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Modern products inspired by the past

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classic  by The Victorian Emporium, Classic
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Strictly contemporary furnishings and accessories are the perfect match for many homes, but there are lots of interiors in which the presence of minimalist pieces or modern materials would simply be jarring. That doesn't necessarily mean, though, that such homes have to be furnished exclusively from flea markets, antiques shops and eBay (although a good trawl through any of those three can often be a lot of fun). 

Victorian and Georgian influences are very popular with those designers who strive to fully embrace the past in their work, leaving no room for modernity. This is partly because  these vintage styles in particular, defined by their elaborate detail, are very hard to reconcile with contemporary design, which often relies upon a minimalist aesthetic. 

For this reason, there are many designers whose work, although it may in fact have been produced only yesterday, looks very much from as if it comes from a bygone time, and could only be placed in a room that's styled to match that look. At the same time, others prefer to create beautiful modern products that, although clearly inspired by the past, would look totally at home in even a contemporary settings. This ideabook includes products from both camps: those that take us back to the past, and those that offer us modernity with a vintage twist. 

Plunge into the past

classic  by Clearwater Baths, Classic
Clearwater Baths


Clearwater Baths

This gorgeous copper-toned bathtub is a prime example of how great things can happen when old and new meet.. The design of this piece contains many echoes of the past. The basic shape of the main body of tub draws inspiration from the form of the freestanding tubs used for bathing in much of Europe before indoor plumbing became widespread. This is an association enhanced by the wonderfully rich shade of the tub's exterior. 

At  the same time, this piece is modern in many ways: its sleek, uncomplicated and totally minimal surfaces; its neat silver taps; and, of course, the fact that it is actually plumbed into the house. 

Bathing in this tub would offer a taste of vintage indulgence without all the bad parts, such as having to fill the tub from multiple kettles of hot water Relaxation ought to be relaxing, after all. 

A light that never goes out

There is something very appealing about fire, or light, trapped behind glass. Perhaps that's why the past can seem like such a romantic place when compared with the present: the flicker of candlelight, the constant tending to flames, ensuring that they were kept alive but enclosed, perhaps some sense of light creature with a personality of its own… all of this has been lost with the advent of electricity. Of course, what we've got in return has been more than worth it. But that doesn't mean there isn't still a place for a sense of nostalgia towards the old ways. 

It's exactly such nostalgia that this cute lamp successfully capitalises on. Its structure offers a stripped-back, modern take on the structure of an old-fashioned gas lamp. Just as with those, the light here is trapped but on display. Where in the past  the glass jar would have contained a flame, however, here it's merely a flame-shaped light bulb—far less high-maintenance. 

Now we move onto more lighting, although this time it's of the outdoor variety. These incredible wrought iron streetlamps are attention-worthy for a whole host of reasons. Most striking is the level of craftsmanship that was obviously required to produce something as intricately detailed as these lamps. Creating ornate designs out of iron is a skill that, even 100 years ago, would have still been widely in demand. Today, though, with ever more efficient mass production replacing the old techniques, it is very rare to find ta craftsman trained in the methods needed to convincingly replicate old-fashioned styles.

The lamps jump out not only because of their exquisite detailing, of course, but also because of their daring colour. It's this element of their appearance that brings a cheekily modern edge to an otherwise serious design.

Playing with vintage


9 ft Golden Oak Heywood Refectory Diner


This is a piece for those who really like to show off. There's no question about it: this would dominate any room it was placed in. Its success as an accessory to your interior would depend entirely on whether or not the room was designed to handle such an imposing piece of furniture. Regardless, it's a gorgeous item (just look at the detail on those legs!) that would keep you and any guests entertained on many a rainy day.

Crystal clear

classic  by The Victorian Emporium, Classic
The Victorian Emporium

Bohemian crystal chandelier

The Victorian Emporium

Last but not least, it's a classic of the contemporary-does-vintage genre: the crystal chandelier. Whether it was produced this morning or 200 years ago is irrelevant; who could look at this and fail to be transported back in time to a ballroom packed with dazzling gowns and ladies hiding coyly behind their fans? 

If you'd like to see more of the dining room containing this light, check out the The Victorian Emporium

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