I recently interviewed the lovely Rachel, from Custodian Antiques. Her and her partner, Tom, source unique, interesting, excellent quality items from the late 19th and early 20th centuries, details of which can be found on both their website – https://custodianantiques.co.uk/ – and on their Instagram page. We love their pieces and so do their 17,000 followers. Here is what Rachel had to say:

What should someone look for when looking to buy an antique? 

Look for an item that immediately strikes you when you see it. Whether that be because it is unusual, is well-designed or is something that tugs on your heartstrings. To me antiques symbolise tradition, timelessness and craftmanship, so I always look out for signs of these things when sourcing pieces. I’ve also learned not to be put off by faded wood. This can often be brought back to life with a coat of beeswax or linseed oil.

What should someone look to avoid when shopping for antiques?

Avoid rushing into a purchase. Patience is key when shopping for antiques, especially if you have something specific in mind. I had been looking for the perfect Victorian dining table for our dining room for over a year and finally found the perfect one a couple of months ago. Now it sits in pride of place of that room and I can wholeheartedly say it was worth the wait. 

mirror with wooden frame from zebra homeware

What are the current trends that you are seeing in the market?

Furniture in dark wood tones, especially with turned-wood detailing such as bobbin and barley twist, that derives from the Georgian, Victorian and Edwardian eras. These pieces are especially popular amongst those who are restoring period properties and are passionate about furnishing with pieces that would have been used in their homes around the time that their houses were built. There is also a desire to obtain pieces from the Arts and Crafts Movement. This is because these pieces represent a rejection to mass-production, which is something that resonates with many consumers today. 

wooden stools from zebra homeware

What is your favourite antique piece at home and why?

I have many antiques that I love in my home but I think my favourite has to be the Art Deco cabinet in our dining room. It encompasses everything I love about antiques and epitomises artistry and elegance. Crafted with natural hardwood, it feels solid and substantial which is softened by its scalloped detailing and rounded feet. It really comes into its own when we have guests over as it is home to our board game collection and all of my favourite pieces of vintage crockery that I use for entertaining.

Most unexpected place you have found an antique?

The beautiful island of Symi in Greece. We were wandering around the Kali Strata one evening and stumbled upon a wonderful arts and crafts gallery called 234 Steps which is home to a curated collection of antique and modern pieces. When talking to the owners we discovered that when renovating the building above a series of old objects fell from a ceiling recess which inspired them to open the gallery and show how much soul can be in lifeless objects.

carved wood lamp stands from zebra homeware