Vintage and Decorative Letters

abc naman letters

We’ve always been big fans of typography…

When we opened our first shop, back in 1999, the trend for vintage lettering and typography had just started in the world of interiors and styling. Around that time, we chanced upon a complete tray of wooden letterpress at an auction…and discovered how decorative they were; and how it made great wall art. In fact that letterpress tray was one of the first things we ever sold!IMG_5477
We’ve now been selling letters, old and new, for over 15 years; sourcing vintage and salvaged letters that would originally have adorned the fronts of shops and factories etc.
We even made our own for a few years!

As with most trends, fashions come and go, and there was a point when you couldn’t open an interiors magazine, or look online without seeing an interior that had either an old, single letter, carefully ‘placed’ and propped up –  or a word spelled out in random types/sized fonts. Whilst some would say they have been over-used and have had their day. We still love them. But then we’ve never paid much attention to trends.

These ones are in the shop right now…IMG_6061Visitors to our shops will be familiar with the different ranges of
letters that we stock. But it has to be said, these mini metal script letters, that we’ve just added online, are probably our current favourites..
metal_script_lettersIMG_6034Also available, are our best selling larger metal letters that we’ve been selling for sometime now. Loosely based on Times New Roman, they can be mixed and matched with the script letters. These ones are also handmade and in random colours…steel officer's trunk

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All online and in the shop!

Sm Script letters £8 each – approx 5cms   |  Lg Letters £12 each – approx 20cms high

New Grand Illusions Vintage Paint.

Well it’s been a while but after much ado going on behind the scenes we’re back blogging, with many posts lined up, so keep your eye out. If you can’t keep an eye out, watch this space…..IMG_1117_edited-2Grand Illusions Vintage Paint.

For those local to us, you will be familiar with the Grand Illusions shop that was in St Margarets for nearly 20 years, a few miles down the road from us. For those who don’t know, Grand Illusions Founders, Nick and David were early pioneers of the French Painted Furniture style we are all so familiar with now. They introduced their own paint range back in the mid 90s, to compliment their increasing range of French Style Furniture. They also ran very successful furniture painting courses from their little shop in SW London. Excitingly for us – and hopefully you – they have now relaunched their paint…IMG_1110Grand Illusions ‘VINTAGE PAINT’ is a unique, flat and chalky matt paint, and is designed to recreate the buttermilk paints of the 18th and 19th Century. Nick and David originally worked with an antique restorer to get the right blend and finish. Inspired by an authentic Nordic-French colour palette, these wonderful paint colours are ideal for painting furniture (or mirrors, picture frames, or walls) And we should know – we have tried a lot of different brands over the years! To give you more of an idea of the finish and differences in the colours, we have painted all the colours on to picture frames in the furniture shop, so you can get an exact idea of the finish….. and mix and match if you need to.IMG_1091Having been restoring, refinishing and repainting certain vintage furniture pieces as a business since 1999, it somehow seemed fitting that Grand Illusions have asked us to be the stockists for this part of SW London (their “old hunting ground”) Somewhat serendipitously as it turns out. They approached us, just as we were about to start stocking paint (by another brand) and the various consumables that go with it – i.e. brushes, wire wool, waxes etc. We will now be using Vintage Paint for all our painting projects in the shop from now on. We will be posting pictures of the finished results as and when we have finished them.IMG_1108

Christmas at attic.

We thought you might like to see our new Christmas window display. We’re really rather pleased with it…..IMG_1908Some of the regular visits to our site (and this blog!) and various social media, may have noticed that we haven’t been very active in this last few months, Here’s a quick update on our year…IMG_1740We’ve actually been incredibly busy behind the scenes, setting ourselves up for the future with a new integrated till/ epos system and a better functioning website, that will be updated regularly!! There will also be some new things happening with the website over the next few months so we’ll keep you updated….IMG_1770 It’s actually been a year of ups and downs. The loss of a close family member to cancer in the first half of the year was difficult to say the least. That tends to put things into perspective. IMG_1771We’ve also had challenges with our website, stemming from unforeseen incompatibility issues, that have caused a lot of work – but we’ve also been shown the most incredible generosity of spirit (and time!) by certain people. One step back – two steps forward and all that…. Encouragingly though, our business in general, has had some incredible recognition from across the globe – so we must be doing something right!IMG_7009Anyway, we’re getting back on track and we’ve been busy getting the shops ready for Christmas. They are now jam packed with seasonal stock, gifts, decorations and inspiration. We’re taking new product shots as we speak, so new stock will also be added to the website this week.IMG_1750

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IMG_1763attic by night……IMG_1917And by the way, in case you are wondering – the mystical figures in the window are called Santos dolls. We bought them in New York last year. They are replicas of figurines found in churches and holy places in South America (and parts of Europe) in the 17th and 18th century. Not for sale i’m afraid, display only – sorry!

