A journey back in style
LATEST EDITION: This property in Leeds is a lesson in how to curate an ever-changing retro collection while creating a stylish home. Sharon Dale reports. Pictures by James Hardisty.
F you are passionate about vintage then you will know that it is an addiction and that clutter is one of the major side effects.
Collectors simply cannot help themselves when they spot something special, as they know that there is unlikely to be a second chance to buy.
Pretty soon the “finds” are fighting for space and your home becomes a jumble of old stuff. It’s why Simon Warner and Nicholas Blakey now have a strict “one in, one out” policy when it comes to their retro treasures.
The strategy has paid off and their home in Leeds is beautifully edited, stylish and full of interest.
“We rarely buy anything new, except bedding and towels,” says Nicholas. “We tend to buy what we like and hope it goes together. Most of the time it does.”
Like most vintage aficionados they have phases of collecting. The sitting room shelves are testament to a Murano glass fish phase and the walls are the result of a sustained hunt for wonderfully kitsch Tretchikoff prints.
Ceramics are a long-standing love and their shelves house collections of Acapulco by Villeroy and Boch; Gaytime by Lord Nelson; Spanish Garden by Midwinter and Carnaby Daisy by Crown Devon. They also find it hard to resist West German pottery and are waiting for a fat lava lamp to be delivered.
Glass too is an enduring passion and they are always on the look-out for striking pieces of Whitefriars, with the drunken bricklayer vase top of their lust list.
Their love of the mid-century also extends to their hair salon, Simon Warner Hair in Headingley, where they have converted a retro bar into a reception desk and a china cabinet into a place to display products.
“Clients seem to like it. In fact one of them gave us a red Murano fish. She admitted that she thought it was old tat and wanted to get rid of it, while we were only too happy to give it a new home,” says Simon.
He and Nicholas have a number of favourite shopping haunts, including the Vintage Home Show in Manchester, organised by Yorkshire’s Keeley Harris. She used photographs of the couple’s property to help illustrate her book, Style Me Vintage Home, which has just been published by Pavillion.
St Gemma’s Hospice vintage fairs in Leeds are another hunting ground, along
She thought it was old tat, while we were happy to give
it a new home