I don’t think it’s any secret, my passion for all things vintage and preloved. Along with my other half, we have lovingly collected and incorporated so many pieces into our home over time. It’s these pieces which for me, make it unique and tell the story of your home. Not to mention of course, they are almost a guilt-free purchase from a sustainability angle.
So, to celebrate and champion all things vintage, I have decided to dedicate a blog series to this very topic! Along the way, asking some of my fellow vintage enthusiasts to share their preloved story and passion for collecting.
I’m so thrilled to begin the series with the wonderful Aisling Nugent, aka @vintagehillcork Aisling has a stunningly curated and eclectic vintage home in County Cork. Her passion for mid-century and vintage is evident throughout and I’ve followed and admired her style since I joined Instagram. She has kindly agreed to share her love of vintage, her inspirations as well as some pearls of wisdom when it comes to collecting and finding pieces for your own home.
So, grab a cuppa, sit back and enjoy…
What is it you love about buying vintage/preloved?
There are so many reasons why I love buying vintage, but I would have to say the number one motivation, that keeps me going back for more is definitely the clichéd "thrill of the hunt". Unlike visiting a high street store, there is nothing mapped out or expected when it comes to a vintage shopping trip. I still never fail to get a rush of adrenaline when I go to a car boot sale, charity shop or salvage yard. The element of surprise and the unpredictability of it all is certainly the drug that I'm hooked on!
I also believe that a unique, individual aesthetic can be much better achieved by incorporating vintage pieces into your decor. Whether it's a statement piece of furniture or a collection of vintage art and accessories. Elements like these all help to characterise and distinguish a space. Such character doesn't come just from the piece itself, but also from the story behind it, and there's always a story, be it in relation to the history of the piece and/or how and where you acquired it! One of my favourite things about buying vintage is definitely the intriguing and often amusing narrative that comes with it, something that a contemporary equivalent lacks. However, acquiring what's on your vintage wish-list often requires a lot more patience and perseverance than the regular add to basket and checkout route. But as Oscar Wilde once said "If a thing is worth having, it is worth waiting for"
Another major incentive for me to buy vintage and preloved is sustainability. Knowing that I have bought something that has not been mass-produced and has also been saved from ending up in landfill only adds to the joy of finding a vintage gem. Moreover, by choosing to buy vintage, beautifully crafted pieces that could otherwise deteriorate and potentially meet a premature end, are saved and preserved for generations to come.
Aisling uses her vintage and preloved finds to add character to her kitchen/dining/living space...
What/where are your main go-to’s to look for vintage/preloved, especially online as shops and markets are closed in lockdown. The Covid restrictions have taken the joy out of so many of the basic things that we all previously took for granted and for me one of those simple pleasures was seeking out vintage treasures. I really miss a Sunday morning stroll around a car boot sale, popping into the local charity shops or simply having the freedom to travel a little further afield in order to pick up an online find or auction win. In saying that, vintage has probably never been more accessible, always at the end of our fingertips, with the incomparable physical rummage being replaced by the not so exhilarating scroll. However, vintage beggars can't be choosers as they say, and I'm very glad to at least have this resource at hand. Second hand websites like Done Deal, Adverts and Facebook Marketplace are still my go-to source for furniture and larger pieces, although, as previously mentioned, Covid restrictions have made it increasingly difficult to collect an item.
If endless scrolling and searching are not your thing then there are some wonderful online vintage furniture shops like @mollys_vintagevibes.shop and @orianabinteriors @joy.thorpe all of whom will do their utmost to source a requested piece.
My weekend fix at a car boot sale or charity shop has now been replaced by a scroll through some great online vintage markets such as @sat.morn.vtg in Ireland; @stonesageshop @virtualvintagefair @thedorsetbrocante @salvage.sundays in the UK, where you can pick up some great vintage accessories from the comfort of your sofa! Instagram has become a great place to source vintage, with a plethora of wonderful sellers regularly listing their wares, so hashtag what it is you're looking for and you might just come up trumps!
Some of Aisling's unique finds...
The old wisdom was you can’t have old things in a new house. To bust that myth, what are your top tips for incorporating and styling vintage and preloved in to a new build home.
I think when we first move into a home we often put ourselves under a lot of pressure to immediately furnish and decorate each space and in doing so we can very easily make rushed decisions, perhaps trying to emulate a look that we THINK we like or one that is particularly on trend. My top tip would always be to take your time - more haste less speed as the saying goes and none more so than when it comes to combining old and new, a look that works incredibly well. But as with any aesthetic, it should reflect the personality and interests of the person living in the home. There's no point in buying something just because it's old - if it doesn't sit with the rest of your decor it will stick out like a sore thumb. I always say buy what you love, don't be driven solely by trends! Granted we'd all be lost without the wonderful inspiration we find on Pinterest and Instagram, but if the cap doesn't fit don't wear it, even if everyone else is!
Sourcing vintage more often than not facilitates this relaxed approach to decorating as desired pieces are not always readily available and subsequently such a delay often ends up working in your favour. By allowing yourself to take your time you can successfully curate an aesthetic that is unique to your own home. Curating a vintage eclectic look is very much about building a collection first, especially in respect of vintage art and accessories and then arranging it to suit your space.
So in summary my top tips would be to slow down, incorporate pieces that YOU love, that are meaningful and that have a story behind them and it will all come together in the end.
Do you have a favourite piece, one you’d never be without, perhaps sentimental? My favourite piece is probably our G-Plan Fresco sideboard! A very lucky Done Deal find and one that goes to show it pays to ALWAYS keep an eye out. My favourite feature in our home is undeniably the reclaimed parquet floor in the sitting room and hallway. Salvaged from a London dance hall you can still see some of the cigarette burns! It is a feature that we can really appreciate now but laying it did not come without its challenges and disputes, as each tile had to have the bitumen and dowels removed and then sorted according to size, all 2000 of them. But to steal another line from the previous Oscar Wilde quote 'If something is worth attaining, it is worth fighting for'.
Who are some of your favourite Instagram accounts to follow for vintage inspiration. Oh I always struggle with this question as there are so many incredible accounts that inspire me. I absolutely love the unique home that Dave @newbuildireland has created - Dave shares my love of car boot sales, auctions and online finds and his unique home has a beautiful eclectic mix of stunning pieces, not least a grand piano as his kitchen island!! I also adore the account of @lisa_loves_vintage - Lisa is the virtuoso of flea market chic and every square is an absolute feast for the eyes!! As is the beautifully curated account of @ingewatrobski. Inge advocates a slow, sustainable and considered approach to decor and her breath-taking home is a faultless example of how it's done!
To be honest the list goes on but these are definitely some of my favourites and a great starting point.
You can follow Aisling on Instagram https://www.instagram.com/vintagehillcork/?hl=en and a collection of her finds to buy at https://www.instagram.com/vintagehillfinds/?hl=en and on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/vintagehill.ie/