Home' Scoop Homes and Art : SHA 31 Summer 2011 Contents 186 HOMES & ART SUMMER 2011
oni Chapman’s Kensington home
is a shrine to her passion for
antiques – an eclectic showcase
of the hunting and buying she has
done over the past 25 years.
Ironically, she discovered her passion
for antiques a decade after giving her late
grandmother’s large collection to the Good
Sammys. “I didn’t want to benefit from my
grandmother’s death,” says Toni. “That was
my attitude, but as time went on I regretted
not having more to remember her by.”
It was in the 1980s that a friend
suggested antiques would be a great
investment. “He convinced me that I
should stop wasting my money on
fashion and have something to show for
my hard-earned dollars,” explains Toni.
She took the advice and bought her first
antique, a Victorian walnut mirror-back
sideboard c1885. “I will always be
particularly connected to that piece
because it’s what got me going,” says Toni.
“And in some weird way, I think I
reconnected with my grandmother.”
But you could say Toni is connected
to all her antiques – she still has every
piece she’s ever bought. “The investment
strategy fell by the wayside as my passion
for antiques grew,” she laughs. “I buy
everything from the heart so there is no
way I could part with them. The exception
would be to pass them on to family
members.” Toni says it’s consoling to know
her pieces will continue to be cherished.
Buying from the heart doesn’t mean
Toni sacrifices function. “If I can’t use it on
a day-to-day basis, then I don’t buy it.”
What it does mean though is that Toni
doesn’t follow a particular period or style.
She buys the pieces that ‘speak to her’.
When Toni and her husband George
bought their house more than 20 years ago
it had art deco windows and ceilings, but
essentially, it was a 1940s bungalow. “I
tried to do everything art deco,” says Toni.
“But the house is not true art deco so rather
than beat myself up trying to stay true to
the period I decided to buy with the heart.”
This allowed her to follow her changing
tastes. “I’ve now become a lover of all
things French, which is a bit sad for the
bank balance,” she says.
Toni’s most recent acquisition is
an exquisite French Louis X VI walnut
bookcase c1880, which is used as a display
cabinet for her antique crockery. Again,
function takes priority. “The antique
crockery is not just for display,” says Toni.
“It’s what we use every day.”
Toni says she could never go back to
contemporary furniture. “Contemporary
items generally aren’t built as well and
don’t have the same longevity,” she says.
“And the character detail... antiques have
so much cha racter.”
Toni’s advice to a novice antiques buyer
is to start small and buy pieces that are
Pieces from France are favoured but antiques from all around the
world blend beautifully in this home. All choices are equal as long
as they ‘speak to’ the owner
Kensington | French connection
WORDS & PHOTOGRAPHY Georgina Walsh
Links Archive SHA 30 Spring 2011 SHAA 32 Navigation Previous Page Next Page