Introducing the brass section

Pair of Georgian antique brass candlesticks | H is for Home

We did a product review for Wayfair the other day in which we created an autumn table setting – all dark and dramatic – with shimmering metallics, fruit, berries, pine cones and so on. It was a pleasure to take the photos as we love this time of year (Justin prefers it to summer, actually). It got us in the mood for autumn pleasures. If the weather is kind, there are glorious autumn walks to be had amongst the turning leaves, inviting country pubs to rest in… and then hunkering down in a cosy house.

Detail of a pair of antique Georgian brass candlesticks | H is for Home

So what makes it feel cosy? How do we achieve our Pennine version of Hygge! Well, there’s the beloved wood burning stove to start with (now in both the lounge and a bedroom). Then all the little extras – woolly jumpers, thick socks, warm blankets, mugs of hot tea, fairy lights… and of course candles. We had them accessorising the aforementioned autumn table setting – and have them dotted around all over the house.

Nothing beats the twinkling light of real candles in the evening – and we’re often amazed at what bargains there are to be had in antique centres, charity shops and auctions when it comes to candle holders – in particular, vintage brass ones. The pair shown are a recent acquisition and demonstrate the point perfectly. A very sweet pair of small Georgian brass candlesticks – £12 in our local antiques centre.

Underside of an antique Georgian brass candlestick | H is for Home

We often see nice examples when we’re out and about. We love the mellow colour of antique brass – it’s got such warmth – and the way candle light shimmers on the reflective metal surface. The combination of brass (and other metallics such as copper and pewter) with the dark paint shades that are very much in vogue in home and restaurant interiors at the moment, looks really fabulous. The antique examples are such good quality too – they have good weight, craftsmanship and nice detailing to them.

Pair of antique Georgian brass candlesticks | H is for Home

And don’t worry about finding pairs. Some were made as single candle holders of course, but even if they were made as a pair and one’s missing its partner, just make a collection of the odd ones. The different shapes and heights look fabulous grouped together.

Three antique Georgian brass candlesticks with mid-century modern brass horse figure | H is for Home

So, here ends the promotional advert for the brass candle-holder association!! No not really – and we haven’t got a job lot of 500 brass candlesticks to sell either. We just thought it was worth highlighting the amazing bargains that are out there – and hopefully get you in the mood for autumn too!

Child’s chair

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19th century child's chair before restoration

We included this child’s chair in our recent Forthcoming Attractions post – and mentioned that we thought it would look great after a bit of TLC.

19th century child's chair in front of a wood burning stove

Well, here it is – a beautiful little child’s low-back Windsor chair dating from about 1820 with curved top rail, turned legs and spindles. It’s been dusted, the spots of white paint removed and gently waxed. It does look great!

close up of spindles on an antique child's Windsor chair

 We’re careful not to over restore furniture. Traces of original paint are retained – we love how it flakes & crackles with age…

19th century child's chair

…and also wears thin where bums and arms have rubbed it over the years to reveal the wood grain.

Pair of 19th century chairs

And here it is next to its big brother – you can really appreciate its diminutive size.

Pick of the Pads: Past Perfect

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White house exterior in Country Living magazine June 2014

It didn’t take much thought for our choice for Pick of the Pads this month.

Country Living June 2014 magazine cover

We’re already quite familiar with this gorgeous Welsh cottage, Bryn Eglur, owned & renovated by Dorian Bowen – and when it appeared in this month’s Country Living Magazine we just had to share it with you.

'Past Perfect' article title page from Country Living magazine June 2014

For Justin in particular, it’s a real favourite house from years of scouring interiors magazines.

'Antique dresser in Country Living magazine June 2014

The word character was probably invented for it!

'Wooden box bed in Country Living magazine June 2014

It’s cosy & comfortable with perfect retreats to eat, sleep or read.

'Antique settle in Country Living magazine June 2014

It’s packed full of gorgeous country antiques too. An oak dresser filled with pottery & pewter, spindle back chairs, settles and spoon racks.

'Cast iron range in Country Living magazine June 2014

Spaces are softened with textiles & fresh flowers.

'Rustic stairs in Country Living magazine June 2014

Perfect, photogenic corners everywhere you look!

'Grandfather clock in Country Living magazine June 2014

It’s full of traditional charm, but there’s also no sense of it being in a museum with modern facilities such as this gorgeous kitchen.

'Whitewashed kitchen in Country Living magazine June 2014

And the best thing is… if you love it as much as we do, you can stay there!! Yes, it’s a holiday let! And for those fellow dog owners out there – your treasured pooches are welcome too.

'Whitewashed bathroom in Country Living magazine June 2014

It’s one of those cottages that offers a good location to explore the area, but also provides a gorgeous home to relish every hour you spend relaxing indoors. Perfect indeed!

