Barbara Hollands and Thulani Gqirana
WITH chain stores producing loads of well-priced but mass-produced pieces for the home and high-end décor stores being out of financial reach of many cash-strapped DIY interior decorators, second-hand shops are increasingly becoming the hotspot for affordable and unique pieces.
Second Time Around’s Amanda Fourie said younger people were flocking to second- hand shops looking to buy something that looks like it’s from ‘grandma’s cupboard’.
“The younger customers who are maybe on their first move are mostly interested in 1950s furniture, because of the clean lines. They love the shabby chic 60 or 70-year-old furniture because it’s got a different feel from modern furniture.”
The Kragga Kamma shop owner said the “second-hand trend” increased when people noticed that older furniture was cheaper and yet more durable.
Dee Malkinson, who co-owns Gently Worn in Walmer, said the vintage pieces were highly popular in Port Elizabeth, and shopping second-hand has become a big trend.
“Old pieces have a lot of character. Each one is unique and had a life before, which people appreciate.”
Malkinson said people were interested in everything from shabby to country, depending on taste.
Port Elizabeth Interior decorator Bridgette Hills said it was harder to find old pieces now as people were snapping them up.
“People are buying up the pieces and respraying them in different colours, which takes on a whole new look. They are refreshing the distressed look, while keeping the retro feel.”
At Kim’s Antiques in East London’s Quigney, owner Kim Schwarz says “shabby stuff” is her biggest seller. By this she means kitchen or bathroom cabinets made up of weathered old wood and recycled burglar bars, head-boards fashioned out of intricately patterned pressed ceiling panels and bits and pieces made of cast iron that are re-purposed as garden décor.
“People are starting to accept that life is not perfect and neither are the things that surround them. Shabby stuff has a more relaxed feel and makes people feel like they are at the beach or on a farm. Décor is not as formal anymore,” said Schwarz, whose “recycled” weathered furniture is a hit with buyers from South Africa’s big cities, some of whom stock their furniture shops with the pieces she makes up of mismatched old wood. Other big sellers include charming boudoir chairs, which Schwarz said are popular but “hard to find”, solid wood desks and sets of old dining or kitchen chairs.
Once the poor relative of other furniture styles, imbuia ball and claw pieces have become hot property for the shabby chic brigade who enhance its curves with layers of white paint.
“And if it’s painted in high gloss it will go very well with modern stuff,” Schwarz said.
In Vincent, Anthony Wilson’s second-hand shop Morway’s is crammed to the rafters with home-enhancing treasures of all ages and descriptions.
“People love cast-iron stuff as well as old farm implements like ploughs and old mangles and blacksmith tools.
“They display them in their yards or their bars,” said Wilson, whose intriguing shop sprang from an early passion for collecting everything from movie memorabilia to comics.
“The 1950s are very popular, especially what some would describe as kitsch, like the three flying ducks and Tretchikoff prints.”
Buyers have also been snapping up Italian Murano glass from the 1930s, as well as all manner of golfing, bar and movie memorabilia.
Wilson said dinner plates were a hit with brides who served reception guests on mismatched plates, while students snapped up military badges to pin on modern jackets.