When it comes to buying furniture, there are endless places to browse – from mass-produced superstores to cheap online catalogues of possibilities. However, there is nothing as unique as vintage or up-cycled furniture, that has a story or an individuality that bares no comparison to something made by a machine in a factory.
Someone who knows that better than most is Zoë Carney of The Velveteen Rabbit, who is inspired by the different historical and cultural aesthetics in the world of interiors. Here, she tells us all about her journey into this world.
1. How did you get into the world of antiques?
I don’t think of myself as being in the world of antiques even though some of my pieces date back a 100 years. I would say i search for the eclectic and unusual no matter what era they might be from. My showroom is made up of a blend of old and new.
I have always been fascinated by interiors and peoples homes. For years i had worked in all facets of the Fashion industry from design, retail and personal shopping. Making a move into interiors was a natural progression for me. Another chance to showcase my love of design, seeking the unusual and building a brand which encompasses all these aesthetics.
2. What is it that attracts you most to certain pieces when sourcing?
Narrative, colour, design, functionality and origin. Of course i have to love every piece I buy.
3. What is it about century old furniture you love most?
Unusual or vintage pieces offer the opportunity to add a sense of originality to any ones home. The shape and silhouette of old furniture can be things of beauty not just functional, some can almost sit as a piece of art in the home.
4. You source articles from all over the world, where is your favourite place?
Thats a hard one, I have wonderful supplier in India where a ship pieces in from .These pieces are so unlike European furniture, they are colourful, exotic and full of history. They bring an air of other worldliness and playfulness to my showroom. I also love France and french furniture, i get a lot of chairs from there, they add a sense of romance and grandeur to an interior.
5. What era of furniture design are you most fascinated by?
I probably most drawn to the design of furniture from the 20s and 30s if i had to choose. I think the form, structure and sensibility was modern for its time and still stands today as innovative design.
6. What is your favourite piece in your collection right now and why?
To be honest I’m a little ridiculous when it comes to the pieces in my collection. I become so attached. My friends and family think its hilarious. For instance waving goodbye to a bank of 1940s Italian cinema seats as they made there way to Paris was hard, but they were going to a lovely client and a magnificent home so i quickly got over it! At the moment i would have to say this new vintage piece from India. It is the sweetest little cupboard, its colourful and kind of magical. I think it would work best in a clean bright modern space and it would just shine.
7. Is there a story about one item in particular that sticks with you?
I just bought in an incredible selection of items from the set of the TV show ‘Penny Dreadful’ including violins, old Chinese wooden vases, paintings, shop signs amongst others. I love that they had a life before, then became part of making a dramatic scene for an iconic show. Then hopefully will end up being a talking point in someones home or business.
8. What impact do you think antiques can make to a home?
I think vintage or unusual pieces of furniture mixed in to the modern home setting, in amongst the ordinary simple and functional, add a focal point of interest. One uniquely different item can transform a space from the usual to the extraordinary.
Check out more of Zoë’s beautiful pieces at thevelveteenrabbit.ie