Originally written for Period Living, September 2014.
The vintage movement marches ever-onward, and whilst some devotees are keen to recreate a specific era in their homes, there are many that choose to combine choice pieces from across past decades, creating a gorgeous timeless look. But it’s not just about looking back – it is amazing just how great carefully chosen vintage finds can look when surrounded by modern furnishings. The clean and simple lines of the 21st century provide the perfect foil for vintage pieces, whether they are lovingly handcrafted one-offs or quirky examples of mid-century mass production.
I was recently offered the opportunity to step into a real-life version of this situation at Whittaker Wells, a fabulous interiors showroom and studio in Bristol, where Ryan Whittaker and Pete Eastwood offer a huge range of classic and up-to-the-minute fabrics, from designers such as Morris & Co, Osborne & Little and Ralph Lauren, as well as wallcoverings and paint.
The occasion was a drinks party, co-hosted by Ryan and Pete and Sarah-Jane Hosegood, well known in vintage circles as being the owner of The Vintage Home Shop and the name behind Twitter’s #vintagefindhour – a thriving community where like-minded lovers of all things vintage meet each week on Twitter. This is a great idea – a kind of “I’ll show you mine if you show me yours” for vintage lovers. Ryan and Pete are no strangers to social media either and if you discover the Twitter hashtag, #boyswhosew, you’ll know that Ryan and Pete aren’t far away.
With such a thriving vintage scene in the south west, Sarah-Jane is keen to make the move from tweet to meet and had invited an array of the region’s movers and shakers, up-cyclers and makers to the gathering at Whittaker Wells. The guests included: Jo Cassidy, a mural artist and furniture painter from Castle Cary; textile artist, Angela Knapp; furniture up-cycler, Jemma Ware; Clevedon’s No. 19, Tombola Vintage; Bristol’s The Scone; Retro Magpie; Helen’s Retro Home from Wiltshire and Rhubarb Jumble.
The huge island workstation at Whittaker Wells, played host to a suitcase sale with offerings, from some of the invited traders, ranging from china and glassware to kitchenalia and textiles, all against the backdrop of the showroom’s oh-so-stylish pitch black walls. Sarah-Jane’s attention to detail even extended to the buffet which had a decidedly retro feel, complete with a cheese and pineapple hedgehog and vol-au-vents – straight out of Abigail’s Party – fabulous!
The evening was a huge success and hopefully the first of many such occasions. It was great to finally meet up with so many people that I have been ‘talking to’ on Twitter for so long and to experience another great example of vintage and contemporary working so well together.