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A life in antiques - Beside the seaside!

PUBLISHED: 17:41 11 March 2009 | UPDATED: 15:18 20 February 2013

The delightful 1800s French salon chair has a fun, seaside feel

The delightful 1800s French salon chair has a fun, seaside feel

Owner of The Packhouse antiques centre in Farnham, Alison Hougham reports on all the latest goings-on in Surrey antiques

Originally published in Surrey Life magazine July 2008

Owner of The Packhouse antiques centre in Farnham, Alison Hougham reports on all the latest goings-on in Surrey antiques






Find out when and where upcoming Surrey antiques fairs are taking place







You can tell that I am looking forward to a summer break, as I seem constantly inspired by things that remind me of the seaside at the moment. Nothing at all to do with my yearning to have a beach house on the coast or my desire to decorate my imaginary house from top to toe in a simple, fresh, nautical palette that I could sit back and enjoy while listening to the breaking waves!

Every year, as soon as the weather starts to warm up and the allure of the beach beckons, I seem suddenly to stumble across copious numbers of vintage deckchairs, weathered pieces of furniture and endless antique accessories that would add charm to any seaside home (or, indeed, any Surrey home by an imaginary seaside!).

True to form, on a recent visit to Kempton market, I was delighted to find a French, spoon-back style ladies' salon chair, dating from the early 1800s, that fitted perfectly with my obsession of the moment, but in a design that I had never come across before.

The charming chestnut frame has been re-upholstered in Bulgarian dyed and hand blocked vintage linen, dating from the early 1900s. The fabric is the colour of faded blue denim with a perfect small white dotty spot design - larger on the front and smaller on the back. The shape would have allowed a lady's wide skirt to flow gracefully over the sides.

This pretty chair, with fabric covered legs, would be petite enough to squeeze into many a room setting, but could look amazing in the corner of a bedroom or on a balcony, where you could sit and enjoy the ocean view (real or imaginary!).

We have started to use many of our vintage linens that we buy from markets to cover old pieces of furniture or make up into simple, vintage cushions. Antique French linens and Hungarian grain sacks with their simple neutral palette, often with a stripe or monogram in blue or red, make wonderful fabrics to re-upholster favourite items and can help to enhance, or indeed create, a focal point for a shabby chic scheme. Their history, hard wearing durability and natural colour pigmentations will ensure they survive for many years to come.

My holiday is getting closer and I am excited about the prospect of having the space in my mind to think, dream and plan about what the future may hold. I hope you all have a great summer doing what makes you happy. As Eleanor Roosevelt once said: "The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams."
Happy holidays!









Find out when and where upcoming Surrey antiques fairs are taking place






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