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Antiques? Vintage? Know where to look and you’ll unearth treasures

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The joy of tracking down a unique gem, combined with bagging a bargain, offers plenty of incentive to go vintage. 

Factor in the sustainability credentials of shopping for pre-used items and it’s easy to see why so many of us have a passion for pieces with a story to tell.

‘Vintage furniture is going strong because, in many cases, 20th-century manufacturing processes are superior to those of today,’ believes Sandrine Zhang Ferron, founder of Vinterior (vinterior.co), an online marketplace bringing together the retro wares of more than 1,700 dealers.

Talking point: An early 19th-century Swedish cupboard transforms a hallway

Talking point: An early 19th-century Swedish cupboard transforms a hallway

‘In the 1950s, people would save for that one piece which would be cherished for a lifetime before being passed down through the generations. Now, we are finally reconnecting with the idea of an heirloom.’

One-off pieces also appeal to those who love the thrill of the chase. 

‘The beauty of salvage lies in the sheer joy to be found in discovering treasure and knowing it’s a one-off,’ says Sian Astley, renovation and interior design expert for the Homebuilding & Renovating Show (homebuildingshow.co.uk).

‘Vintage pieces are not mass-produced; you won’t see the same thing in someone else’s home or on another Instagram feed. Plus, decorative pieces often have inherent value and can be resold in later years.’

However, finding a well-crafted item, being certain that it offers value for money and knowing whether it’s authentic or repro takes a well-honed eye.

A colourful elephant fruit bowl - designed by Matthew Williamson

A colourful elephant fruit bowl – designed by Matthew Williamson

Determine your style

It helps to determine what style appeals to you, whether mid-century, modernist Scandi or decorative Victoriana, before looking in the right places, including antique shops, flea markets and vintage fairs, as well as online dealers and marketplaces. 

Bear in mind too that ‘vintage’ and ‘antique’ are not the same.

‘Just because something is described as vintage doesn’t mean it’s an authentic antique,’ says Gabriel Moukhbat, co-founder of Maison Flâneur (maisonflaneur.com), which tracks down original and one-off finds featured in hotels around the world. 

‘If there’s more than a few in the same style available, that’s a good indicator that vintage is just referring to the look, not the era it was produced in.

‘A real vintage gem shows wear and tear too. Wooden furniture also has other giveaways, like the use of multiple types of wood and dovetailing, signs of hand craftsmanship as opposed to mass production. 

You should also look for stickers and labels: early furniture makers, like artists, would date their pieces and add their name.’

Dodge big brands

‘You don’t have to go for a famous name,’ says Zhang Ferron. ‘G Plan, Ercol and McIntosh are all leading brands that regularly show up for reasonable prices.

‘Among mid-century pieces, sideboards, mirrors and rugs are still in plentiful supply.’ And there are ways to stretch the budget further. 

Moukhbat says: ‘Look for handmade or small batch furnishings, they’ve got just as much character, helping you to create a one-off look at a more affordable price.’

Get the price right

Value for money is key when it comes to finding the right piece. Items from celebrated design studios can be expensive and should always be verified.

Expect to pay upwards of £2,000 for objects by top designers. Pieces by less well-known manufacturers should be under £1,000. And don’t be afraid to haggle.

‘They are more likely to give you a better price if you don’t demand add-ons like extra restoration and uncompromising delivery terms,’ says Adam Hills, co-founder of architectural salvage firm Retrouvius (retrouvius.com).

With the current push towards sustainability in interiors, there’s never been a better time to explore vintage and recycled furniture which complement natural materials, bold prints and patterned weaves.

‘For a long time, everyone was talking about the perils of fast fashion and now vintage finally has a place in each of our homes,’ says Zhang Ferron.

What your home really needs is a … rattan lampshade 

Cottage style: Habitat’s £60 Elmley pendant shade

Cottage style: Habitat’s £60 Elmley pendant shade

The summer seasonal decor refresh used to mean scattering some bright cushions on the sofa.

But households are now opting for more extensive makeovers, involving such items as rattan lampshades (much loved by Lulu Soane, who was commissioned by Carrie Symonds to furnish the flat above No 10) to add an element of nature and the exotic to a room. 

You may be unsure whether your home needs a rattan lampshade. But it will bring a laidback the-living-is-easy vibe for a modest outlay.

Also rattan, a vine-like palm that grows in China, Indonesia and Japan, is a sustainable material. 

Habitat’s £60 Elmley pendant shade,or the £45 Margate lozenge-shaped shade would both blend in with a cottage-style or Scandinavian interior (argos.co.uk).

If you associate rattan a little too much with beach bars, you will like the elegant design of the £85 Dolkie shade from La Redoute (laredoute.co.uk).

The £69 Java from Made (made.com) is for those who think the 1970s were groovy.

And for bargain hunters, B&Q offers the Carpo shade, reduced from £34 to £18 (diy.com). Not one perhaps for Boris and Carrie but a bargain nonetheless.

ANNE ASHWORTH  

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British ex-pat, 67, is forced to DESTROY his Spanish home two months after his wife died from cancer

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A British ex-pat has been forced to knock down his £130,000 Spanish home two months after his wife died from cancer.

But the situation for 67-year-old Gurney Davey, from Suffolk, could get worse because he is facing six months in prison after a mayor illegally gave him planning permission for the house.

‘I was distraught at first, my blood pressure was sky high and then I lost my wife,’ Mr Davey said this week as he was demolishing his home near Tolox, Malaga.

Gurney Davey, 67, has been forced to knock down his £130,000 Spanish home two months after his wife died from cancer

Gurney Davey, 67, has been forced to knock down his £130,000 Spanish home two months after his wife died from cancer

Despite Friday’s demolition also costing him €1,600, he added that it had actually come as ‘some sort of relief’ having fought the legal battle since 2004, over the house he built in 2003. 

It was then that legal firm, Manzanares, informed him he would be getting a licence for an ‘almacen’ (or storeroom), which would allow him to build the house.

‘We thought we had done everything right. We got legal advice and went through a lawyer in order to get permission to build the home,’ Davey explained. 

But he was later told that his house was one of around 350 that were illegally given planning permission by the former mayor, Juan Vera, who was eventually handed a prison sentence of his own.

Mr Davey was told his house had to be demolished for himself to avoid a six-month prison sentence, with the news coming just after his wife, Diana, died from bowel cancer at the age of 71.

‘Diana fought breast cancer for six years before bowel cancer – I am sure the stress brought it on.’ 

‘But thankfully it is now over,’ he explained. ‘It has been going on for so long now, I’ve finally come to terms with what needs to be done. 

‘Having it demolished was actually a relief,’ he added.

As he still owns the land, he can still live on it – just not in a house.

Despite Friday's demolition also costing him €1,600, he added that it had actually come as 'some sort of relief' having fought the legal battle since 2004, over the house be built in 2003. Pictured: Mr Davey's home in Spain before it was demolished on Friday

Despite Friday’s demolition also costing him €1,600, he added that it had actually come as ‘some sort of relief’ having fought the legal battle since 2004, over the house be built in 2003. Pictured: Mr Davey’s home in Spain before it was demolished on Friday

Mr Davey was told that his house was one of around 350 that were illegally given planning permission by the former mayor, Juan Vera, who was eventually handed a prison sentence. Pictured: Mr Davey's home in Spain after it was demolished on Friday

Mr Davey was told that his house was one of around 350 that were illegally given planning permission by the former mayor, Juan Vera, who was eventually handed a prison sentence. Pictured: Mr Davey’s home in Spain after it was demolished on Friday

Now, the father-of-three is planning a minimalist life staying in a converted van, so that his five dogs still have the space to roam.

‘This land is my home, it is my life and these dogs are all I have left.’

Whether or not he still faces a prison sentence, is yet to be confirmed.

The ex-pat only found out about the potential six-month sentence when a court document was delivered to a neighbour’s house.

‘I went straight to Tolox town hall with it. They told me I shouldn’t have received it yet,’ he recalled. ‘They said they were going to be sending the notification to me once they had stamped it.’

He had never been told about the court case that followed on from a Guardia Civil denuncia for an ‘illegal build’, but Davey’s two-bed home should never have been built according to the Malaga court.

Now, the father-of-three is planning a minimalist life staying in a converted van, so that his five dogs (pictured) still have the space to roam

Now, the father-of-three is planning a minimalist life staying in a converted van, so that his five dogs (pictured) still have the space to roam

In 2016, and then again in 2017, Davey was ordered to knock down his house, but, in common with a neighbour, he waited for more details.

While his Spanish neighbour, Irene Millan, 29, did eventually hear from the court again, she was given six months to ‘legalise’ her property – an option Davey was never given.

However, his neighbour’s apparent good luck turned into a poisoned chalice.

Having spent €20,000 with the town hall to legalise the dwelling, the court finally refused to accept the new paperwork provided by the council.

Instead, demolition was ordered – which went ahead last week.

To add insult to injury Irene’s 54-year-old father, Manuel Millan, whose name was on the deeds, was also sentenced to six months jail and handed a fine of €6 a day for a year.

Whether or not he still faces a prison sentence, is yet to be confirmed. The ex-pat only found out about the potential six-month sentence when a court document was delivered to a neighbour's house

Whether or not he still faces a prison sentence, is yet to be confirmed. The ex-pat only found out about the potential six-month sentence when a court document was delivered to a neighbour’s house

As he still owns the land, he can still live on it - just not in a house. Pictured: Mr Davey, a former builder, uses a JCB digger to demolish his own home

As he still owns the land, he can still live on it – just not in a house. Pictured: Mr Davey, a former builder, uses a JCB digger to demolish his own home

The couple, originally from Suffolk in the UK, spent £130,000 building their property.

‘It came as a package – a plot with a new home on it.’

Davey admits he and his wife were perhaps naive to follow the advice of their lawyer.

The lawyer, from legal firm Manzanares, told them that planning permission would be applied for as an almacen – or ‘warehouse’.

Mr Davey (pictured) was told his house had to be demolished for himself to avoid a six-month prison sentence, with the news coming just after his wife, Diana, died from bowel cancer at the age of 71

Mr Davey (pictured) was told his house had to be demolished for himself to avoid a six-month prison sentence, with the news coming just after his wife, Diana, died from bowel cancer at the age of 71

This way it would come under the remit of Tolox town hall, which would give permission and later they could ‘legalise’ the property.

The language of one legal letter suggests this would be a mere formality, but the property never got legalised.

In fact, the Tolox mayor of the time, Juan Vera, has since been jailed and fined for his part in a scheme.

In most cases the mayor used the very same ‘lax’ procedure of applying to build an ‘almacen’ to try to keep the prying eyes of the Junta authorities away.

‘We thought that was the way things worked in Spain,’ said Davey, a retired builder. ‘We went to see a lawyer and got advice. It turns out that was not the smart thing to do.

‘Why would we deliberately try to build illegally? It makes no sense that we would sell up everything in the UK and risk it all.’

Mr Davey had earlier said that he was forced to ask the town hall for permission to knock his own property down.

‘I will do it myself. I will borrow a JCB from someone and flatten my home of the past 17 years. I will not let the town hall do it and charge me more money.’

It is not the first time British expats have had their homes demolished in Andalucia, with the Priors, in Almeria, the most famous victims.

They still live in the garage of their house today, over 10 years since the house was knocked down in Vera. 

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Two teenagers died after separate incidents in Dublin and Waterford

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Two teenagers have died after separate incidents in Dublin and Waterford on Wednesday.

Gardaí in Ballyfermot responded to a call at an equestrian centre at Tay Lane, Co Dublin, at about 2pm.

Dublin Fire Brigade and the National Ambulance Service attended the scene and provided medical assistance to a 15-year-old girl who was injured during an exercise event.

She was removed to Children’s Health Ireland at Crumlin, where she later died.

Gardaí said the coroner has been notified. The Health and Safety Authority (HSA) has also been notified and will carry out an examination on Thursday.

Gardaí said investigations are ongoing. A file will be prepared for the Coroner’s Court.

Separately, gardaí and emergency services attended the scene of a workplace accident in Dungarvan, Co Waterford on Wednesday afternoon.

A boy was pronounced dead at the scene.

The HSA has been notified and will carry out an investigation. A file will be prepared for the coroner.

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Tritax EuroBox acquires Swedish logistics property for €47m

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Tritax EuroBox continues to expand its presence in the Swedish market with a €47m acquisition. The asset held freehold has a total gross internal area of approximately 28,900m² and comprises two purpose-built logistics facilities (one of 16,200m² and the other 12,700m²), located in the heart of the prime logistics location in the Port of Gothenburg. 

 

The Port of Gothenburg has been ranked as the most attractive logistics location in the Nordics for 20 years by Intelligent Logistik, the leading Nordic logistics media platform. There are currently no vacant logistics buildings in the port area. The Port is home to Scandinavia’s largest container terminal, which is forecast to grow over the coming years. The buildings are fully let to Agility AB, Nordicon AB and Vink Essaplast Group AB, generating a total annual rent of €1.79m on leases with a weighted average unexpired lease term of six years.  The rent reflects a rate of €62.50psm per annum.  All leases are annually indexed to 100% of Swedish CPI.

 

Nick Preston, Fund Manager of Tritax EuroBox, commented: “We are delighted to acquire our first asset in the Nordics which aligns with our disciplined investment approach and our long term strategic goals. The asset held freehold is located in the region’s strongest logistics market and offers asset management upside through working closely with the occupiers to achieve their business plans and increase rents to market levels. We expect to see continued strong market rental growth in the Port of Gothenburg, due to the natural constraint of land supply in the port area, and the increasing demand from occupiers. The Port of Gothenburg has a clear plan for growth, with significant infrastructure investment committed, further strengthening this location.”

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