Something for everyone
Oh these brocantes and vide-greniers are addictive! An old zinc watering-can or vintage enamel jug catches your eye. Your purse says that it’s a bargain and you tell yourself it will come in handy in the garden in the summer. Before you know it there are now three or four watering-cans, all a little different from each other, proudly showing themselves off inside the house as decorative items.
Probably without realizing it, you have joined thousands of others by starting a collection of French vintage accessories. The following weeks will probably see you back at the vide looking at old ceramics, china and linen.
Brocantes are run by professionals whereas just about anyone can set up a stall to sell at vide-greniers (meaning empty attics). This is certainly a popular pastime for both buyers and sellers all over France – especially on Sunday mornings in the summer months. If you are thinking about starting your own collection, there are so many items just waiting to be found.
I like to collect things that are useful as well as decorative, nowhere more so than in the kitchen. Mismatched china and chunky glassware look great behind a chicken-wire fronted cupboard. Painted, iron pot holders are very handy and a set of vintage copper saucepans look stunning hanging on the wall (but do take into account how to keep them clean!).
Vintage jam jars add a nice French touch if placed on the table with a few fresh flowers added, look very pretty when used as votives and of course are a great way to present and store home-made jams. Enamel or china storage jars can easily be recycled for modern use and a wire egg basket is perfect if you wish to keep your eggs out of the fridge.
One or more vintage soup tureens, depending on space available, could take pride of place in either the kitchen or the dining room and is always available when needed. For special occasions keep a look out for monogrammed, linen table napkins and perhaps a candelabra for the centerpiece of the table.
In the living room, beautiful old French books, in a bookcase or placed on a side table might not help to improve your French but there is certainly a charm and interest about them. Silver photo frames from times past make a lovely collection when grouped together, as do vintage candlesticks of various sizes.
In the bedroom antique sheets and quilts are shown off to their best if stacked up in ranges of colour inside an armoire with just one of the doors slightly open. Also for the bedroom, there are some lovely vintage trunks to be found at brocantes and vide-greniers. Perfect to be used as bedside tables or a large one placed at the end of the bed looks lovely and is great for storing extra pillows etc.
Antique perfume bottles are always a favourite for collectors (and are easy to carry back from the brocantes). Display them in the bathroom or preferably on the dressing table or chest of drawers.
There are so many French vintage collectables. Something for everyone. I am sure that now you will see why I believe that less is more. A few well chosen, good quality pieces can mix well with all kinds of décor whereas too many bits and pieces might well turn your home into your very own brocante!
•by Ann Horne • Topic Host, Decoration
Photos by kind permission of Decorative Country Living www.decorativecountryliving.com