Interior Design Treasure Hunters Head For:
Purveyors of art and design pieces have always been drawn to one another. Way before anything like ‘cultural districts’ started to be conceived, these areas sprung up organically and exist to this day. There are historic parts of London which have, for hundreds of years, been home to the beautiful and the hand crafted. This is why some areas are definitely worth a visit if you are searching for inspiration, or indeed something to fulfil a specific requirement.
This market has the vintage side of its roots in the 1940s, when antiques and bric-a-brac traders began to increase in number which gradually became what the market was known for. Portobello Road Market is an ever changing place, though. It is is open from 9am to 6pm Monday to Wednesday, until 1pm on a Thursday and until 7pm on Fridays and Saturdays. While the main day is Saturday, when you will find everything under the sun, if you are after antiques specifically then you are better going on a Friday. The market is enormous, so it can be easy to lose your bearings. For secondhand goods, head to the stretch from Golborne Road to Westway, and antiques tend to be between Elgin Crescent and Chepstow Villas.
Self billed as the original East London Marketplace, Old Spitalfields is the destination for local creatives and independent retailers. It is open 7 days a week, and the central ‘Kitchens’ food zone will make sure that you never run out of fuel while treasure hunting here. The daily market combines vintage, fashion, arts and crafts. If it is antiques that you have your eye on, though, then go on a Thursday. For over 15 years, this section of the market has flourished. The Thursday antiques market is curated by Sherman & Waterman, so you can be sure to find some excellent quality goods.
Another historically established market is Camden Passage, just off Upper Street in Islington. The market here has been running since the 1950s as a destination for leading antiques. There are antiques stalls in the covered area where Camden Passage meets Pierrepont Row from Wednesdays to Sundays. Avoid Thursdays unless you are also after vintage fashion. A second covered area on the corner of Charlton Place is home to antiques stalls on a Wednesday and Saturday. The heart of Camden Passage is more general interest, with vintage clothes and collectables, one-off pieces and bric-a-brac on a Wednesday and Saturday.
This early 20th Century picture house in Chiswick first became an antiques destination in the 1950s, and was purchased in the 1970s by local antiques dealers to save it from demolition. Nowadays you will find one of the most eclectic antique furniture hauls in the city across 10,000 square feet of retail space. From glass and lighting to textiles and retro kitsch, you never really know what you will come across here. Helpfully, though, there is a comprehensive list of furniture stock online so you can have a quick preview before you browse.
This road runs from Notting Hill tube station down to Kensington High Street. Along it and its side streets you will find over 60 independent antique and art dealers, alongside a wonderful range of boutique shops and artisanal food, wine and floral items. The range really is eclectic, from Japanese and Chinese ceramics to continental furniture and 20th century decorative arts. Most of the dealers that are located here are members of the BADA (British Antique Dealers Association) so all your antique shopping here is fully safeguarded.
With a funky and retro feel, SE19’s Crystal Palace Triangle is a lesser known destination for cool vintage decor and oddities. The triangle of streets that make up the heart of this part of London are full of independent shops. The flea market at Haynes Lane is a winding rabbit warren of wares that will provide excellent scavenging fun for interior design treasure hunters.
Home Decorators Inspiration
While I often find that antique and pre-loved pieces are perfect for that characterful statement in a room, art galleries and speciality stores are wonderful sources of inspiration. Uniquely crafted glass and original artworks are the perfect focal point in a living space or kitchen. Depending on what you are looking for, it is worth starting at these stores:
Curated by Studio Duggan, this Notting Hill shop combines vintage with made to order furniture. From handmade sideboards to bespoke soft seating, the look here is stylishly understated and liveable. You can also pick up ready to go accessories and vintage accents.
Open Monday to Friday by appointment, this Kensal Green shop stocks everything from lighting to textiles. Everything is unique, based on an up-cycled and reclaimed principle. This gives all items that you find here a story and heart that makes a house a home.
Based in Kings Cross, Tom Dixon is known for his statement lighting. These designs have a contemporary and industrial edge and make stunning focal points. The range of marble inspired super cool side and dining tables are worth a visit to get really inspired.
Statement prints are the flagship of the House of Hackney showroom at St Michael’s. The designs here take inspiration from nature and the mission of founders Frieda and Javvy is all about creativity and integrity. From lampshades to wallpaper, paint to window blinds, simply be bold!
Whether a statement piece is antique or newly handcrafted for you, there is a reason we call it interior design treasure. It is all about the victorious feeling that you get when you see it, and you just know that it is a perfect reflection of your lifestyle. It is with this intent that I source every piece for my clients’ rooms.