Presents from the past
GOOD VINTAGE: This old farmhouse and barn have been transformed into a stunning family home full of nostalgia. Sharon Dale reports. Picture by Gerard Binks.
FTER using all her powers of recall Sally Woodhead is forced to confess that she can’t remember the last time she bought anything new for her home. Her passion for vintage and clever upcycling has helped to furnish her farmhouse, near Keighley, and has a wonderful effect on visitors, who often get carried away on a tidal wave of nostalgia.
The giant gonk on top of the fridge transports them to the 1960s and is as kitsch as they come, while the Homemaker plates on the shelf scream 1950s finest from Woolies.
The exquisite set of button drawers, now a bedside table, bring back memories of long-gone haberdashery shops and gents outfitters now sadly consigned to retail history.
Giving new use to old items is also a Sally speciality. In daughter Annie’s bedroom, a wooden meat safe has been transformed into a child-size wardrobe painted in pretty pastels.
The wire storage units in the kitchen spark memories of the “baths”. They were once swimming pool lockers and now hold a hoard of toys. The old office filing cabinet is also keeping family clutter under wraps.
Her latest acquisition is a pair of matching 1970s easy chairs and their charms are obvious to those of us who enjoyed the sumptuous seating of that decade. There is nothing so comfy as an old Dralon chair. They don’t make them like that any more.
Sally agrees: “I rarely buy anything new. It’s not necessary and it’s a lot more fun finding old things. I love the history that comes with them and the fact someone else has had them before.”
When I bought my first house I furnished it entirely from a saleroom.
Her love of all things old is genetic. Her mother Carole, an auctioneer’s assistant, is a former antiques dealer who always arrives bearing gifts, including flying ducks and vintage glassware.
“My mum always bought and sold antiques in Newark and when I bought my first house I furnished it entirely from a saleroom,” says Sally, a former knitwear designer who now organises vintage fairs.
She and her friend Sam Makin began with the Vintage Fashion Fairs at Leeds Town Hall in 2005 and they now have a cult following. They also run the Vintage Bazaar and Handmade Fair in Ilkley.
The next bazaar is a week on Saturday and Sally will no doubt spend a good portion of any profit there.