11 Jul 2016

Shopping For Antiques At…The HighBoy!

One of the hardest things to pull off when trying to achieve the much copied English Country House interior style, is to achieve that wonderfully eclectic mix of old, new, elegantly shabby and stylishly antique.

Luckily, I adore a mix of periods and styles – give me some vintage throws draped over an overstuffed English Chesterfield sofa, a pair of dainty French Fauteuils antique chairs – and, oh yes – add to that a painted Swedish Mora clock and I’m yours!  (Throw a gin and tonic in there with a twist of lime and I’ll stay forever!)

A vignette of antique & vintage treasures in my drawing room.

For my personal interior style to work, it’s important to include special pieces that mean a lot to me or my family. Sentimental items such as antique and vintage books owned by my husbands Great Grandmother sit side by side with more fun items from the high street or vintage finds like an ornately carved magnifying glass, but I also love to throw in a high end piece, one which makes more of a statement and has a bit of history attached to it.  This can be something that has been handed down (if I’m lucky), but sometimes, there are those moments when the stars align and the magical three ‘F’s come together – that’s Fate, Finance and Fabulousness!  When the three ‘F’s come together i.e. Fate – seeing something at the right time; Finance – the money’s in the bank – however fleetingly; and Fabulousness – so delicious that you CANNOT get it out of your head – that is the perfect moment when you are able to make THAT special purchase… The one that causes your heart to skip a beat – and you better know where to look when it happens!

An elegantly ‘grown up’ homework desk bought for my teenage son.

 My mantra has always been from shabby chic to antique and everything in between – I love a rummage at a Brocante fair or a car boot and yard sale as much as anyone, but it’s all in the mix, and sometimes it’s good to treat yourself to something a little fancier, something with a story and a history.

French tureens and antique candle holders in my dining room.

Moving from London to the English countryside meant that as somebody who loves to shop –  from rummaging around in old antique shops to chic lifestyle and home stores – my ability to just pop in a taxi to achieve my retail fix became somewhat limited.  (Have you ever heard of a Norfolk mile – no?  Well, put it this way, where I live, when someone tells you that something is “Not that far” or “Just down the road”, expect to fill your tank up with fuel and give yourself at least 40 minutes driving time..!)

Now, these inconveniences may have made my Husband jump for joy and high foot it to this little bit of rural England faster than you can say “I’ll take 4 of those please”, but what he hadn’t quite anticipated was the fact that our quintessential move to bucolic Norfolk “To live a quieter lifestyle” (husband speak for “as far from shops as I can get her”), would neatly coincide with the advent of a fabulous surge in glamorous and reliable on-line shopping!   Now you can buy almost anything for your home on-line without leaving the comfort of your Victorian tub armchair!

The perfect place for shopping!

However, it’s all fair and well buying mugs and bedding on-line, but what about things with a higher value, such as antiques?

I have actually been buying furniture on well known bidding websites for years, but it is often exhausting to have to wade through a lot of nonsense to find something of quality.  I am therefore delighted to have recently discovered an on-line antiques portal called ‘The HighBoy’ which collaborates with hand-picked antique and fine art dealers across the world, making the experience of discovering and sourcing beautiful antiques, art and great design easy and captivating and dud free!

The HighBoy’ website is an absolute treat with curated collections that are juxtaposed with beautiful imagery as well as captivating stories in an editorial journal called The Weekly, which for those of us obsessed with blogs and on-line magazines already, provides a similar stylish content of art, interiors, antique periods in history, styling ideas and more.

The Weekly is a favourite among readers who come to the site for smart, beautiful stories, that detail both modern-day design trends and the history of art, antiques and design.  I studied History of Art at school, and am now studying for a diploma in Interior Design, so it’s particularly interesting to find a useful mix of style and academia rolled into one stylish blog journal.

So, having had a thorough rummage through the website where you can choose by style – Arts & Crafts, Country French or Georgian anyone?  Or if you prefer, by category – Tables & Desks, Seating & Armchairs or Tables & Side-Tables to name a few – what would be on my wish list?

Well,  I am currently planning my own home office, and am looking to create an atmosphere that is both feminine, stylish but practical and comfortable.  My inspiration point comes from the wonderful Brooke Giannetti, an interior designer who writes the blog Velvet & Linen, and who had my absolute dream office (see image beloe) in her previous home.  Isn’t her style just perfection?

Brooke Giannetti’s old office from Velvet & Linen Blog 

As I am sure you know, I am a huge fan of painted furniture, so in keeping with this style, high on my Highboy wish list is the most beautiful 19th Century painted desk, which would work perfectly for my  functional yet feminine and elegant style.  Isn’t it gorgeous?

19thCentury Painted Desk on The HighBoy

…Or how about this one?

Spanish Catalan Desk or Writing Table on The HighBoy

I can imagine the desk flanked by this pair of Directoire Fauteuil chairs reupholstered in a faded rose elephant check or a vintage ticking…perfect for business meetings with clients.

Pair Of Directoire Fauteuils on The HighBoy

…Of course, I need to have my own chair from which to write blog posts, discuss design requirements and negotiate bespoke candle orders, and what better way than whilst seated in the elegant comfort of this 19th Century beauty?

French Louis XV Style Oak Wing Back Arm Chair on Cabriole Legs, 19th Century

But where to place a magazine and a vase of peonies I hear you ask?  Why on this picture of well proportioned elegance of course!  It’s actually an English Rosewood Game Table Circa 1840, so it folds open and slides beautifully into a larger flat surface – One never knows when the desire to play a game of Gin Rummy may take hold, and how wonderful to be able to swivel and fold it all back in quickly when the husband pops in to enquire whether his hard working wife needs a break from work, a neck massage or a glass of something fizzy?

English Rosewood Game Table Circa 1840

Well that’s my shopping list from The HighBoy completed, and all in all, whether it’s art, antique furniture or lighting, The HighBoy is a website filled with something for everyone – even the perfect piece of antique jewellery if that is your desire – and of particular importance to people like me who live next to a field – they ship worldwide!    In fact, the sellers are actually chosen from all over the world, so although the website is American based, the antiques are not necessarily so.

Of course, for those moments when the three ‘F’s aren’t in alignment, the accompanying blog –  The Weekly – is perfect for a spot of ‘window shopping’ and inspiration that is both entertaining and informative.

When it comes to shopping, the world is becoming so much smaller and I love it. I remember when I was a young girl growing up in London, my parents would often request or send hard to find items to and from our relatives in America (after a carefully timed monthly phone call or hand written letter!)  Now something fabulous can be yours at the click of a button – isn’t that just marvellous progress?  Although no doubt my husband would say “Time to move to the North Pole  – it’s not that far – and there’s no Internet (read shopping) there..!”

Until Next Time,

Disclaimer: This post was written in collaboration with The HighBoy, all words, opinions & views expressed are my own.

The Diaries

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