‘Mixing styles and eras is all about being confident and thinking, “Yes, this will work,”’ says interior designer Louise Convert. Louise has had a passion for antiques from a very young age – the result of many weekends spent ‘traipsing around every antiques shop going’ in the Cotswolds with her parents.
Scroll down to take a look inside her house.
Louise explains that when she was growing up, her bedroom was something of an ever-expanding museum. ‘When I was eight years old, I remember going to an auction with my mum and going bananas for an antique laundry basket. She couldn’t understand why on earth I wanted it.’
In her St Leonards home, designed by Decimus Burton in the 1850s, Louise has continued to seek out the quirky and original. See how she mixes her collection of intriguing antique and vintage finds to create a mesmerising space.
Louise’s love of antique and vintage pieces that ‘tell a story and have patina’ translates into a constantly evolving home. Rather than following popular trends, she opts for unusual pieces, preferring a more eclectic look. ‘I try to avoid playing it safe,’ she says.
The oversized chandelier in Louise’s living room is from Bexhill Antiques and Interiors; this particular design is so large that the sash windows had to be removed in order to get it inside. The sculpture behind the sofa is by Gavin Roweth and the vintage Jieldé lamp was a lucky eBay buy.
A local firm made the kitchen units from recycled scaffolding boards, while the vintage ladder is from AG Hendy & Co. The old copper pans have been collected from eBay and the cabinet is a vintage French piece.
The rosewood sideboard in the dining room is by Pieff and was made for Heal’s in the 1970s, while the glass sculpture that sits on top of it is by Pino Signoretto. Both were bought from Vincenzo Caffarella at Alfies Antique Market. ‘I love this place because there are several floors filled with beautifully different, mainly vintage items,’ says Louise.
She and her husband Guy are drawn to shape and colour rather than certain makers, always on the lookout for interesting pieces to add to their collection
A grand scale
Louise’s home provides the perfect space for her slightly theatrical take on interiors. To get a sense of its scale, a full-height wooden giraffe (pictured, found at 20th Century Funking Junk) fits neatly on the wall of the staircase. ‘I spotted it at a local antiques shop and had to have it,’ says Louise. ‘The builders were rather puzzled when I asked if a full-sized giraffe would fit in our hallway…’
Traditional to modern
The screen in the master bedroom dates from the 1900s and is from Hastings Antiques Centre: ‘You never know what you might find here. There’s constantly changing stock making it a great place to have a rootle – I’ve discovered some great bits here.’
Few would be brave enough to mix 1970s accessories with antique French furniture and quirky vintage touches, but we believe Louise has nailed the look. ‘I’m drawn to pieces others would think, “I’m not sure I’d do that”’, she says. ‘Those are exactly the sorts of pieces I want.’
Images: Brent Darby
Online feature: Kelly Wariner