Why vintage is the future of interior design
PUBLISHED: 00:00 10 February 2020
Keeley Harris got the vintage bug when she was just seven years old. Today she makes a business out of our love of all things retro
As a little girl Keeley Harris would often be invited to house clearances with a family friend who was an antiques dealer. One place in particular stayed in her mind - a large country house, the interior of which had been decorated in the 1920s.
'It was all a bit like Lovejoy. I remember this one house vividly. I walked into one of the bedrooms and it was like walking into the 1920s. I was mesmerised by the history of it, I remember just standing there aghast. Something just clicked inside me and from that moment on I have been fascinated by all things vintage.'
Keeley, who is better known as 'Vintage Keeley' to vintage enthusiasts across the country, has turned her love of the scene into a successful career.
She organises the hugely popular Festival of Vintage at York Racecourse which will celebrate its tenth year from April 25-26 this year. The show has become a 'must attend' event on the vintage scene which now attracts thousands of visitors to York from all over the world.
It's a celebration of the fashion, music and style of the 1930s-1960s with an array of entertainment, displays, shows, shopping and two indoor stages for bands playing music from the era.
Many of the regular Festival of Vintage visitors not only dress from the past they have created homes with a nod to the past too, says Keeley.
'Vintage is widely described as items from the 1920s-1970s, but it is also, in my mind, the good design and stand out style from each of these decades. There were also bad designs from each decade, and nobody wants that in their home,' she laughs.
'In some cases, vintage is now what your gran or your mum had, I hear this a lot. But that is not a bad thing. Reusing items that someone else does not want any more is a very modern ethos but comes from generations doing this during the war years. If your nan had it and you like it, it probably means she had good taste and style. I'm a real fan of people picking out that sideboard or chair and incorporating it into their own style to make their home individual and interesting.
'Personally, I really enjoy the satisfaction of knowing that someone loved a piece as much as I did when I bought it - giving it a different setting, instead of letting it gather dust in a corner or be thrown away.'
Along with organising the Festival of Vintage, Keeley runs smaller, the Vintage Home Shows, across the country.
She also runs her vintage interiors store, Discover Vintage, in Garforth near Leeds, which is a treasure trove of vintage furniture and art.
'There are two popular decade styles that many vintage fans choose to create to complete their nostalgic lifestyle. Art Deco or Mid-century are very on-trend when it comes to interiors at the moment.
'There is the Hollywood glamour of the Art Deco period (1920s/30s) with its luxe wallpaper, chrome light fittings and velvet and animal print textiles along with furniture made of exotic woods. Think cocktail cabinets and tub armchairs.
'Then there's Mid-century Modern (1950s/60s) with bright colours and patterns on textiles and wallpaper, complimented by sleek oak and teak furniture with clean lines and curves.'
Keeley, who is the author of Style Me Vintage, published by Pavilion, agrees that creating a home that contains everything you need, as well as one that reflects your personality, can be a difficult balance to achieve.
'Your home should be where your heart is; somewhere to invite your friends and family to enjoy life's milestones. Opting for vintage can create a look as unique as you; so not just a functional space, your home can, and should, reflect your tastes and style perfectly,' she says.
'Anyone can buy a vintage piece for their home, unlike a piece of clothing, it does not have to fit you: just your home.
The secret is to buy what you really love and what works for you and your space. You can mix and match eras if you want to; there are no strict rules.
The key thing to remember is that vintage is not just for admiring behind glass; it is functional and meant to be used.'