As if you needed more reasons to source vintage and antiques, not only are they often beautiful and stylish, never go out of fashion, create a uniqueness to you home, but they are also one of the lowest of the carbon footprints ways to shop to furnish and decorate your home.
As consumers, we are much more aware about sustainability when shopping for food and fashion, but now this awareness has hit interiors too. What more ethical way to style your home or business, that to reuse gorgeous timbers into a bespoke table, or take that 200-year-old tatty armchair, and transform it into something contemporary that reflects your personality.
Unique furniture for the home, whether they’re antiques, retro or one-off designed pieces have always been popular, but people’s attitude towards their impact on the environment has changed. Therefore, the appeal to buy antiques is growing as nothing needs to be produced, maybe just restored, therefore providing traditional trades like upholstery, cabinet makers, metal workers and artists alike, an opportunity to keep these highly skilled industries going.
The French House began trading 25 years ago and opened their first shop in 1994 on Micklegate, York, soon opening a second shop in South West London, then in 2008 the York shop moved to North Lane, Huntington. The French House boast one of the largest ranges of French antiques in the UK, including a large selection of beds, mirrors, lights, tables – among many other treasures – ranging from the 17th to 20th Century. There is a workshop for restoration projects, plus full upholstery service and more bespoke pieces like one-off tables made to order with old timbers and restoration of painted items by local York artist, they employ more than a dozen local trades people to restore and renovate.
Take this large late 19th century cupboard, which came out of textile factory office in France. It was spotted by Jane Taylor Designers and Annie Waite for a client and transformed it to a stunning kitchen cupboard for a residential London home. Or this gorgeous late 1800’s pillow armchair, which arrived from France a little bit ‘cat attacked’ but with vision by a customer who chose this sumptuous red for their home, given a new lease of life. The upholsterer used the best traditional methods to strengthen the frame, re-spring, stuff and finally recover, creating the perfect example of upcycling and ethical sustainable shopping.
The French House recently supplied lots of the gorgeous pieces in The Talbot Malton (www.talbotmalton.co.uk) for their revamp, including tables, dining chairs, upholstered 19th Century armchairs, plus sideboards and bureaus. This sofa makes a beautiful and comfortable alternative for their ‘Garden Room’ in one of their dining spaces.
To sit alongside this sofa and other tables in their Garden Room, The French House made several bespoke tables using reclaimed bases and made to measures tops using reclaimed 18th century oak timber, which look like they were always meant to be paired together!
The French House is a family business in York and London and pride themselves on their vision for sourcing authentic antiques from France, creating beautiful affordable pieces for the home, enjoying the challenges they face along the way. Sourcing the hard to find, restoring the ‘past its best’ and keeping their prices low and their stock current with trends.
The team drive to France where they live part of the year and spend their time visiting house clearances, brocantes and working with local sources to find antique timbers often from old mills and barns, upholstered items, storage and more. Customers enjoy hearing the history of their purchases, so trying to buy from the source to enable this story to be passed on is important to the team. Travelling back with a van and roof rack as full as possible ready for the workshop team, although many pieces are displayed in the showroom in their original condition, so that customers can determine how much pieces are upcycled or not!
The York Showroom is open Monday to Saturday 10am-4pm, located at The Warehouse, North Lane, York, YO32 9SU – Junction of the A64 Scarborough Road and North Lane. There is customer parking available.
To visit Parsons Green, London it is by appointment, call 020 73717573 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange.