As with antiques, I love the history of cars: who built them, how they were constructed and who owned them. If they are true adrenaline-infused models, the most interesting facts comes to light – where the car was raced and which races it won! Finding out the history can be a real mission. Sometimes history gets hazy through multiple owners and forgotten details, or a car was left in a barn only to be discovered later on by an enthusiast or collector – its story unknown.
I also love the history of antique pieces of furniture. While I am not a collector, I try to stay in contact with collectors I admire and who can find pieces that have providence and hold real value. I find it thrilling to go to an event like the Battersea Decorative Art Fair, find a piece and learn about the history from its owner. Often the best pieces don’t make it to the fair. You may instead get a call from dealer who tells you about something spectacular they have just found. I sometimes dream I had a barn in Kent where I could keep all of the pieces I hear about, to later use with clients I think will value them.
Restoring classic cars and antique furniture is similar too. I feel it’s important to get cars, furniture and buildings back to their original state – only then can the true value can be seen. Peeling back paint or wallpaper to the bare bones, uncovering furniture, buildings or cars to find the original colouring, waxing it and saying – voila this is the way it’s meant to be! – is an exciting and rewarding experience.
Being able to do what you love is an honour. Restoring rooms and buildings to show their best side is something I have loved to do since I was a teenager. It’s only more recently, however, that I have put my two passions – interiors and classic cars – side by side and reflected on how they converge and become a single passion for restoring and reclaiming what is authentic, historic and unique. Discovering a story and letting the wear and tear of time and its imperfections shine through is the best part.