Cracking Shopping Sources No.6

Well, in the words of Warner Bros – ‘That’s All Folks!’. Last night saw the final episode of the first series of ‘Cracking Antiques’, where we helped Roy and Katy create a mid-century modern style living room for their 1950s bungalow. It wasn’t as easy as it sounds, even with a budget of around £2,500, as this look is incredibly fashionable and popular now and prices can be high. Not only that, but Roy also had some particularly strong feelings about the sofa that needed to replace his much-loved (and much stained!) trusty old friends. Thankfully, his wife Katy saw the light!
We began by travelling to colourful Margate to visit the marvellous Junk Deluxe. Owner Benjamin sources all his stock himself, and travels extensively. In my opinion, prices are incredibly competitive, and Benjamin prides himself on ensuring they’re as close to ‘trade’ prices as possible. After hunting around the labyrinthine rooms, we found a super 1970s leather ‘Falcon’ style chair, similar to those by Norwegian Sigurd Ressell, and a perfectly sized modular wall storage system that looked very similar to the ‘Royal’ system designed by Poul Cadovius in 1958. A 1950s wire and tiled magazine rack and a few other pieces finished off a great start to our shopping days.
We then went to Ardingly Antiques Fair, in Sussex – a place I’m hardly a stranger to. Like Newark, Lincoln, Swinderby, and Shepton Mallet, the variety on offer here is truly mind-blowing. After showing Roy a fair few sofas dating from the 1950s-2000s,  sadly to no avail, they ended up plumping for a set of vintage Ercol ‘pebble’ tables, some brightly coloured postwar Murano and Czech glass, a vintage sunray mirror and some other accessories to make the room their own. The devil is in the detail. As to what happened with Roy and the sofa, well you’ll have to watch it to find out – but the ending was thankfully happy, thanks to a bright idea from Kathryn.
So that’s all from Kathryn and I and the ‘Cracking Antiques’ team for the moment. We’re hoping that another series will be commissioned, but that’s all down to the BBC. It’s simply whizzed by, proving the old saying that ‘time flies when you’re having fun’. I consider myself lucky to have been involved. Thank you for all your kind comments – and for watching! If you still want a quick fix, then why not buy a copy of our book? Click here to find out more.

6 thoughts on “Cracking Shopping Sources No.6

  1. aaltomoderna says:

    Hi Mark

    I enjoyed the series, especially the last episode, as mid-century modern is my thing! Personally, I think it was a shame to revamp the sideboard to emulate the Orla Kiely one, as the main thrust of the series has been that originals are best….


    • Mark Hill says:

      Hi Kirsty,
      Thanks for the comment. I think it all comes down to personal taste in this instance. Sideboards like that one are neither scarce nor historically important ‘national treasures’ as a Chippendale cabinet may be. I’d much rather they were given a second life than chucked on the rubbish heap or broken up. If it revives an otherwise dull and less appealing piece into something desirable, the so be it. If it had been produced by a great maker, or designed by Borge Mogensen or another great designer, then I think I’d have an issue with it. Throughout the filming Kathryn and I frequently teased each other about painting furniture — I generally don’t approve, and Kathryn does. But we both understand clearly where it can and – importantly – where it shouldn’t be done. But, as I say – it’s also a matter of personal taste. Thank you for commenting!
      Best wishes,

  2. Anne says:

    I can’t believe the series has ended already! 🙁 We’ve thoroughly enjoyed it, Mark, and hope the BBC decide to do another series soon. 🙂 (I love that wall-mounted storage system in the last programme and that brilliant purple sofa in an earlier one!)

  3. mackbear says:

    I agree…there was an air of sadness in our house on last Wednesday knowing that this fantastic series was ending. But what a truly inspiring episode to end on! I have to say that I found the modular storage Cadovius ‘look-a-likey’ just beautiful and very reminiscent of the Heals and Staples ‘Ladderax’ systems in terms of that function and modularity.

    I did gasp a little when Kathryn lifted her paint brush to makeover the sideboard, but you know, she did make a fab job of it and I agree with Mark, it is much better to see these once ‘has-been’ pieces being reused and personalised.

    Loved the series, loved the sections where Mark gave us his thoughts on the ‘up and coming’ and loved to see Kathryn’s moves on making choice items ‘fit’ the new fantastic surrounding of their new owners. It could have gone horribly wrong but, you know, it never did!

    Bring on series 2, I say….the BBC would be mad not to…

    • Mark Hill says:

      Thanks so much for watching and for your very kind words, Anne and Mackbear! We’ll have to wait and see about Cracking Antiques II, and have crossed everything physically possible!
      I have a Ladderax system at home too – it seems to have had a real revival over the past few years.Not surprising, it’s practical, inexpensive, and (I think) really rather stylish. I had tried to find some for the last episode, but was even more delighted to find the Cadovius-like unit – a real surprise they did jolly well to buy.

  4. mackbear says:

    Oh I agree, Mark. We have ‘devoted’ one wall in our house to our Ladderax system and we love it. It’s so practical and useful and we love that we can change the configuration around according to our needs, the layout of our room or simply because we want a change. It is good to see these mid-century designs becoming more desirable and sought-after especially since, in many cases, they were mass produced and therefore when finished with simply chucked out. It’s just amazing to see items that you may remember from your childhood come back ‘into fashion’ again…!

    Martin (mackbear)

Leave a Reply