Drew Pritchard is sharing some of his secrets to buying antiques. His life-long obsession with antiques first led him to a restoration before becoming an expert in his field. Now the Salvage Hunters presenter owns a three-story emporium in Conway, Wales.
Drawing on his wealth of experience and knowledge along with a scrapbook of ideas collected over the years, Drew has designed a collection of sofas, armchairs, buttoned ottomans, and stools in collaboration with Barker & Stonehouse.
See: How to shop for antiques – the experts reveal their favorite treasure hunting techniques
Drew’s advice on mixing antiques with modern furniture
1. Don’t pay attention to trends
Buy the first thing you like – and use that as your theme and motivation. Your own look will develop, and you'll naturally gravitate to pieces that feel 'right' for your look.
I go for the pieces that really last in terms of style and comfort, with that feeling of warmth. Ultimately, the only person you're trying to please or impress is you!
2. Matching is a bit boring
I love to mix styles and periods – they often work really well together and it’s a great way of creating space that captures what you’re about. That’s what I wanted for my Barker & Stonehouse collection too – for people to be able to pair these sofas, chairs, and footstools with everything from the ultra-modern to the antique.
3. There are no rules
Embed yourself into your house, research is obviously important, but ultimately, it's about creating a look that you like. There are no parameters really. Mix styles, ages, new and old. It just doesn't matter. Layer with good lighting and decoration.
Drew Pritchard's tips on the best pieces to buy as an antique
'The items I find most exciting are the ones that have been lost and forgotten about at the back of a garage and haven’t been seen for years. Here are the pieces I think you can’t go wrong with when it comes to investing'
Art doesn't need to cost a fortune to make a big impact. As long as you love it. Large-scale pictures can be great value and really transform a room.
Converted Victorian oil lamps
Lighting makes or breaks a room so pair these table lamps with a colorful, patterned shade and a low watt bulb to really set a mood.
Use rugs and runners to create shape and define a room – a rug placed under a bed centralizes a room. And don't worry about it matching your color scheme, just have fun with colors and use them to create a focal point.
Drew Pritchard's top buying and styling tips
- Where possible, buy things that you can try first, for size, fit, and comfort.
- Measure the items you're thinking of for the room. Lay their footprint out with newspaper, to get a size fit and see how they scale with your other pieces.
- You don't have to haggle. Good dealers are already charging fair prices, they will naturally look to advantageously price for repeat customers. If you're unsure, ring the dealer - there's no shame. If you're polite and explain it's over budget, there's usually a deal to be had.
- If you're buying seating, try and get an occasional table that you can use to tie in a look or theme, also making the room more practical.
Drew's tips on where to source antiques
- Instagram is a great place to find wonderful pieces. Use the hashtag #salvagesundays on Sunday, to see all of the UK's dealers showing their best pieces.
- AS Fairs hold great online fairs. A great selection of wonderful pieces and well priced too.
- Get back to markets and the dealer websites, like the Decorative Collective, or The Hoard, or 1stdibs now that we're getting back to normal.
Drew's sofa collection at Barker & Stonehouse
See: Sofa trends 2021 – stay ahead of the curve with the latest looks for lounging
If you like the antique look but prefer to shop new, then Drew's new sofa collection is the ideal solution. The design takes cues from furniture design over the last 200 years.
The collection blends distinctive design features from Regency, Georgian, Victorian right up to the clean lines of the 1960s. Drew wanted accessible, statement pieces that belong in any home, whether it’s a country pile, modern space, or small apartment.
‘I’m not into matchy-matchy - I wanted some contrast, some color, and some pattern,' explains Drew. 'For me, mixing things up works better than everything fitting together too neatly. The velvets and prints are fabulous quality and perfectly embody a bit of old-world charm with a very modern attitude’.
As well as timeless, unfussy designs, details such as the legs were key to making the collection unique. One of the details Drew insisted on is quality, visible castors, as he says ‘a sofa without a castor is like a person walking around without shoes’.
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