Guest Contributor Interview – Anna Brian

We got the fantastic opportunity to interview Anna, an inspirational bargain hunter. From a varied background and passion for retro and vintage products Anna knows what she is talking about…  

1. Can you tell us a little about yourself?

I am 44 and have worked as an Art Director, Visual Merchandiser, Interiors Stylist and as a Photographic Locations Co-ordinator. I am married with a young baby and a whippet and live in a small village in Warwickshire.

2. How did you first get involved in buying retro and vintage items?

We moved into an architect designed house (built in 1972) 9 years ago. I had liked retro furniture a bit before but had mostly bought from Habitat and Ikea. Finally the house gave me the chance to source 1960/70’s items to fit in with the design and era of our new home. This was just before it became the trend that is huge now and items were more affordable.

3. What are your favourite items you have bought?

I have a Hans Wegner coffee table, and a recent purchase of a miniature replica of the LCW chair by Eames. The full size version is way too expensive!

4. How would someone describe your style?

Probably individual, quirky and stylish. Most people think it’s strange though to like items from that era but can at the same time appreciate they look good in our house.

5. Where do you search for these kind of items? Do you have a favourite place?

I did find amazing pieces of furniture and accessories in local tip shops and salvage places a few years ago but that was when there was no real demand and people would throw items out as they didn’t see them as being cool or useful.

6. If someone was interested in buying retro and vintage items how would you suggest they get involved?

Ebay is a great place to start looking and it would be a good idea to maybe go to house clearances in their area too. Lots of the interiors magazines have great examples of retro pieces in them regularly and shows like Mad Men and Breathless have a lot of inspiration too. There might be items in charity/tip shops. The trick is to have a good eye and to spot the hidden gem amongst lots of rubbish.

7. Do you have any designers or collectors you find inspirational?

I will always admire Terence Conran but for retro/vintage items I love Hans Wegner, GPlan and Eames furniture and the architecture of Richard Neutra, famous for his Case Study houses in California.

8. How would you like to use your expertise in this area in the future?

Our house is full but I am still interested in unusual pieces and would like to know more about restoration. I would also love to do some styling with retro furniture & accessories. I am determined to make a trip to Palm Springs Modernism Week and have a look round some great mid century homes too- watch this space!

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