That's So Last Century!
There is a place buried in the South East London suburbs where you can go once every few months and pick up some really cool and affordable bits for your house. Think retro, think midcentury and think vintage! I'm talking about a fair called So Last Century and it is a treasure trove. On my last visit I saw so many things I could have bought for my home - handmade lampshades with a vibrant Frida Kahlo print, brightly coloured reupholstered vintage chairs, an art deco drinks cabinet and a set of reindeer antlers. Unfortunately we are about to undergo a massive house renovation so the time was not right for me to buy but those business cards I've collected will be coming out of my wallet in about six months time when I need to add those finishing touches to my rooms. The thing I love the most about this event is not just the retro food and music that make me feel I've gone back in time, but how shocking the price tags are. In a good way! Keep reading to see some of my favourite picks of the fair last month.
Harvest Moon Lamps
I'm going to start with this one as it was the first place I stumbled upon as I walked through the door and one of these lampshades is definitely going to feature in my living room in the very near future. I'm eyeing up the yellow Frida Kahlo lampshade to put on one of the various lamp stands I have lying around the house and I think it will look pretty sharp against my dark blue wall. Some designs are more minimal than this if you'd rather have something a bit more toned down and some are definitely louder, more colourful and more fun but all of them have a distinctive retro vibe. You can also find large leaf prints, floor lamps and sixties florals. I love the way designer Rachel Harman uses wooden frames and reuses old ceramic lamp stands to create really unique pieces that I think would illuminate any room. Check out the rest of her range here.
Now the thing I love about Grant's wares is that it is probably one of the only vintage antiques shops that my husband and I will walk into and agree on anything! At the fair I would describe his style as masculine with almost every item a perfect fit for my husband's office. With dark green walls (and skirting!) it has a very strong gentleman's study theme. However having researched a bit more into Number 8 I realised that they have a wonderful little store in East Croydon with even more stock (that is constantly changing) including seating, lighting, tables, storage, objects prints and mirrors. There's an oversized lamp that I've got my eye on and even some colourful typography that would look great on a kids bedroom wall. I am definitely looking forward to checking out this shop in the near future. What I also love about Studio 8 in their ethos. Grant and his wife Sara are authentic lovers of vintage items and believe that if they have managed to survive fifty or sixty years then they are worth restoring and using for a few more decades. How awesome!
Door Thirty Four
Sarah and I have been friends for a while now and although we met at a wedding it wasn't until she up-cycled a fantastic set of mid-century drawers for my little boys bedroom that we became better acquainted. I was blown away by the commissioned work I received from her. The wonderful clean finish on the wood (as opposed to chalk paint), her choice of paint colour to subtly match the fabric and her understanding of the space that the furniture was going to belong in made it a very satisfying customer experience. I couldn't bear buying a mass-produced white set of drawers for Jack's room which actually would have cost me a lot more! But apart from my personal experience and friendship, I just LOVE her designs. I know she is a retro-loving mid-century girl but within that genre she creates a pretty eclectic mix of furniture. I'm in love with her recent restoration and customisation of this mid-century dresser. I need this drinks cabinet/trolly in my life! Sarah is currently rebranding her business so she is featured at the last So Last Century fair as 'Ugly Duckling' but shall be known as Door Thirty Four from now on. Take a look and watch this space. I've been to her cabin and there is a ridiculous amount of furniture pieces that are going to be transformed by Sarah's magic touch. I'm so excited to see what she produces next...
Here are a few other moments from the day to whet your appetite:
I'd also love to give a shout out to RePurposefulUK who's stunning and bright reupholstery puts mine to shame. Toyin also has a great ethos, creating beauty in the ordinary. I love that! Before Christmas, Paul at Vintage Map helped me find a 1915 street map of where I live which looks so fantastic in my hall. And finally Truly Splendid who have a permanent tea room in Catford as well as a pop up cafe do bacon butties and cream teas to die for!! You could also purchase retro clothes, records (calm down husband!), toys, vases, buttons, old manuals, handmade cards, modern jewellery and prints. The list goes on. Each fair has different content too so it's quite a nice surprise at each event. Don't worry if you don't live in London. Thanks to the power of the internet you can contact these sellers and see their online stores. Now there is some nice homework for you!
There really is something for everyone. If you're into traditional vintage or bold retro or something with a bit of a modern twist, So Last Century can provide unique pieces for your home without a high price tag. I was tempted by the lampshades, some antlers that I've been wanting to put above the TV a while now in the living and a wooden mirror, each of which I could have got for £20 to £30. But I left empty handed apart from these images and a few business cards and lots of ideas!
The organisers of So Last Century have put on another event which you can go to THIS WEEKEND. The RE/MADE Makers’ Market is this Sunday 23rd April 11am - 5pm at the same location Venue 28, Beckenham Road, Beckenham BR3 4LS. I am told that RE/MADE aims to showcase emerging creative design, with an emphasis on the re-made and upcycled. It is a celebration of salvage combined with art and design, offering a unique twist on furniture, lighting, decor, clothing, accessories and jewellery: a great platform for young and local creatives to sell their work. £2 entry (£1 with a flyer, or if you follow So Last Century on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram), children under 16 free. Maybe I'll see you there!
DISCLAIMER: All photography is my own unless otherwise stated.