Vintage Industrial.

Here’s a few things we’ve been working on recently in the attic workshop – and now for sale in the shop……here.We’ve been sourcing, restoring and refinishing utilitarian, vintage furniture since we started in 1999. We do it all in-house from start to finish – hand-stripping, hand-finishing and occasionally repainting.

1950’s Steel Double pedestal desk with new glass…..

Sometimes, all a piece needs is a bit of TLC, or just a clean and polish!

!930’s oak roll top desk….

There’s an immense feeling of satisfaction, when we change something that is ready for the scrap yard (in some people’s eyes) having spent many hours working on it, and turning it into something, that generally results in comments in the shop, such as “Where do you get all this stuff”. Well, that would be telling wouldn’t it…..

!940’s steel filing cabinets with brass fittings….

1950s Plan Chest coffee table….

Collection of early 1900s deed boxes….

!930s Oak tambour front cabinet & Anglepoise lamp….

Reclaimed timber pigeon holes…..

All these pieces are on our website. Check them out here….www.discoverattic.com

Four days in Florence (Pt.1)

At the beginning of May we managed to get away for a long weekend. So we headed to the beautiful Tuscan city of Florence, (Firenze).

Over the years, so many people have told us that we would love it.
Well they weren’t wrong.
We were also told it never rains in Florence. That is untrue. When we arrived on the Saturday it was chucking it down. Really, really chucking it down.
It didn’t bode well for the trip, but luckily the next few days were… well, perfect really. Warm and sunny, but not too hot.
Anyway, to sum up Florence in a few words:  Architecture, culture, wine, style, great coffee, friendly waiters (on the whole), old narrow streets, museums, old shop/restaurant signage, historic pharmacies, wonderful handmade paper/stationery shops, and oh yeah, great front doors!
That last one’s a bit unusual i know but go with it.
Anyway,we’ll let the photos do (most) of the talking…
The fabulous Riva lofts, where we stayed. Lovely staff and free bikes to borrow!
Quite a treat………
Wonderful old Kodak branded gift shop…..
Abandoned cinema……….
We were really struck by the cool old signage everywhere in Florence…..
The shutters and aged patina of the walls……
Pharmacy of Santa Maria Novella, absolutely stunning skin care & toiletries packaging…
We became a little obsessed with apartment block entrances and antique brass doorknobs. I know. A bit odd…..
Stand alone photo booth…..
View from up at the Giardino Della Rose – is simply stunning. Bit of a walk though!…….
 Old entrance door buzzers are everywhere……
Most wonderful artists supply store ‘Zecchi’. Has been there for years and has supplied some of the old masters over the years…….

Brick Lane, London

Every now and again on a Sunday, for inspiration, we go up to the Brick Lane area of East London. Our usual route starts off at Columbia Rd flower market, for coffee and horticultural bargains, then down to Cheshire Street (via many quirky independent little shops) and onto the wonderful melting pot that is Brick Lane. Then, after taking in the beautiful old London architecture on the way, it’s a little further and we arrive at Old Spitalfields market. Here you’ll find pretty much any kind of cuisine, from anywhere in the world at one of the many food stalls. Really reasonable prices too. In the old market itself there are literally hundreds of stalls/shops selling anything from jewellery to clothes to vintage industrial furniture. Many of the stall holders are designer/makers on the first rungs of the ladder, so you don’t have to look too hard to find some original pieces. Anyway, during the day we’re always looking for the not so obvious photo opportunities. Here’s a few we took…..

Thank You

These last couple of months have turned out to be possibly our busiest & best Christmas shopping season ever! Hard to believe, in these hard economic times!

We have had such a great reaction and so many lovely comments over the last few weeks about what we’ve done with the shops. We are so grateful to you all!
It seems only fitting, that the last words this year should go to our small team of folks who have been quite wonderful these last few months. So to Deb M, Rebecca, Susan and Mr Alex Foley (the other Al!) Thanks for keeping us going…..We salute you.
See you in the New Year.
Al & Deb x
*By the way, we’ll be closed over the Christmas break until 10am, Wednesday 4th January 2012