By Evie Kennedy | Tuesday, 25 July 2023
As a brand, sustainability is important to us and we always search for pre loved/upcycled items wherever possible. This means we have become quite expert at finding things and we thought it would be good to share this knowledge with you. At the moment about 80% of all furniture and furnishings in the Quince houses are upcycled and we are really proud of this.
For me, there are several different sources of itemsto upcycle – lets start with the online portals. Its interesting how different they are from even 5 years ago. I tend to look at three Ebay, Facebook Marketplace and Etsy let me explain why..
Ebay is an excellent place to start it sells literally any object that you can think of. Its quick and easy to use and you can save your search so new items fitting your description will automatically arrive in your inbox. The more specific you are the better, even mention a brand name if you want a specific make. Originally an auction site, many items are still sold via auction and you can really pick up a bargain as long as you are right there at the end. A lot of buyers don’t bid at all until the last minute so don’t imagine you are the only one interested because there aren’t any bidders. There are growing number of sellers setting a fixed price, some will allow you to offer, some not, I often offer whether there is an option or not by messaging the seller. You have the security of buying through a renowned site with secure money exchange. Ebay is a great site and we have bought many many items from it.
For me, this is the new kid on the block and always worth a look. Its moved in the last couple of years from garage sale items to collectables and everything in between. The prices are nearly always cheaper than Ebay but you have to do more work. You will deal with private individuals, they pay no fees and as a result the whole transaction is more a one of trust. There is rarely much information and the photos tend to be ‘snaps’ this is definitely a buyer beware place. You cant pay on the site either so you either have to go and pick up and pay cash or if you send a courier or they post you pay in advance with no security it will actually arrive. But having said that I have transacted with so many great sellers and have not yet had an issue.. Because of the no fee, dealers are starting to appear on the site with shops.
This is a great site for high quality named items. If you want a designer vintage piece of furniture this is definitely one of the places to look. Items are often more expensive than on Ebay but the pieces tend to be high quality. That’s not to say Ebay or Facebook Marketplace doesn’t sell high quality but Etsy tends to have less basic items. Etsy is also wonderful for bespoke craftsman pieces – if you want a handmade table or door, you will always find an artisan able and willing to make it for you.
Vinterior sells bespoke antique and vintage pieces from all eras and is ideal for those special pieces that make a room zing! We have a few wonderful furniture pieces from this site that make our Quince houses really individual.
When Quince started Gumtree was an upcycling force. It works in pretty much the same way as Ebay but encouraged local buying and selling. Nowadays its moved more to cars and property and away from individual items. I rarely look at it (and truth be told had to revisit so I could write a comment about it!). This isn’t where I would start.
Another rich seam for vintage online shops – I follow lots, particularly for accessories such as vases, search for what you are interested in and start following, without exception great sellers and great items.
Don’t forget your local shops – for me, they are a huge source of items – often ones I have not even be looking for but help inspire the look and feel of a house. They are unpredictable in terms of stock but often well priced. And as the items have already been picked by someone with a good eye, they are always worth a visit. I have some real favourites, such as Mileage in Deal, Station Mill in Chipping Norton and Vintage Forty Nine in Woodbridge with the list expanding all the time.
You can subscribe on Instagram to antique and collectible fairs so you get reminded of what’s coming up – again fantastic places for really good finds that you might not have searched for online.
If you want an unusual door, a beautiful vintage window or an outdoor trough – this is the place to look. Based all over the country and specialising in architectural pieces they are a wonderful source of large fixtures and fittings for a home.
Last but by no means least – what can you upcycle and turn into a new loved item? We often work with our builders and carpenters to reuse items on site this can be anything from a kitchen unit to an unframed mirror, the artisans enjoy the challenge and we love designing something new from a old piece.