from the British Museum, Tate Britain and Tower of London. Jason took part in the salvage of architectural pieces from the Baltic Exchange, now home to the Gherkin. This turned out to be the largest salvage of any building in Europe since the original London Bridge was sold to Arizona in 1967.
Their stock includes salvaged fireplaces, radiators, furniture, flooring, metalwork, doors and windows and plenty more.
Modern Times specialises in vintage 20th-century glassware and china. Owner Thomas Kleibrink grew up in a 500-year-old house in Westfalia, Germany. As a result of growing up surrounded by his grandfather’s treasure, Thomas found his passion for antique and vintage homeware.
As well as selling many of their pieces online, Modern Times also offer a gift registry service.
Their two shops can be found in the Camden Passage quarter, renowned for its antique shops and weekend markets.
Owner of After Noah, Matthew Crawford, took over his antique and vintage furniture restoration business from his grandfather, who started the company in the East End during the 1930s.
With a workshop based at their shop, they are able to sell the pieces they restore. They also carry a wide range of vintage items sourced from around the world. Their collection includes an eclectic mix of furniture and lighting, along with a large range of vintage children’s furniture and toys.
Planet Bazaar has been buying and selling vintage and collectable furniture since 1997. The shop holds an eclectic collection of pieces dating from the 1950s to present day. Here, you’ll find everything from a Cassette Coffee Table by Richard Fekete to a mannequin head for Christian Dior.
Interior design services and loans for photo shoots are also offered.
Vintage furniture shop, The Peanut Vendor, was founded in 2008 and specialises in early to late 20th-century pieces.
Their style influences include mid-century, Bauhaus, Art Deco, Hollywood Regency and Industrial schools of design. All of their stock is also available to hire.
The shop also features a coffee bar and sells a range of beautiful gifts, homeware, plants and new design pieces.
Sign up for their newsletter for their weekly stock update.
The place to go for fine Scandinavian furniture and lighting. Here, you’ll find stunning pieces by iconic designers such as Hans Wegner, Johannes Andersen and Arne Jacobsen. They also stock a selection of beautiful Swedish flat weave runners.
Bert & May began as a reclaimed tile company, founded in Spain in 2004 by former barrister Lee Thornley. Today, the company has evolved into specialist suppliers of handmade artisan tiles, engineered wood, natural pigment paints and most recently, furniture, bathroom fittings and kitchens. They also offer a full interior design service.
With reclamation key to their ethos, they stock an evolving collection of vintage furniture. Pieces are synonymous with their distinctive Bert & May aesthetic, which they describe as committed to raw materials, natural pigments and fine craftsmanship.
Ben’s shop is in the heart of East London’s bustling Columbia Road Flower Market, where it has been trading since 2003. His stock ranges from large-scale storage pieces through to armchairs and small desk lamps. Pieces typically date from 1900 to 1950 and encompass a diverse mix of useful, beautiful and quirky things for the home.
Established in 1995, Two Columbia Road carries collectable furniture and art from Scandinavia, Europe, and North America.
They specialise in sourcing pristine original pieces by Hans Wegner, Finn Juhl, Arne Vodder, Joe Colombo, Ettore Sottsass, Charles Eames, Poul Kjaerholm and Cees Braakman. They have also held artworks by Patrick Caulfield, Marc Quinn, Peter Blake and Sarah Lucas.
The Archive Furniture catalogue includes Danish leather sofas (like this two-seater pictured), vintage chairs, tables, storage, beds and lighting from the 1950s, ’60s and ’70s.
Check out the just in page for their latest stock.
Elemental was established 17 years ago in Spitalfields. You’ll now find the shop over two floors in the Grade 2 listed former Wells & Company Commercial Iron Works building.
The store has sustained its reputation for its selection of unique furniture, lighting and interiors. Curiosities include old shop signs, vintage mannequins and even a carousel car from the 1950s.
Vintage Heaven is another gem of Columbia Road Flower Market. It carries a huge selection of vintage china, glass, kitchenware, fabric, curtains, tablecloths, cutlery, trays and accessories.
