Wednesday, 11 August 2010

flea market style and where to get it

One of my favourite book purchases recently has been Emily Chalmer's Flea Market Style. I'm certainly not the first blogger to feature it and to rave about the multitude of charms hidden within it's pages but I am going to let you know my favourite places to actually get it.

Firstly, I'm not surprised the book is so popular - unlike many others the interiors featured actually feel genuinely eclectic and timeless, unlike so many of the other faux shabby chic books competing for position on the nations bookshelves. There is also real love for wonderful found things.

The writer (although text is actually by interiors journalist Ali Hanan) is the owner of the Caravan boutique and a fellow Hackney dweller. Debi Treloar also has a great online portfolio which is full of other fantastic interior inspiration. I particularly love this open plan industrial kitchen.

Anyway, here's some stills I managed to grab from the net since it seems to be way too dark in my place to take any photos of the book itself at the moment.

So the real question is, where can you get this stuff? The given suggestion of Portobello road market, or Stockholm fleamarkets is fine if you have a huge budget or aren't travelling hand-luggage-only with easyjet.

Some good friends of mine have furnished their homes with absolutely wonderful finds from London's true secondhand markets. Deptford (Saturdays in deepest South East London) is cheap and eccentric but you need to be prepared to hunt. Battersea car boot sale (Sundays at the tech college - get there for the 11am opening) is also fab, slightly pricier and with a £5 admittance fee for those turning up earliest, the entry price is almost always justified for the sheer variety of knick knacks that you can find, there is also some great clothing. Good quality furniture can be hard to find at either though.

For furniture, there are a few East London institutions selling expensive 20th century antiques that are always exquisite.

2 Columbia Road (address in the title) stocks collectable Danish and other European furniture and, if you should be so lucky, advice on how to begin a serious furniture collection. Bohemia, on the Brushfield Street side of Spitalfields market has an impressive collection of former industrial bits - stripped down filing cabinets, reclaimed clocks from the sides of buildings and the such.

However some of my favourite options for quirky well priced options are slightly more off the beaten path.

Crystal Palace Antiques warehouse on Jasper Road has to be one of the best places for furniture in London. It has four floors of furniture and architectural antiques, screen prints, industrial lights and fortunately precious few random knick knacks. The basement and the top floor are the best for eclectic 20th century finds, but any floor of this sprawling and ramshackle place is worth a look. I almost always see something I love and could spend a fortune - they have a huge range of 70's Danish sideboards, 50's metal desks, 60's armchairs and occasionally various other crazy things.

Stroll just round the corner to Church Road and there are loads of other secondhand shops, some with odds and ends, some for serious furniture collectors - I once saw a huge wrap around modular 70's leather sofa just like the one in Green and Red on Bethnal Green Road - if I'd had enough space it would have been mine. There's even a pub - The White Hart - with a little vintage boutique inside. Don't tell Kathy of 5678 Vintage, you'd never get her out.

London Fields also has two great shops - Firstly the Dog and Wardrobe just off Broadway Market in the self proclaimed 'Hackney Stables'. This is smaller than their website would have you believe but it chock-a-block full of all kinds of beautiful oddities - vintage opticians signs, giant plastic numbers, more antique glasswear than you could shake a brass topped walking stick at. What furniture they do have has a somewhat knackered industrial aesthetic but it's all part of the fun, and a recommended part of a Sunday trip to Broadway market.

Further into the Hackney hinterlands is Arch 389 - listed by Time Out recently as one of East London's great secrets. This is an eclectic little place just by London Fields BR station stocking great furniture with a pre-loved, post-industrial feel, that's just right for getting that stylish, eccentric style from the book.

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