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Fair Finds

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selection of antique & vintage homewares bought at Lincoln Show

We made the trip to Lincoln Antiques and Home Fair on Monday. Our alarm was set for 5.30am, so it was quite an early start in the cold and the dark. Add in a few hours driving and you have to hope that the effort will be worthwhile.

selection of antique & vintage homewares bought at Lincoln Show including a bolt of vintage 1950s fabric, set of sky blue Czech enamel containers, circular Nymolle pottery plaques designed by Bjorn Wiinblad, trio, vintage Marks and Spencer blue and purple floral curtains of fat lava West German vases and antique 18th/19th century wooden pie/bread peel

Fortunately it was – and we picked up some very nice pieces – some favourites are shown here. It’s mainly vintage, mid 20th century stuff; but we couldn’t resist a couple of country antiques too, such as this beautiful 18th century bowl and bread/pie oven peel.

selection of antique & vintage homewares bought at Lincoln Show with antique 18th/19th century turned wooden bowl highlighted

We bought quite a few West German ‘fat lava’ pots, concentrating on bold reds & oranges. Their prices are certainly on the rise. Other ceramics included the wall plaques designed by Bjorn Wiinblad for Nymolle of Denmark. Each one represents a month of the year and features a loving couple’s story – from courtship to parenthood. We like the whimsical, folk art design and we’ve actually got a set on our kitchen wall.

selection of antique & vintage homewares bought at Lincoln Show highlighting a set of 1950s teak coasters in a matching lidded holder

A slightly more recent piece of wood was to be found in the shape of this 1950s/60s teak coaster set. We’re not sure who the maker is, but it’s got real quality to it – it’s very Scandinavian and has a gorgeous, warm colour.  There was no shortage of enamelware to be found – we plumped for this set of graduated blue kitchen pots – the largest has an impressive 18 litre capacity!

selection of antique & vintage homewares bought at Lincoln Show

The sewing box dates from the 1960s and is made of a plastic weave material. Some people call in Dandycord – which we think was a trade name or brand of PVC flooring. The same material was used in the manufacture of these sewing boxes. You also see chairs, plant pot holders, magazine racks etc from the same period made from it. We were given a real flash of flower power colour when we lifted the lid!  Equally bold & bright were the lovely little teatowel and this absolutely stunning roll of unused 1950s fabric, with it’s classic vase design & period colour combination of yellow, red, grey, black & blue.

It’s always tempting to stay in a warm bed, but we’re glad that we didn’t when we look back at this haul!

Mystery Object

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Mystery object with antique metal candle holder on pine topped table

So, what’s this mystery object? And we don’t mean the candle holder! Try and guess what it is before the last few photos.

Mystery object on pine topped table

We bought it at the weekend from Picture House Antiques. This is obviously quite an old example, but new ones are still being produced. Having said that, the design hasn’t changed much as it does the job perfectly.

Mystery object on pine topped table

It might make one particular little job a lot easier towards the end of July or early August – a foraging type job…

detail of mystery object on pine topped table

…OK, no more clues…

curved dry stone wall with bilberry bushes growing above

…it’s a bilberry comb!

Bilberries (also called whimberries, whinberries, wimberries, winberries, windberries, blaeberries, whortleberries, hurts, myrtle blueberries and fraughans) grow wild round these parts – in fact, local conditions seem perfect as they’re widespread on lanes & hillsides. They’re the most delicious little berries. They’re a bit fiddly to pick individually, but that’s what we’ve always done previously.

bowl of freshly picked bilberries

We’ll look into the pros & cons of this tool – judging by the age of this one, they’re not a recent phenomenon – and are still widely available to buy at country stores. Most people sing their praises, but initial internet searches have thrown up a few dissenting voices.

Their concerns seem to centre around the fact that they’re a bit indiscriminate with regards to picking both ripe & unripe berries – and also their efficiency doesn’t leave much behind for wildlife.

We can’t see the point in harvesting till the majority of berries are ready. With regards to wildlife, some parts of the bush are hard to get to – and some bushes themselves are very inaccessible to people – so there should be plenty left for the birds and small animals. We’ve noticed bush craft & foraging guru, Ray Mears has them for sale on his website.

plate with a slice of bilberry tart and cup of tea

We know one thing… they make superb desserts – warm, home-made bilberry pie with cold, thick cream just can’t be beaten!

Perfect Pitch!

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Picture House Antiques, Todmorden

We recently decided to upgrade our space in Picture House Antiques from a cabinet to a room-sized pitch. It will enable us to sell a much wider variety of items. It’s our usual mix of mid-century modern, handmade objects and rustic antiques.

There’s enamelware, ceramics, glass and fabrics… we’ve had some fantastic vintage posters framed for the walls… there are clocks, lighting and larger pieces of furniture.

It’s been quite a busy week – there are slideshows below charting the move.

(Items cluttering up our lounge, waiting to go)

(boxes to unpack, shelves to put up & pictures to hang)

(More tweaking will surely be done, but we’re happy with the result so far)

Come pay us a visit if you’re ever in the area!

Potato masher… we think!

Potato masher banner

We often feature mid-twentieth century items in our blogs, but we also have a real passion for old country furniture.

We picked up this wonderful piece of rustic kitchenalia – we think it’s an antique potato masher.

Perhaps Irish in origin, although we’re not sure at this stage… a bit more research is required.  It’s a very unusual piece.

BLOG UPDATE: 22nd  June.  We now think that the object in question is actually a cheese press. The wet cheese, contained within a cloth is pressed by the wooden block, the excess liquid draining through the holes. We’re still not sure about the country of origin. British/Irish is still likely, although continental Europe is a possibility – and we were also sent pictures of a very similarly designed piece which was in a U.S. auction of farm machinery. (Thanks to Erik Schepers).

If you like cottage interiors or country furniture, these books are well worth a look:

Irish Country Furniture (Amazon UK)

Irish Country Furniture (Amazon US)

English Cottage Interiors (Amazon UK)
English Country Furniture (Amazon UK)
English Cottage Interiors (Amazon US)
English Country Furniture (Amazon US)