Un­der­stand­ing the true value of older items

Irish Examiner - Property & Interiors - - Interiors -

What’s your back­ground?

>> I stud­ied an­tiques and fine arts in Dublin with the In­sti­tute of Pro­fes­sional Auc­tion­eers and Val­uers (IPAV). That course is amaz­ing. It re­ally trains your eye to ap­pre­ci­ate the great Ir­ish coun­try houses.

I’m an An­tiques Young Guns’ mem­ber —– it is a grass­roots or­gan­i­sa­tion set up to sup­port young pro­fes­sion­als within the wider an­tiques in­dus­try. I am it’s first Ir­ish mem­ber. I am also a mem­ber of the Royal So­ci­ety of An­ti­quar­ies in Dublin.

Last Septem­ber, I en­rolled in an in­te­ri­ors course with the In­te­rior De­sign Academy of Ireland. My fo­cus in in­te­ri­ors would be on what I would call Ro­man­tic In­te­ri­ors, that is, old fur­ni­ture and paint­ings, and that old-world charm.

I had a lit­tle shop in Bray two years ago. I do have a plan for a new ven­ture, but it’s very slowly com­ing about. I learned so much from hav­ing a shop that I know what I need to fo­cus on for the next shop. In the mean­time, I sell small items on­line.

What’s a typ­i­cal work day like for you?

>> My typ­i­cal day be­gins with the school run, then it’s rush­ing around at­tend­ing to emails or view­ing auc­tions, and in and out of town —I have a job in town work­ing on an old house. Once I pick my two boys up from school, I am very much back to be­ing a mum.

Tell us about a re­cent or a favourite de­sign or project that you have worked on?

■ >> I am part of a small team of peo­ple cre­at­ing a cat­a­logue for Ark­low Pot­tery, which was open from 1934 to 1998. We are com­pil­ing the dates of the dif­fer­ent pot­ters and the stamps on the back of the pot­tery.

I col­lect Ark­low Pot­tery and am in­volved with the Ark­low Pot­tery and Art Fes­ti­val be­ing launched Satur­day/sun­day, June 24/25.

I am also in­volved in an­other project — cu­rat­ing deal­ers and pro­mot­ing the up-and-com­ing An­tiques and Vin­tage Fair in Wells House and Gar­dens in County Wex­ford. It takes place on Septem­ber 16 and 17.

The fair is also about fur­ni­ture and paint­ing restora­tion. There will be three rooms of deal­ers sell­ing their wares, and then in the great hall, demon­stra­tions will take place through­out the day. I will also do free val­u­a­tions ( An­tiques Road­show- style). It’ll be a real fam­ily day out, with the café, gar­dens, the farm­yard and a big play­ground.

What’s your de­sign style?

>> I am not min­i­mal­ist. In my own home, in ev­ery corner you look, there is some­thing beau­ti­ful to look at — I have plates on the walls and lots of pictures and prints.

Who in­spires your work?

>> Elsie de Wolfe — she was a New York in­te­rior dec­o­ra­tor in the 1910s and 1920s. She used a lot of chintz, flo­ral wall­pa­per and cov­er­ings and striped fur­nish­ings.

What’s your favourite trend at the mo­ment?

>> Mix-match china — I think it’s fun to have beauti- ful cups and saucers all mix­matched. They look lovely on the ta­ble to­gether.

What’s your most trea­sured pos­ses­sion?

>> That­would­beanan­cient Ro­man ring that’s prob­a­bly 2,000 years old. It has been in the fam­ily for years. It’s a very beau­ti­ful ring and very com­fort­able to wear. It’s made of bronze but I wear it be­side other gold rings and it has taken on the form of gold.

Who would be your favourite de­signer, or style in­spi­ra­tion?

>> Cur­rent favourite de­sign­ers would be John De­rian who is based in New York, Ben Pen­treath in London and House of Hack­ney, also in London, who have very clev­erly got­ten ac­cess to all the old Wil­liam Mor­ris wall­pa­pers.

What would be a dream project/de­sign for you to work on?

>> I would like to open my own mu­seum. I have an amaz­ing col­lec­tion of an­tique Ir­ish lace, so it would be a lace mu­seum but filled with old-world trea­sures. I have an in­ter­est in iden­ti­fy­ing and pro­mot­ing old Ir­ish lace.

Have you any de­sign tips for us?

>> Stop buy­ing so much flat­pack. The fur­ni­ture I see at auc­tions is built to last — it’s well-made, good qual­ity dark fur­ni­ture and it’s only go­ing to in­crease in value. If it’s lasted 100 years al­ready, it’s go­ing to last an­other 100.

■ www.for­tune­san­tiques.com ■ @for­tune­san­tiques

Chan­tal For­tune cur­rently sells small an­tique and vin­tage items — such as this Cased Vic­to­rian Da­guerreo­type (reg­u­lar price €120.00) — on­line at www.for­tune­san­tiques.com.

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