When we bought our first house - many years ago in the '80s, we had to make do with a lot of second hand furniture. All lovingly handed on by relatives and friends. That's what we all did in those days. Unless we came from the more affluent end of the scale and bought all new to start with. I had longed for a nice sleek table, chairs and sideboard from a very well known, classy, and prohibitively expensive maker. As luck would have it, my inlaws had just such a set and I coveted it from day one! When dear old ma in law moved to a care home and we emptied out her bungalow, the set finally became mine. Funnily though, I have my own solid oak table, chairs and sideboard, the sleek set is too small for my room. But it is lovingly used, appreciated and cared for by the next generation - starting their own antiques!
In the very deepest of winter, when we are slightly more house bound and shut ourselves in to the dear old homestead, the beauty of spring time approaching is looking forward to a cleaning and refurnishing spree to come. This is part of our natural nesting instinct and we tend to answer the call by decorating and turning the house out from top to bottom.
There can be nothing lovelier than being able to replace bulk standard fixtures and fittings with proper oak antique artefacts that have had a real life before we invite them into our home. The love and care that have been given to old items of furniture cannot be over estimated. We must cherish the things from days gone by and the styles that have made their mark in history.
When the time comes to purchase any new furniture for your home, it makes sense to invest in furniture that is made out of oak wood. No other hardwood can offer the blend of strength, beauty and ease of maintenance that Oak Furniture does. So, investing in furniture made out of oak is always considered feasible and smart choice. Whether you need kitchen furniture, living room furniture or bedroom furniture, oak wood furniture can bring in the long lasting use and style to your home in such a way that no other hardwood can.
If you are into the market of furniture, then surely you will be tempted by oak furniture. It is a special material that can be curved in any design to manufacture stylish furniture. It is a dense hardwood that can be used to design furniture for any use and this material can withstand heavy use for lifetime and still look great with just negligible maintenance and care.
Needing a break from the ordinary day to day operations, I happily accepted a chance to share a cottage holiday in the west country. A very rural location indeed - wow it was so beautiful and peaceful. Good job we had a very high people carrier as the lanes were so narrow and the hedgerows very high. All the press huffing and puffing about this particular vehicle proved to be so very accurate!
The cottages we shared were very nicely appointed - charmingly quaint but with some seriously attractive old furniture. Gorgeous oak dining chairs around the very old trestle table - marked and slightly battered, but so obviously a much loved piece from a proper family home. Knowing how to obtain such fantastic history and quality is difficult but there are niche companies online who will source whatever you seek. The usual auction houses are the safest bet to get genuine products and not be ripped off by fraudsters.
I belong to the world famous womens' institute - so many villages and small towns throughout the country have members and I feel immensley proud to belong to this august organisation. I'm not entirely sure why it makes me so proud. Perhaps because they tend to do good works and be earnest in their endeavours, but still have a jolly good time to boot!
A recent speaker was fabulous fun. Being a very local chap, he exhibited the rather strange local dialect - it really helped to place him in the community he discussed. Telling us about his austere granny and how she had a typical village long house, his colourful descriptions of visiting her and the scrapes they got into. As he passed round many artefacts he had gathered up from her house when she died, it was so clear that each held a very special memory of her - be it good or bad.
Some of the most gorgeous houses around my neck of the woods are built out of local stone - we're very much in the middle of the country and there is still a lot of quarrying. All sorts of stone is available and some villages have planning regulations stipulating that only this type or that is permissible for any new builds, so that the wholke area retains whatever unique style and ambiance it can. With these fantastic places, be they new or old, comes an appreciation of the beauty of antiques - usually the well chosen furniture placed in those stunning sitting rooms with inglenook fireplaces. Of course, in the older property that hasn't yet been gutted and refitted, there will be some gorgeous antique doors and windows. Trying to match these for a refurishment job will require looking into reclamation yards or posting 'wanted' adverts in the appropriate press and media. Adding the right type of antique is so essential to retain the value of a property.
Knowing how to tell if an antique piece is genuine or not is the million dollar question. There are some fairly obvious pointers so that you can pick the real deal and not just a good reproduction. Real antique pieces are by their very nature going to be old and definitely shouldn't be machine manufactured or finished. They will appear imperfect and those very flaws will be inconsistent and not in any regular pattern. Natural wood for example has alls sorts of marks, dents and colour variations. A reproduction will very often be symmetrical, very smooth and any flaws will have been made to look old. On a wooden piece, look under chairs and drawers - the least exposed the better. If the wood on the oldest pieces will be different from the very best wood on the top facing areas as economies were made as needed. A repro is most often made in all the same batch of wood with no variance.
In the height of a truly sensational hot summer, the last thing we tend to think about is antique furniture. However, we should be especially careful that any treasures we have from our ancestors are protected from increased heat, dryness and sunshine. It's quite easy for a curtain to dangle floppily and let otherwise gloriously sunny weather wreck our prized pocessions. In the big houses owned now by various Trusts, they don't allow any sunlight in if possible. They have massive window shutters which are kept closed at all hours unless forced by needs of safety for visitors and volunteers. Of course, when thse magificent antiques were first made, no one appreciated the destructive nature of sunlight streaming in. All the furniture, new and old, would have been treated the same way - with beeswax twice a year and dry duster the rest of the the time. It would be interesting to know who first thought of using spent tea leaves as a means of dispelling dust prior to carpet beatings . .. .
One of the things I've really missed during the enforced staying at home is being allowed to just get up and go out to a heritage property just 'as and when'. It's only now that restrictions are gradually being lifted and regimented visiting is starting up that I realise just how much I relied on the freedoms for this immense pleasure in my life! Being able to pick up the members' year book for the three organisations I support and just choose somewhere to go is a real joy - noting what's in store and what sort of age the furniture and effects will be is something I've got used to checking into. I like really old wooden furniture of tudor or jacobean origins if possible - just seeing and smelling the pieces, they give off that aura of great age, even if not the original pieces from that house, they belonged to someone, and would have been greatly valued many many years ago!
The joy of entering a room that contains even just one antique piece of furniture cannot be over emphasised for me. Knowing how to care for beautiful pieces is a major concern for anyone new to ownership. It's no good popping down the supermarket and coming back with modern silicone sprays. Putting the wrong product on an old item will ruin it very quickly. Antiques have a certain patina on their surface and this builds up ocer hundreds of years - so a few marks and tiny bits of damage add to the charm and value - so should be retained and preserved at all costs. Placing any urniture in strong sunlight is never recommended. For antiques it's even more critical to avoid. Sunlight dries it and warping and fading cannot every be repaired. The same goes for central heating. This dries out wood and humidifiers are needed to replace the natural moisture that would be in an unheated room.