Mannequin mystery

Detail of the top of a vintage metal mannequin | H is for Home

We had a mystery mannequin on our hands this week. It caught our eye at the local flea market and we liked the form. It looked familiar, but we weren’t sure who the designer actually was. We thought it dated from the 1980s era – and had an Ikea look about it. You’d expect the internet to be full of pictures of relatively recent Ikea products, but there were hardly any to be found.

Vintage metal mannequin | H is for Home

We delved a little further and think it was designed by Laurids Lønborg of Denmark – you can certainly find miniature versions of it with the original Laurids Lonborg label. And the Ikea hunch seems correct as we think this large, 6ft tall version was indeed sold through some Ikea stores in the 1980s/90s. There were produced in both male and female forms – strong, yet simple lines and and very Memphis Group in style.

Detail of the base of a vintage metal mannequin | H is for Home

It’s quite an attention grabber. They’re not at all common and getting quite sought after it seems. If you want first dibs before it gets listed on eBay or taken to our antiques centre space, then just drop us a line.

Blow up the world!

Vintage inflatable globe | H is for Home

This fabulous vintage inflatable globe has to be our favourite buy of the week.

Vintage inflatable globe with bent wood chair | H is for Home

It’s got such a wonderful mid century modern look. The colours are quite muted – it almost looks like opaque glass. And we also love the shape of the stand with its sweeping arcs. As you can see from the picture of it with a large chair, it’s an impressive size – about 50cm in diameter – and it’s got real impact when you walk into a room. It would look amazing in a pared back, minimalist space – perhaps alongside an Eames lounger or sitting on a Danish teak sideboard or desk.

Vintage Hammond's International World Globe booklet | H is for Home

Globes are full of clues to establish their age – country names, borders etc. This one dates from c. 1955. It still has its original accompanying instruction leaflet. It was manufactured by Hammonds of New York and retailed in the UK at a cost of 4 pounds 10 shillings – quite a sum back in the mid 1950s.

Detail of inflatable vintage Hammond's International World Globe showing the Arctic Circle

It’s very robust, but even has it’s own puncture repair kit just in case of damage. It’s survived 60 years without harm so we’re not expecting it to explode any time soon!

Vintage flour bags

vintage flour bags for John Hare's self-raising flour | H is for Home

We’ve plumped for these vintage flour bags as our favourite buy of the week.

Vintage John Hare's flour bag with a vintage milk & cream bottles and antique wooden spoons | H is for Home

They’re made of cotton and are quite humble objects, but we like lots of things about them. The gorgeous red lettering & typography, the amazing condition – they’ve survived unused for a hundred years or so – and their re-purposing potential.

Detail from a vintage John Hare's flour bag showing the red printed branding | H is for Home

They’re obviously perfect for storing flour – storing any similar product come to think of it. They could also hang off hooks to hold wooden spoons & utensils – and make great covers for plastic plant pots. Anything else spring to mind out there?

Geranium inside a vintage flour bag with vintage milk and cream bottles | H is for Home

 They add a lovely touch of old world charm to any space. We’ve got hold of a reasonable quantity and will put them in our web shop later on today.

H is for Horse

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Vintage brass horse figure with pine cones and Christmas bauble | H is for Home

We’ve nominated this charming brass horse as our favourite item of the week. We bought it from the lovely folk at Winter’s Moon. We just couldn’t resist when it popped up on our screen in one of their ‘new stock’ e-mailouts. 

Vintage brass horse figure with pine cones and Christmas baubles

We love the highly stylised Etruscan type form and the impressed, textural markings. We thought it was very Christmassy too, which is very apt for the time of year. It’s mid 20th century – probably dating from the 1960s. It’s very reminiscent of the work of designer, Frederick Weinberg from around this time – although there’s no maker’s mark on this piece.

Vintage brass horse figure with antique mirror, candlestick and collection of brass candle snuffers | H is for Home

Our new equine friend quickly made itself at home in our bedroom. We placed it on a richly patinated 18th century table with candle snuffers and mirror of similar age. We like to mix antique and mid century modern. Despite being 200 years apart in age, we think that the pieces really compliment each other.

GPO telephone

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vintage cream coloured GPO telephone

We’ve chosen this lovely vintage GPO telephone as our favourite buy this week.

vintage cream coloured GPO telephone with receiver off the hook

Not because it’s particularly rare or valuable, but because it’s always worth highlighting a design classic. This model doesn’t just look good – it’s solid and reliable too… and now manages to conjure up thoughts of tradition and nostalgia.

vintage cream coloured GPO telephone dial showing Wensleydale area code

We like the warm, cream colour… and the original number for Wensleydale – an honest & reliable sounding place to match the phone itself! It’s perfectly usable today of course, although most people opt for the quicker push-button type… and mobile phones of course. We bought it at auction – and the auctioneer’s young daughter (firmly of the iPhone generation) was very interested to know how such a contraption would have worked. “You have to turn the dial for each number?!” “You can’t move from room to room?!”. It doesn’t seem that long ago to us H is for Home oldies that mobiles weren’t in every pocket – and that this was the only option available.

vintage cream coloured GPO telephone

Anyway, who said it’s not mobile? It has it’s own special carry slot so you can wander round while you chat. Well, as far as its lead will allow, at least!