Bermondsey and Vauxhall
LASSCO stands for ‘London Architectural Salvage & Supply Co’. From their three sites (including one in Oxford), they have been rescuing elements of buildings, both monumental and residential, for over thirty years.
At LASSCO Brunswick house you’ll find the relics of Old London, sourced from attics, outhouses, demolitions and scrap yards. Their vast array of offerings range from the very grand – period fireplaces, garden ornaments, colonnades and pilasters, all the way through to baths and sanitary ware, retro curiosities, door furniture, chandeliers, wall lights, etched mirrors and old prints and journals… to name but a few.
Check out their website to see their large selection of stock.
Opening times below:
LASSCO Brunswick House, 30 Wandsworth Road, London SW8 2LG
LASSCO Ropewalk, 41 Maltby Street, Bermondsey, London SE1 3PA
LOVELITTER are a small independent business, with a passion for sustainability. Founded by graduates of London’s University of the Arts, their 20th-century furniture is sold from both their website and depository. They can also be found at markets and pop ups in South London.
This vast antiques centre is spread over four floors of a former Victorian textile warehouse. Pieces on offer include Georgian, Victorian, Art Deco and mid-century modern designs from twenty different dealers.
Items are also available to hire for photoshoots.
The shop stocks a large amount of unusual flexible storage. Products can range from vintage chest of draws, classic industrial metal cabinets, banks of 1940’s French locker units, 1930’s medical to cabinets, drapers draws, period shop counters to timeless wooden filing cabinets and travailing trunks.
Roger Lascelles has been buying and selling clocks for over 35 years. His huge collection consists of around 500 vintage and antique clocks, many of which have been restored with the help of skilled craftsmen.
The clock pictured was either made for or by IBM in the 1950s. Originally a slave clock, powered electrically, it has been converted to quartz for perfect time-keeping.
In July 2002 Petra Curtis and Lucy Ryder Richardson put together a curated collection of everything they loved, from Eley Kishimoto homeware and Multi ceramics to Sixties Scandinavian sideboards and chairs. After selling 90% of the items, they decided to create a larger event, where mid-century dealers and modern designers come together to sell their work.
Modern Shows now organise highly acclaimed design fairs, which gather together 50-100 dealers under one roof. Shows such as Midcentury Modern® along with various pop-ups are held in and around London.
With their expert experience, Petra Curtis and Lucy Ryder Richardson also offer a sourcing service for anyone look to invest in beautiful collectable furniture.
Midcentury Modern® at Dulwich College, London SE21 7LD (Sunday 19th March 2017)
Previously Jordan’s Department Store, the vandalised and semi-derelict space was revived by Bennie Gray in 1976. The Market is now renowned for its rooms filled with antique treasures, including 20th-century vintage offerings.
Fiona McDonald specialises in beautiful European mid-century design. Her collections includes furniture, lighting and accessories with a lovely selection of elegant Italian pieces.
In addition, Fiona designs her own range of British-made furniture and Italian-made mirrors and lighting, Fiona McDonald Makes.
The building that houses The Old Cinema was once an Edwardian picture palace up until 1934. It was then abandoned for two decades (only used to store parachutes during WWII) before reopening in 1952 as London’s only antique, vintage and retro department store. Narrowly avoiding demolition in the 1970s, two antique dealers refurbished the original building, including its gilded dome.
A family run business, the 10,000 square foot space is now home to a collective of antiques dealers, decorators, designers, artisans and jewellers. They describe their stock as ranging from ‘kitsch Americana to period antique, Mad Men-style rosewood to hardcore industrial, Asian arts to French decadence.’
Former soldier and ex-model Gary De Sparham founded De Parma in 2000 out of a personal passion for 20th-century design.
The De Parma collection focuses on Italian mid-century furniture by iconic designers such as Gio Ponti, Ico Parisi, Paolo Buffa, Carlo Molino, Franco Albini and Fornasetti. It also includes selection of post-war British painting and sculpture by Ben Nicholson, Barbara Hepworth, Sandra Blow and Adrian Heath.
Pictured is a cherry wood writing desk attributed to Ico Parisi from the 1950s.