“Grandma’s house smells funny”. Do you remember ever thinking that? Have you recently been back to visit and seen the whole place in a different way? Welcome to Retro.
The whole debate is very subjective. One man’s retro is another man’s ancient history. I have some neighbours whose entire flat is a living museum of Art Deco and I love visiting and being whisked off Tardis style to another time zone. Each time my eye is caught by a new acquisition, be it an egg cup or a silver frame or a dinner set that was picked up for a pittance on Golborne Road. To some the 1930s may seem like ancient history whereas to me, it is much closer and so has a certain comforting familiarity.
Until recent times people tended to buy their house furniture and live with it for their entire lives. These days with built in obsolescence being the norm, some new furniture can date easily and then fall apart. The fashion of new and clean has seemingly overtaken the more long lasting fashion of well-made. Both deserve their rightful positions in peoples’ homes. However I am strongly biased towards the old and the eclectic. I am not saying your whole home needs to be kitted out with heavy mahogany or rickety tables. However one masterly carved chair can make a statement and will stand the test of time.
I feel we should be recycling and appreciating all the older pieces and taking the time to reflect on the work that has gone into their making. Before TV and our tablets kept us busy these domestic works of art have been crafted by hand. I am an advocate of gifting things forward. If you get tired or bored of an old piece, put it into someone else’s care. This is how antiques and our own personal precious histories are preserved. For me it is a no-brainer. Any furniture of good quality and design should never go in the bin. All it takes is a discerning eye and a sense of taste. It then changes from retro to vintage to timeless.
If you have time to see how retro and vintage can be funky you could do worse than taking a stroll through the Geffrye Museum in Hoxton. Set in alms houses it documents the past 400 years of domestic style over the years. Each of the period rooms captures the various decades so perfectly and is a snapshot of a bygone time. Take a close look at the 1950s room or any of the others and tell me that there is no style. It is beyond style and is almost more modern than some of the pieces being produced today.
Go to an auction and invest in a good solid piece of older furniture; treasure it and enjoy. The longer you have it, the more you will love it. In the bin? I think not.