How to add vintage va-va-voom to your home

Vintage tableware

Quirky and fun, vintage tableware can spice up meal times. - Credit: Lucy Ashby-Hoare

No longer doing a daily commute, Lucy Ashby-Hoare found herself with time on her hands and decided to turn her hobby of sourcing vintage homewares into a new business venture

“I have always had a love for vintage and antique pieces - every line, scuff and mark has its own story," says Suffolk-based interiors enthusiast Lucy Ashby-Hoare. "I often imagine the journey an item has been on to find you, all the things it has seen and the places it has been over the years.”

Lucy’s own home is a complete treasure trove of everything vintage - from a pair of Danish mid-century chairs to French Luminarc glasses, every piece has its own story. “After buying my first home back in the summer of 2019, I found myself scouting for unique treasures and vintage homewares to add that unique, timeless touch - always hoping to find that piece that no one else will have. I now have a fantastic array of vintage homewares and furniture, most of which is over 50-years old. Sadly though, I can’t keep everything, so I decided to launch Little Fine Flea to share some of my ‘flea’ finds.”

Danish vintage chairs

A pair of Danish chairs were a real find for Lucy's own home. - Credit: Lucy Ashby-Hoare

Beautiful detail in a vintage chair.

Beautiful detail in a vintage chair. - Credit: Lucy Ashby-Hoare

When buying her first home, Lucy told herself not to run to Ikea and buy everything she needed all at once, but instead to slowly fill the house with vintage items that would add character and charm. Each room now includes a fantastic array of unusual homewares from a range of periods and places.

“I can remember as a little girl, my room was a treasure trove of antique pieces - in particular the most exquisite vintage rocking horse, it brings back so many happy memories.” Following her ethos with Little Fine Flea, Lucy loves to source items with a quirky and unique character. She sources lots of her items from antique fairs and auctions. “I can’t resist browsing at auction houses such as my local, Clarke and Simpson in Campsea Ashe, and the larger antique fairs, such as Ardingly and Kempton.”

Little Fine Flea offers a handpicked selection of unique vintage finds, featuring outstanding craftsmanship and incredible detailing. Lucy’s collectables are featured on her Instagram account at a scheduled time, every month and include gorgeous designs that are affordable, and add fun and colour. 

A rattan table blends perfectly.

A rattan table blends perfectly. - Credit: Lucy Ashby-Hoare

Vintage wicker lampshade.

Vintage wicker lampshade. - Credit: Lucy Ashby-Hoare

“Suffolk has an array of charming towns and villages filled with antique shops. Head along the Suffolk coastline – from Woodbridge to Southwold and you will find several treasure troves - a couple of my favourites are Marlesford Mill, The Barn Co and Darsham Emporium.”

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Suffolk is starting to see an increase in independent boutiques, with a passion for vintage, preloved and sustainability. “I particularly love Matisa Market in Woodbridge – which sells premium pre-loved womenswear, including pristine vintage and sustainable brands. I also rate The Boule-in in Bildeston, who have a decorative lifestyle company, hosting four seasonal fetes a year offering beautiful French pieces for interiors and gardens.”

Lucy grew up in a tiny village near Framlingham and now lives on the Suffolk/Essex border in Manningtree. Her vision behind Little Fine Flea is to support sustainability, by preserving vintage homewares, giving them a ‘second chance’ rather than seeing them ending up in landfill. It’s also designed to bring fun and colour into homes, with pieces that are certain to kickstart conversations.

Vintage crockery adds style, colour and fun to the table.

Vintage crockery adds style, colour and fun to the table. - Credit: Lucy Ashby-Hoare

Vintage crockery table setting

Table finds lend a 70s vibe. - Credit: Lucy Ashby-Hoare

Lucy cites a real giant clam shell to be her most striking and exciting piece sourced to-date. “She was a true beauty and sold within minutes of being listed on Instagram!” As for her most striking piece in her home, she cites a pair of mid-century Danish chairs from a house clearance in Denmark. 

“I had them reupholstered in sheepskin, with a wool backing. They have the most beautiful curved wooden arms, and are real one-off pieces that I was lucky enough to secure as a pair. I hope they stay in the family for generations to come.”

Lucy’s tips for sourcing vintage

Age and character - every piece has had its own journey, you will come across items in a variety of ages and conditions – it may have a slight knock, chip or crack but that’s all part of its character. 

Set yourself a spending limit - before you start to bid on an auction site, decide how much you’re willing to spend on the item, and stick to it. 

Snap it up - if you love it, buy it! The chances are it won’t be their next time, or it will be snapped up by the person behind you.

Get there early – all fairs are hubs for the trade, interior designers, prop buyers - you name it, and they are there. Get there in good time, so all the ‘on trend’ pieces aren’t snapped up before you arrive. 

Kit list - take a tape measure and a list of what you need. Although it’s great to go in with an open mind, it’s also incredibly easy to get sidetracked. 

For more details, visit @littlefineflea on Instagram