Thursday, 16 April 2015

My Vintage Home

Lola Lamour gives her top tips for creating a vintage look in your home

Written by Lola Lamour
I have been into 'old things' ever since I can remember! I think I was first influenced by all the wonderful films that I used to watch as a little girl. Instead of playing outside in the school holidays, I was sat watching Fred and Ginger, Deanna Durbin and Doris Day. I loved the glamour of the films; the clothes, hair and makeup and, of course, the wonderful happy endings. The music and the cars, the sets and the stars all appealed to me. I think I decided from a little girl that I wanted to live in that world.

As I grew up and started to be able to buy my own clothes, I would search vintage clothes shops and charity shops and also get my mom to sew and knit for me. I have always dressed in period clothes and just find the styles so lady like and flattering.

I always enjoyed singing too and was encouraged by my husband and joined a local amateur dramatic group about 10 years ago. Watching all those musicals must have sunk in as I was soon in lead rolls and loving singing and acting. This led to me setting out on my own and I now travel all over the country and Europe singing solo and with my 2 Bands The Lamours and The Blue Light Boys. I am very lucky that my job is still influenced by my love of all the wonderful old music that I grew up enjoying.

My life is very much influenced by the past in my everyday world. Of course I adore reading The Lady. My husband got me a subscription as a Birthday gift and it was the best present he could have chosen. The magazine is wonderful and has many articles on things from the past, history and classic styles. It also keeps me up to date with the modern world and items in the news. Please keep up the good work...may The Lady be something else wonderful from our past that continues for many years.

People say that things were built to last...that is true of The Lady!

If you want to add some of that vintage charm to your life, here are my top tips...

1 A good start for inspiration is to get a few original copies of old magazines. I have original copies of magazines from the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s. They are a great place to begin for ideas. They have fabulous articles and readers homes and also articles on decorating and colour schemes etc. the adverts are also a great inspiration. In our last house we had a stair runner made that was the exact copy of a carpet from a photograph from a 1950s advert.

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2 Think about the overall look. You don't want the room to look like a car boot sale. Chose a theme and stick with it. I have always found this difficult as I love so many period looks and I have many pieces that I love but they don't necessarily go together. If you chose Deco, for example, stick to that style, don't pop a lava lamp in the corner because you love it!

3 If you want things to look period perfect, think how a house would have looked at the time. We love the 1950s and would love a jukebox but you really wouldn't have had one in your house!

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4 Go to lots of vintage and antique fairs. Get a feel for what you like. What makes you happy? I love to be surrounded by things that make me smile. I have just put up 3 silk prints in my dressing room. The prints are of birds swallows, gold crests and a nightingale and they are so beautiful; I found them in a junk box at a fair. I have reframed them and they are just lovely. I smile each morning at those little birds and I am happy that they have a new home.

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5 Have a look at Companies that are still in business! Sandersons have been a well-known brand for many years and they produce wonderful wallpapers and fabrics. They have many vintage style patterns and many of them are originals that they have reproduced. We have used them a lot. Lincrusta also still make wallpaper to the same patterns that they have always done. We have a 1955 pattern in our dining room. Johnsons still make the tiles that we wanted for the kitchen too!

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6 Look on the internet. You can find anything if you look for long enough!! We have found that you can get so much for your period look. You can even buy newly made Bakelite light switches and plug sockets. You can still get the braided light flex too. You may not want to take it to the extreme that we have but we love having everything just so.

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7 If you don't want to go the whole hog just a few period features can give the room a vintage feel. There are many companies that specialise in Retro type homeware, Cath Kidston and Orly Kiely to name a couple.

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8 Watching old films is a great source of inspiration. If you think about it, they are a piece of history at your fingertips. Whether it is a 50s kitchen sink drama or a Hollywood Technicolour extravaganza, they capture the moment in time and the sets and scenes are full of things to influence you. We have just finished the bedroom/dressing room in our house and I was influenced by the sheer glamour of Hollywood. We managed to find THE most amazing bed and dressing table that completed the look. My colour scheme was taken directly from the Hollywood sets of Betty Grable films I have loved to lose myself in over the years.

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9 Get into DIY. During the 1950s there was a massive boom in DIY with many magazines to help and advise you. We have lots of copies of Practical Householder Magazine. It shows you how to build everything from a telephone table to a fridge. I am lucky that my husband is very hands on and we have made many of the things in our home from our bookshelves to my wardrobes. It is also great to buy a vintage piece that is a little scruffy and then bring it back to life. With a bit of patience and elbow grease you can restore something to its former glory!

Lola has a new EP out this month called 'Looking for Love' https://soundcloud.com/the-lamours/slow-motion-love-affair



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