Wednesday, April 1, 2015

A is for Antiques

Hello, and welcome to my blog. *waves*

I most often talk my own writing and editing in my blog posts, but for the A-Z Blogging Challenge this year my main theme revolves around things I loved or noticed about the United Kingdom while we were lucky enough to live there.  As a side-note, all pictures in this blog series were taken by me, and if they weren't, then I've back-linked to their original source.

Anyway, A is for Antiques!

I love some good utilitarian furniture, and I'm not necessarily one for frills, but craftsmanship and durability always catch my eye.  When we first moved to the UK and someone suggested "going antiquing", I had to bite my lip to keep from giggling.  That was something rich middle-aged housewives did, right?  Spending the day purchasing overpriced furniture, then lunching and getting Botox?

How wrong I was.

8-day mantel clock with barley twist accents.
Mid-late 1800s.
Let me back up a little bit to give you some context.  While over there, I learned that it was mostly Americans who wanted the older pieces.   To my surprise, the lovely folks in the UK often (but not always) look on Grandma's furniture as cumbersome and something they'd rather sell and get some money for than have to deal with or want in their own homes when she passes away.  Most of the homes we looked at when we were going to rent, including homes our friends had, were often outfitted with modern fixtures (think IKEA) and it was the homes of the elderly who had what we considered antiques.

Well, I went shopping with some friends and was hooked.  I'd never seen so many gorgeous pieces, and it was thrilling to see so many affordable bookcases, tables, etc that were solid wood and very unlike the particle board Target furniture we were eager to replace.

Oh man. I'd never thought I'd be in love with furniture.

In our stay, we collected quite a few pieces--bookcases, cabinets, and a fabulous desk that I sadly don't have pictures of at the moment to share with you.  One of my favorite finds was the mantel clock pictured above.  We were debating getting a full-sized grandfather clock, but this was more portable and I fell in love with it the moment I heard it chime.  It has a full, ringing sound that appears to be from a far bigger piece, and can be heard throughout the house.

It's not as hard as you'd think to make the older pieces fit in with more modern ones, either, so if you find a piece you can't live without, it's better to get it and figure it out later.  We learned that quickly.

One thing I regret (but only a little) being unable to find was a large, solid dining table for a formal dining room.  We just didn't care for most of the ones we found, but we did run across a giant one we would never have been able to fit in a house...I think it sat something like 20 people!  So unless we were going to buy a manor house sometime in the future, it was best we left that one behind.

How about you? Have you been antiquing? Have some lovely pieces passed down through the generations?

See you tomorrow for B! Here's a hint...Sherlock, anyone?

xoxo Sarah



13 comments:

  1. Great theme, Sarah! I've never been antiquing, and would probably consider it something for older ladies, as you mentioned. But that's an interesting point that people are looking to unload their heirlooms, so there should be plenty of good wood scores. I'm definitely not a fan of the rickety IKEA stuff, so maybe my husband and I need to try out some antiquing in our quest to find nice, stable bookshelves. Looking forward to reading the rest of your posts - happy A to Zing!

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    1. Thanks, Laura! So glad you enjoyed it. Try thrift stores/charity shops, too...sometimes you can really get some good finds. I could have bought bookshelves 'til the cows came home, but I would have run out of space (and money) first. :-P

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  2. aah you've chosen my favorite topic - UK!! I havent lived there long but i loved every aspect of my stay there! since i was working most of the times, I often had time available only on weekends and i couldnt explore much!! I am looking forward to all your posts!! :D

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    1. Thank you! I hope you get a chance to explore...there's a ton to see! I wished we had more time there, but there'd never be enough in reality. :-)

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  3. OH, that sounds like fun! I love England--and I am envious of all their beautiful antique things.

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    1. It is a ton of fun! Thanks for stopping by.

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  4. I've loved shopping in antique stores for years. I have quite a few pieces around the house plus a couple from my grandparents. I agree, the solid wood furniture is so much nicer than the cardboard stuff from Target and the prices are nothing to sneeze at either.

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    1. I can't wait to find some antique stores near where we are now! Yay for solid furniture!

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  5. Hi Sarah! It's great to see that you're doing this challenge as well. I loved your post. I spent years living with IKEA furniture. On a single family budget, it worked great. Now I would love to live in a place where I could fit something beautiful like that that clock you posted. See you tomorrow!

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    1. Thanks, Nancy! We definitely didn't replace everything at once...it took quite a long time, but it was very worth it. See you tomorrow! :-)

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  6. Antiquing is great. I don't have room for the big stuff. I like the "smalls" things like old records, books, pictures, trinkets.
    Play off the Page

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    1. The small things can be just as fun...I have a ton of teacups I found as well, and I love those as much as the large ones. :-)

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  7. Oh, the prettah! You are a woman after my own heart, especially with your claw-footed, writing desk. It's just beautiful. My mom has a round dining table that my great-great grandfather made, and she pairs it with vintage ladder-back chairs. After years of particleboard furniture I turned to solid wood, antiques and am so much happier for it. My bed and dresser have been converted, and I'm looking for more. It's an addictive past time. Fantastic post!

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