How to bring a vintage industrial feel into your home

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Vintage industrial officecredit

Vintage industrial style draws its influence from a variety of sources – factories, mills, schools, science labs, garages, hospitals and theatres. It shouldn’t be thought of as just suitable for loft apartments or factory conversions – the look can be brought into all kinds of domestic, retail and restaurant spaces. It’s been a very strong interior style over recent years and we think it’s definitely here to stay. Items incorporated into a scheme can be original vintage or modern with an industrial twist. Individual pieces also sit very well in an eclectic mix of old and new which has a timeless quality in terms of interior style.

If you like the idea of bringing a vintage industrial feel into your home, here are a few of the ways you can make it happen.

Retro tripod lamp from Furniture Village in our sitting room

Lighting

Factory pendant light-shades are very much in vogue. Some people like theirs in the classic old industrial green enamel, a bit worn with a few chips. Others like the style and shape, but prefer them shiny and clean in bold, fresh colours. It’s a perfect example of how the look can be achieved through original vintage pieces or modern interpretations.

This tripod light from Furniture Village is a another great example. Taking its design from old theatre or TV studio lighting, it’s a striking sculptural piece. It has lots of presence in a room even when switched off… and looks very dramatic when lit at night.

Detail of lit retro tripod lamp from Furniture Village in our sitting room

Vintage workbench & lathe lights have a strong industrial look. They have flexible arms and tilting heads which make them very practical – perfect for bedside, reading area or office. Brands such as Mek-Elek and Newton are the most sought after.

We also like hanging task lights which have a metal cage protecting the bulb within. These often originate from old car factories or garages. They look fabulous suspended from the ceiling on a long cable.

Even bare bulbs can look amazing – modern bulbs with the old style filaments are now widely available; as is the woven fabric flex in various colours which completes the vintage industrial look.

Collection of vintage industrial seatingcredit

Seating

Most spaces need seating so there’s lots of opportunity to bring in a bit of industrial chic here. Machinists chairs, lab stools and tractor seats have the classic look that’s sought after… and again, there are both vintage and contemporary on the market.

Chair frames in distressed metal and layers of worn paint have real character. Rows of cinema seats, refectory and canteen benches can also give the desired look.

Vintage industrial wall-mounted shelvingcredit

Shelving

If you’re good at DIY, you can up-cycle inexpensive wooden pallets to build shelves. Pinterest is awash with brilliant ideas for both inside and out. You could also employ pre-used wooden scaffolding boards and poles to make all manner of furniture and fittings. Old workshop and hospital trolleys with tiered shelving can also be utilised – as can stacks of old fruit or bottle crates.

Vintage industrial metal bank of drawerscredit

Storage

Again, there’s a great deal of scope here. Filing cabinets immediately spring to mind. Old examples with worn, patinated finish in wood or metal are sought after… and if a piece looks a bit too tatty, but you like the style then it’s perhaps the ideal piece for restoration. Wood can be stripped and re-stained, metal can be shot-blasted and then polished – or resprayed in a colour of choice.

Many workshops have huge banks of small drawers to accommodate tools, screws, nuts & bolts. These can be put to a myriad of uses – from ingredients in the kitchen to stationary in the home office.

Pigeon holes from factories, schools and sorting offices can be used in a similar way – ideal for displaying items too with their open fronts.

School & gym lockers were built to withstand daily use and abuse by pupils. They’re sturdy and robust and are perfect for use in kitchens and bathrooms to store items such as brooms, mops, vacuum cleaners, ironing boards and other items that are best hidden away.

Vintage bus blinds framed and mounted on a wall above a wood burning stove in a kitchen-dinercredit

Work surfaces

Work benches, sorting stations, trestles and sewing machine tables are all ideal to consider as re-purposed work surfaces.

They can function as dining tables, coffee tables, work desks and media consoles – in fact any surface you can think of. They tend to have a rough hewn or used appearance, giving bundles of character and charm.

Wheels and castors can add further flexibility with the ease of movement and re-positioning options.

Vintage industrial work surface with storage belowcredit

Finishing touches

Vintage industrial accessories complete look. The following items all work very well to bring a scheme together.

Factory & station clocks; enamel advertising signs; vintage school charts and maps; wire racks/baskets; tailors’ mannequins; old bobbins & reels; bus blinds; ladders & steps; letter stencils… whatever you think works!

Consider distinctive, quirky details too – add vintage castors to table legs, use science lab glass as vases, hang clip boards for shopping lists. Be creative – you’ll have hours of fun sourcing items putting your own unique look together!

So where can you pick up vintage industrial pieces? There’s lots of it out there if you search. Scour car boot sales, architectural salvage yards, internet stores and of course, eBay. Be patient if you’re looking for a key statement piece – it will turn up eventually! Having said that, if you find something that’s ‘almost right’, it’s probably best to snap it up –  then if absolute perfection turns up, you can sell the first piece and replace with the new. A really good thing about antique & vintage pieces is that they hold their value very well – sometimes even increasing in price.

We live in an area where historically there were many industries present including textile mills, dye works, iron and brick works, mines and quarries. Many of these businesses haven’t survived but the buildings that once housed them have; local auctions regularly sell their now defunct contents. Pieces should be readily available in most areas however, as dealers will travel the country looking for pieces that fit in with sought after styles.

Further vintage industrial inspiration can be found in the books below…

Vintage Industrial: Living With Design Icons book Industrial Chic: Cult Furniture, Design and Lighting boock Reclaiming Style - Using salvaged materials to create an elegant home book Industrial Chic: 50 Icons of Furniture and Lighting Design book

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