If you are one of the dedicated Instagram followers of Gear Antiques (IG @gearantiques), you won’t need me to tell you that the King is alive and er … barking on Lillie Road in Fulham. Elvis has not only been entertaining clients with his gregarious stage presence but he is also proving to be Gear Antiques’ secret weapon, when it comes to marketing. His patch – more regal in style than rock and roll – is an antiques shop run by his owner Marc on Lillie Road in South West London. If miniature schnauzer Elvis isn’t posted in an Instagram photo by Marc – either sitting on a Jacobean chair on the pavement outside the shop or mannequin style in the window – there follows an outcry from IG followers asking ‘where’s Elvis?!’ So you see, he does live on … just in Schnauzer form …
Invitation from The King
When Panda (our Miniature Schnauzer) received an Instagram invitation to meet Elvis in his ‘hood on the Lillie Road, how could she refuse?! What could possibly go wrong …
M&S buyers’ styling tour
Lillie Road is one of my favourite haunts for sourcing antique props for shoots and clients’ homes. I was once asked by Marks & Spencer’s head office to take a group of their interior buyers on a design inspiration tour of my favourite interior shops in London (the theme was Classic Country House). There was no question in my mind that Lillie Road should be one of the destinations on our tour.
Antique treasures at Lillie Road
There are 19 antique shops to choose from, specialising in everything from French country painted furniture to English classics and Mid Century Modern. This is a special cluster of antique shops and is a favourite with interior designers. It survives as a rarity in the high rent international marketplace that London has become. Each shop has a definite character and style to its content and display.
Some of the shops at Lillie Road are quite theatrical in the scale and type of items they sell – others who specialise in French and Gustavian furniture with walls of foxed mirrors create exactly the sort of magical faded interiors you might expect of a French chateau or Scandinavian aristocratic home. Lillie Road has a very useful website, which regularly updates the stock of each shop online. Here are just a few examples of what’s in store:
269 Lillie Road, SW6 7LL
Lots of glamorous mirrors, mirrored photo frames, chandeliers, cobalt blue glass table lamps.
Maison Artefact, 273 Lillie Road, London, SW6 7LL
Selection of Gustavian and French antiques – a beautifully styled shop.
Cubbit Antiques, 289 Lillie Road, London, SW6 7LL
Great selection of 20th Century lighting and super large convex mirrors. Some in red and royal blue too!
M Charpentier, 284, Lillie Road, SW6 7PX
Run by two sisters, Camilla and Alix, M. Charpentier specialise in unique and eclectic pieces (predominantly French) curated from across Europe and spanning from the 17th to mid 20th Century.
Gear Antiques, 307 Lillie Road, London, SW6 7LL
Specialise in a variety of furniture styles and eras: 19th Century crystal chandelier, 18th Century flemish chairs, Velum vintage round travel case, foxed Louis Phillipe mirror, 19th Century Biedermeier desk:
Antique vs Vintage
Strictly speaking, the term antique means an item is 100 years old which means, officially, Art Deco gets its badge of honour in just over a couple of years’ time. The line between what is vintage (roughly 30s to 80s) and antique is probably now blurred a little but there really are no hard and fast rules when it comes to decorating with antiques. What I do believe though, is that it’s good to celebrate the design excellence from the past and that recycling can only be good. Antiques create texture and form in a decorating scheme.
For some editorial work or film/TV features, it’s important to know your stuff in terms of period but when it comes to designing most domestic settings it’s really just about loving a piece of decorative history for itself – whatever its age and provenance.
Shaggy dog stories: When Panda met Elvis
Please forgive me, (full professional styling service will be resumed shortly – promise) but this was very funny! It turns out that this blind date brought up a few issues: namely, Panda is a much older lady at 12 as Elvis is 3 and she wasn’t quite as friendly as he! Rightly so, Elvis was checking Panda out here before allowing her to sit next to him on his very fine set of 1715 Flemish chairs. The ice broke with this privilege, and they raced to the window – double schnauzer trouble … Woof.
Spot the difference
Elvis is a rare and handsome ‘brown’ schnauzer with very sweet almost golden brown eyes to match. Panda is a ‘salt & pepper’ schnauzer with dark eyes.
Real or no real?
Top 10 favourite antique dealers
- Lillie Road 19 antique shops
- Fanny’s Antiques Reading (Furniture, garden, bargains galore with many quirky items!)
- Crowman Antiques, Devizes @Crowmanantiques (Exquisite selection of English country furniture, porcelain, treen and silver in an equally lovely shop – has been featured in World of Interiors magazine)
- Jacob & Jones Fine Art Auctioneers, Watlington, Oxon (great selection of the smart everyday from Oxfordshire houses. Furniture, silver, porcelain).
- The Vintage Look, Henley on Thames (interiors, garden and vintage fashion, including lots of boaty oars and sledges) @VLHenley
- Fiona Scott @Scot7 (Fiona not only has a very inspiring IG account but has a regular pitch at Adams Antique Fair (140 exhibitors) in Vincent Square, London SW1 where she sells ecclectic but affordable decorative items from Samson vases to framed prints and chinoiserie jardiniere stands).
- The Scottish Antique and Arts Centre, Perth
- Violet Grey Decorative Gardens @Violetgreydecorative (vintage and antique garden specialist)
- Welsh Vernacular Antiques @Welshvernacular (dealers of Welsh antique and country furniture and interiors – I adore the simplicity and centuries old history of some of these pieces).
- Winter Art and Antiques Fair, Olympia 31 October – 5 November (100 dealers)
Thank you so much to Marc and Elvis at Gear Antiques for hosting Panda and I. Here she is zonked out by the experience back at The White House in Reading. Thank you too for reading, I hope you have enjoyed this post?! Please don’t hesitate to get in touch if you need help sourcing or styling with antiques. Since writing this in the Autumn, I am sad to say that Gear Antiques and Elvis have moved on to pastures new. I am just glad that we caught them before they did!
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Bye bye Elvis!