Antique furnishings add character and individuality to your home, but sometimes it’s hard to know where to start your search.
We sought the advice of three enthusiasts, Melanie Harrison from The Harrison, Belfast and Sammy Leslie from Castle Leslie Estate…
On The Square Emporium
Sydenham Business Park, Belfast
Melanie recommends: ‘I was lucky spot the exact chandelier i had been searching for while shopping here one day. I asked if there were any more the same and as if by some miracle they magicked me six more antique French style ballroom chandeliers for my bay windows. They are now a main feature of The Harrison. I could spend all day in here looking at all the interesting antiques and curios. It is like going into the props warehouse at a film studio.’
With over 14,000sq. ft of fabulous antiques, stunning vintage pieces and intriguing industrial items On the Square Emporium is one of the most interesting stores and you never know what you will find each time you visit. On The Square is a must for anyone looking for period furniture, a statement piece or just a bit of quirky fun. The selection is vast, from Georgian duchess dressing table to huge Afghan and cashmere rugs, from industrial lighting to taxidermy to vintage china; there is everything under one roof. Stock changes daily and it is worth popping in regularly. If they don’t have it On the Square have a sourcing facility and also have extensive workshops that can make bespoke furniture and reupholster or restore old pieces. onthesquareemporium.com
Main Street, Glaslough
Melanie recommends: Castleview Antiques sits at the gates of Castle Leslie. Spend an interesting day out seeing Barry’s beautiful pieces which are surprisingly good value and exploring the Castle grounds. If Barry doesn’t have what you are looking for he can find it and I certainly got some exquisite Victorian pieces from him.
Castleview Antiques provides clients all over Ireland with interior antique pieces and antique restoration. From their Glaslough base, located beside Castle Leslie Estate, they provide clients with a carefully sourced collection of antique furniture. Owner Barry McKenna and his team regularly stock a broad range of affordable, quality pieces including examples of Georgian, Victorian and present day furniture. For the convenience of clients, they can organise private viewings of furniture outside of business hours and are able to make recommendations to clients based on the interior design specifications of their property. castleviewantiques.com
Zebra Salvage & Collectables
Richmond Lodge, Ballygawley
Both Melanie and Sammy recommend: ‘For the larger, wackier vintage finds, Zebra is the place to go. I found a giant glass grapefruit juicer, a 1950s drinks trolley and Baby Champ memorabilia which is now in Castle Leslie’s West Wing cocktail cabinet. Melanie adds, ‘You can choose from fun and quirky to high quality Victorian wooden furniture that matches well in The Harrison. I find it quite affordable too.
Owner Noble Patterson had been in the motor trade for forty years, but had always an interest in antiques, and what was once a hoppy has developed into Zebra Salvage and Collectables. Located on the site of Noble’s home, an old Georgian rectory built in 1778, Zebra Salvage offers customers an eclectic mix of competitively priced pieces and is well known for being the place to find something that little bit more unusual. ‘I like to surprise people and we strive to have a good range of pieces from the ornate to the curious. I really enjoy the interaction and banter with customers and if I don’t have what they’re looking for I can certainly help them to source it,’ says Noble.
Hillsborough Road, Dromore
Melanie recommends: ‘Who can go past Wilsons off the dual carriageway at Dromore! Slam on the breaks and simply do a one stop shop here. They stock everything from flooring to door handles, baths, beds and garden ornamental features. Wilsons has it all.
View this post on Instagram
Wilsons Yard is family run and in its fourth decade of doing business. If you are looking for products to restore a period property and wish to put back some of those original features, then they can help. Wilsons are quite unique in that we will have both structural items such as reclaimed brick, trusses, reclaimed Bangor blue slates to build your property. For the interior they provide original and new period doors and door furniture, amazing reclaimed wooden flooring along with spectacular lighting. They also have all kinds of antique, vintage and reclaimed furniture, plus a huge eclectic range of unique individual items to furnish your home and give it that wow factor. wilsonsyard.com
The Natural Room Emporium
Castle Street, Comber
Melanie recommends: ‘Every piece in this shop is a classic and a thing of beauty you would hold onto forever. Top quality, exquisite furniture, art and collectibles are carefully chosen by the owners and often lovingly restored if a bit of TLC required.
The Natural Room Emporium in the Co. Down town of Comber sells decorative antiques, vintage items and pretty much anything the owners feel is a little bit different or a break from the norm! They only ever buy pieces they like, they don’t simply buy to make a profit. Once they find a piece, if necessary, its restored, repaired, cleaned, polished and made ready for its final destination from their workshop in their home five minutes down the road. They have also created a unique gallery space devoted to promoting the work of local artists and sculptors. thenaturalroom.co.uk
Manor Garden Centre
Munville House, Lisnaskea
Sammy recommends: ‘I’m just potty about proper clay pots, miniature to massive; simple to spectacular, along with the plants to go in them. With a healthy dusting of antiques upstairs, I could spend half a day rummaging amongst all of the lovely things there.’
Although primarily a garden centre, this well known spot amongst antique enthusiasts in the Fermanagh area also has an upstairs shop full of unusual pieces. Owner Tim Elliott is an avid antique collector and in the last 18 months has decided to utilise the available space at his garden centre to showcase his collections. ‘I have a large Georgian manor house dating to 1792, so I’ve always been surrounded by, and interested in antique furniture. I used to have open house events and those in the surrounding area knew about my antiques. With the available space at the garden centre decided to open the shop which now showcases small furnishings including an extensive collection of vintage and antique Persian rugs. My passion is porcelain so you can expect to find all sorts of pieces in varying conditions. manor-garden-centre.co.uk
Wendy’s Way of Life
Sammy recommends: ‘I adore Wendy’s eclectic taste, she has such a great eye for the unusual, which is perfect for me. Wendy can find the most amazing things, at great prices and her online tutorials are so engaging with lots of great tips.
Wendy Boonstra started off sourcing and selling antique home and garden decorations in Holland 30 years ago, before moving to Ireland where she has a shop in Glaslough for four years before changing to offer her services online. ‘I wanted to move into the educational side of the antiques for the home and vintage designer jewellery. So, as well as having an online shop full of products with inspiring stories, I now offer courses that not only help people who simply have a personal interest and want to know they are getting a good piece, but also those who want to develop their hobby into a profession. In fact, I’m currently finishing off my first book which offers advice to those who have an interest in antiques whether for their own personal collection or to start a business. Like my courses, the book will offer advice on everything from where to go to source them, how to evaluate them and also sell them.’ So whether you want Wendy’s help to research source and buy antiques for your home or you want to develop a current hobby visit wendyswayoflife.com
Set Featured Image Credit from On The Square Emporium